Am looking for some advice on what we should do with our birds.
We have 2 budgies (Trix & Angel) and a canary (Puff). We have had Trix and Puff for about a year and we just picked up Angel a couple of weeks ago.
When we got Puff and Trix we brought them in for a checkup and the avian vet we saw recommended against a Chlamydia test. I can't remember why she recommended against it but I think it was something to do with taking too long and not always being conclusive.
So we brought Angel in for his first checkup yesterday (to a different avian vet) and on this occasion we opted to test him for Chlamydia and, unfortunately, he has tested positive. He also has worms but that is a separate issue - fair to say, we are never going back to the store we get Angel from.
What I really wanted to get a few opinions on is the treatment that the avian vet recommended. He basically said that there were 3 options.
1) a series of weekly injections over 6 weeks (I think the med was called doxycycline?)
2) some form of paste that we can feed Angel ourselves every day for 45 days
3) putting something in Angel's drinking water for x amount of weeks
Having done my research I am not really keen on options 2 or 3. What I am concerned about with option 1 is that the vet said that there could be side effects for the budgies that could range from minor to serious. He never specifically said that a budgie can die from them but that is the impression I got.
Has anyone been through this treatment process who can give me a heads up on what to expect and the possible issues our budgie may face?
Also, the vet mentioned that it was highly likely that Trix has also been infected by Angel because Angel has escaped his cage a couple of times without us realising and we have found them together later on rubbing faces and kissing each other.
He says he can test Trix too but that there would be no harm in starting Trix on the Chlamydia injections either (no harm as in, no harm in medicating a bird who doesn't actually have the disease).
Does anyone know enough to attest to this? Or perhaps to make recommendations on what we do with Trix? At this stage my wife and I are opting to get him tested for Chlamydia as well, even though that will cost more than simply putting him on the treatment straight away.
For what it is worth, both Trix and Angel have, so far, been their usual, chirpy, hyper-active, selves.
Finally (and I know this is a budgie forum) does anyone know whether Canaries are particularly susceptible to Chlamydia? I can't find very much online but our vet did mention that Canaries were less likely to contract Chlamydia in general.
Thank you for reading. I know it has been long. Appreciate any advice.
Thank you for the links and the advice. We have definitely decided to get Trix tested before doing anything else.
If I may ask, what exactly is it about the injection that you would be wary of? Is it just the obvious sticking a needle into a tiny budgie? Which treatment would you opt for if you had to? It seems that each method has it's own pros and cons with the paste and water options seeming to carry a reduced rate of effectiveness and this doxycycline toxicosis issue with the water in particular.
Also, if I am reading the links correctly it almost sounds as if I should do nothing unless symptoms present themselves. I am thinking along the lines of parents purposely exposing their kids to chicken pox when there is an outbreak at the local kindergarten.
Trix is approximately 1 year old so according to the Melbourne Bird Vet article his immunity levels should be at their peak.
We are unsure how old Angel is (the vet estimates about 2 months) but if the presence of Chlamydia can actually help to build his immune system then should we only be concerned if he actually starts to look/act sick?
Neither bird has shown any symptom of Chlamydia and are generally upbeat, chirpy, and eating well.
What sort of test did your Avian Vet do with your budgie that led to the diagnosis of Chlamydia?
I'm assuming it was a test of the fecal matter and not a blood test?
I can only give you my opinion on how I might react in your situation given the information I have at this time.
According to the article by Dr. Colin Walker (linked previously)
"Often birds are treated until they are well and then treatment is withdrawn. How long they need to be treated depends on the initial severity of infection and their response to treatment but treatment times of 7–14 days are common."
I believe the minimum amount of time a human or animal is exposed to antibiotics the better.
It is important the body be able to build its own immunity for the future and the overuse of antibiotics can be counterproductive.
"Most injections last 2–3 days, requiring two to three visits to the veterinarian weekly for approximately six weeks. Although treating to eradicate the organism from a single bird actually appears to be the logical way to go, this is not always so. If the organism is cleared, this means that the bird will have no further ongoing exposure and its natural immunity will quickly wane. If this bird then comes in contact with the organism again (and this is very likely if it comes in contact with another bird), it will be extremely vulnerable to infection."
The amount of stress multiple weekly injections would subject a budgie to is much too high a risk in my opinion. This is something I personally would only ever consider if it was absolutely necessary.
If treatment is required, then I'd opt for using the daily oral dose (paste form) of the medication
May I ask why you opted to take Angel to a different Avian Vet other than the one that saw Trix?
In order to have a clearer perspective of options and reasoning behind the treatment protocol recommended by the Avian Vet who saw Angel, I would consider getting a second opinion from another Avian Vet. Since you are in Melbourne AU, perhaps you could contact Dr. Colin Walker directly?
Asking the Avian Vet the question you stated:
"We are unsure how old Angel is (the vet estimates about 2 months) but if the presence of Chlamydia can actually help to build his immune system then should we only be concerned if he actually starts to look/act sick?" is definitely in order.
Please keep us updated on your decisions and how you proceed with treatment.
Just to answer a few of your questions and hopefully provide a bit more insight:
- The test on Angel was actually a blood test. The Vet assured us it was perfectly safe and to be fair Angel didn't seem very perplexed at all. The blood was taken out of the jugular on the right side of his neck. It seems like this would be the case but I am guessing a blood test would be more accurate than a fecal test?
- The treatment recommended by our Vet is actually just the 1 injection per week for 6 weeks.
- We changed vets as we recently moved and our original vet is now over an hour away. Funnily enough, our original vet actually works in the same clinic as Dr Walker. I didn't realise this until I went back to the article and had a proper look at their website. They are closed today but I am going to see if I can get a phone consult organised some time tomorrow.
- We have Trix booked in for his screening tomorrow. At this stage I am highly considering doing nothing after that unless he or Angel exhibit actual signs of illness. The only oddity I have noticed with Angel is that he seems to blink a lot more than Trix does. But I don't know if this is just a quirk and the vet didn't say anything about it when Angel was screened.
Thank you again FaeryBee! This has been an extremely upsetting process for me as I am torn between wanting to make sure my budgies are disease free but being unsure on what the best action to take is. I am usually the person who says let kids get play in the mud and get sick when they are young but I am less confident applying such logic to budgies.
Small update on this - after a lot of umming and ahhing, we booked in Angel for a 2nd opinion at Dr Walker's clinic. Having discussed it on the phone with them they seem more of the opinion that Chlamydia antibodies are not necessarily indicative of an active disease (or something like that) - especially in such young budgies.
But obviously they need to see Angel to get a better picture.
They were also MUCH less certain that Trix had been exposed compared to how the first Vet said it was basically a certainty. We're going to bring him in for a checkup as well though, to be safe.
There were a few things about this new Vet that my wife and I were unsure of so I think getting a 2nd opinion is the best way to go. Plus we were much more comfortable with Dr Walker's clinic last time so using them again (even though they are much further away) will give us greater assurance on the diagnosis - even if it comes back exactly the same!
Appointment has been set for tomorrow afternoon and I will post another update after we're done.
We didn't manage to get in on Tuesday because I had work issues but we finally got both our budgies in today to see our original Avian Vet working out of Dr Walker's clinic.
What a difference a good Vet can make!
Firstly, Trix came back clean for worms and mites (both of which Angel has) so that's great (although the Vet de-wormed Trix anyway, for good measure).
Angel got her poop checked and the Vet's exact words were "he has a LOT of worms". She de-wormed him on the spot and she also treated his feather mites with a thorough spray of some sort of liquid.
The first Vet that saw Angel didn't treat him for worms straight away (he said that we could treat him the next time we brought him in for his Chlamydia injections - like it was a given) and he also gave us a solution for the mites which we were to apply to the nape of Angel's neck a few times over the next few weeks.
The Vet we saw today did not agree with either treatment option and was a little shocked that he hadn't de-wormed Angel on the spot.
As to the Chlamydia, we didn't get Angel tested again because we already had the results and the Vet thought she saw Angel having some slight breathing issues too so she agreed that treatment was the best option. She took us through all 3 (in water, drops to the mouth, and injections). She didn't recommend the in water treatment because of how little budgies drink and she didn't think it was necessary to go down the injection route just yet. So we settled on the drop to the mouth treatment (Zithromax) which we are to give him once every two days for 11 days.
She also recommended that we treat Trix as well because of their close proximity.
I am comfortable with this diagnosis and treatment option. It's fair to say that I have a much higher regard for this Vet than I do for the other Vet we went to last week.
She also found out that Angel has traces of Megabacteria in her gut, but she said it could be a by product of the worms infestation that he has so we have made another appointment for Angel next Saturday for her to inspect again after the worms have cleared out. She said if the Megabacteria hasn't cleaned out by then we will have to treat Angel for that as well which is a twice a day drop-to-the-mouth medicine for 30 days. I will do it if I have to but obviously hoping we won't need to.
Just on the worms, we have now been home for 2 hours and Angel has already pooped out 7 or 8 long, stringy, disgustingly pale worms. The Vet warned us that this would happen (she said it was what we wanted) but man is it gross! I am also becoming more and more infuriated at the other Vet we saw for not only missing a few things but for not treating Angel properly. To top it all off, the other Vet charged us nearly $300 for seeing just Angel and the Vet we saw today charged a total of $175 to see both budgies AND the cost also covered all of the medicines we have brought home with us.
I'm so sorry to hear of the issues you'd been having with the other vet, but am so incredibly glad you found a much better and trustworthy vet to take care of Trix and Angel! It sounds like Angel is already on the road to recovery, and I hope that both your little ones are soon feeling much better
and Princess Mallorn!
Thank you to Deb for her wonderful Faery magic