We happily celebrated Bezukhov’s 8th birthday. We did not know that just hours later things would take a bad turn.
The following morning, on the 28th June, as I uncovered them, I noticed Bezukhov was not himself. He was quiet & was not eating. There seemed to be an absence of overnight poops too. I was concerned enough to call Ms Independent Vet (IV).
After a thorough examination, she suspected he was constipated & could feel a mass that suggested that, along with dried poops just inside his vent. She administered fluids (orally & by injection under the skin). Additionally, she gave him an anti-inflammatory injection & a vitamin B boost. At best, this was simply constipation that would clear within 48 hours. At worst, something else, something sinister, was causing the constipation.
During the day, I offered lots of different foods: fennel, apple, spinach, basil, celery & millet. Fennel is his go-to food when not well so it was not a good sign that he refused it.
The following day, he managed a few seeds & a tiny piece of celery leaf & basil. He seemed quite weak & was constantly fiddling with his bottom area. At bedtime he ate about 15-20 seeds & also had a slurp of water.
On the 30th, he had slightly more seeds & carried on drinking his water. He had pooped overnight. The poops were green & sludgy, so really not good, however it suggested that any blockage was clearing. He continued to gradually improve, so much so, that the next day (1st July) he started chirping a little & had a brief flirt with Dalai. He felt well enough to fly over to the playgym & also the window perch. His poops were still a mess but at least he was pooping. He was still, in the main, lethargic. I was still offering all the vegetables listed above, along with broccoli & cucumber.
However, the next day (2nd July), he seemed to take a few steps back. Ms IV visited & thought he seemed a lot better & brighter than when she last saw him (4 days previous). Though I agreed that he was better than on the 28th, I explained that he was better the previous day so had got worse again. She said his insides felt clearer & less blocked. His poops were still of concern & she wondered if perhaps the constipation had caused bacteria to grow. I was to collect his poops over the next few days in case it was helpful to send them for testing. She gave him another anti-inflammatory injection & something for nausea. She also prescribed antibiotics in water for a few days (given that he seemed to be drinking again, which he was not before).
It was all very confusing & worrying…
During the day Bezukhov acted strangely. He seemed very restless, like he did not know what to do with himself. He seemed a bit hyper. He could not settle. It was upsetting. He was livelier yet not in a good way. I noticed also that when he perched on my finger his feet felt very hot. In the end, I called back Ms IV.
She took his temperature & said it was off the scale. She had been taking his temperature on her other visits & it was slightly raised, hence prescribing the anti-inflammatory. It did not make sense that his temperature had increased. She said it was critical we got his temperature down. She gave him more fluids & also a crop feed as he had stopped eating. She bathed him & splashed water under his wings (apparently there is more skin showing there, so more likely to bring the temperature down). I was to continue bathing him at intervals to get his temperature down, through the night if necessary (we are having a heatwave at the moment & the nights are hot). Putting him in a small cage with an ice pack was also an option.
I prepared the travel cage so he could sleep overnight in it with an ice pack. I bathed him a few times that evening. Those baths were not appreciated & I felt like I was torturing him. In the end, I did not use the travel cage. I had temporarily put him in there after one of the baths, whilst waiting for Perry & Lennie to vacate the Silver Villa (I had not closed the door after getting Bezukhov out for his bath) & he was crawling all over it, stressed.
He calmed down a little as it came to bedtime but things were not right. He was weak. At one point I felt like he wanted to go to the bottom of the cage (not a good sign) but sat on my finger for a bit instead. I felt like we were close to the end, so told him all I needed to say.
As planned, Ms IV came the next morning (3rd July). Bezukhov had survived the night, though I do not know how. She gently examined him & said that this time she could feel a pea-sized lump. He had also passed some blood.
Bezukhov’s last time on the window perch
Bezukhov & Dalai chewing the chewy mat
Blood in poop
The last photo
We decided we would not let my little fighter suffer any more.
I cradled him in my hand & once again, told him how much I loved him, how much we all loved him, how he was the best. I thanked him for everything. I know that no one is perfect, but in my mind, Bezukhov was as perfect a budgie as you can get… & I told him so. I also told him everything was going to be fine.
I am convinced that he gave me the okay to go ahead… another sign of him thinking of others. He really could not have been any better.
Our loss is great.