Follow-up CenterThreads made in the Emergency Room forum will be moved here by staff as a way to follow-up with members after their budgie emergency.
This keeps the E.R. for only the most current emergencies.
He was at the vet's on Thursday and Friday. The vet gave him barium. She noticed he was shedding gizzard lining cells and so could conclude that something was irritating his gizzard. There was no sign of infection or anything else.
She guessed that it might be a piece of fiber irritating his gizzard. She said that it can form a ball that acts like a Brillo pad in the gizzard. On the other hand, she did not find any fibers in his poop (which she says she usually finds in these cases), so it was a guess.
My parakeet acted great after the barium. She decided that the odds were that he'd do OK, so I took him home on Friday. As soon as he got home, I could see he was not OK. We gave him heat overnight and he did much better on Saturday. He was singing, flying around the house, checking out the computer table (which was playing a video of a parakeet), eating and drinking ,etc.
By the evening, he started to look not so good, so we gave him heat again. This morning, Sunday, he looks awful. Droppings are mostly white. There are signs he threw up. He is not eating or drinking. We cranked up the heat a lot further.
Looking up information on the internet, one possibility is that his gizzard is now blocked. One verifies with an X-ray and treats with a special lubricated feed (using gavage). I can't do either. Our vet's office is closed on the weekend; the backup AAV vet is completely booked.
His weight was fine on Friday (34 gram) and he might have absorbed (not thrown up) some of the food he ate yesterday (he ate quite a bit). I am giving him apple juice every few hours and it's hard enough getting that down him. I'm hoping that with heat and apple juice, he'll make it to Monday morning when I can return him to the vet.
Suggestions welcome. I don't have any special equipment or foods. If he has a blocked gizzard, liquids seem like a safer option than anything solid that might make things worse.
Any thoughts on how often and how much apple juice to give? He hates being handled and catching him adds to his stress (he's very hard to catch).
P.S. New lesson: avoid fibers they can swallow. I've seen sisal rope and twine used by a lot of people and my vet never bothered to point it that it might be a problem. It's possible there's already a warning about that somewhere on this site—if not, perhaps it's something to add.
Tony, while your boy isn't very well, it would be wise to keep him in his cage. And if he has a very large cage, do you have a smaller hospital cage you can out him in for the time being?
It will make it easier to keep him warm and to catch him when needed if he's in a smaller space and reduce any stress he's under.
Besides from items in their cage, you have to be careful of anything your budgie might chew on when they are out, and they can go for fibres on items that they're not supposed to be chewing on at all- which is why we advocate that budgies should only be allowed out under supervision (I'm not implying this has happened with you, this is just an aside for all forum members).
He is staying in his regular cage, mainly because that's what we have and what he's comfortable with, but you make a great point about it making it easier to catch him—I'm going to think about that. I know that removing perches and toys can help.
If there is an emergency exotic vet in the area who is familiar with treating small birds, then I'd recommend getting an appointment with that individual until you can get your budgie into your regular vet.
Crop impaction is a very serious issue and is often addressed posts on the forum where members are advised never to use fabric tents or huts in their cages. Dangers of Rope and Tasseled toys are addressed in this link:
My only other cage option is a 5.5" high x 9" long x 5.5 wide. In that cage, they can just about turn around. It would make it easier to catch him.
Thanks for the Guardian Angel recipe. Here's my thinking:
If his gizzard is blocked and he is throwing up undigested seed (which he has), more solid food may make the gizzard harder to flush.
If so, then liquids are the way to go—I see signs that they are getting through.
Again, if so, then calories count. Apple juice is 113 calories/cup. Guardian Angle from the recipe is 128 calories/4 cups or 32 calories/cup. So, adding 1/8 teaspoon salt/cup of apple juice (same ratio as in G.A.) seems like a better option.
I'm not trying to be argumentative, just trying to do the right thing. I make enough mistakes as it is.
Someday, I'm going to try to wade through all the various nooks and crannies that contain this forum's advice and see if I can put it all together. I do wish I had seen that sooner.
Thanks. I appreciate your advice (even if it doesn't sound like it). Trust me, my stress level is through the roof right now, worrying about whether whatever I do will be the wrong thing. Research on the web provided no information as to whether regular feeding (as opposed to the special crop needle treatment) would be good or bad.
So here's my current "wrong" approach:
He's in the little travel cage. He's not very comfortable there and has been more active than I've seen him all day. The theory is that he'll be easier to catch (less stress), but the small cage is currently adding stress. He may settle down. Not sure if this was a good decision or not.
I decide to go ahead an clip on a millet spray soaked in apple juice. If he throws it up, it's not a big problem. My only concern was that it would clog up the gizzard. He chose to eat a bit of it, the first active attempt at feeding on his own. If it goes through, it will be very reassuring. Since he has gone through episodes where he acts totally ill and episodes where he seems completely normal, perhaps something is shifting around inside so he is alternately blocked and not blocked and he may enter a not-blocked phase and get some stuff through his system.
We're watching him to see if he'll drink on his own. Then we won't have to catch him.
One big advantage of the small cage is that his food and water is practically in his face. It seems to have made a difference. My offering him food was not effective.
We are also still trying to see if we can find a vet who can help more than hurt. Supposedly, we'll get a call back around 4 PM.
My parakeet, Kiwi, went from death's doorstep to perky bird around the time we moved him from his big cage to the small travel cage. He went from refusing to eat or drink to stuffing himself with millet and drinking on his own.
He looked fine this morning, but after going through several episodes of his Jekyll/Hyde behavior over the last week, I took him to the vet anyway, where he continues to puzzle. His digestive system is working like a champ, he has no blockages, no (obvious) tumors, no twists. She did an X-ray. He did show up with mold from the millet spray—the vet says she is seeing a lot more of that this days and that's it's hard to find good millet sprays. However, he didn't get any sprays until around the time he started acting better.
The last time he was in, a few days ago, he had no mold, so it's not the cause of whatever his problem is. Because of the Jekyll/Hyde changes, I decided to leave him at the vet's for observation. If he stays good for a few days, we can probably assume he will stay OK when we bring him home. If not, well, we'll at least know he's still got whatever he's got.
Thanks for all the help and advice. Feel free to move this thread out of the "Emergency Room" forum.
P.S. The millet is in the trash. Anyone know a reliable source of millet sprays?
Given that he's gone through sick/healthy/sick/healthy cycles averaging around 12 hours, I left him at the vet's for a few days. He did well and is now home and also doing well.
The moldy millet spray is gone, any toys with twine are gone, and a wooden toy that he liked to chew on is gone. The last one should be OK, but I'm not taking chances.
Our diagnosis, as usual, was wrong. He didn't have a blocked gizzard. The vet says there are a lot of different types of molds and a lot of different reactions to them from different birds. In any case, I'm glad I heeded FaeryBee's advice to give him seed--even if it was, as it turned out, the moldy millet spray that he went for.
Wouldn't it be nice if there were a device like on Star Trek that you could wave over a bird and it would give you an immediate diagnosis?
Thanks for all help! I think (hope) we can consider this bout of problems gone. This is the first time Kiwi has had problems since we got him. And his first illness happened a few days after our other parakeet died, so we have been hyper-attentive to Kiwi. I don't know if I make a good parakeet owner--every bird that's died on me has completely traumatized me. It's been almost a year since my favorite, Shadow, died and I can still replay her last hours as though they happened yesterday.
For anyone peeking at this thread who doesn't already know, I composed a piece of music to celebrate Shadow's life. You can hear it at Shadow--Celebration of a Life.