Quarantine & a Vet Visit

Frediano & Finkleberry were in quarantine, in my bedroom, from the 14th of March until the 10th of April.

Frediano & Finkleberry

The change in surroundings & routine would be significant for them, but at least they had each other.  I always think quarantine is easier when there is more than one bird, & that it is particularly difficult if the budgie was with others, but is then suddenly alone.  So, I felt reasurred that Frediano & Finkleberry had each other, especially as I was initially spending time with an unwell Lennie & then later, a solo Moriarty.  So, unlike other quarantine times, I did not spend as much time with them as I would have liked.

My first impressions were that Frediano & Finkleberry were fairly quiet & only really moved to get something to eat or drink.  Given they had been living with predators (cats), I felt that, for survival, they had learned to not draw attention to themselves.


Quarantine is usually a good time for taming but in this instance, I felt that their previous lack of interaction with people meant a lesser goal of them not panicking when I changed food/water & the bottom paper, was more appropriate.  The first few times, when I changed their seed pots, they flew to the other end of the cage in fright.  Later, they calmly moved to the other side of the cage, then gradually they were comfortable staying put.

As a precaution, I had booked a home vet visit for the 20th of March for Lennie, but as he was no longer with us, I decided to keep the appointment for the new boys, particularly as I had some concerns.  One of my concerns was the extensive rust on the mirror toy I was given by the previous owner. I showed it to the vet so she could bear it in mind during her examination. I also noticed that Finkleberry often sat with his head bowed quite low & wondered if that could be a health issue or just behavioural.

Rusty bell on the mirror

My bedroom is not set up for flying birds, so in case either Frediano or Finkleberry escaped from the vet’s grasp, I did some rudimentary bird-proofing of the room, in particular covering gaps at the back of larger, harder to move furniture.  (Not sure what the vet thought when she saw the bubble-wrapped room!)

Frediano was first to be examined.  He weighed 55g – the vet thought he was on the chubby side but suspected that was due to lack of exercise/flying, so hopefully would remedy itself. He also had a temperature but the absence of any other clinical signs made her think it was temporary & stress related. His toenails needed to be trimmed (previous lack of perch variety), so whilst the nurse located the clippers, Frediano was put in the small carrier cage whilst Finkleberry was examined.  Finkleberry weighed just 32g, which the vet thought was right for him as he is naturally a small bird. She could feel his heart, which suggested it was enlarged – this could be congenital or diet-related.  Finkle got his toenails trimmed & tidied up, as did Frediano, who also had a beak trim too.

Finkleberry & Frediano

It is worth noting that when Frediano was put back in the cage with Finkleberry, Finkleberry immediately started preening Frediano’s head – it was the first time I had seen this.  (Previously I had seen it happen the other way around on a couple of occasions).

Finkleberry has a closed, black ring on his right leg & the vet confirmed it reads “NB 19 OU PG 17”.  We believe it means he was the 17th chick hatched in 2019.  An internet search confirmed that black leg rings were issued for 2019, so he is older than expected. Assuming he hatched towards the end of 2019, he is over 3 years old – possibly very similar in age to Moriarty.

As a precaution, I collected their droppings for 7 days, to be tested for Chlamydia, which fortunately came back negative.

After the disturbance of the vet visit, I felt we could truly begin to make progress with Frediano & Finkleberry becoming relaxed & comfortable in their new home.

Frediano & Finkleberry


Nineteen Days

When Perry left us, Lennie decided he was not going to eat from the seed pots.  He carried on eating, just not from those pots.  This appeared to be an initial indication of grief.

Birds do indeed feel grief so I kept an eye on both Lennie & Moriarty’s behaviour.  Lennie had been with Perry all his life & had never spent one night away from him.  Equally, Moriarty loved Perry & would no doubt miss all the flirting sessions & sharing of food. Rightly or wrongly, I tried to keep to the original routine as much as possible.

Four evenings after Perry left us, just before 10pm, Lennie seemed extra restless in his cage.  Both were locked up for bedtime (separately – sticking with the old routine), with the big covers over them.  I wondered if perhaps Lennie was ready to stay overnight with Moriarty.  I lifted the covers & opened the small doors on both cages.  Immediately, Lennie ran in to be with Moriarty.  This was a big step for both of them as Moriarty has always slept overnight on his own.  Maybe this was the time?  I recalled the difficulty Bezukhov had on losing his best buddy Cagney, not wanting to sleep alone, but struggling to share with Phineas (Click here to read that story).


Both Lennie & Moriarty seemed a bit surprised & subdued by the sudden turn of events.  Unfortunately, Lennie did not fully settle & at around 23:15, I opened the cage doors again, to give him a choice to stay or leave, & with no hesitation he ran out.  It clearly did not feel quite right for him.  However, he got to his door, peered inside, then turned around on the door platform so he was facing the room.  He looked up at me with a confused expression that seemed to say, “I don’t want to be in there alone.”  It broke my heart.  He did not feel at home in Moriarty’s & now he did not feel at home in his own cage without Perry.  With some encouragement he went in but though he continued to feel unsettled, he never attempted another overnight stay with Moriarty.

Some days after the above events, Lennie also developed a strange head movement that was most noticeable when he ate millet that I offered.  You can see this in the video below:


Lennie had also started his spring moult.  All these things were manageable until, on the 14th of March, Lennie stopped eating.  Continue reading “Nineteen Days”

Valentine Vet Visit

***Warning: Some gory photos are included in this post.***

As described in my previous post, Perry has an abscess. When part of it burst, I contemplated a vet visit, though suspected we would have a continuation of the ‘wait & see’ approach. Unfortunately, during February, Perry’s seizures increased, which is what made me decide to book the vet visit on the 14th of February.

Perry has been on anti-seizure medication (Epiphen) since October. His seizures stopped. Initially, he continued to have ‘pre-seizure’ symptoms like head-twisting/tilting, head tremors & unfocused eyes, but even those stopped after awhile. He has continued to have some mobility problems but is much improved.


After a couple of days of being unable to get Perry to take his medication, he had a seizure two nights running (11th/12th December). This indicated to me that the medication was definitely working & it was not coincidence. He then had another seizure on the 24th December, then nothing until February. Between the 1st and today (date of posting 17th February) he has had 9 seizures. On two of those occasions he had 3 seizures during one evening – cluster events. Worrying. This is despite him still taking the medication.

The vet thinks an increase in medication would help, but appreciates the difficulty in administering small doses, i.e., how can a small amount be reliably increased by an even smaller amount?!

The vet examined Perry’s abscess. She tried to wiggle a section off, but it was not quite ready to fall, so that is expected to fall in days. The rest of it should also come away at a later date. No action to be taken – just let it heal naturally, hopefully without any major incident. The lump on Perry’s belly that the abscess is on, is bigger, which also made the vet wonder if it may be pressing on nerves that are triggering the extra seizures. Given we expect the lump/abscess to reduce, we decided to wait a few weeks for it to fall away & see if that has any impact on the frequency of Perry’s seizures. If so, then we carry on with the anti-seizure medication as normal. If not, then we will consider increasing the medication.

Continue reading “Valentine Vet Visit”

Beak Trim and a Bald Patch

We had another vet visit a couple of days ago on the 6th of December.  It was booked primarily to give Perry’s beak another trim, but with Perry’s catalog of ailments, there were other things to review.

Blue and white pied budgie sitting on perch
Perry resting

A few days prior to the visit, a balding patch on Perry’s belly was showing a visible lump.  Though the area has been looking ‘patchy’ for weeks, the recent changes meant the vet visit was timely.

On examination, the vet said the lump was hard & was sat on top of a soft (probably fatty) lump.  There is no way of knowing what it is without doing something invasive, so as usual, speculation was the only thing to do.  Given Perry’s history of a burst abscess, it is possible another one may be developing.  Currently, it looks stable & the skin in that area looks healthy.  It does have an impact on Perry’s mobility & balance.  I continue to monitor it.

Blue and white pied budgie snoozing
Perry sitting on one foot

Perry had his beak & a few toenails trimmed.  His weight was 47 grams so he is maintaining weight, which is good as he still does not eat from any seed pots!  He has evidence of slight bruising on his legs which would be from his occasional falls.  The vet said he actually looked better than the last time, when she was particularly alarmed by his heart rate.

We continue to give him Epiphen to manage his seizures/mini-strokes.  I have adjusted the routine slightly in that I now give him a smaller amount twice a day rather than half a drop once a day.  He has it on a thin slice of celery in the morning between 10-11am & in the evening on a slice of apple at around 9pm.  Most of the time he co-operates!  Because the dosage is even smaller to spread it out during the 24 hours, I literally dip the syringe into the medicine & dab it onto a plate, where I can soak it into the celery or apple.  To make sure I know which end I have done, I cut a tiny notch in the slice & this also differentiates it from the other slice given to either Lennie or Moriarty.

So, we carry on.  Dealing with each day as it comes.

Blue and white pied budgie sitting on one foot
Perry soldiering on, on one foot

Myriad of health problems

Yesterday we had another vet visit. This was for Perry as I have many concerns about his health.

The last post I made about Perry’s seizures was in August (click here for that post). Since then, Perry has had approximately 17 “incidents”.

Because of the increase in events, the vet had previously suggested using the drug Epiphen (typically used for epilepsy in dogs), an oral medication to be used daily. There are possible side-effects with its use, in particular damage to the liver, which gave me reservations. However, I eventually capitulated on the 9th of October, when I gave it to him via a sliver of apple. His last seizure, two days prior, was relatively mild, but he had become very wobbly, & his movements, particularly his head, were clearly not completely under his control. There were other issues, such as an overly long beak (again) & feet that seemed a darker pink than usual. He was also lethargic & stopped eating from the seed pots so I was holding food & water up to him all the time.

Handsome blue and white budgie Perry

Before the vet looked at Perry, I directed her to Lennie, where she quickly sorted out a troublesome feather – details in another post (click here).

On examining Perry, the vet first discovered he had lost weight & weighed 45g. This was not entirely unexpected as he felt lighter whenever he was on my finger. It is actually a healthy weight for a budgie but of concern in Perry’s case because of the loss of about 11g from the last time. More critical was his fast heart rate. The vet suspected heart failure which could be causing him to have mini-strokes, or vice-versa. She prescribed a medication to support the heart. The involuntary movements could be linked to a brain tumour.

So, my poor Perry has a myriad of health problems. We continue to support him by making sure he is comfortable & has what he needs as far as food/water, time to rest & sleep, & when alert, love & stimulation from his friends Lennie & Moriarty.

sweetpea pet memorial advert

Pear-shaped Perry

On the 2nd August, we had another vet visit.

Perry last had his beak trimmed on the 2nd March & it had been gradually growing since then, though at a slower rate than before.  I could have waited a little longer before getting it trimmed but Perry had a bad night on the 28th July due to his ‘turns’, so I booked the vet visit earlier than planned.

She trimmed his beak & toenails.  His weight is stable at 56g.  His original, hard lump has grown a little, though fortunately it is still growing outwards.  He has more fat on his belly & the vet described him as being ‘more pear shaped’.

Without doing any tests, we can only speculate as to the cause of Perry’s seizures, but the vet does not think they are caused by the lumps.  Working on the idea that his liver may not be processing toxins efficiently, we continue to give them Milk Thistle in water.  Because the last episode of Perry’s seizures was more intense than previously, the vet also prescribed an additional supplement, Nutramarin+, a powder to be sprinkled on seed.

I have mixed the Nutramarin+ with some seed that I offer by hand.  So far, Perry has rejected that seed, picking one or two up, then dropping them.  I will persevere for a bit longer before consigning it to the ‘Medicine Refusal Box’!

Pear-shaped Perry


Working through the Avian Medical Encyclopedia…

Last week, on Wednesday the 2nd of March, we had another visit from the vet.

Perry & Moriarty

It appears that Perry is working his way through an avian medical encyclopedia & I told the veterinary nurse that I had lost track of what letter he is up to.  She suggested that he might be at ‘L’ for leg.

So yes, he has a problem with his leg.

About a week prior to the visit, I had noticed Perry holding his left foot up & barely using it.  I could not see any visible signs of injury.  He could rest it on the perch but only lightly.  As the days progressed it got a little better in that he could lift it to scratch the side of his head, which suggested there was no problem with the actual foot.  My concern was that perhaps one of his lumps was beginning to press on the leg & causing the problem.


The good news is that the problem is not lump-related.  He must have caught his leg/foot & sprained it as his knee joint is swollen.  Otherwise, all appears fine with his foot.  The vet gave him an anti-inflammatory injection to expedite recovery, but basically we just have to wait for it to heal, which could take 2-4 months.

To help with any pain or inflammation, I have been putting cayenne pepper & turmeric in his water, that he seems to like.  I noticed the cayenne pepper does not dissolve fully, so I wait for it to settle & then skim off the top, without bits, to put into his water.  Before giving it to him, I taste the water to check for ‘pepperiness’.  I also put a spoonful or two in my own drink!

Whilst the vet was here, she gave Perry a little makeover by trimming his beak (it was longer than it was the last time she trimmed it) & his toenails.  She also weighed him & he was 55g, which is a bit less than his last weigh-in but nothing to be concerned about.

In this video you can see, about halfway through, how long his beak was:


With a little extra help, Perry is still ‘out & about’.  I just hope he will put aside the avian medical encyclopedia for a bit!


Health check for Perry

A couple of weeks ago, on Monday 27th September, we had a home vet visit arranged for Perry.

I almost cancelled it as he has been relatively fine, but given he has various ailments I thought it best to go ahead just to check there was nothing lurking.  It is also true that I am still traumatised by all the drama with Perry’s health last December/January time & wanted an update on where he was lump-wise.  Given that observation is a major help in diagnosing anything in birds, I have recently noticed that Perry has been wanting to eat seeds from my hand & this happened last winter, prior to the drama, so that also added to my concerns.


On the day, the vet checked Perry over.  His weight was about 60g, which is clearly overweight, but pretty stable for him.  His original (hard) lump is still there & feels about the same size, which is good as that suggests it is either not growing or growing slowly. The area that burst before must have, coincidentally, grown over the original lump.  The skin is pink and healthy looking so there is no evidence there was a big scab there!  The vet said Perry has a layer of fat over his chest & also over the hard lump.

So, though Perry’s poops are terrible & he is still drinking a lot of water, we agreed to do nothing, given any tests would be invasive. He does seem to like his naps & does sit very fluffed up at times, but then a few moments later he is running up & down the perch flirting with Moriarty!


A touch of the “Bezukhov’s”?

We have had some drama here, courtesy of Lennie.

Lennie with pin feathers

On Friday 20th August, I noticed Lennie was not eating the evening millet.  Normally they have red millet but I was unable to buy any online so got some nice, fresh-looking ‘normal’ millet from a local pet shop.  I wondered if Lennie just did not like the change in colour, however when I offered a bobble of red millet (leftover bits in the bag) he refused it.  I thought that as he was moulting he was probably just ‘under the weather’.

As the weekend progressed, his poops turned a deep green, with a bluish tinge.  This can indicate lack of food.  I was offering all sorts of food but he just was not eating anything, in fact he was physically moving away.  Either that, or he was so sleepy he did not even notice me waving a basil leaf, piece of celery or broccoli in front of him.  Occasionally he would go to the seed pot & rummage around but he was not eating, he would just pick up a seed & drop it.  I got an appointment with the vet on the Monday afternoon (23rd).

This was a trip to the clinic, so Lennie had to endure the travel cage & a taxi ride which fortunately was pretty quick at around 30 mins, but we had to allow extra time in case of traffic.  (It would have been an arduous trip on public transport via three buses).

When we arrived, I said to the vet, who knows us well (!), “I think he has a touch of the Bezukhov’s“, in reference to dear Bezukhov’s Extreme Moult Experience when he was moulting & also not eating.  The vet took Lennie into the consulting room for examination (I was not allowed in).  His weight was 53g, which, on the face of it, is actually not too terrible, but it was an astonishing 20g weight loss from his last weigh-in.  He has a fatty lump covering his front but the vet could feel his keel bone behind it & could tell he had lost considerable weight.  His temperature was normal & his heart sounded fine.  Continue reading “A touch of the “Bezukhov’s”?”

Wait & See

When I last posted on Perry’s health (click here) I said that we were waiting to see our usual vet.  She visited on the 14th January.  After a thorough examination, the conclusion was ‘wait & see‘.

She said the following:

  • The ball of dead tissue that fell off (15th December) left a crater, which has a lining of dead tissue. (The dead tissue is where there is an absence of blood vessels which can happen as a lump grows). This can be surgically removed but it is unknown how deep it is etc.  It is normal for the dead tissue to expand & is not necessarily a bad thing. The tissue around it looks healthy which suggests it may be healthy underneath too. The best case scenario is that when ready, it will just fall away.
  • The lower wound appears to show that bleeding from the abscess/cyst/blood blister was from two areas.  There is a ‘cavern’ between them that looks like a scab.  As with the upper wound, it is hoped his body will push out the remaining blood clot when appropriate.
  • The lower part of the lump is hard & still intact & brushing against his leg, hence his mobility issues.
  • It is still unknown what is happening inside/below the lump so there could still be unforeseen complications.
  • There was no obvious reason why he would bleed again, especially given his last bleed was on the 1st January.
  • It could take Perry up to 3 weeks to recover from the significant blood loss.

There was a lot of information so my interpretation is probably not spot on, but I think I got the gist of it!

One thing I am sure of is that the vet weighed him & he was a huge 65g!  That may be all the extra millet I have been giving him.  As he is still stable & appears in good spirits, I have already begun to cut back on the millet!