What Is A Pinched Nerve?
A pinched nerve happens when tissues around the nerve put pressure on it, preventing the nerve from working correctly. This type of problem may cause pain or unusual sensations far from the site of the problem, and is difficult to diagnose. Pinched nerves happen with surprising regularity in cockatiels and other small pet birds. Taking the time to learn the symptoms of this problem can help pet owners keep their birds happier and healthier.
Symptoms Of A Nerve Pinch
The symptoms of a pinched nerve vary depending on how the pressure is affecting the nerve’s function. Animals with pinched nerves may appear to be in pain, may have trouble walking or perching successfully, and may suffer from twitching or weakness in their muscles. In some serious cases, the bird may develop paralysis of the hind limbs. Not all sufferers will show continuous symptoms; some may appear to be fine if pressure is not consistent.
What Causes Pinched Nerves?
Pinched nerves occur any time the tissue around the nerve puts pressure on it. This may occur because of an injury, which causes tissues to swell. Tumors, deformities and mishealed injuries may also be at fault. Egg binding is a serious problem in female birds, where eggs become stuck in the uterus. The eggs can then put pressure on nerves. Treatment for egg-bound birds is important, since the condition can quickly become life-threatening.
When To Get Help
A pinched nerve should be treated if symptoms continue for more than a few days. Minor weakness or twitching may be caused by a muscle strain, a bruise or a similar small injury. Major symptoms, like trouble perching, serious weakness, paralysis of any part of the body, or seizures indicate a need for immediate examination.
Potential Long Term Problems
Even birds suffering from minor pinched nerve symptoms must receive treatment if their symptoms do not clear up quickly. According to the Mayo Clinic, short-term nerve pinches usually heal completely, but long-term pinching can cause permanent nerve damage. Failure to treat the symptoms of a pinched nerve could result in chronic pain or disability for the bird.
Keeping A Disabled Bird
Birds with pinched nerves are still capable of happy, semiactive lives, even if they are disabled. Partially paralyzed animals live well in single-level cages and may even flap their wings when held in the air. Owners do need to consider the cause of the nerve pinch, though. Tumors, egg binding and similar pressure causes may degrade quality of life or even kill a pet. Ask a vet for advice about keeping pets with neurological symptoms.