Puddings & Toyboys

A blog about my beautiful budgies.

Category Archives: ill

Head-shaking

Perry was exhibiting some strange behaviour last week.

On the afternoon of Tuesday 12th March, he started doing some random head shaking movements.  He appeared quite distressed.  It looked like he wanted to vomit but nothing came out (see videos below).  After each head-shaking episode, he sat very still & seemed to breathe heavily.  I was alarmed enough to ring the vet, however, she was not available that day.

Perry

I arranged to visit a local vet early evening instead.  However, an hour or so later, Perry seemed to be fine, so (stupidly?) I cancelled the vet visit.  Naturally, not long after I did that, he was exhibiting the same odd behaviour again but the local vet was now fully booked.

As it looked like he may be having breathing problems I thought it would be a good idea to nebulise him with F10 (as I have been doing with Dalai).  It seems though, that Perry is more highly strung than Dalai & was so stressed covered up in the travel cage that he vomited.  I vowed never to subject him to such a horrific experience again!

So, I continued to monitor him the rest of the evening, & overnight.  The next morning I was able to get an appointment with the usual vet, who visited early afternoon.  That morning, I saw Perry do the head-shaking thing again, though only once.  Did this mean he was getting better?

The vet gave him an examination & also viewed the videos I had taken of Perry’s behaviour.  She could not see any obvious reason for what was going on.  His temperature was fine, as was his heart rate.  Unfortunately, during the examination, she found a small lump on his lower belly, that he has been starting to pluck.  It is not visible unless the feathers are parted.  This is clearly something we need to keep an eye on.

It was possible that Perry had a seed husk or something that had gone down the wrong way & it was irritating him.  It was also possible that Perry had an ear infection, & it would not hurt to have some antibiotics, so the vet prescribed 5 days of Enrobactin in water.

So, we have now finished the antibiotics and Perry seems fine.  Since the morning of the 13th, I have not seen any more of the head-shaking.  Hopefully it was just a one-off happening & we are now back to our version of normal.

 

 

 

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Update on Dalai

Dalai

Following on from my last post on Dalai’s health, he finished the 10 day course of antibiotics (3rd-12th November).  During that time I monitored his droppings & they gradually improved.  He continued to be unsociable, preferring to be in his cage on his own.  He had moments when he wanted to come out but was only out briefly & mostly wanted to just stretch his wings.

He carried on with his moult, losing a tail feather & further wing feathers.  He had lots of pin feathers on his head.  I felt that he wanted a bath but did not want to bother coming out to have one, so a few times I held up a sprig of wet basil & he had an awkward bathe in the wet leaves, as he was trying to do it whilst balancing on his swing!

He had a set-back on the morning of November 16th when his poops were just white splats with no dark bits.  However, by the afternoon they recovered.

The vet provided AviPro Plus, a probiotic to support their gut.  I put this in Dalai’s & Perry & Lennie’s water from the 20th-30th November.  Dalai’s droppings improved & as a bonus, Lennie’s did too (they have always been a bit… not right!)

Dalai ready for F10 nebulising

On the 23rd November, after a further consultation with the vet, she confirmed that videos I sent showed Dalai was definitely tail bobbing (there was slight evidence of this earlier).  We decided to give them all medicine for chlamydia (I refused any invasive tests & also did not bother with the fecal test as a negative result does not necessarily mean they do not have chlamydia).  Whilst awaiting the medicine (it needed to be ordered), the vet suggested I nebulise Dalai a couple of times a day with F10 SC disinfectant to help with any respiratory problems.

The first ‘steaming’ session was on Friday 23rd November at 2pm.  Dalai was difficult to catch in the Silver Villa & when I did grab him he screeched & screamed!  He never did that when the vet grabbed him!  He was not best pleased when he found himself in the travel cage, under a cover, with a bowl of hot water.  (To be clear, the water was outside the cage).  I did this again on the following occasions:

  • 24th November – 10:30
  • 25th November – 10:30, 17:00
  • 26th November – 10:30, 17:30
  • 27th November – 10:00, 17:30
  • 28th November – 10:30
  • 29th November – 10:15

Each time Dalai screeched & screamed when I grabbed him.  After the last two ‘steamings’, he seemed a bit brighter & livelier.  After his steaming on the 28th, he stayed out for a bit & even gave Perry’s head a little preen.

The medicine for chlamydiosis (Ornicure) arrived yesterday, & treatment has commenced.

In the meantime, here is a slideshow for the poop aficionados amongst us.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

And some prettier photos:

 

Friday vet visits

The last two Fridays, the vet has visited.

Dalai has not been himself, so on Friday 26th October, I called the vet in.

After the obligatory chase around the Silver Villa, the vet examined Dalai.  He was very keen to bite her & also attempted to bite her stethoscope.  Nevertheless, she managed to ascertain that his heart rate was fine & his temperature was also fine.  He weighed a healthy 45g.

Dalai

A few days previously, I had noticed some strange dark marks on his toenails, which I pointed out to her.  She noticed a red mark on the bottom of his beak, the part underneath that the top hooked part covers.  She seemed to think the two things might be related.  She asked if he had been in a fight but I said Perry or Lennie would not dare to upset him.  The marks on his toenails looked like bruising to her.  At best, the bruising would disappear within a couple of weeks & all will be well.  (Afterwards, I recalled that about a week previously, he had gone into the wall & landed on the floor, possibly due to a feather working its way loose).

Since that visit, he started moulting his little feathers & has been extra grumpy & also sleepy.

On the Wednesday morning (31st), I noticed some deposits of vomit.  Dalai was particularly under the weather & sleepy this day.  I kept him locked in by himself for most of the day & at intervals offered him millet, seed & baby corn, of which he appeared to enjoy the corn most.  His poops were rather sludgy & not to his normal standard.

There was little change over the next two days.  There was one moment on the Thursday evening when he was heaving & vomited but only one or two seeds came out.  The next day, Friday 2nd November, I called the vet out again.  She came in the afternoon, but that morning, I found that Dalai really fancied broccoli, so I held it up to him several times & he ate quite a lot.  He also came out a couple of times & unusually, went into Perry & Lennie’s cage, where he ate some of their seed.  He was back in his own home by the time the vet arrived.

Dalai was active enough to fly out the cage whilst the vet was trying to catch him.  Unfortunately (for him) he landed back on the side of the cage near me, so I managed to catch him.  His temperature was higher than the previous Friday but still in the normal range.  He had lost some weight, probably about 2 grams.  His poops were awful & he appeared to have a slight tail bob.  The vet prescribed antibiotics (Enrobactin) in the water for the next 10 days.  She also wondered if he has chlamydia.  The trauma from when he got his bruising may have triggered it.  Poop needs to be collected over the next 7-10 days for a test, if I choose to go ahead with it.

In the meantime, I continue to monitor Dalai.

 

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.

 

 

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.