Ask Lafeber

Question:

April 5, 2021

Crooked Conure Nail


I have noticed, since the beginning of this year, that one of the front toenails on my Green Cheek Conure Mochi’s right toe extends at a crookedly odd angle (up, instead of curling down). It does not seem to hamper her movement, nor have we observed any apparent loss or deterioration of balance, grip strength or ability to perch or walk. She has plenty of perches of different diameters and textures, and is afforded outside-of-cage time to walk “flat footed” on soft surfaces as well. Can anything be done to “straighten” this digit, and can or should it be trimmed back? What might it be indicative of (arthritic?). Thanks in advance Brenda (and to all other LaFeber answerers!)


Answer:

Hi Tommy,

This is something that happens with some pet birds – often it’s the result of getting the toe caught in a chain, or rope or something else while playing. I’d like to use the photo for our next Ask the Vet webinar at the end of the month since this type injury is not uncommon. Meanwhile I didn’t want you to have to wait for a reply, so here is what Dr. Tom Tully said:

“It does not look like a fracture (although it could be) because there is not much swelling where the toe is malpositioned.  It may be a dislocation that can be reduced back into a normal position.  An x-ray would be able to determine whether it is a fracture or dislocation.  If a fracture there would be little reason to see a vet because the bird will do fine with the condition it is in.  But if it can be simply reduced back into a normal position because it is dislocated it would be worth the try.  The ligaments may be stretched and it may not stay in place or dislocate again but many times the dislocated toes stay in place when “fixed”.”

Webinar: Ask The Vet: Q&A with Tom Tully, DVM, DABVP (Avian Practice), DECZM (Avian)

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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