Puddings & Toyboys

A blog about my beautiful budgies.

Category Archives: vet

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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Remembering Phineas: The unanswered question

This post is a slight departure from my usual posts.

Phineas

Phineas

Phineas

Phineas

I have an overriding question, that I have been unable to get a firm or satisfactory answer to, & that is, “Did Phineas get adequate care during his overnight stay at the veterinary hospital?

Why can I not get an answer?  It is my word against the hospital’s.  All I need to know is what actually happened whilst Phineas was waiting for his delayed operation.  Was he eating?  Did he eat enough?  Was he stressed or did he settle down?  Was he being attended to?  Did anybody care?

Phineas went from being absolutely doted on & adored, to effectively being abandoned (by me) for 24 hours, whilst he stayed overnight at the veterinary hospital because the priority of his operation was downgraded, hence it being put off until the following day.  Personally, I will always regret not bringing him home as soon as I heard of the delay.  I understand that things were not clear cut (i.e., initially being told the operation would be the next morning, not the next afternoon) & that I was advised it would be disruptive to bring him home & then back again, particularly as he had (allegedly) settled.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Had I really thought about it…… how could Phinny have been remotely ‘settled’ in a strange place away from all that he knew & loved?

20130808_135808_sh21Would he have survived the operation had he not been so stressed leading up to it?

If anyone reading this is in (or will be in) a similar situation where their bird needs to be kept overnight, I urge you to do all you can to make sure you feel confident your bird is genuinely comfortable.  Do not just accept the words of a member of staff who is a stranger to the bird but question them until you are satisfied.

If any veterinarians or veterinarian staff are reading this, I would like to state, obvious though it seems, that birds require care and a skill set that is quite different from non-exotic pets, & the owner’s knowledge of their bird could help you greatly in administering the best care.

In memory of my beautiful friend, Phineas.  I am so sorry… I will always regret not bringing you home that evening.

phinny-logo2

 

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An unwell Bezukhov

An unwell Bezukhov

One day feather loss

One day feather loss

Medication

Medication

We have had a difficult time with Bezukhov.  After I posted that Bezukhov had become unwell (click here to read that post), the hopeful signs of improvement stopped.  On the 29th September, Bezukhov began a heavy moult.  Almost overnight there were feathers everywhere.  He lost mountains of small fluffy feathers, several larger feathers, including flight feathers & a tail feather.  At the same time, his poops got worse again.  He also stopped eating.

He was extremely lethargic & I was sufficiently worried to call in Ms Independent Vet (IV) who visited on the 30th September.

Once again, she suspected the problems were a continuation of stress from losing his friend Phineas, but now with the added complication of going into a heavy moult.  She weighed him & he was only 44g, so a loss of approximately 14g in 9 days.  His temperature was very high, but otherwise she could not find anything else obviously wrong.  She gave him an injection of anti-inflammatory to help bring down his temperature & also antibiotics to guard against infections whilst his immune system was low.  I was to orally give him the anti-inflammatory (Loxicom) twice a day for the next 3 days & antibiotics (Baytril) once a day for the next 7 days.  She also advised that I steam/nebulise him with F10 as she thought his breathing was a bit laboured.  She also gave me Emeraid, so I could syringe feed him to get his weight back up.

Of course giving Bezukhov medicine is a challenge.  Despite being unwell he still managed to do his very best to avoid taking anything orally.

I was marginally better at giving Bezukhov the medicine than the Emeraid.  Some birds will apparently eat Emeraid when offered as it is a nice smelling (& probably nice tasting) porridge-like substance.  I did offer him some on my finger but he refused so I was left with having to syringe feed him.  I tried my very, very best to give him the food but he pulled out all the stops & thwarted me at every twist & turn.  I managed to get a few drops inside him now & then.  Ms IV advised that I give him the Emeraid morning & evening but because I could hardly get any inside him, I added another battle session in the middle of the day.

Despite my best efforts, Bezukhov got worse.

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Sensitive and Complicated

It was one week ago, with a sense of jà vu, that I noticed Bezukhov’s poops did not look right.  They were sludgy & dark green.

Bezukhov on the window perch

Bezukhov on the window perch

Bezukhov on top of the manor

Bezukhov on top of the manor

Bezukhov eating pellets

Bezukhov eating pellets

Instinct told me this was Bezukhov’s reaction to losing Phineas because the poops reminded me of just over a year ago, when we lost Cagney, & Bezukhov stopped eating (click here for post).

I knew Bezukhov was upset by the change in routine, actually, the change in everything, as evidenced by not going into the Villa (Phinny’s domain).  He would go in briefly for water or to chew on the iodine block, but not sit in there.  Also, overnight sleeping has switched, at Bezukhov’s insistence, from the Villa to the Manor.

In the days leading up to the discovery, I had noticed Bezukhov was eating more pellets (in dishes on top of the Villa) but it was not until I saw the dodgy poops that I realised he was barely eating his normal seed mix.  Behaviour-wise, Bezukhov became very loud.  He was constantly shouting & often looking out of the window.  Normally he would shout at things outside but each time I looked I could not see anything; he was just shouting for shouting’s sake.  Sometimes he would go to one of the five seed pots but would only eat one seed before looking distracted & moving on.

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The last weeks and days in the life of Phineas (3 of 3)

So Phineas was due to have surgery in the afternoon of the 6th September.  I had left him at the hospital at around 14:30.  At half past five, I still had not heard anything, so I rang the vets.  I was told he had not had the surgery yet.  It was possible it would not be done until the following day.

In a later phone call they suggested that he stay overnight at the hospital (free of charge) to minimise stress & he would be seen in the morning.  I asked if I could visit him that evening but they said all their visiting rooms were booked.  Because I could not see him, I rang several times to check he was okay.  Each time, I was told he was settled & that he was ‘absolutely fine’.  I cannot say that *I* was feeling ‘absolutely fine’.  I was in bits.

Last photo of Phineas

Last photo of Phineas

The next morning, I was told he was ‘bright & happy’.  I cannot say that even this comforted me as it did not sound like Phineas.  I appreciate that strangers will not know him as I do, but *I* would have felt ‘bright & happy’ had they told me he was ‘grumpy & sulky’ – a far more normal description, particularly under the circumstances.  They also told me that he would be seen at 1pm the earliest.  So, another long wait…

I will not log the details of what happened next as they are still too upsetting for me to share.  In short, during the surgery, Phineas went into cardiac arrest & they could not revive him.

It was several days before I could even discuss the surgery with the vet.  It turned out to be very complicated.  She was confident that Phineas had an aggressive cancerous growth that in turn had caused a hernia.  It was not a relatively simple case of ‘removal of mass’ (as expected), because his abdominal contents had spilled out & were entwined in the growth.  How my poor boy even functioned was a mystery.  It is likely that had he survived the surgery, he would not have had long afterwards.

Right now, I find no comfort in anything.  All I know is that he was in good spirits when I left him.  I wish *I* had not left him.  And I dearly wish he was still here.  I know from experience that time will gradually heal these feelings…. but in the meantime, I am desperately sad & missing my wonderful little friend.

 

 

phinny-logo2

The last weeks and days in the life of Phineas (2 of 3)

After Phinny’s visit to the vet, he was a bit subdued.  He welcomed having his cheek feathers ruffled.  At one point, he was on the Manor landing platform, leaning over as I ruffled his feathers & this went on for about 20 minutes – in fact, he almost fell asleep.

The following morning (Saturday), Phineas initially appeared fine as he came to the front perch to greet me, but as the morning wore on, he got more & more listless & barely ate anything.  I was offering food to him.  Sometimes he ate a few seeds.  A couple of times he chomped on some carrot.

Despite being out of sorts, at around 15:30 he managed to have a jiggy-jiggy.  It was not as long drawn out as usual but I took it as a positive sign, though he did have to rest afterwards.  In the evening, he appeared to rally & ate some bedtime seed & instigated a chat with Dalai.

The next day, on the Sunday, he was much better though still a little quiet.  He was eating by himself but not as much as usual, so I offered food as well.  I took the time that day to rearrange Dalai’s quarantine cage (that had not yet been removed, even though I cannot remember the last time he went in there) into a recovery cage for Phineas after his surgery.  I padded the bottom, put rope perches in & also put in his favourite ttmss swing.

 

The day of his surgery (6th September) came quickly.  That morning, Phineas was in good spirits.  He had been preening my finger, regurgitating & more importantly, fitted in a jiggy-jiggy.  As the time approached, I managed to lock Bezukhov & Dalai in the Villa & Phineas in the manor, where I could catch him to put him in the travel cage.   You can see from the (last) video I took of him in the travel cage (below) that he was lively & alert.

At the vet hospital, we were seen by a nurse who explained what would happen.  I signed the papers authorising the surgery.  Phinny was stressed by the journey & was panting.  I attached his water bottle that had Guardian Angel in it (a tonic). We said our good byes.  I cried leaving him.  There is always a risk with surgery but this seemed the only option.

We returned home to wait.  They would ring when he was in recovery.  If I had not heard in about 3 hours, I was to ring them.

 

To be continued…

 

 

The last weeks and days in the life of Phineas (1 of 3)

Phineas is no longer with us.  It is a great shock to us all.  There were signs that things were not right, but this still in no way prepared us for his eventual loss.

Phineas

Phineas

It was quite a few weeks ago that I noticed he seemed to be getting fatter in his ‘undercarriage’ area.  When he did the hand jive, I could feel a soft pad.  Because it felt soft, I guessed it was fat & perhaps we needed to do something about his weight.  For several weeks, I religiously picked every groat out of their seed mix as I understood these can be fatty.  They must be quite tasty too as they are usually the seeds that are picked out & eaten first.

After removing the groats & monitoring his eating habits (he did not noticeably eat more than the others) there was no change.  He still had poop bombs but these appeared to be getting caught on the fatty lump, rather than his feathers.  His flying was more clumsy – like his centre of gravity had shifted.  Apart from these changes, his behaviour was exactly the same; he still had his daily jiggy-jiggy, he was still lively, he was still winding Bezukhov & Dalai up.

Because of my concerns, I took Phineas to see Ms Exotic Hospital Vet (EHV) on Friday 2nd September.  The first thing she observed was that he looked well.  However, when she examined him, she said she could feel a distinct lump behind a fat pad.  She believed it was a tumour.

Phineas in the travel cage

Phineas in the travel cage

It was decided that surgery was the best option.  To help give an indication on what type of tumour it was, she took a sample via a fine needle to be sent for analysis.  Results were due back on the Monday, so we booked Phineas in for surgery on Tuesday 6th September.

When we got home, I was relieved to see that Bezukhov had retired to the Villa – he had refused to be locked in anywhere (Dalai was locked in the Manor).  I opened the door to the travel cage, but though Phineas wanted to get out, he was having trouble with the small door.  Bezukhov & Dalai by this time were flying over his cage to the window perch & eventually, on one of their flights back to the Manor, Phineas managed to negotiate the open door & fly out.  He was not quite prepared & it looked like he was not going to make the turn in order to get to the Manor, so I stretched out &, amazingly, gently caught him, mid-flight & returned him, to the manor to be reunited with his friends.

 

To be continued…

 

 

Vet visit & medication review

My last report on Bezukhov’s medication situation was at the end of February, when it was agreed with Ms Exotic Hospital Vet (EHV) that all medication would cease.

On the 3rd of March, Bezukhov had his last dose of Destolit.  I would like to say he has not had any more ‘episodes’ but he has.  On the good side, he went for another 6 weeks without any ‘episodes’, but after those rogue 2, he had a clear month then recently had 7 within 5 days.  It was this sudden increase that prompted me to take him back to the vet to review the situation.

Bezukhov in travel cage

Bezukhov in travel cage

Bezukhov in travel cage

Bezukhov in travel cage

So, on Friday 24th June, Bezukhov, once again, visited the vet.  Ms EHV gave him an examination.  He weighs quite a bit now (60g!) but Ms EHV did not think this was a cause for alarm.  He looked, on the face of it, in good health.  He further demonstrated this by breaking free of her grasp & flying around the consulting room.  He landed behind the tap of the sink & Ms EHV quickly retrieved him.  

As I expected, she suggested we run another blood test to see if his recent spate of ‘episodes’ were linked to a downturn in the liver or gallbladder function.  If so, we would return to the previous medication he was on but most probably never come off it.

Because I had reservations about him being put under the anaesthetic in order to obtain the blood sample, Ms EHV suggested an alternative.

The alternative is to give medication when, & only when, Bezukhov has an ‘episode’.  The logic behind this is that we wish to avoid cluster ‘episodes’.  We accept that he may have the odd ‘episode’ here & there & as long as they are brief & the space inbetween is relatively long, then there should not be any long-term health implications.  However, if he has several in one day, or worse, in one hour, then the health risks increase.

So, the new medication (Hypnovel/Midazolam) is to be administered after the 2nd ‘episode’ of the day.  This is by no means an answer but hopefully something that will help to manage the situation with as little stress as possible.

With luck, I will not need to use the new medication, or at least not use it for awhile.

 

Reduced medication update

In December, when I last spoke to Ms Exotic Hospital Vet (EHV), it was agreed to reduce Bezukhov’s medication, to be reviewed the end of January.

Bezukhov

Bezukhov

This new regime began on the 12th December.  He was now to have medication every third day, rather than second day.  The amount of Destolit to stay the same but I reduced the amount of Lactulose.  Unfortunately, after two reduced dosages, in the evening of the 17th December Bezukhov had an ‘episode‘.  He was on my finger at the time & had just finished eating seed.  Phineas went to peck at him & Bezukhov pulled his head back to avoid him but this prompted a reflex type spasm for a brief moment.

He was due medication the next morning so I reverted back to the normal dose whilst I contacted Ms EHV.  She suspected the ‘episode’ was a one-off rather than related to the reduced medication so suggested I carry on with the new regime.  So, three days later I went back to the new regime.  On the 1st January, I stopped giving him Lactulose completely, so now it was just Destolit (for his gallbladder) every third day.

Yesterday, I spoke to Ms EHV to review how things were.  He has not had any more ‘episodes’ since the 17th December & apart from having another moult, seems in otherwise good health.  She suggested we stop the Destolit too, in other words, no medication.  Scary!

However, because he is currently going through a moult, we agreed to stop the medication when he is back to his normal self.  When this happens I will be monitoring him more closely than ever!

 

 

 

 

 

Bezukhov health update

Bezukhov

Bezukhov

Two days ago, I spoke with Ms Exotic Hospital Vet (EHV).  We had previously planned to reassess Bezukhov’s medication regime in November.  With the loss of Cagney, a major moult & significant weight loss, I deliberately delayed this to wait until Bezukhov was in better shape, both physically & mentally.

It is understood that Bezukhov needs more blood tests to determine how his liver & gallbladder are functioning.  He was last tested at the beginning of June.  At the moment, I am reluctant to put him through the ordeal of another one.  Though Bezukhov is in much better spirits after all the recent upset, I feel he is still adjusting & do not want to stress him further if it is not absolutely necessary.

With that in mind, & also the fact that I have not witnessed any ‘episodes’ in recent months, we agreed to gradually reduce his medication.   If he starts having ‘episodes’ again, then he will be straight back on the old regime.  It was agreed to stop giving him the Lactulose (the sticky medicine to support his liver) but continue with the Destolit (for gallbladder) every 3 days (not every other day).

All being well, to be reviewed at the end of January 2016.

I find this a scary change.  Clearly the medicine, over time, has stabilised him.  If possible, we want to reduce the medication, yet at the same time do not want to upset the status quo.  Either way, I will continue to watch my beautiful boy closely.