I have been reading a lot in the forum looking for answers, and so I finally logged in to post.
I got my budgie Twitter back in July from pet smart, he had all his bars on his face so he was definitely still a baby, that would put him at approx 8 or 9 months old now.
I used to have a budgie when I was in my teens so I do have some experience with them.
Ever since we got twitter, his droppings have always been a bit on the soft side, never properly formed. A couple months ago they started getting REALLY watery. I did some research online (mostly on this site) and everything I read said he needed to see a vet ASAP. So we took him to a the vet, who said he was underweight but not emaciated. He sent us home with Tylan
Powder to be mixed into his seed.
Now, I don't know if maybe Twitter was not eating because of the meds mixed into his seed, or maybe he had a bad reaction to the Tylan powder, but after 2 doses he was on deaths door. Before taking him to the vet the only concern was his diarrhea, other than that he seemed happy, was eating and drinking, chirping. After the Tylan he was all fluffy, sitting still, almost falling into his food dish, wobbly. So we called the vet, they told us to come in and get a stronger antibiotic immediately. They put him on Baytril, to be given orally by syringe for 2 weeks.
At the end of the 2 weeks he was much better, his poops weren't TOTALLY firmed up but at least 80 percent better. This lasted about a week and then his poops went right back to being really liquidy.
I called the vet, who suggested I bring him in for stool sample and blood test, but qunfortunately, I didn't have $350 to pay for the testing. I said I could afford to do one or the other, but not both. She told me the stool sample would be 120 and that it only tests for psittacosis. She said the bloodwork would do a white cell count,, and test for liver/kidney function.
I had read that the stool samples can give false negatives if it is not shedding, so to me it seemed like a waste of money to do that test. From everything I had read online, psittacosis seemed like the next most likely culprit, so I asked the vet to treat Twitter for the psittacosis.
The vet agreed and prescribed the Doxycycline. He also prescribed the Baytril AGAIN for another 14 day...this is where I start to have questions....
First of all, the way it was explained to me is that the Baytril is a broad spectrum antibiotic, which usually does the trick with most bugs budgies can get. On the other hand, there is very few things that Doxycycline will cure. So wouldn't it have made more sense to only prescribe the Doxycycline, and if he responded to that treatment, then we would know that it is indeed the psittacosis? And what would be the point in doing ANOTHER 2 week course of Baytril, since it did not work the first time? So at first I did only give the Doxycycline for 2 days and he started responding to it right away, I spoke to the vet and told him my theory, but he said no. He said give TWITTER both medications, because the 2 medications together would be a stronger effect and most likely cure whatever he has.
So this is where I am at now. I gave him the Doxycycline and the baytril for two weeks. Twitter is doing amazing. I have never seen him, so happy, he is all twitterpated and chirpy and actually flying around the room lots. And his poops are about 90% normal, there's still the odd one here and there that's got a fair bit of liquid in it, but most of then are black and white, and properly formed.
So, it would appear that he indeed had the psittacosis, and the Doxycycline is working. Now, the vet says because we used the 2 medicines together, that should have been strong enough to kill it. But everything I have read on here says you need to treat for 45 days. I asked the vet to prescribe another 2 weeks worth, and he did, but only because I insisted; he did not recommend it.
I know now looking back, I should have borrowed the money or did something to pay for the testing, because trying to treat without a definitive diagnosis is difficult. But with the information in this post, can anyone give me any feedback on if I should continue with the Doxycycline for 2 (or 4) more weeks. The last thing on would want to do is stop the medicine and have him get reinfected and have to start the 45 days all over again.
Sorry for the long winded post, and I would appreciate any feedback or thoughts on this.
I'm assuming from what you've written that the vet you've been seeing with Twitter is an actual Avian Vet.
You are correct that it is always best to get the correct testing for a proper diagnosis in the beginning when a budgie begins to exhibit symptoms. Delaying the correct diagnosis and treatment protocol can
mean The bird will often require a more intense, prolonged treatment with a poorer chance of full recovery than it would have if you seek prompt professional diagnosis and treatment at the first sign of illness.
Have you notified PetSmart that Twitter most probably had/has pisittacosis? You may be aware there was a huge outbreak of the disease in some of their stores a year or so ago? This is very contagious and can spread to many birds in a very short time.
You'll want to ensure you keep Twitter's cage very clean and that you wash your hands carefully after interacting with him. As stated in the article linked below, the bacteria will sometimes remain active in the environment for weeks or months.
Thank you for the quick reply faery bee. Yes, it was an avian vet that I took him too.
I guess my real question at this point is should I continue the doxy for the full 45 days, or stop at 2 weeks? I want back to pet smart today and spoke with a woman there to see if there her been any outbreaks of any kind during the time I purchased him. She said no, they they have had no reports of illness from any of the birds that were purchased from the "batch" that Twitter came from. She did warn against continuing the course of doxy as it can apparently be damaging to the liver. The vet cautioned me against the same thing, in fact, he only prescribed another 14 days because I specifically asked him to. Because I was under the impression that doxycycline needs to be taken for 45 days in order to be effective.
Any thoughts on whether the benefits outweigh the risks?
I am so kicking myself for not coughing up the money to do the test in the beginning. Because this approach of treating and hoping for the best is costing just as much, without a guarantee that we are even treating for the right illness.
I'm frustrated and I have no one to blame but myself.
It's great to have you and little Twitter with us. I'm sorry to hear that he has been so ill but I'm so glad he's doing much better now. I totally agree with FaeryBee's advice. Please be sure to update us on how your little fellow is doing! I truly hope he is able to recover from his illness.
Meanwhile, have a look around the forums and through the links provided by FaeryBee to ensure you're up to date on all the resources we have here! If you have any questions afterwards, please be sure to ask as we'd love to help.
Hope to see you around!
and Princess Mallorn!
Thank you to Deb for her wonderful Faery magic
Thanks guys....you totally validated exactly what my gut was telling me as of last night. We didnt give him any meds yet today so I'll cross my fingers and hope for the best.
I really hope that he's on the mend for good. He's finally starting to get tame and really show some personality. He actually flew to my shoulder today on his own!
And he's doing a funny little mating thing where he sits on your hand and talks to it and waggles his rear end around, it's so cute!
I will try to upload a picture of him tonight.
Thanks again for the advice and support.
When he exhibits his mating behavior with your hands, it would be best to gently divert his attention elsewhere with a toy or different activity.
Otherwise, he may become obsessed with you as his "mate" to the point of being territorial and/or aggressive.
Twitter is very cute --- ! Regrets you have gone through a very stressful ordeal with his health, but it's looking like you turned the corner and he's doing better.
Your post reminded me of all the lessons I've learned on this site about not purchasing from big box pet stores... & why ethical breeders are the best place to purchase.
I too bought my budgie from a pet store (not knowing what I know now)... and he showed symptoms of scaly mites in the first 6 weeks. (He's ok now, but he had to be treated, etc. and so forth.) ... I purchased from a small regional pet store, and while they're not as bad as the big box stores (PetCo, PetSmart)....& better in some ways... they're still not as good as buying from a breeder.
No judgment of course, because I didn't know any better either... but we should spread the word to other future budgie owners that ethical breeders are the way to go. Both you and I went through a stressful ordeal, which possibly could have been avoided going to a breeder that knows how to manage the health of the breeding budgies and their babies. (Scaly mites can be avoided I think.)
Anyhow... no soapbox here... just what I considered for myself when I read the stressful experience you had (and combined with my own)... and if you've not seen the sticky about the pros & cons of buying from a breeder... it's a very interesting and useful read.
Something we can consider if we're ever to get a friend for our budgies. (This is my first one and I would have got one 5 years ago if I knew how much fun it was.)
All that aside..... Twitter is really adorable and I look forward to hearing more about him in the future. Congrats to you for taking care of him through that illness.... that's not easy.