What do I do if my finch is gasping for breath?

Respiratory issues can be life threatening for any finch. If your finch is a female, it could be that she’s egg bound.

To tell the difference, a female that is egg bound is usually on the bottom of the cage and, as she’s gasping, her tail feathers are moving up and down. Since their bodily functions are all expired through one opening, their vent, being egg bound creates a toxic situation that if not relieved, will kill a finch. Egg binding is the most common way to lose a female finch.

If it’s a respiratory issue, you’ll want to consult your avian veterinarian. There are things you can do for your finch prior to taking it to the vet, however, as vet visits can be stressful to an already stressed out finch.

This is why we preach to have necessary medications on hand so they are available when you need them. It is sometimes difficult to find what you’re looking for in a pet store.

Iverlux is our go to medicine for respiratory issues related to air sac mites. Air sac mites are indicated by a clicking sound when you hold the bird’s beak to your ear.

If the respiratory issue is bacterial, then Doxycycline Powder 20% - 100 g is recommended.

If your finch is egg bound:

Put a drop of liquid calcium on her beak
Prepare a hot cup of water, 1/3rd full, and wrap a small towel around the outside of the cup to create a volcano top. Place the finch’s vent in the volcano top of the towel without getting her wet, and loosely hold the towel so the steam is trapped. Hold for several minutes until you feel her relax. 
Put warm olive oil on her vent, making sure it is taken inside her vent. 
Place her in a nest where she can not escape. Make sure the area is well heated. 
Check on her every hour or so to see if she’s passed the egg. If so, let her out of the nest and just keep a close watch on her. If she hasn’t passed the egg, keep checking on her.

This process may need to be repeated if she is still having issues.

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