Main Article: Overview of Avian Geriatric Disorders with Emphasis on Psittacines Jeannine Miesle, M.A., M. Ed. January, 2022
Carly, an aged macaw. (images approved by Pete DiSalvo; used with permission) The following set of pictures is of a 75-year-old scarlet macaw named Carly. She was passed down in the family, and recently the last person who had her passed away. She was adopten by Pete DiSalvo of Sugarcreek Bird Farm in Bellbrook, Ohio in late 2016. She is a most interesting study in the effects of aging on macaws. Decades of neglect, poor nutrition, and poor perching have taken its toll on this bird.
Image 1. The plantar surface of the feet is surprisingly free of pododermatitis. There are some areas that are a little shiny and rough, but hopefully good nutrition and better places to stand will help. The bird has severe arthritis and has been standing instead of perching for many years. She stands very low to the surface of her platform because of her arthritis. Mr. DiSalvo has placed the bird in a large cage with a platform instead of a perch. He will put padding on the platform to give her a softer surface.
Image 2. Note the poor condition of the feathers. As feather follicles age, they either stop producing feathers completely or produce feathers which have poor pigmentation and/or poor and missing barbs. Also note the condition of the nails. Some of the digits are useless and cannot grip at all. Most are curved and twisted away from the toe, and the toes are misshapen.
Image 3. The plumage doesn’t appear to be too bad on the back, but up close, missing, discolored, and twisted feathers can be seen. Her stance is remarkably erect, in spite of her difficulty with arthritis. She usually leans against something, though, for support.
Image 4. Carly’s face is remarkably free of dermatolotical disfigurement. She has no lumps, warts, or other markings typical of such an old bird. Note that her maxilla is now in good condition after having been dremmeled down by Dr. Dahlhausen. It was reaching almost to the neck. The mandible is shaped like a bowl because of the pressure on it from the maxilla. She was developing a scissors beak. Dr. Dahlhausen did an extraordinary job getting the beak in this condition considering what Carly had been going through just to eat. There is significant improvement in her bite now.
Image 5. The breast shows the decrease in feather color and condition due to age, poor nutrition, and neglect. Again, note the feet. The toes are nearly useless from inability to grip, and the nails curved in all directions.
Image 6. Pete DiSalvo, the kind, caring man who took Carly in. His generous heart has been repaid tenfold because of the love he receives from this sweet bird. He’d do it all again.