Puddings & Toyboys

A blog about my beautiful budgies.

Tag Archives: seizures

Update on Perry’s health

In my last post on this subject (click here) I reported about Perry’s ‘turns’.  We have had further developments.

On the 4th July, Perry had, what I would describe as a ‘Twitchfest’.  He twitched, though not violently, off & on all day, but settled by bedtime.  I was on edge the whole time, anticipating that he would get worse.

Perry

Perry’s next, more significant, episode was on Saturday, the 22nd August.  At around 11am, he began twitching, & a couple of those were major enough to propel him off the perch.  At one point, he was hanging from the perch by one foot.  He seemed okay after about 15 minutes.  However, about two & a half hours later, the twitches began again, but this time they were throwing him off the perch, on average every 30 seconds (sometimes the frequency between was longer, sometimes shorter).  Lennie was sensible & went into Dalai’s cage, so I locked him in there for the duration.

For about an hour the twitches continued, at varying levels of intensity.  Each time his movement was from his left to the right, so I could predict where he would go/land.  Sometimes he would have a few minutes where he was just twitching & able to stay on the perch.  He pooped throughout, but a watery substance.  Through it all, he did not make a sound.  He was completely aware & scared as he clearly did not know what was happening to him.  The times he landed on the bottom of the cage he immediately made his way back up.  By 3pm they were subsiding & he was able to preen & behave a bit more normally, by which time, Lennie joined him again.

Things had settled down by the Monday, but nevertheless, I spoke to the vet, & she suggested adding calcium to their water as they were both still moulting.

New cage set up L to R: hospitalisation cage, ‘home’, Dalai’s cage

The next episode was Saturday the 12th September (I am starting to dread Saturdays!). He seemed extra quiet that morning & when I offered him a spinach leaf, he had to turn his head at a strange angle to eat it.  This alerted me & I decided to dust off the quarantine cage & prepare it for possible hospitalisation purposes.  Later that day, he spasmed, fell to the cage floor & was rolling around.  I carefully picked him up & put him in the spare cage.  He came out of the spasm & I placed him on a perch, where he was very still.  His balance was very off & he fell off the perch a few times but at least did not have far to fall in the newly set up cage, & the bottom has extra padding.  Occasionally, he would turn his head from side to side & his eyes were flickering.

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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?

 

A scary turn

One week ago, on the 20th of May, we had a scary incident involving Perry.

It was a normal day with nothing remarkable about it, until Perry fell off his perch.  Now this in itself is not remarkable as with his gradually growing lump he can be clumsy & it is precisely the reason why the floor of his cage is padded.  I did not take much notice but looked across to make sure he was able to get back up, which he appeared to do.

Perry

Moments later, he fell again.  This seemed odd, so I went over & about 3 or 4 times he twitched & uncontrollably jumped off the perch (hence falling) & each time I helped him back up.  During what was the last fall he started making a strange squeaking sound.  As I was concerned he would hurt himself (he was flailing about) I quickly put him in the travel cage.  He was stressed in there & though he was jumping & climbing about, it was more stress-related than involuntary.  I decided to put him back in with Lennie, where he (& Lennie) subsequently calmed down.

Concerned that he had had some form of seizure or even a stroke, I observed him closely.  When he relaxed, he stretched both wings out, lifted a foot to preen (his balance was fine) & pooped but it was not until about an hour later that he started moving around and chirping.  If I had not seen the incident with my own eyes I would have no indication that it happened.  He was a bit quiet but it was a hot day so they were not very active anyway.

Since then, I have not witnessed it happen again.  The possible causes are many.  All I know, from experience with Bezukhov, is that you do not want these kind of things to happen in a ‘cluster’, so it is a good sign there has been this gap so far.

Hopefully it was just a one-off but as a precaution I have set up the webcam again so I can check in on them if I am away for a few hours.

 

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.

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

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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The road well trodden

My last post was about Cagney’s visit to the vet on Bank Holiday Monday (6th April).  Over the following week, Cagney gradually recovered & has returned to his normal self, although he is moulting so a little quieter than usual.

Bezukhov in the travel cage again

Bezukhov in the travel cage again

Bezukhov's slightly orange poop

Bezukhov’s slightly orange poop

Unfortunately, just 10 days after his vet visit, the path was trod again, but this time for Bezukhov.  He had a spate of seizures.  To be exact, 6, in 5 days.  Not good.  So, we went to see Ms Exotic Hospital Vet (EHV) on the morning of the 16th April.

She had previously said to repeat blood tests at the end of May, in particular to check on his liver & gall bladder function.  However, because of the recent ‘episodes’, that were worryingly close together, she gave him an injection of multivitamins & also Laurabolin (steroids).  The thinking is that his moult had triggered the episodes & giving him a vitamin boost should help him through it.

Ms EHV specifically wanted to make sure his vitamin B complexes were topped up – they are the most likely to be low during a moult, and vitamin B is heavily involved with nerve function.

Whilst Ms EHV was handling Bezukhov for the injection, she checked him over.  Though he was looking rough, with pin feathers on his head (he also lost a tail feather recently) & sticky medicine beginning to build up around his beak, she found that all appeared well.  He weighed either 51 or 53 g (I cannot remember what she said now!) & but do recall her saying he was slightly overweight but that was to his advantage during moulting time.

On our return home, Bezukhov was chirping to the others as soon as he heard them.  He wanted to get out the travel cage pretty quickly too.  Apart from a few obligatory orange poops, he seemed to recover from the trip quickly & we all settled back into our usual routines.

I am hoping this road will not be trod again until the end of May for Bezukhov’s follow up blood tests.

Moulting Toyboys

Moulting Toyboys