Puddings & Toyboys

A blog about my beautiful budgies.

Category Archives: ill

Final review of Bezukhov’s health issues

Followers of this blog will know that my dear Bezukhov had various health issues over the years.  I thought a final review would be appropriate.


The first major health challenge began in mid-2014 when Bezukhov started to have ‘Vacant Episodes’.

These ‘episodes’ were handled in a variety of ways, detailed in the many posts over the years.  When they appeared to stabilise, the vet & I decided to cease all medication (early part of 2016) with the proviso to only administer medicine in an extreme circumstance.

I have previously posted lists of his episodes to date, with the last post being in December 2015 (click here to view).  For completeness, I have updated the list & here it is:

 

As I logged each episode, I spent much time trying to find a pattern as that may give a clue as to the cause.  All I know is that he seemed to have a spike in May/April time & the winter months were more stable.

Without knowing the real cause it is difficult to treat.  However, I believe it may have been a liver problem & early medication was focused on that & ongoing supplements (milk thistle & Aloe Vera Detox) continued to target this.  Given that we were unable to stop the episodes completely, we aimed to get them to a manageable/stable level & to reduce ‘cluster’ episodes, i.e., multiple ones in a short space of time.

The worst day was “Black Wednesday”, the 22nd of April 2015, when he had 4 in one day, 3 of which were within 90 minutes.  You can see the days where he had multiple episodes in the list above (figures in brackets).  The chart below shows an overview by month & year:

 

I greatly feared that Bezukhov’s end would be by a seizure & desperately hoped he would not suffer a prolonged one.


In the last few years, Bezukhov introduced a new health problem – his very own Extreme Moult Experience.  Though it is not uncommon for birds to have a severe moult, I was aware that Bezukhov’s first extreme moult happened not long after we lost his best buddy Cagney.  Was it a coincidence that his next two extreme moults happened around Cagney’s anniversary?  Bezukhov was a very sensitive bird which is why I wondered if there was a connection.

Fortunately, he tended not to have episodes during the Extreme Moult Experiences, which is just as well as I was already worried enough.  I feared during these experiences that he would just starve himself to death & I desperately hoped his end would not be that way.


In the end, it was something entirely different that took him.  A tumour.

The vet thought it was aggressive & grew very quickly (they can double in size each day), using up his body’s energy.  She suspects that the mass started on the outside of the small intestine & probably started growing inwards, explaining the initial lack of droppings & then the very dark ones later on that eventually contained fresh blood as the mass expanded.


Bezukhov was a fighter.  As you can see from what I have written above, he fought through many health problems.  The vet, who had looked after him from 2014, said that Bezukhov was possibly the most determined bird she had ever met.

Bezukhov was sensitive too & reacted emotionally to his surroundings, but he pushed on through all the changes & traumas in his life, possibly the most significant being the loss of his best buddy Cagney, with such grace & dignity.

He truly was remarkable.  I am grateful to have been a part of his life & feel honoured that he chose to trust me.

 

 

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Bezukhov’s last week

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…  Read more of this post

Dalai’s dodgy day

Dalai

The morning of the 5th January, Dalai presented me with some very dodgy overnight poops.  There was also evidence that he had vomited during the night, with seed stuck to the bars & the ttmss swing had gunk smeared all over its mirror.  He looked okay but did have some gunk stuck to the feathers on his chest.

Whilst I cleaned the Silver Villa up, I observed his behaviour.  Though he looked relatively fine, he seemed subdued.  He attempted to eat some breakfast but heaved a little though no seed came up.  He certainly had not eaten any yellow food the day before or anything that would suggest the change in poop colour.  I rang Ms Independent Vet (IV) for advice.  As she was not able to visit until later that day, we decided to see how he was for the next few hours before deciding on a visit.

To make sure Dalai did not lose any weight I encouraged him to eat by offering red millet which he ate each time.  His poops gradually improved.  The white bits became white again but the dark bits were dark green.  When we reviewed the situation later on, it was thought the problem (whatever it was) was passing & we would leave it another day before intervening, if necessary.

Dalai’s clean bottom

The following day, Saturday, he improved further & was well enough to flirt again with Perry & to chase Lennie away (he had already managed a flirt with Bezukhov the previous day).  His poops continued to improve such that on the 3rd day I could not distinguish between his & Bezukhov’s overnight poops.  By the Sunday, he was back to his normal self & causing his normal amount of trouble.

Without an examination or any tests, we can only speculate as to what the problem was; it is possible he chewed on something that disagreed with him or he could have caught a short-term virus.  More worryingly, there was also discussion that he could have had an internal bleed or there could be a blockage of some sort.

However, right now, all is well & all is normal.  I like normal.

Obligatory poop photos & a messy mirror:

 

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.

 

 

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