Final review of Perry’s health issues

Well, this will be quite a long post!  Despite Perry’s chilled personality, he managed to collect quite a few health issues over the years.


The first significant problem was encountered in March 2019, when the vet noticed a lump during an examination, prompted by some weird head shaking that went away quickly of its own accord. (Click here for that post).

Later that year, in October, Perry exhibited some mobility problems.  On examination the vet noticed some bruising on his upper leg. His lump was still there, but growing outwards. (Click here for that post).

The first seizure witnessed was in May 2020 (Click here for that post).  I had hoped it was a one-off but they returned the following month, which is when the vet was consulted (Click here for that post).  The seizures carried on & the vet did various tests, with one of them indicating that he was borderline Diabetes – perhaps the reason why his water intake had increased. (Click here for that post).

The end of 2020 & into 2021 saw the drama of Perry’s first abscess.  This particular part of his health journey was detailed over four posts: A bath, the travel cage & a raisin, Holiday Emergency, Wait & See & Bizarre drama.

Perry & millet

Perry remained relatively stable until a one-off drama in November 2021 with a broken blood feather & lots of blood!  (Click here for that post).  Beak trims for Perry began during 2021, which suggested a liver problem (also a possible cause of the seizures).

A swollen knee joint in February/March 2022 was added to Perry’s list of ailments.  (Click here for that post).

Unfortunately, the frequency of Perry’s seizures increased over the summer of 2022.  By October, I had decided to give him anti-seizure medication. There are potential side-effects to this, so I had to weigh up the pros & cons. Around this time, the vet also suspected Perry had heart failure.  (Click here for that post).

Continue reading “Final review of Perry’s health issues”

Valentine Vet Visit

***Warning: Some gory photos are included in this post.***

As described in my previous post, Perry has an abscess. When part of it burst, I contemplated a vet visit, though suspected we would have a continuation of the ‘wait & see’ approach. Unfortunately, during February, Perry’s seizures increased, which is what made me decide to book the vet visit on the 14th of February.

Perry has been on anti-seizure medication (Epiphen) since October. His seizures stopped. Initially, he continued to have ‘pre-seizure’ symptoms like head-twisting/tilting, head tremors & unfocused eyes, but even those stopped after awhile. He has continued to have some mobility problems but is much improved.


After a couple of days of being unable to get Perry to take his medication, he had a seizure two nights running (11th/12th December). This indicated to me that the medication was definitely working & it was not coincidence. He then had another seizure on the 24th December, then nothing until February. Between the 1st and today (date of posting 17th February) he has had 9 seizures. On two of those occasions he had 3 seizures during one evening – cluster events. Worrying. This is despite him still taking the medication.

The vet thinks an increase in medication would help, but appreciates the difficulty in administering small doses, i.e., how can a small amount be reliably increased by an even smaller amount?!

The vet examined Perry’s abscess. She tried to wiggle a section off, but it was not quite ready to fall, so that is expected to fall in days. The rest of it should also come away at a later date. No action to be taken – just let it heal naturally, hopefully without any major incident. The lump on Perry’s belly that the abscess is on, is bigger, which also made the vet wonder if it may be pressing on nerves that are triggering the extra seizures. Given we expect the lump/abscess to reduce, we decided to wait a few weeks for it to fall away & see if that has any impact on the frequency of Perry’s seizures. If so, then we carry on with the anti-seizure medication as normal. If not, then we will consider increasing the medication.

Continue reading “Valentine Vet Visit”

A Biennial Occurrence?

***Warning: Some gory photos are included in this post.***


Two years after the drama of Perry’s abscess, he has developed another one.  There was speculation on the last vet visit (6th December) that a newly balding lump on his belly could develop into an abscess, so it was not entirely a surprise.

It was on the morning of the 28th of December that I noticed some blackening on his belly lump.  It looked suspiciously like the previous abscess.  I sent some photos to the vet & she agreed it could be the same thing developing.  The only options at that point were:

  • Do nothing & wait for it to burst,
  • Soften the black ‘scab’ area with warm water & try & squeeze it gently to see if anything comes out or
  • Surgical intervention under anaesthetic.

I opted for the first one.  A week later on the 4th January, I sent more photos to the vet & she thought it looked less inflamed & ‘nice & clean’.  Not that this suggested we were out of the woods.  Over the days & weeks it has gradually changed.  The area is quite large, & seems to be developing at different rates.  Part of it is under his feathers, so more difficult to monitor.

Continue reading “A Biennial Occurrence?”

Baby monitor for birds

With ongoing health issues among the flock, I thought it would be a good idea to try out a baby monitor, specifically for viewing them during night-time.

baby monitor
Baby monitor

Normally, during times of increased worry, I will check on the birds at intervals during the night.  Because of the darkness, it means having to turn the lamp on in order to properly check that all was ok.  If all was ok, then I regretted potentially disturbing their sleep by momentarily turning the light on.  Also, in the case of Perry’s seizures, I worried that suddenly turning the light on would trigger one.  These thoughts led me to getting a baby monitor.

This is a game-changer as far as I am concerned!  Now, when I wake during the night, I can flip the monitor on, via my phone, & check if there is any disturbance, all without having to enter the room & turn a light on!

Baby monitor night time view of bird cage
Perry & Lennie’s cage at night time

Granted, it is not perfect.  Their cages are partially covered overnight so I can only view the bottom part, so if any ‘difficulty’ is happening in the upper area, under the cover, then I will not be able to detect it, unless they are making a sound.  Also, the positioning of the monitor means I cannot see the cage floor, which would be useful to determine if there is any blood loss occurring.  That said, the primary purpose was to see if Perry was having/had a seizure, in which case, 99.99% of the time he would be on the cage floor.

The night picture is grainy & the cage bars & cage furniture can throw all sorts of weird shadows.  Each night when I turn the last light off, I take a screenshot to use for comparison.  If I am unsure of what I am seeing during the night, I take a look at the earlier screenshot to confirm a suspect area is actually a normal shadow, rather than something to be concerned about.

An added bonus is that when I am not in the room, either in another room, or out & about, I can still access the monitor & view them during the daytime, with far less faff than setting up a standard webcam.  The monitor is kept on ‘privacy’ where the lens is physically rolled into the bottom of the unit & only switched on whenever I want to use it, rather than being ‘on’ all the time.

All in all, it has been a very good investment!

Baby monitor night time view of bird cage
Both cages at night time
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Beak Trim and a Bald Patch

We had another vet visit a couple of days ago on the 6th of December.  It was booked primarily to give Perry’s beak another trim, but with Perry’s catalog of ailments, there were other things to review.

Blue and white pied budgie sitting on perch
Perry resting

A few days prior to the visit, a balding patch on Perry’s belly was showing a visible lump.  Though the area has been looking ‘patchy’ for weeks, the recent changes meant the vet visit was timely.

On examination, the vet said the lump was hard & was sat on top of a soft (probably fatty) lump.  There is no way of knowing what it is without doing something invasive, so as usual, speculation was the only thing to do.  Given Perry’s history of a burst abscess, it is possible another one may be developing.  Currently, it looks stable & the skin in that area looks healthy.  It does have an impact on Perry’s mobility & balance.  I continue to monitor it.

Blue and white pied budgie snoozing
Perry sitting on one foot

Perry had his beak & a few toenails trimmed.  His weight was 47 grams so he is maintaining weight, which is good as he still does not eat from any seed pots!  He has evidence of slight bruising on his legs which would be from his occasional falls.  The vet said he actually looked better than the last time, when she was particularly alarmed by his heart rate.

We continue to give him Epiphen to manage his seizures/mini-strokes.  I have adjusted the routine slightly in that I now give him a smaller amount twice a day rather than half a drop once a day.  He has it on a thin slice of celery in the morning between 10-11am & in the evening on a slice of apple at around 9pm.  Most of the time he co-operates!  Because the dosage is even smaller to spread it out during the 24 hours, I literally dip the syringe into the medicine & dab it onto a plate, where I can soak it into the celery or apple.  To make sure I know which end I have done, I cut a tiny notch in the slice & this also differentiates it from the other slice given to either Lennie or Moriarty.

So, we carry on.  Dealing with each day as it comes.

Blue and white pied budgie sitting on one foot
Perry soldiering on, on one foot

The cost of keeping a budgie (veterinary bills)

For some time now I have wanted to write a post detailing the possible costs with keeping a budgie.  Compared to bigger birds & other pets, budgies are relatively cheap to buy & I think it is easy for someone to think they will be cheap to keep.  Maybe some are…  But sometimes they are not!

I want to focus specifically on veterinary bills as these can be particularly expensive & are difficult to avoid if you have concerns about your budgie’s health.

Using my own experiences, I have done some number crunching.  The data set chosen is from May 2014 to April 2022.  In these 8 years, I spent approximately £5,395!  This averages out to £674 per year.

To get a better feel for what that means, I have broken the cost down by bird.  Costs include veterinary consultation fees, various tests, e.g., blood/crop/fecal, x-rays, plus any medication prescribed.  The table below shows the breakdown of data:

Table of veterinary costs per bird

This is the same data in chart form:

Chart showing veterinary costs per bird

There are additional costs not included here:

  • Supplements, e.g., Milk Thistle, Calcium
  • Food, e.g., seed, pellets, cuttlefish, iodine block, grit, vegetables, fruit
  • Transport to veterinary clinics
  • Cages
  • Cage furniture/accessories
  • Toys/Enrichment
  • Cremation

In conclusion, be financially prepared!

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A Challenge and a Bonus

Since the last visit from the vet on the 11th of October (click here for that post), we have settled into a routine to support Perry & his health issues.

blue and white pied budgie

Perry’s anti-seizure medication is given to him every morning. The time varies slightly depending on his mood & whether he takes it quickly. The dosage for Epiphen is basically half a drop, a very small & challenging amount to administer. Fortunately, it is able to go on food, so I use either celery or apple, & Perry, for the most part, eats it. To measure out the medicine, I first syringe one drop out onto a plate, then try to get a smaller drop out (that I can compare to the full drop). I then dip thinly sliced celery or apple into it. Most of the time I offer the medication when Perry is alone & the others are distracted, but sometimes I offer it when Moriarty is around, as if he eats, then Perry may follow too (if he is being a little reluctant). In that situation, I make sure the celery/apple slice is a long strip so one end is ‘loaded’ & the other is free so Moriarty can eat it (if he wishes) & hopefully encourage Perry to eat his end.

Sleeping budgie
Perry snoozing

The medication for Perry’s heart issue (Frusol) arrived in the post a week after the vet visit (we have postal strikes happening). It is to be given orally 2/3 times a day, but I decided, for now, not to give it to him. Coincidentally, I had bought passionflower extract as it is supposed to be good for epilepsy, but read that it is also good for the heart. I had not used it because I was unsure of dosage, but when the heart problem was diagnosed, & I did not yet have the Frusol, I decided to start putting a few drops in his water.

Perry’s water is now like soup – it comprises of chamomile tea, turmeric, milk thistle, Calcivet (5 days) & passionflower extract. I offer it to him roughly every 2 hours & he usually takes a glug or two. He has stopped drinking from the water bottles, hence my offering it to him. He has not eaten from a seed pot in many weeks now, so most of the time I am holding up millet to him (he refuses regular seed), or, if he is on his own, I peg it up but he will only eat it if he happens to be near it. Perry was never a fast eater, but now he eats very slowly, sometimes taking ages chewing/cracking each seed. Other than millet seeds, he also eats celery, apple, fennel, & small amounts of basil & lemon balm.

Continue reading “A Challenge and a Bonus”

Myriad of health problems

Yesterday we had another vet visit. This was for Perry as I have many concerns about his health.

The last post I made about Perry’s seizures was in August (click here for that post). Since then, Perry has had approximately 17 “incidents”.

Because of the increase in events, the vet had previously suggested using the drug Epiphen (typically used for epilepsy in dogs), an oral medication to be used daily. There are possible side-effects with its use, in particular damage to the liver, which gave me reservations. However, I eventually capitulated on the 9th of October, when I gave it to him via a sliver of apple. His last seizure, two days prior, was relatively mild, but he had become very wobbly, & his movements, particularly his head, were clearly not completely under his control. There were other issues, such as an overly long beak (again) & feet that seemed a darker pink than usual. He was also lethargic & stopped eating from the seed pots so I was holding food & water up to him all the time.

Handsome blue and white budgie Perry

Before the vet looked at Perry, I directed her to Lennie, where she quickly sorted out a troublesome feather – details in another post (click here).

On examining Perry, the vet first discovered he had lost weight & weighed 45g. This was not entirely unexpected as he felt lighter whenever he was on my finger. It is actually a healthy weight for a budgie but of concern in Perry’s case because of the loss of about 11g from the last time. More critical was his fast heart rate. The vet suspected heart failure which could be causing him to have mini-strokes, or vice-versa. She prescribed a medication to support the heart. The involuntary movements could be linked to a brain tumour.

So, my poor Perry has a myriad of health problems. We continue to support him by making sure he is comfortable & has what he needs as far as food/water, time to rest & sleep, & when alert, love & stimulation from his friends Lennie & Moriarty.

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Weekend Disruption

On Friday, the 30th September, a gas leak was discovered outside the block of flats. The gas was turned off whilst it was investigated, leaving us without heating or hot water. Unfortunately, part of the solution was for the internal gas meters in three flats (mine included) to be relocated nearer to the external wall, to connect with new piping.

I was told an engineer would be along early on the Saturday morning to drill holes & lay the new piping, followed by someone else to physically move the meter. Because there was potential of dust from the drilling, noise & possibly leaking gas, I decided it would be best to move Perry, Lennie & Moriarty from the lounge (adjoining the kitchen where the work was to be undertaken) to my bedroom. The move would have to be done the night before, ready for the early start in the morning.

Budgies Perry & Lennie in the temporary cage in my bedroom
Perry & Lennie in my bedroom

Logically, it meant just wheeling two flight cages into the other room, but that would also mean moving furniture out of the way to maneouvre the cages. There is also the bump to be negotiated from laminate flooring to carpet, which if not carefully managed could result in an earthquake-type shake to the cage! Anyway, I decided against this & set up the folding, quarantine cage for Perry & Lennie, & for Moriarty to be in his old cage.

That evening, when Moriarty popped into his old cage, I locked him in. At that point, Perry was in Moriarty’s flight cage & Lennie was in the other flight cage. I carried Moriarty into my bedroom & placed him on my chest of drawers. That cage is big, but can be carried, though I found it difficult to hold it & see where I was going! Perry & Lennie were transported to their temporary lodgings via the small, carrier cage. Despite the upheaval, they all seemed to settle relatively quickly & we had a calm night.

Budgie Moriarty in his old cage in my bedroom
Moriarty back in my bedroom

The next day, I kept popping in to check they were okay. I took the opportunity to give both the flight cages a proper clean & adjust some of the furniture.

The first engineer had finished by early afternoon but confirmed that the second part of the job would be completed the next day. As it was not going to be a particularly early start, I decided to bring Perry, Lennie & Moriarty back ‘home’ & return them to my bedroom the next morning. They were naturally pleased to be back in the lounge, but as the afternoon progressed, Perry became very lethargic, to the point he stopped eating. I switched over all supplements to “Guardian Angel” for sick birds, especially when they have lost their appetite. He managed to slurp some of the supplemented water, but barely ate anything.

Continue reading “Weekend Disruption”

Personality change for Perry?

In recent months, Perry’s behaviour has changed somewhat.

Just little things… but things he either did not do before or did not do often.

Here are some of the things I have noticed:

◈ The main thing is that Perry wants to fly more.  His flying is not too good – probably more due to lack of exercise/practice/motivation than any physical reason.  Whilst I appreciate the extra activity is a good thing, his flying can be erratic.  At times he does not plan in advance where he is going, but just suddenly sets off in a mad flurry.  I have caught him many times before he has landed on the floor (he loses height) or somewhere undesirable (his maneuvering skills are not great).

Budgies Perry and Moriarty playing on top of cage
Moriarty & Perry playing on top of the cage

◈ Linked to the above, is Perry’s increased desire to be out & about with Moriarty.  He wants to be on top of the cage & tries to keep up with Moriarty (no one can!)  Whenever he is out, I supervise the whole time, helping him to get where he wants to be & making sure he is safe.

◈ Perry has been climbing the bars of the cage.  I cannot recall the last time he ever did this voluntarily!  Normally, this kind of activity would be too much of an effort, but a few occasions I have seen him climb the bars on the side of Moriarty’s cage.  He seems eager to get a better view when Moriarty is in his old cage, though it seems odd because Moriarty is backwards & forwards between the cages so there is no need to obsess over getting closer to him.

◈ On the occasion that Perry falls to the floor, he would usually step up onto my hand without hesitation.  Quite a few times now, he appears to not want my help to get to a higher perch.  (Or has he forgotten that stepping up will get him back to where he wants to be?)

Budgie preening
Perry preening on perch he has never sat on before

◈ They can be creatures of habit, having favourite perching spots, favourite toys etc., but lately I have noticed Perry changing where he sits, or taking a slightly different path to get somewhere.  They are subtle changes, but noticeable.  Sometimes, on these differing paths, Perry looks like he is working something out for the first time.  For example, to go into his cage, the traditional route is to jump onto the seed pot from the door platform, turn around, then jump up onto the ‘triangle’ perch.  Several times now, he has sat on the door platform, head peering into the cage, seemingly trying to work out a route in.

◈ Some mornings, Perry is desperate to go in & visit Moriarty.  The usual routine is that I uncover them, then let Moriarty out first & whilst he is interacting with Perry & Lennie through the bars of their cage, I give his cage a quick clean.  Once done, I lift up the side door to let Perry come through to sit in Moriarty’s cage.  Usually Perry would be patient, waiting for the cue, before making his way over to the door, but recently he has been almost manic to get out, to the point that I let him go into Moriarty’s cage earlier than usual before he does himself an injury.

My first thought about these changes was that perhaps Perry had lost weight & found it easier to be more active (particularly the climbing & flying) but the last time the vet weighed him, his weight was stable.  My following thought was that perhaps these little changes are a result of the ongoing seizures he unfortunately suffers from – perhaps they rewire his brain in some way?

Whatever the reason, he is still the same Perry… but with some added twists & turns.