Puddings & Toyboys

A blog about my beautiful budgies.

Category Archives: medication

Preparation for emergency evacuation of your birds (Update)

I thought it was worth revisiting my original ‘Emergency Evacuation‘ post from 2018.

The flock is different from then, which I felt required an update in our personal procedures.  The first major adjustment is that instead of placing them all in the travel cage, I thought it would be best to put each bird in their own (small) carrier.  This cuts out any worry about possible tensions with them all being together in a confined space.  Plus, it means that once in, the door does not need to be opened again, removing the worry about getting one in without letting whoever is already in, out.  There is also the issue that some cage doors cannot be opened easily with one hand so with individual carriers, I can have the door already open, waiting for the occupant.

The three carriers are kept in a sturdy bag, stored on the shelf under their cage.

The carriers are obviously too small for them to be kept in for any length of time, so I would also take the folding cage with me (folds completely flat).

The contents of the emergency canvas bag have not changed, but the bag is now a small backpack & the location is now on a shelf by the front door (only exit).

I am hoping that having planned for the worst, the worst will not happen!


Original Post

Being a paranoid parront, I would like to post advice on how to quickly & safely evacuate your birds/pets in an emergency.

There is already plenty of good advice already written on the internet, so I will post some links. From what I have read, the key is PREPARATION because if there was a real emergency you would likely be stressed yourself & less likely to think straight, so anything that helps you (& your birds) through the ordeal can only be of benefit.

The following link is well written & has some good ideas. Their main ‘trick’ is use of a pillowcase to catch up birds & also keep them safe: www.birdtricks.com/blog/how-to-evacuate-parrots-when-you-only-have-seconds/ (updated).

This link also has some good points: www.beautyofbirds.com/evacuation.html

Personally, my plan would be to get my flock into the small travel/hospital cage (I also have an even smaller carrier if I have time to consider separating them). I have prepared a canvas bag that has in it: food (seed & millet); seed pots & water bottles; reminder note & headlamp.  The reminder note is so I can grab any medication that may be in the fridge.  Every time I receive a new order of seed or millet, I refresh what is in the emergency bag & date it.  At the same time I check the headlamp still works in case the batteries need changing.  A point to note is that I have chosen a canvas bag with long handles so if need be I can hang it around my neck if I need my hands!  The emergency bag is kept on the shelf underneath the Silver Villa.

 

The travel/hospital cage is kept underneath the playgym so that is also in close proximity.  I actually decided to keep it close in case Bezukhov has a major seizure, however even if this were not the case, it would still be handy to keep there for other emergency reasons.

For some reason I cannot remember (!) I have two pillowcases draped over the back of my futon that is directly in front of the new Villa, so they are handy if needed.  Alternatively, they could be folded up & kept with the spare/emergency cage.

My mother lives nearby so if need be, I can walk to hers & deposit the flock there for safety.

If anyone else has any other advice/tips/tricks/ideas then feel free to share here!

Perry, Lennie (hidden at back), Dalai & Bezukhov

 

Corn flour is essential

Just 8 days after seeing the vet for Lennie’s health problems, I was back at her clinic.

All initially seemed fine on the morning of the 2nd November.  Normally, I would let Perry in with Moriarty where they could get their morning flirt out of the way without interruption from Lennie.  This went ahead as usual but I noticed it ended quicker than usual, & Moriarty wanted to go & say good morning to Lennie.  This meant Perry was on his own in Moriarty’s cage.

Not long after, I noticed the tip of his beak was red.

Now was the time for some intense observation.

I thought I saw a flash of something dark around his preening gland area.  I wondered if he had a broken blood feather.  Sure enough it was not long before, I started seeing spots of blood on the bottom of the cage…  Then bigger drops.

More blood from Perry

I rang the vet hoping there was a cancellation for a home visit, which there was not.  She was already out doing home visits but would be back at the clinic in about an hour or so, so they suggested I make my way there.  I immediately covered Perry in corn flour.  He was bleeding as I was doing this (the place looked like a crime scene afterwards).  I could not quite work out where it was coming from so just pressed my finger in certain places & if it came out red, I shoved corn flour in that area.  There seemed to be a spot below the preening gland that was bleeding.  I put him in the travel cage.  Fortunately, the corn flour temporarily stopped the bleeding.  The cab ride would be at least 30 minutes, so I put some corn flour in my bag in case it was needed on route.  We got to the clinic about half an hour before the vet.  It was not until about 5 or 10 minutes before she took him in, that I saw a drop of blood on the bottom of his cage – so the corn flour held up well.

It seemed like forever that Perry was in with the vet.  The longer he was gone, the more worried I was getting.

It turned out the bleed was from a broken blood feather on the left side of the main tail.  The feather itself was not in situ & to date, still has not been found.  (It is possible there was not blood on it when it came out, so I may have missed it).

There was quite a big hole left by the feather & the area was inflamed & bruised.  By that time, the bleeding was heavy so the vet cauterized the feather follicles to stop it.  She also removed some of the surrounding feathers.  She gave Perry an anti-inflammatory injection & also made sure he was well hydrated.  The vet said several times that it was absolutely the right thing to bring him as soon as we did.

 

We finally got home early afternoon.  Perry started chirping to Lennie & Moriarty as I brought him into the lounge.  I left him in the travel cage for about an hour as he seemed comfortable there (knowing he was back home).  Moriarty was going mad, wanting to give him a kiss but I think he too calmed down a bit just seeing that Perry was home again.  Both Moriarty & Lennie were locked in Perry & Lennie’s cage.  Whilst Perry was resting I took the opportunity to clean up Moriarty’s cage.  When Perry started to stir a bit, I offered my finger & he came out, so I put him into Moriarty’s cage.  To try & get some normality back, I let Moriarty in at intervals so as not to tire Perry out.

Perry was quiet for the rest of the day but in the evening had some water & also tucked into some millet.  I checked on him during the night & he was stable.  The vet nurse rang first thing in the morning to see how he was.  Importantly, there was no further blood loss.  The anti-inflammatory was due to wear off 24-48 hours after administration, leaving the sore, bruised area which will take a little longer to heal.  So far, Perry has continued to recover well.

 

I would like to end this post by recommending that all who have birds should have a tub of corn flour in their medicine cabinet.  You never know when it might come in handy.  Without corn flour Perry may not have made it to the vet.  Lastly, I would also like to say a big thank you to my vet who immediately understood the gravity of the situation & responded as quick as she could & was a star!

Corn flour

 

Lennie unwell again

On Wednesday, the 20th October, Lennie was showing similar signs to two months back – a loss of appetite & very green poops.

Lennie unwell, with Moriarty & Perry

Lennie ate some spinach

Moriarty & Lennie interacting

I rang the vet but the earliest home visit appointment I could get was for the Monday but because I was concerned, they said the vet would ring me back.  When we got to speak the following morning, she had already arranged to fit in a home visit later that day, the 21st.

Unlike last time, this time Lennie had a high temperature.  The vet gave him an anti-inflammatory injection & a course of antibiotics.  She said it may take 48 hours before there were any signs of improvement.  That would take us to Saturday, where if need be I could take him to her clinic in the morning.  The vet also pointed out that she could feel a strange mass under his fat in the belly area, that she suspected may be a hernia.  Whether this was causing his current problems or was unrelated, we do not know.

By the Saturday morning he really was not any better.  At best he had a brief preen, but he still was not eating.  Unfortunately, I could not get transport arranged in time to go to the clinic.  I had feeding formula left from the last time Lennie was ill so I attempted to feed him some but I got more around his beak & on my jumper than inside him.  That evening he ate about 6 seeds which was a monumental effort from him.

On the Sunday (24th) he had a good glug of his antibiotics both in the morning & the evening so he was definitely well hydrated.  During the day, he ate a few seeds & a few tiny bites of celery.  He also chirped a little.  These were all encouraging signs.  However, he was still playing with his food a lot & not actually eating it, & was sitting hunched up.  Poops were still an awful mess of green.  He made another effort in the evening to eat more seeds.

We made it to the Monday.  Lennie was still barely eating, though he managed a tiny bit of apple.  He had been ignoring the baby corn & was chewing the stalk of the millet rather than eating the seeds.

Fortunately, the vet could confirm his temperature was back to normal.  As expected, he had lost weight, about 7g from her previous visit.  She gave him a crop feed for a boost.  We booked another visit for the Thursday.

Over the next few days he gradually started eating more & was better in himself, & interacting with Perry & Moriarty.  He even managed a bath, so by the time Thursday (28th) came, I felt confident enough to cancel the vet visit.

So, we are back to normal again.  It is difficult to manage health problems when it is not clear what the cause is.  We can only do our best with the information we have.

Lennie eating baby corn after a bath

 

Obligatory poop pictures:

 

 

Lennie’s feather problem

During the vet visit on the 16th June for Perry’s ‘turns’ (click here to read), I also asked the vet to check Lennie’s wing feathers.

The last time the vet checked his wing feathers was a year ago when he was already having problems flying.  At the time, it was thought a severe moult had caused the problems.  Since then, Lennie has grown wing feathers back again but also lost some, never getting to a point that he could fly properly.  The feathers he dropped also looked of poor quality.  In addition, we had the ‘crime scene‘ with a suspected broken blood feather.  It seemed appropriate to ask the vet to take another look.

Prior to her physical examination of him, I showed her many of the feathers he had lost.  She identified stress bars & also evidence of chewing.  Stress bars were not too surprising as Lennie is a bit of a worrywart.  The chewing was more concerning & raised lots of questions, primarily, was he chewing because there was something wrong with the feather or was he chewing on a healthy feather & if so, why?

On examining Lennie, apart from his strange feathers & whopping weight (a staggering 73g!) he appeared healthy.  She took some sample feathers for him to be tested for Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD) which fortunately came back negative.

When the vet returned the following day to check on Perry, as a precaution, she gave them both treatment for (feather) mites, which I followed up on the 13th July.

 

Without further tests, it is difficult to establish the root cause of Lennie’s feather problem.  It is possible he has a psychological issue given he suffers from stress & anxiety.  Even if his feather problem is resolved, his weight gain will not help with his flying ability.  So, this continues to be a problem to monitor…

 


Sample of feathers:

 

Fever

Not long ago, I posted that Perry had a ‘scary turn‘.  Unfortunately, this happened again (almost 4 weeks later).

Perry

On the evening of Monday, June 15th, at around 9:20pm, Perry had another series of ‘turns’, similar to before.  He seemingly lost control of his body & was hurling himself around the cage.  At one point he made a strange, tinny, sound.  When the worst of it was over, he settled on the perch.  However, around midnight, when the lights were dim & their cover was over, he once again fell off the perch & when I turned the light up & investigated, the same thing was happening.  This time, there was less falling (or propelling himself) off the perch but he was twitching, mostly with his head going to one side.  I could see his body wanted to follow the direction his head was taking.

I dimmed the lights again & put the cover down (halfway) in hope that the darkness would be less stimulating & more calming for him.  He was restless until around 2am, when he appeared to settle.  Nevertheless, I slept overnight in the same room to make sure he was okay.  Lennie, understandably, was stressed by his friend’s behaviour & sat on the swing to keep out the way.  We made it through the night without further incident.

You will not be surprised to hear that the vet visited the following day (Tuesday).

She asked many questions about the form Perry’s ‘turns’ took.  I will note the questions below, because at a time when you feel helpless, you could actually observe something that will be key to diagnosing the problem.  When the vet examined Perry, the first thing she noticed was his very high temperature.  It was critical to bring this down within the next 48 hours.  She gave him an injection (Meloxidyl) & also left me with medication (Loxicom) to give orally twice a day for two days.  In case the temperature was caused by an infection, she also put him on a course of antibiotics (Baytril).  She arranged to visit the next day to check his temperature. His weight, similar to last time, was 54g.

Lennie

(Whilst she was here, I asked her to look at Lennie’s wing feathers but I will leave that for another post.)

After the visit & into the next day, they were both very, very quiet & not going to the seed pots to eat (Lennie was stressed), so I offered millet & seeded grass at regular intervals, which they ate.

Thankfully, when the vet took Perry’s temperature about 24 hours later, it was normal!  This was such a relief!  I was to continue with the Loxicom as a precaution, & he still had antibiotics in the water.  The vet said that it may take him a few days to recover as the high temperature had put a strain on his body.

It is possible the temperature had nothing to do with Perry’s ‘turns’, but it obviously needed to be taken care of.  A possibility is that his lump pushes on a nerve that triggers the ‘turn’.  At best, the ‘turns’ are caused by an infection in the kidney that is pumping out toxins, in which case the antibiotics will sort it out.

It is now a few days since the vet came & I have not witnessed any more incidents.  Perry & Lennie are eating by themselves again & gradually getting back to normal.

 

~~~~~

Questions to bear in mind when your bird is having a seizure:

  • Was he/she aware of his/her surroundings during the seizure/s.
  • Did his/her head turn in a circle or to one side?  If to the side, which side?  Was it always the same side?
  • Did he/she make a sound during the seizure & if so, what kind of sound?
  • Did he/she poop or vomit during the seizure?

 

Dalai’s last week (1 of 2)

As previously posted, we lost our dear Dalai on the morning of Wednesday, February 26th.

Dalai preening

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.

Dalai preening

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. Read more of this post

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.

 

 

 

Update on Dalai: 45 days

The last time I posted on Dalai’s health (click here), I stated that we had commenced the 45 day treatment for Chlamydiosis.  This ran from the 1st December 2018 to 14th January 2019.  Treatment was the medicine Ornicure, in water for all three: Dalai, Perry & Lennie.

The medicine was made up 1 litre at a time & kept for 7 days in the fridge.  Apart from ensuring the light-sensitive medicine & solution was measured & stored correctly, administration was really no problem at all.  They all drank the water without any qualms.

The difficulty was all the cleaning that had to be done.  The infectious element is shed in cycles so it is important to have an effective cleaning routine.  Given that they have an awful lot of ‘furniture’, I decided to clean most of it once & then store it away & return it at the end of the treatment.  This has meant we have been living a minimalist lifestyle!

In week one, the playgym took 3 days to dismantle & clean & at the time of writing, has not yet been returned.  As I bagged up newly disinfected items, I marvelled at how many pegs they have & how many beads!

Temporarily, I replaced some wooden perches & the rope perches with easy-to-clean plastic perches.  I replaced their chewy toys with plastic toys.  As paper is easy to replace, I used a lot of crinkle paper & curly paper on the toys to generate interest.

They all continued to moult – each losing a tail feather during December.  Intermittently, Dalai would tail bob, so on those occasions I would nebulise him in the travel cage with F10.

 

A few days after treatment was completed, I arranged another visit from the vet (17th January).  I still had some concerns about intermittent tail bobbing.  The vet checked Dalai over.  His weight was either 45 or 46g.  The vet said that last time she was starting to feel his keel bone so it was good he was back to a healthy weight.  His temperature was also normal, compared to last time when it was slightly raised.  His toenails were fine (no problematic bruising) but were a little long, so they were clipped.  She detected a slight clicking which suggested there was still a lingering respiratory issue.  If linked to the Chlamydia, she said it may take a little longer after the end of treatment for it to clear up.  Because the vet thought Dalai was in otherwise good health & in good spirits, she suggested I continue to nebulise him with F10, as & when the tail bobbing is apparent, but to continue a few days after he improves.

Dalai’s poops 17/1

Dalai’s poops have improved over time.  The initial worrying green colour that prompted the vet to suggest treatment for Chlamydia, has gone.  Of course we still do not know if they had or have Chlamydia, but either way, they all now appear well & happy.

Just so Perry & Lennie were not feeling left out with all the attention the vet was giving Dalai, they both had their toenails trimmed.  Perry, in particular, had a very long toenail that I was concerned about.  Lennie was a very difficult patient & it took the vet & the nurse ages to trim his toenails!

Over the next few weeks I will continue to bring back more of their toys & also the playgym.  I am sure it will not be long before we are completely cluttered again!

Dalai

 

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:

 

Preparation for emergency evacuation of your birds

Being a paranoid parront, I would like to post advice on how to quickly & safely evacuate your birds/pets in an emergency.

There is already plenty of good advice already written on the internet, so I will post some links. From what I have read, the key is PREPARATION because if there was a real emergency you would likely be stressed yourself & less likely to think straight, so anything that helps you (& your birds) through the ordeal can only be of benefit.

The following link is well written & has some good ideas. Their main ‘trick’ is use of a pillowcase to catch up birds & also keep them safe: www.birdtricks.com/blog/how-to-evacuate-parrots-when-you-only-have-seconds/

This link also has some good points: www.beautyofbirds.com/evacuation.html

Personally, my plan would be to get my flock into the small travel/hospital cage (I also have an even smaller carrier if I have time to consider separating them). I have prepared a canvas bag that has in it: food (seed & millet); seed pots & water bottles; reminder note & headlamp.  The reminder note is so I can grab any medication that may be in the fridge.  Every time I receive a new order of seed or millet, I refresh what is in the emergency bag & date it.  At the same time I check the headlamp still works in case the batteries need changing.  A point to note is that I have chosen a canvas bag with long handles so if need be I can hang it around my neck if I need my hands!  The emergency bag is kept on the shelf underneath the Silver Villa.

 

The travel/hospital cage is kept underneath the playgym so that is also in close proximity.  I actually decided to keep it close in case Bezukhov has a major seizure, however even if this were not the case, it would still be handy to keep there for other emergency reasons.

For some reason I cannot remember (!) I have two pillowcases draped over the back of my futon that is directly in front of the new Villa, so they are handy if needed.  Alternatively, they could be folded up & kept with the spare/emergency cage.

My mother lives nearby so if need be, I can walk to hers & deposit the flock there for safety.

If anyone else has any other advice/tips/tricks/ideas then feel free to share here!

Perry, Lennie (hidden at back), Dalai & Bezukhov