Puddings & Toyboys

A blog about my beautiful budgies.

Tag Archives: blood sample

Cagney: The Sorrow

My beautiful little boy Cagney has gone.

How very hard that is to take in.

How could it be?  Only five years old.  He was flirting just hours ago.  What about Bezukhov?  How will I tell his best buddy Bezukhov?  No Cagney.  Anymore.  No… it was too much to bear.

I am not ashamed to say I wept uncontrollably.  I went into the consulting room where he was, carefully cradled in a soft towel, looking so beautiful, as though he were sleeping.  My heart knew what had happened but my brain could not work anything out.

Ms EHV calmly told me that the blood sample she got clearly showed that Cagney had lipaemia (fat in his blood) for some time.  As he came around from the anaesthetic his heart failed.  He had an underlying heart condition that we knew nothing about.  Of course looking back at his symptoms, this offered an explanation.  Ms EHV said there was no cure for this condition, although if the blood sample had not been taken he may have lived a few months more, though still, most probably, undiagnosed.

My Cagney has gone.

I left the vets with a heart so heavy I could barely walk.  And I had to face Bezukhov & Phineas.

Cagney that last morning

Cagney that last morning

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Repeat blood test

Bezukhov had another routine visit to the vet, two weeks ago, on the 1st June.  This was to have repeat blood tests.

His previous visit was on the 16th April.  Since then, we had “Black Wednesday” (22nd April) when he had 4 seizures in one day.  I had the camera handy at one point & managed to film him having a seizure.  It pained me deeply to do that but I thought it may be useful to have a visual record for Ms Exotic Hospital Vet (EHV).  That particular one was quite long, at about 24 seconds.

Ms EHV confirmed the seizure looked more like a vacancy episode than a grand mal seizure, although the origin of both is similar and the former is still a type of seizure.

We had another discussion over his medication with the result that we would carry on as per normal & wait to see if the next blood tests reveal anything else.  The only change we implemented is to give Bezukhov some millet immediately after a seizure.  Ms EHV said that seizures, however brief, use up a lot of energy so it may help him to eat a food with a high energy value as soon after as possible.

Bezukhov back in the travel cage

Bezukhov back in the travel cage

Bezukhov after vet visit with trimmed left cheek feathers

Bezukhov after vet visit with trimmed left cheek feathers

Reunited

Reunited

Bezukhov was a very good boy on his visit to the vet.  She examined him before anaesthetizing him in order to get the blood sample.  Other than the seizures, he appeared well.  In fact, his feathers have improved.  His belly feathers had previously developed noticeable dark tinges which Ms EHV said was due to his liver not functioning properly.  As a result of his ongoing medication & supplements & also a recent moult, his new feathers have grown in without the discolouration (see comparison photos at the bottom of this post: Dec 2014 & April 2015).

He has put on more weight & came in at approx. 56 g.  Like before, Ms EHV was not concerned as she felt a little extra weight with his condition is an advantage.

Bezukhov was a good boy & provided her with a blood sample.  She returned him to me in a still groggy state & very fluffed up.  Whilst he was ‘under’, at my request, she attempted to do something about his sticky, medicine-soaked cheek feathers.  There was not enough time to wash the syrupy Lactulose out, so she simply trimmed those feathers.  Only his left side is affected – I am not sure why, it must be the way I give him the medicine, or perhaps he has a dominant wriggling side!

When we returned home, there was the usual chirpy greetings, but I let Bezukhov rest a little while in the travel cage before letting him out.  As soon as he started getting restless, I let him out & he flew to the manor & was reunited with his best buddy Cagney.

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Poor Patient Compliance (PPC)

Previously, I had posted about Bezukhov’s second x-ray.  At the time, a blood sample was also provided.  We had the results of these a few days after.

Ms Exotic Hospital Vet (EHV) said that Bezukhov’s blood results were “largely promising“.  However, she noticed one of the parameters that tells us about the gall bladder and liver function has “steadily increased over the last few blood tests“.  With this in mind, she prescribed two types of medication: one to support the gall bladder & the other to support the liver.

The medicine to support the gall bladder is Destolit.  Worryingly, it is untested in birds; the tablets are made for dogs & cats.  The tablets need to be cut very small (1/8ths), mixed in 0.5ml of water/juice, of which 0.02ml is to be administered.  (It was originally 0.01ml of ¼ tablet, but that is basically half a drop & I found that impossible to control).

Bezukhov still has Aloe Vera & Milk Thistle in the water & that is to continue indefinitely.  The additional medication for the liver is Lactulose.  He had this previously.  It is a sticky, syrupy medicine which is difficult to remove once it gets onto the feathers.  (Cagney did attempt to clean him up but with little success – it took Ms EHV to use the opportunity when Bezukhov was still groggy from anaesthetic to properly clean his cheek & chin feathers).

As for frequency of administering the medication, Ms EHV described Bezukhov as having “Poor Patient Compliance”, (i.e. he refuses to take his medications).  With that in mind, she was not going to prescribe Clavaseptin (antibiotic to support the liver to be taken twice a day).   This leaves us with the Lactulose & Destolit.

Ideally, they are to be taken once a day.  However, as this may potentially be a long-term solution, we agreed that a more manageable once every other day should still be effective.

After much discussion of the above, the new medication regime for Bezukhov began on the 22nd February.

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Bezukhov’s second x-ray

A few days ago, on Thursday 29th January, Bezukhov had an x-ray & supplied another blood sample.

Ms Exotic Hospital Vet (EHV) had previously suggested he have these tests again so they can be compared with the previous results.  His last x-ray was taken on the 24th September 2014.  From this it was seen he had “Air Sacculitis & likely liver disease“.  He had various medication for this over the following 6-7 weeks.

Bezukhov’s last blood sample was given on the 10th November 2014.  The results were a ‘mixed bag’.  Medication was ceased but we have continued with Aloe Vera & Milk Thistle in his water.

As per usual, I bundled Bezukhov into the travel cage.  Surprisingly, he was not so panicky as he usually is.  Although, when Cagney & Phineas started eating their seed, Bezukhov did get flustered even though he had his own seed right in front of him.  He does not like to miss out on food, particularly if others are eating, but clearly the travel cage is a hunger strike zone.

(click on photos to enlarge)

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A mixed bag

20141111_120423_sh21The last blood sample that Bezukhov provided to the vet was fortunately sufficient enough to run the relevant tests.

Unfortunately, the results turned out to be a ‘mixed bag’.  The good news is that compared to the previous blood results, his liver appears to be in a much improved state.  However, Ms Exotic Hospital Vet (EHV) was concerned about the readings for his gallbladder & bile.  It is possible that having a repeat blood test within 7 days could have affected the results, i.e., his protein levels may be lower than normal, so this has to be considered.

Ms EHV recommended ceasing all medication (Ronaxan, Lactulose & nebulising with F10) but continuing with the Aloe Vera & Milk Thistle supplements in his water.  He is to be watched closely for any signs of illness, odd behaviour or seizures.  We plan to repeat the blood tests in about 6 weeks time.

 

 

 

Déjà vu

Last week, Bezukhov went to the vet &, amongst other things, gave a blood sample.  The result of this was due 2 or 3 days later.  Unfortunately, the laboratory said there was not enough ‘plasma section’ in the blood sample. His red & white blood cells were tested & all was fine there but the test they could not do was for the important bit. Apparently this can happen in small animals due to the small volumes they are dealing with.

The only thing to do was bring Bezukhov back to the vet & get another blood sample.  This happened today, exactly 7 days after the previous one & in fact at the same time too.  Poor Bezukhov must have had a sense of déjà vu.  I know I did.

After bundling Bezukhov up in the travel cage we made our way to the vet’s.

Me & my sticky horns

Me & my sticky horns

When we arrived, Ms Exotic Hospital Vet (EHV) whisked him away into the consulting room, whilst I sat in the waiting room, worrying.  After about 20 minutes, she brought him out & said he was still groggy.  She had wanted him to sit on the floor for a bit but he insisted on sitting on the perch even though he was still swaying.  Ms EHV said he did make a bid for freedom just as the anaesthetic wore off & I think she was impressed with his derring-do intention, even if he was too groggy to get far.

Last time, she attempted to clean off some of the sticky, syrupy medication on his cheek & chin feathers & she did quite a good job.  He was left with two patches either side of his beak though, that over the days morphed into two little horns.  Whilst he was under the anaesthetic today, she had another go at cleaning up the horns feathers.  He is certainly looking less sticky now.

Mama, I'm ready to come out now...

Mama, I’m ready to come out now…

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Episodes, hunger strike & orange poops

Yesterday, I took Bezukhov to the vet.

In the last two weeks he has had at least 5 seizures.  Seizures seems the most descriptive word for them, though it is not yet confirmed what it is.  These ‘episodes’ last just a matter of seconds & then he is completely back to normal.

Symptoms

  • Starts initially with an alarming, loud screech
  • Head tilts back
  • Temporary paralysis
  • Eyes open but vacant stare
  • Lasts for only seconds
  • Appears unaware of what has just happened & carries on as normal

On seeing these, I was reminded that he has had one or two before but I thought he had probably got a seed stuck in his throat & they were over so quickly that I thought nothing of it at the time, particularly as the gap between was so long (months/years).

It is worth noting that one of his ‘episodes’ occurred whilst he was fast asleep, head under wing.  This seems to suggest they are not stress-related.

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