When you own a pet cockatiel you need to watch out for any sign of an iodine deficiency in your little friend. If you are like me, you would do anything to keep him or her healthy and happy.
Goiter, or enlargement of the thyroid gland, shows external swelling of the bird’s neck. The growth presses against the crop and windpipe internally. Any exertion such as flying and running will make the little bird breathless very quickly. Breathing will be very heavy and the bird will drop to the ground with widespread wings and a pendulous crop and neck. He may also make a high pitched squeak or wheezing sound with each breath. To help himself breath more easily the little bird will often rest his beak against the cage bars or on a parallel perch or tree branch.
I you don’t do anything about this condition immediately your pet cockatiel will get worse. He may start to walk in circles which is an indication of cerebral infection. Sudden death might then follow, caused by asphyxiation, heart failure, or weakness due to insufficient intake of food.
With these serious symptoms of the thyroid, a recipe of iodine glycerine may be administered to the bird. The proper mixture for cockatiels is one part tincture of iodine to five parts of glycerine. As an alternative, a mixture of nine parts paraffin oil to one part iodine glycerine, administered with a plastic dropper in a corner of the beak intermittently over a period of 3 days, can usually work wonders. If the symptoms continue to persist, see your avian veterinarian immediately.
An iodine deficiency can occur where the drinking water is deficient in iodine. This use to be very common in captive cockatiels, Australian grass parakeets (rosellas, Bourke’s, and others), lovebirds, and budgerigars. Usually these conditions do not occur anymore due to the commercial cage sand treated with iodine.
You can make sure to give your beloved pet cockatiel small amounts of iodine in a number of items. They are contained in cuttle bone, seashell grit, oyster shells, meat, milk, fish and eggs. Fishmeal and cod liver oil are rich in iodine, but wheat germ is not. A recipe of white bread soaked in milk is good treat for preventing goiter.