Puddings & Toyboys

A blog about my beautiful budgies.

Category Archives: ill

Extreme Moult Experience

So, right on schedule, we had the annual Extreme Moult Experience.

This is the 3rd year running this has happened.  It began when Bezukhov suffered this affliction in October 2015 (click here to read that story).  Last year, Bezukhov upped the stakes by introducing compulsory crop-feeding to keep him going (click here to read that story).  This year, Bezukhov pulled out all the stops & managed to scare us all.

Not counting the final follow-up visit, we had clocked up 16 vet visits/crop feeds in 14 days.   In total, there were 17 vet visits in 17 days which clearly averages as 1 visit a day.  Astounding statistics.

On the 19th September, Bezukhov dropped many large feathers, including his remaining tail feather.  His smaller, fluffier feathers were also beginning to fall off him.  When offered millet, he declined.  His poops were also going a dark green colour.  It was time to call in the vet.  When the vet examined him on the 20th, she said his head was inflamed where pin feathers (not yet noticeable) were about to come through.  Instead of sensibly gradually moulting out his feathers, he decided to drop them all at the same time & grow new ones.  His body was clearly not able to cope with this, hence his lack of appetite (& subsequent dramatic weight loss) & extreme lethargy.

 

Knowing the pattern from previous years, although his weight was initially healthy at 50g, the vet began with a crop feed in an attempt to ‘get ahead of the game’.  You can see from the table below, that things did not go as well as we had hoped.

 

The main complication this time was that Bezukhov was repeatedly vomiting.  He had a crop wash on the 26th September to rule out reasons other than an extreme moult.  This came back clear, but we were still left with the vomiting problem.  It was thought it might have been a side affect to the antibiotics, in which case we would have to wait a few days until after the last dose to see if this was the case.  His weight continued to fall, despite having crop feeds.

Thursday the 28th September was the worse day of all.  He looked terrible & I feared he would not last the night…. but last the night he did & his further loss of 2g, to a critically low (for Bezukhov) 38g, explained his worsening state.  It was at this point we increased the crop feeding to twice a day.  On the Friday, he thankfully vomited less & from the Saturday all but stopped.  This was indeed a good sign & we hoped it would be the turning point, which indeed, it was.

You can see from the table above, that Bezukhov’s last weight was 41g that he had kept stable for a few days.  He still needs to put on weight but is now in much better spirits & eating by himself so we are hopeful that he will be his slightly tubby self soon.

 

 

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Episode summary to date (2)

In my post yesterday, I mentioned that I had not seen Bezukhov have any ‘episodes’ in recent months.

Last February, I posted a log of the frequency of seizures – the following is the updated version.

seizures_to_date_Nov15

 

You can see that I did not witness any ‘episodes’ for August, September, October or November.

Everything is crossed that the current trend continues.

 

 

Three day eating log

After the vet visit, our overriding concern was for Bezukhov to 1) not lose more weight, & 2) put weight on.

Bezukhov not looking well

Bezukhov not looking well

On our return, Bezukhov ate a reasonable amount in the Manor that evening.  The next morning he barely touched his food & worryingly, neither did Phineas.  I held up food to them but they just did not want it.  I suspected that Phinny was now picking up on Bezukhov’s stress, hence his loss of appetite too.  Though they had started eating seed in the new cage (as well as the Manor) the previous day, I made the executive decision to remove the new cage & reinstate the Ferplast (originally replaced due to the medication problems).  I hoped the chopping & changing would not set them back further.  I began the eating log primarily for Bezukhov but obviously keeping an eye on Phineas to note unusual behaviour.

Wednesday, 21st October 2015

Barely ate in the morning.  Moved new cage out & Ferplast back around 13:30.

  • 14:30

Tried to vomit but nothing came out.

  • 15:30
  • 17:00
  • 17:40
  • 17:52
  • 18:17
  • 19:00

 

Thursday, 22nd October 2015

Throughout the day I checked to see if he would eat vegetables.  He had a tiny bit of carrot, some apple & broccoli.  He did not want cucumber.

  • 08:26
  • 09:30
  • 10:40
  • 12:00
  • 13:27

Threw up a bit of apple on window perch.

  • 14:50

Another two vomiting episodes although nothing was thrown up.  He attempted to carry on eating through the 2nd one.

  • 15:30
  • 16:40
  • 17:07
  • 17:15
  • 17:50
  • 18:20
  • 18:40
  • 19:40

Poop note: I only noticed 3 solid-ish poops from Bezukhov during the day but overnight poops 22nd/23rd were much better.

 

Friday, 23rd October 2015

  • Overnight poops looking better

    Overnight poops 22nd/23rd looking better

    09:50

  • 10:50
  • 11:08

Every-other-morning medication at 12:00, though started the chase around 11:30.

  • 12:40
  • 13:40 (very small amount)
  • 15:00 (pellets)
  • 15:15
  • 15:50
  • 16:50
  • 17:15
  • 18:00
  • 19:00

 

Cagney: The Shock

Cagney during the day

Cagney during the day

Last Sunday, Cagney seemed a little off.  He was displaying some symptoms that prompted his previous visit to the vet: pale feet, reduced appetite, wetter poops, a bit wobbly.  He also had a new symptom of tail bobbing.  He was still reasonably active but I noticed after he did a lap of the room he looked out of breath whereas normally he would not be.  He still interacted & flirted with Bezukhov & Phineas so was not sitting fluffed up or anything like that.  In fact, I was unsure that day whether a visit to the vet was essential.  In the end, I rang to see if Ms Exotic Hospital Vet (EHV) was available the next day.  She was available the following morning (21st Sept), so I booked him in as a precaution.

So, Monday morning, after giving Bezukhov his every-other-morning medication, I caught Cagney & placed him in the travel cage for the trip to the vets.

Ms EHV examined him.  She confirmed his tongue was pale, like his feet.  His heart rate was slightly fast but not alarmingly so like before.  His temperature was normal.  His weight was a healthy 49 grams.  Though I had no concerns about his feet, she also checked them, given his previous history, & confirmed his toes were gripping well.

Cagney in travel cage

Cagney in travel cage (last photo)

We discussed what we should do next.  It was suggested that perhaps he should have the same medication as before but to continue it for longer, approximately one or two weeks after he has improved; it was possible the previous medication was stopped too early.  However, before going down that route, it was decided to take a blood sample to rule out other things.  Whilst waiting for the results I was to make sure Cagney had plenty of fluids as she thought he was a bit dehydrated.

Whilst she prepared for taking the blood sample, I said to Cagney that I would be in the waiting room & would see him in a minute or two…

I waited in the waiting room.  The wait seemed quite long.  I was not overly concerned as I simply thought Ms EHV would be waiting for Cagney to become less groggy before returning him & was probably taking the opportunity to type up some notes.  Then she called out for the receptionist/nurse, who went into the consulting room.  Still I was not overly concerned, just thinking she needed another pair of hands to help with something awkward.

How wrong was I?

Ms EHV came out the consulting room & told me my beautiful little boy had not survived.

 

 

 

The All Clear

Cagney had a follow-up visit with the vet on Tuesday 1st September.  I nearly cancelled the appointment as he seemed so well but thought it best to take him in case the Ms Exotic Hospital Vet (EHV) spotted something that I had missed.

Reunited after Cagney's vet visit

Reunited after Cagney’s vet visit

Cagney having a flirt

Cagney having a flirt

We arrived on time but there was a delay so we were waiting for about half an hour.  In that time, Cagney was getting more & more stressed.  It was difficult to calm him down with all the different noises at the surgery.  He was even panting at one point.  I thought this would affect his heart rate.

When it was our time, Ms EHV was visibly cheered to hear that Cagney had improved.  She said that just looking at him he looked much brighter.  She asked if he had been vomiting or if he had had trouble flying, which he has not.  His heart rate was checked & she declared it completely normal!  This was a relief, particularly as she said that on the Saturday (22nd August) his heart rate was “through the roof”.  I noticed she had not used that phrase at the time, probably so as not to make my heart rate go through the roof with worry…

As Cagney appeared so well, she said all medicine (antibiotics at this point) could cease.

It is thought he had an infection.

So, right now, we are very happy that Cagney is back to normal, with pink feet, a normal heart rate, normal temperature & the energy to eat, fly & flirt!

Medicine & millet

Previously, I reported on Cagney’s return from the hospital (click here).

  • Follow-up vet visit

On Tuesday 25th, we saw our regular vet, Ms Exotic Hospital Vet (EHV).  She confirmed that the barium x-ray did not show any obstruction.  An examination of his poops at the hospital did not show any parasites or anything to be worried about.  She examined Cagney again & said his temperature was still high, though lower than before.  His weight was the same.  Otherwise, she thought he looked generally brighter than when she last saw him on the Saturday.

  • Medicine

It was decided that Cagney have metacam orally (0.03ml), twice a day – mainly to bring his temperature down.  This is to be administered every 12 hours.  As he had a dose during the consultation, that meant approximately 9am & 9pm for the next 4 days.  She also wanted to include an antibiotic (baytril – 0.03ml) in the 9pm medication battle slot for a week.   Medicine to be reassessed during follow-up visit a week later.

  • How to administer medicine!

Cagney feels very different to hold than Bezukhov – more fragile – so I expressed concern about getting the medicine inside him, not to mention attempting to catch him at 9pm when he has worked out that going back to ‘bed’ means he will be caught again.  She said I could bring him to the surgery twice a day where a vet or nurse could give the medicine.  I seriously considered this for a moment!  In the end, we decided that I would give him the medicine in front of her & she would tell me what I was doing wrong!

We used the cloth method, which I have discounted with Bezukhov as he manages to burrow down into it!  With Cagney, the cloth seemed to be the way to go.  She suggested holding his head between my thumb & index finger.  Cagney still managed to turn so I was pointing the syringe at the back of his head (the film The Exorcist comes to mind…), but after much maneouvring I managed to squirt the medicine in his beak.

To make things slightly easier, Ms EHV trimmed Cagney’s toenails to limit the chances of them getting caught in the cloth.

  • Progress

Read more of this post

Cagney’s return

As previously posted (click here), after 24 hours at the hospital, Cagney was allowed home.

With much relief, I got him home & carried him into the lounge.  Still covered over, he joined in the mad chirping.  That in itself was lovely to hear as he had not been chirping at all.  I placed him on the table & uncovered him.  Joy all around!  He was so happy he started to heartily eat his millet.

I thought I would leave him in the travel cage to recouperate for a little while but after his millet he wanted out.  Bezukhov was also desperate to get out so I let him out first, then Cagney, who shot over to the manor, then the ferplast.  There was much excitement.  Phineas was ecstatic to see his beloved & Cagney even managed make some flirty eyes at him.  Bezukhov initially seemed a bit confused & I wondered if there was a touch of guilt there as he had been flirting with Phineas only that morning.  Either way, it was not long before the toyboys were hanging out together as best buddies.

Cagney was still weak, weary & wobbly so I decided not to let Phineas out as he can be a bit boisterous.  In the meantime, I let Cagney sleep when he wanted (most of the time) but each time he woke up I made sure to offer him food.  He ate lots of sugar snap peas & more millet & even some seed.  I made sure he had an early night so he could have a long sleep.  I imagine he did not get much sleep at the hospital with the interruptions through the night for his treatment & also the constant noise of other things going on.  I padded the bottom of the manor in case he should wobble during the night & fall.

It was mentioned before that Cagney’s poops had improved.  They were splattered white poops but then became more solid.  Because of the barium x-ray, his poops would look a bit ‘milky’ for the next day or two.  Here are the obligatory poop pictures that tell (a vet at least) a detailed story:

 

The next day (Monday 24th) Cagney was still not right – he was very tired & sleeping a lot.  When offered, he sometimes ate a tiny bit of seed or millet.  Sugar snap peas seemed to be welcome though – I do not think he refused one pea.  Though he was very tired, he wanted to come out of the manor & basically slept on every perching spot around the room, including the playgym & the window perch.

Because Phineas had not had much time out of the cage I decided to let him out under strict supervision.  He was predictably over exuberant.  At one point, when Cagney was trying to sleep on top of the Manor, Phineas was running around him, tapping him on the beak.  Normally Cagney would either flirt back or tell him to back off but this time he was just too weary to respond.  In the end, I got Phineas back home again so Cagney could rest properly.

When I let Phineas out again later he reined in his buoyant nature a bit so was able to stay out longer.  Here are some photos of a tired Cagney, his best buddy Bezukhov & admirer, Phineas:

To be continued

 

 

 

Grapes, tomatoes & medicine

As previously reported (click here) Cagney was taken into hospital on the afternoon of Saturday 22nd August, specifically for a barium x-ray.  This would entail an overnight stay.

I returned home from the vets, without Cagney, feeling wretched.  I could not have felt worse.  Actually, I did feel worse, when Bezukhov looked at me & saw that I had not brought home his best buddy.  His expression was a mixture of confusion, betrayal & sadness.

Bezukhov visiting Phineas

Bezukhov visiting Phineas

I was undecided whether to let Bezukhov & Phineas out for a fly as I did not want to confuse things further.  Plus, I was expecting to go out again later.  In the end, Bezukhov was flying madly about the Manor so I relented & let him out.  He immediately went over to Phinny’s cage to chat to him.  In the meantime I waited for the phone call from Ms Exotic Hospital Vet (EHV).

She rang around 7pm that evening to say Cagney had had the first stage of the barium x-ray & the next part would not happen for another 4 hours so I could visit him anytime before then.  I packed an overnight bag for him with his brand of seed, pellets, sugar snap peas & grated carrot.  I also packed a water bottle & seed pot that fitted the travel cage.  We (myself & my mother) arrived at the hospital around 20:30.  We were shown into a visitors room whilst the nurse went to get Cagney.  He looked very much the same but very, very sleepy.  We talked to him & told him what Bezukhov & Phineas had been up to.  He started to preen a little & then, much to our delight, ate some millet.  I like to think that our visit was welcome.  We had to leave eventually but as he was having treatment during the night I knew he was being looked after.

The next thing was to wait until the morning to hear how the tests went.

In the morning, I let Bezukhov out early.  He seemed troubled to be in the Manor on his own & needed to be out.  I also let Phineas out as he had spent the previous day locked up.  Occasionally they have a little flirt (initiated by Bezukhov) but under normal circumstances it does not go far as Cagney investigates & interrupts proceedings (vice versa – if Cagney flirts with Phineas, Bezukhov interrupts).  Without Cagney’s presence, the flirting was continued unhindered to the point that Bezukhov regurgitated to Phineas!  Evidence shown in this video:

A vet rang later that morning to say that Cagney was doing well.  The barium x-ray did not show up any obstruction.  However, Cagney was now passing faeces.  He had eaten a little & was preening.  She suggested he have antibiotics & metacam (anti-inflammatory) to help bring his temperature down.  I could pick him up that afternoon after a consultation with another vet.

It was a relief to see Cagney again.  He looked well considering all he had been through.  There were halved grapes pushed through the cage bars which was possibly another ordeal as grapes are scary.  At the bottom of his cage was half a cherry tomato.  That would have been the first time he has seen a tomato.  There was a curly green leaf, possibly kale, too.

The vet confirmed that he is to take antibiotics daily & metacam orally once a day.  They gave Cagney metacam when I was there which meant his next dose would be 24 hours later at 5pm.  I said I prefer to give the medicine in the morning so they said it would be better to wait until the morning after.  They suggested I book a follow-up visit with Ms EHV for the Tuesday.

Finally, after a very long 24 hours, I could take my lovely toyboy home.

To be continued

 

 

A very long 24 hours

Cagney has not been well.

Last week he generally seemed a bit off colour but I put that down to his moult:

 

White splattered poops

White splattered poops

On the Friday (21st August), he seemed to have lost his appetite.  He was still eating but not as much.  He seemed a bit wobbly on the perch.  His poops were starting to look wrong too – mostly white.  The pink bits in his feet were starting to go white.  All these things reminded me of when I took him to the vet on the Easter Bank Holiday Monday (click here).  At that time, it was thought he was suffering from his moult & he was given a vitamin injection & gradually improved over the following days.  I thought that may be the problem this time.

The next day, Saturday (22nd August), Cagney’s overnight poops were definitely off.  The pink bits in his feet were still pale.  Worse than all that, he stopped eating.  I offered him millet that he refused point blank to eat.  Within minutes I was on the phone to the vet.  Fortunately, Ms Exotic Hospital Vet (EHV) was working that afternoon so I booked him in.

 

When we arrived, we had to wait awhile as an emergency had come in – a dog that had been collapsing.  The dog was to be sent to the hospital.  Whilst waiting, I was saying to the receptionist how handy it was to have a 24 hour hospital…

Cagney’s turn finally came & Ms EHV gave him a thorough examination.  He weighed 43g.  The highest weight she had for him was 47g so she thought this was potentially a problem.  His heart rate was very fast – too fast.  His temperature was high.   She said he was a ‘sick bird‘.

Because of his white poops, she feared he had an obstruction.  (I forgot to say that he had also been constantly cleaning his vent area even though it appeared clean).  She checked his vent (well, that is where the thermometer goes…) & said it looked clean.  She could not feel any obstruction.  She wanted him to have a barium x-ray to check his digestive tract.  This would mean several x-ray’s over a number of hours & therefore at least a 24 hour stay in the hospital.

The thought of him being taken away scared me & all sorts of thoughts raced through my head.  Ms EHV said that it was very important his temperature came down & I could take him home with me but he should have his temperature checked again the following day.  Also, IF he had an obstruction of some kind it would need to be dealt with sooner rather than later.  She repeated that he was a ‘sick bird ‘.

I gave her the go-ahead to take him to the hospital.

She said that she would personally start the x-ray process but then the night staff would take over.  She would give me a ring that evening to let me know a good time to visit.  Leaving the vet, without Cagney, damn near broke my heart, especially as I had told Bezukhov & Phineas that “Cagney will be back before you know it…

 

To be continued….

 

 

Are we friends?

With the ongoing medicating saga with Bezukhov, I have been worried that he would grow to dislike me.

Giving him medicine every other morning at least gives us a break & also prevents an association between ‘waking up’ & medicine or even ‘going to bed’ (if he thinks ahead) & medicine.

Yes, I iz forgiving.

Yes, I iz forgiving.

Nevertheless, on those mornings he cannot be happy with me chasing him around the Manor, grabbing him, grabbing him again, grabbing him once again, waving a medicine-firing implement around & leaving him with sticky stuff around his chin & most probably a nasty taste in his beak.

Fortunately for me, Bezukhov has a forgiving nature.  It helps that medicine time is specific.  He knows that once I put him back in the Manor (or not, if naughty Cagney has snuck out!) that I am not going to harass him for the rest of the day.

However, for a short time afterwards, maybe 10 minutes, 30 minutes or even an hour, he needs his recovery time.  Apart from the obvious upset of being grabbed etc., I think he also needs to recover from the loss of face of actually being caught in the first place.  During his recovery, at intervals I go up to him & ask, Are we friends?  At the same time, I blink slowly & hope he will respond in kind.  He usually does, eventually.

Recovery is definitely over when he eats his seed.

Everything is back to normal then.

I am forgiven.

We are friends again.