Merck Manual

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Psychotropic Medications Used for Feather Plucking in Pet Birds

Psychotropic Medications Used for Feather Plucking in Pet Birds

Medicationa

Dosage

Comments

Psychotropic Medications

Amitriptyline

1–2 mg/kg, PO, once to twice daily

Maximal effects may require treatment for several weeks.

Clomipramine

1 mg/kg/day, PO

Effects similar to those of amitriptyline but may be effective in some cases in which amitriptyline is not.

Diazepam

2.5–4 mg/kg, PO, as needed

Limited usefulness; most birds require a dose that causes sedation to inhibit plucking.

Haloperidol

0.15 mg/kg, PO, once to twice daily for larger birds; 0.2 mg/kg, PO, bid for smaller species

Serious adverse effects, including anorexia, hepatic dysfunction, and CNS signs have been reported; most often used in cockatoos.

Fluoxetine

2 mg/kg/day, PO, once to twice daily

Effectiveness reported to vary; maximal effects may require treatment for several weeks.

Hormones

Medroxyprogesterone acetate

Decreases sexual behavior; not recommended because of serious adverse effects, including weight gain, polyuria, polydipsia, lethargy, hepatopathy, diabetes mellitus, and death.

GnRH agonist, eg, leuprolide acetate

300–800 mcg/kg, IM

Decreases sexual behavior by negative feedback, reducing production of sex hormones.

a All are extra-label usages.