As previously posted, we lost our dear Dalai on the morning of Wednesday, February 26th.
I have mentioned before that Dalai had been moulting. He had the usual moult in October time & recovered well from that. His next moult was over Christmas which was unexpected. This was followed by another one in February, also unexpected. It is thought these successive moults may have weakened his system in some way.
Each time, he was a bit grumpy but that was normal behaviour for him. When he seemed particularly fed up (not bothering to come out when I unlocked him in the mornings) I would feed him a bobble of millet or six.
On Friday 21st, I he spent a large part of the day in Perry & Lennie’s cage, returning to his own quite late. I recall thinking that the expression in his eyes did not look quite right, he looked tired. The following day he barely ate. On reflection, he must have reduced his food intake in the week prior, but this was difficult to gauge given they share all the seed pots. His daytime sleeping was interspersed with manic moments of activity (walking upside down across the ceiling of his cage). I worried that he would not survive the night & kept checking at intervals.
Leading up to this, his poops were fewer, but bigger, but I was not overly concerned as this change had happened during his previous moults so I assumed the change was temporary.
Because it was the weekend, our usual vet was not available so I spent a frantic time trying to find an exotic vet working the weekend. We ended up going to the Veterinary Hospital on the Sunday to see a vet with an ‘interest in birds’. I knew Dalai would have lost weight & because, by now, he was not eating at all, I wanted access to a feeding formula. On Sunday, the hospital has a process similar to A&E triage, which meant Dalai may be in the waiting room for hours. I said I did not want this as it would be stressful for him. They would not release any feeding formula to me without a consultation but agreed to let us wait in a private room to reduce stress. As it happens, we were seen as soon as we arrived.
As expected, Dalai had lost weight & on her scales weighed 35g. The vet said he was dehydrated & to orally administer Critical Care, dissolved in water, for a few days before considering a feeding formula. It was an expensive visit for what seemed like little support & care.
Perry, Dalai & Lennie
On returning home, twice I attempted to syringe Critical Care, but got more on his feathers than in his beak. After the second attempt I decided not to stress Dalai further & put the Critical Care into his water bottle. He was looking very sorry for himself & unusually for Dalai, came across as needy, as he hunkered up to Perry for comfort. Perry kindly cleaned the feathers around his face. Lennie managed to regurgitate for him but Dalai had to summon up some flirting (with his eyes closed) to encourage Lennie to bring forth the seed.
Importantly, Dalai slurped some of his water (Critical Care & AviPro Plus) & Perry & Lennie’s water (AviPro Plus). The neediness displayed made me wonder if Dalai would want to sleep overnight with his friends but he decided to stick to the usual routine & at bedtime, unceremoniously turfed Lennie off the swing (Perry was already in his own cage) & though it was upsetting that Lennie landed outside the cage (!) I was cheered that Dalai still had some energy. That said, I still checked on him through the night.
The relief when our usual vet arrived on Monday (24th) at 11:30, was immense. She checked Dalai over thoroughly:
• Weighed him, 32g.
• Took his temperature.
• Checked his heart rate with stethoscope.
• Took crop sample (later examination showed nothing untoward).
• Suggested I take poop samples over next few days in case needed.
• Injected him with Vitamin B12, Enrocare & hydrating fluid.
• Crop fed him with Emeraid feeding formula.
• Trimmed his beak & toenails.
• Supplied antibiotics (Baytril) for water to start the following day.
Video of Dalai preening after the vet visit, surrounded by Perry & Lennie
The vet returned the following day (25th). Along with more crop feeding (nurse assistant did this) with antibiotics included, he also had an anti-inflammatory injection & she transferred some of Perry’s healthy crop bacteria to Dalai (Thank you Perry). It was agreed that the nurse return the following morning to give Dalai another crop feed, with them both returning later in the day for a second crop feed.
(Click here for Part Two)