Puddings & Toyboys

A blog about my beautiful budgies.

Tag Archives: weight

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!

Perry

 

 

A bath, the travel cage & a raisin

We had a little drama a few days ago.

Part of our morning routine is that I offer Perry the bath with plain water to drink, first thing.  Subsequent offerings are usually supplemented water.  The first offering is plain water as sometimes Lennie is tempted to have a bath in it & I would rather he did not bathe in expensive vitamin water!

Perry after his bath

Perry’s lump after his bath

Perry minus 7mm of lump

The morning of Tuesday 15th December, Lennie decided it was bath time (fine – as it was plain water!) & unusually, Perry was also inspired to have a bath too.  They both had very thorough baths.  However, Perry’s bath meant that the area around his lump was wet & exposed & revealed a black lump.  To say I was horrified would be an understatement!

A part of me thought that Perry must be okay as otherwise he would not have had the energy to have a bath.  But a black lump?  There was no way I could put a positive spin on that.

Perry was a bit quiet after his bath but it was a very vigorous one so it made sense he had worn himself out a bit.  He perked up a bit later & ate & drank.  By then, I had already booked a visit to the vet for that evening.  Our usual mobile vet was not available so we actually had to visit the local vet ourselves, resulting in Perry having a short stay in the travel cage.

Though the local vet is only a few streets away, this particular evening the main road was unexpectedly closed which meant the traffic was diverted into the side streets that would normally have been quiet (& my preferred route).  Perry’s travel cage was well padded & I threw an extra fleece over it for added warmth & protection.  I walked as quickly as possible but the noise of traffic, from beeping horns & revving engines was very unpleasant & I feared for Perry’s stress levels.

On arrival at the vet’s practice, I quickly peeked inside to check he was okay (I had heard him fall off the perch) & he was clinging to the side.  On unveiling him to the vet, I quickly noticed that part of his lump was on the cage floor!

It turned out that 0.7cm of his lump had developed into dead tissue & his moving around the travel cage had dislodged it.  It was a clean break.  The vet examined Perry & said the remaining 2cm of lump looked stable.  It looked round & not misshapen (apparently a good thing).  She thought he looked in otherwise good condition, with bright eyes & good quality feathers.  He is overweight at around 60g, part of that will be the remaining lump & obviously a result of less exercise due to reducing mobility.  No treatment necessary.

It was such a relief to get him home.  Lennie was also happy to have his mate back.

For the record, I did take a photo of the piece of lump that fell off but not until a couple of days later when it had shrivelled somewhat & looked like a raisin… I will spare you all that vision.

 

Lennie’s feather problem

During the vet visit on the 16th June for Perry’s ‘turns’ (click here to read), I also asked the vet to check Lennie’s wing feathers.

The last time the vet checked his wing feathers was a year ago when he was already having problems flying.  At the time, it was thought a severe moult had caused the problems.  Since then, Lennie has grown wing feathers back again but also lost some, never getting to a point that he could fly properly.  The feathers he dropped also looked of poor quality.  In addition, we had the ‘crime scene‘ with a suspected broken blood feather.  It seemed appropriate to ask the vet to take another look.

Prior to her physical examination of him, I showed her many of the feathers he had lost.  She identified stress bars & also evidence of chewing.  Stress bars were not too surprising as Lennie is a bit of a worrywart.  The chewing was more concerning & raised lots of questions, primarily, was he chewing because there was something wrong with the feather or was he chewing on a healthy feather & if so, why?

On examining Lennie, apart from his strange feathers & whopping weight (a staggering 73g!) he appeared healthy.  She took some sample feathers for him to be tested for Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD) which fortunately came back negative.

When the vet returned the following day to check on Perry, as a precaution, she gave them both treatment for (feather) mites, which I followed up on the 13th July.

 

Without further tests, it is difficult to establish the root cause of Lennie’s feather problem.  It is possible he has a psychological issue given he suffers from stress & anxiety.  Even if his feather problem is resolved, his weight gain will not help with his flying ability.  So, this continues to be a problem to monitor…

 


Sample of feathers:

 

Three in one

Last Friday (12th) we had a visit from the vet, to check over all three, Dalai, Perry & Lennie.  I had/have concerns about all of them for various reasons, one of which may be my paranoia!

At the time the vet came, Lennie was locked in by himself so we decided he would be first up.  I had concerns that he was having trouble flying –  only that morning he had attempted a lap of the room & landed in the plant pot!  The vet checked over his wings & found some missing flight feathers on both wings.  She said his heart sounded fine, which suggested the flying problem was a result of moulted-out feathers, which should be resolved when they have all grown back in again.  The only problem with this is that I find that when a bird has a few crash landings, their confidence can be dented & they are put off flying again, which in turn makes the problem worse.  Hopefully Lennie gets over this & is flying well soon.

The big shock with Lennie is that the vet weighed him & said he was 64g!!!  She did not seem concerned as she said he was clearly not overweight but did have a full gizzard.  There is a slight chance there may be a mass behind the gizzard, so I am to keep my eye on him.

 

Perry was up next.  The last time the vet visited, she identified a lump, which has since been growing.  Sometimes, at certain angles & when he is fluffed up, the lump is not noticeable at all.  However, it is definitely there, defined & dense.  It currently appears to be isolated, i.e., not attached to anything major.  Certainly, it is not imposing on Perry’s health or behaviour yet, but at sometime in the future I may need to get a sample from it in order to work out possible treatment.  Perry weighed a very respectable 55g, lump & all.

Perry contemplating eating some vegetables

 

Dalai was last.  He has been very much under the weather & his poops had changed.  He did have a very dodgy poop that was ringed with red, but I only found one of those (believe me, I was checking ALL of them after that discovery!) & the vet said he may have strained when passing that particular one.  The day before the vet came out, Dalai dropped a mountain of feathers overnight, which then made it clear that a lot of my concerns were most probably because he was moulting (again!).  Additionally, he has developed a dark mark on his beak.  I was not aware of him having bumped/crashed into anything for it be a bruise.  The vet thought it was either a blood blister or just a pigmentation change.  Dalai’s weight was also respectable, coming in at 45g.

Dalai

 

So, for a change, the vet did not leave me with any medication.  It took Dalai, Perry & Lennie awhile to recover from all the prodding & poking & it took me awhile to recover from the news of Lennie’s weight… in fact, if truth be told, my jaw is still on the floor over it!

 

 

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.

 

 

Relapse

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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Returning to normal…

Bezukhov looking better

Bezukhov looking better

If normal means healthy poops & a healthy appetite then I am pleased to report we are most certainly returning to normal.

Since Bezukhov’s recent weight loss, he has gradually been eating more & has become more active.  Phineas also had a phase of not wanting to eat but thankfully that did not last long.

A couple of days ago I attempted to weigh Bezukhov in the travel cage.  I had done this on his return from the last vet visit to get a comparison; at the vet he weighed 38g, at home he weighed 40g though the number was not completely stable.  Two days ago, according to my scales, Bezukhov weighed just 41g – an increase of 1g.  If he was not looking & behaving so well I would still be worried.  At least he was not less.

Here is a video of Bezukhov having a chat with Phineas on the playgym after a celery misting:

Obligatory poop photo:

Bezukhov's lovely poops

Bezukhov’s lovely poops

 

 

More than a moult?

Bezukhov has not been right.  He has been moulting so has been under the weather, however today, after some very dodgy looking poops, I decided his problem may be more than his moult.  I quickly arranged an afternoon visit to Ms Exotic Hospital Vet (EHV).

It is always difficult to know when a vet visit is necessary.  Is he just moulting?  Will the stress of taking him to the vet make him worse?  Will he be okay tomorrow?  Is he hiding something very serious?  Is he actually worse than he looks?  I usually base my visits on my gut feeling & if I am worried to the extent that I cannot do anything else then that is the time to take him!

 

So, Bezukhov & Ms EHV met again.  She could see how rough he looked, with his feathers all over the place, not to mention the feathers around his beak that are saturated with sticky medicine.  All clinical signs appeared fine, but the most noticeable thing was that he has lost weight.  This I was expecting, as he lost his appetite but it appeared to return today, although I wondered/worried if the need to eat a lot was a symptom of something else.  Ms EHV weighed him – he was only 38g.  That is a 10g+ drop from last time & potentially a drop that has happened since we lost Cagney just over 4 weeks ago.

I explained how difficult life has been for him since that time, his loss of appetite, his loss of routine, having to build a new relationship of some sort with Phineas, the continuing medication saga & a new home (yes, I am behind with my posts – I did say a new home!)

Ms EHV believes his problems are stress related.  The first thing we must do is make sure he does not lose any more weight.  As he appeared to be eating more today & the difficulty of eating alongside Phineas seems to be settling, we are hopeful he will begin to put on weight.  Once he does, his poops should start to improve.  I am to monitor him over the next few days & if he does not put more weight on, then he is to have blood tests to see if something else is going on internally.

 

We did have a first in the consulting room – whilst Ms EHV was examining Bezukhov he managed to get free of her hand.  He was flying round & round the room, up by the ceiling.  He finally came down & landed on top of the cage but neither myself or Ms EHV caught him so off he went again, round & round the ceiling until he eventually descended & landed on the back of the chair behind me.  I managed to scoop him up.  He was okay but it really was not one of his best ideas…

 

 

 

A very long 24 hours

Cagney has not been well.

Last week he generally seemed a bit off colour but I put that down to his moult:

 

White splattered poops

White splattered poops

On the Friday (21st August), he seemed to have lost his appetite.  He was still eating but not as much.  He seemed a bit wobbly on the perch.  His poops were starting to look wrong too – mostly white.  The pink bits in his feet were starting to go white.  All these things reminded me of when I took him to the vet on the Easter Bank Holiday Monday (click here).  At that time, it was thought he was suffering from his moult & he was given a vitamin injection & gradually improved over the following days.  I thought that may be the problem this time.

The next day, Saturday (22nd August), Cagney’s overnight poops were definitely off.  The pink bits in his feet were still pale.  Worse than all that, he stopped eating.  I offered him millet that he refused point blank to eat.  Within minutes I was on the phone to the vet.  Fortunately, Ms Exotic Hospital Vet (EHV) was working that afternoon so I booked him in.

 

When we arrived, we had to wait awhile as an emergency had come in – a dog that had been collapsing.  The dog was to be sent to the hospital.  Whilst waiting, I was saying to the receptionist how handy it was to have a 24 hour hospital…

Cagney’s turn finally came & Ms EHV gave him a thorough examination.  He weighed 43g.  The highest weight she had for him was 47g so she thought this was potentially a problem.  His heart rate was very fast – too fast.  His temperature was high.   She said he was a ‘sick bird‘.

Because of his white poops, she feared he had an obstruction.  (I forgot to say that he had also been constantly cleaning his vent area even though it appeared clean).  She checked his vent (well, that is where the thermometer goes…) & said it looked clean.  She could not feel any obstruction.  She wanted him to have a barium x-ray to check his digestive tract.  This would mean several x-ray’s over a number of hours & therefore at least a 24 hour stay in the hospital.

The thought of him being taken away scared me & all sorts of thoughts raced through my head.  Ms EHV said that it was very important his temperature came down & I could take him home with me but he should have his temperature checked again the following day.  Also, IF he had an obstruction of some kind it would need to be dealt with sooner rather than later.  She repeated that he was a ‘sick bird ‘.

I gave her the go-ahead to take him to the hospital.

She said that she would personally start the x-ray process but then the night staff would take over.  She would give me a ring that evening to let me know a good time to visit.  Leaving the vet, without Cagney, damn near broke my heart, especially as I had told Bezukhov & Phineas that “Cagney will be back before you know it…

 

To be continued….

 

 

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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