A blog about my beautiful budgies.
Tag Archives: tumour
12 August 2018Posted by on
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.
20 September 2016Posted by on
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.
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.
19 September 2016Posted by on
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.
18 September 2016Posted by on
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.
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.
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.