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.
I'm sorry to post most frequently when things go wrong/I'm nervous about my babies health.
Anyway, I have two budgies, Petrie and Caesar. They both went to the avian vet a month ago, and got clean bills of health. They've always been shredders, I buy them a new shredding toy every month... but apparently nothing beats newspaper, and they are constantly trying to shred it. Recently, I caught Caesar actually eating the paper (I actually saw him chewing a piece and then not dropping it or spitting it back up). Usually there's a pile of shredded newspaper when I go to clean the cage... so I don't think they've always eaten it. But yesterday, when I was at work they made a large hole in the paper, and there wasn't much shredded bits around the cage floor.
So this morning Caesar (the main paper eater) is very ill and was throwing up . He has had runny almost pure liquid poops, and I've seen drink a few times but not eat (which is probably why he stopped throwing up). He's perched normally and has been trying to sleep all morning... his breathing seems a bit labored and there's some minor tail bobbing.
Here's the main dilemma:
My normal (avian) vet office is closing early today, and said they can't see him until tomorrow. I'm debating maybe going to the emergency vet just in case it is really serious, but the last time I took one of my birds to the emergency vet (because he cut his eye) I really was not impressed. The vets that see exotics there are not avian certified and I swear the vet did not know how to properly hold a budgie.
I called my avian vet (the one that cannot see him until tomorrow morning) about whether or not I should give him antibiotics (I have water soluble doxycycline in the fridge for emergencies), and I'm currently waiting for them to call me back with their recommendation (hopefully they will call me back, the receptionist said the vet that there right now is extremely busy).
I guess I'm wondering what else I should do...
1) Should I take him to the emergency (non-avian) vet? I don't want to stress him out if they can't really treat him at all. And my avian vet did say they can squeeze me in tomorrow morning. He is clearly sick, but not bottom-of-the-cage-extremely-labored-breathing-and-tail-bobbing sick (he's still preening and moving around, occasionally going to take a sip of water. Just not eating or playing).
My partner thinks I "overreact" when anything is amiss with the feather babies (which could be true, see: all my other posts on this forum). I don't know, is it okay to wait a day before seeing a vet (if it means getting an actual avian vet)?
2) I don't think its infection because the other (non-paper eating) bird is 100% normal. But if the vet doesn't call me back should I still give the doxycycline? Antibiotics can't hurt them, right?
3) I've heard people recommend pedialyte in the past to make sure a bird stays hydrated. Is there any harm in both birds drinking that for a day? Can it hurt?
Sorry for the length of this post. Thanks in advance to the whole talk budgies community. I'm so glad something like this exists (for these stressful moments and for the good/cute stuff).
p.s. I've learned my lesson, if it is "food" poisoning, no more newspaper in the bottom of the cage, or back to using a grate (I had a handicapped budgie years ago who couldn't really walk on grated surfaces... so I abandoned them in fear that she'd hurt herself. But these boys are normally very healthy and would probably not hurt their little feet). I have plain paper towel down there right now.
This is a tough call. Personally, were it my bird and knowing I had an appointment with the avian vet the next day, I wouldn't bring him to a non-avian vet. The combined stress and illness might be a lot for the poor budgie.
Definitely do whatever your avian vet says once you can talk to them. Don't listen to your partner. Avian illnesses should always be taken very seriously because birds are delicate and their signs of illness are usually very subtle. When it's this obvious, there is a major cause for concern.
Thanks for the quick advice! I'm real practiced at ignoring my partner , so he never actually stops me from obsessing over my babies and taking them to the vet.
It turns out, the vet "who is willing to see exotics" at the emergency place was not there today anyway. So my only choice is waiting for my morning vet appointment or driving about an hour out of town (maybe two hours because its Friday rush hour) to an office I've never been to before.
I've gotten him to drink a bit more by offering him his bath cup (its a weird quirk he never actually bathes like the other bird, but he does love to just sip the water) and he's eaten a small amount of food. No more throwing up, but the droppings are still runny/white and I definitely saw him strain a few times when trying to poop. His vent area is pretty gross looking too.
I'm starting to suspect it is an infection after all (crop or probably intestinal), I wish I could do more for him! Somebody from my avian vet's office did call me back and told me to not proceed with any antibiotic until they can test for specific bacterial strains... which makes sense, don't want to create super-strain that requires stronger antibiotics.
Hope everything turns out alright tomorrow. My first thought is that maybe there is some sort of blockage or partial blockage from eating the newspaper if the vomiting and runny poops have just occurred after he ingested it. Is there any fecal portion to the droppings or is it all just the urate/ urine portion?
Thanks all! The morning can't come soon enough. A quick update: He did eat a little more , and passed a few poops that had some fecal.
Seems like the pooping is bothering him a lot though. I don't see any solid matter clumped together, but he seems a little swollen, keeps picking at his butt, and still strains when he poos. Maybe eating a bunch of newspaper did cause some sort of blockage... or it's swollen because of an infection.
How important is it to keep the vent clean overnight? I don't want to bother/stress him out, especially now that he's eating a bit more. If this were my other bird it would be no issue, I could easily hold him in his bath (or he'd hop in there himself), he's very tame. But Caesar, while pretty tame, doesn't like being held. It really stresses him. If I don't see any solid blockage, there's no need to try to soak it or clean it, right?
I did end up soaking his bottom last night in some warm water, I'm glad I did. Not only did it clean up his vent but right afterwards (and also in the bath) he passed some really big poops (sorry this post is soooooo gross).
Anyway, this morning he seemed a million times better, was chirping and flying and nibbled on food. Poops had both fecal and urine again, though still pretty runny.
I decided to take him to the vet regardless because I wanted them to do a gram test to make sure it wasn't an infection. She said his poop tested fine, though she can tell its still full of paper. No noticeable swelling this morning, he's getting most of it out because she mentioned the paper fragments are very small.
So a cautionary tale I suppose about birds who don't just shred, but eat what they shred! The vet couldn't figure out why he was throwing up though, unless there were a few bits still stuck in his crop or the ink left a bad taste. As I write this post the little troublemaker is trying to now shred (and probably eat!) the paper towel that lines the cage today. So I guess I'll start putting the grate in.