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Go Back   Talk Budgies Forums > Budgie Talk > In Memory


In Memory Tributes and Memorials to Budgies which have moved on to the Rainbow Bridge
Thread Description:My efforts to nurse her back to health

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Old 01-04-2016, 10:43 PM
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Default Fighting to Save Shayne's Life // In Memory of Shayne

EDIT: OVARIAN CYSTS - PAGE 4

Part 1
(because the initial story is kinda long).

Shayne has been diagnosed with a fatty tumor. It is very large and is threatening her life. I wanted to start a thread to give updates of my efforts to save her. We've have made some of mistakes, so this thread is also to clue new budgie owners in so they don't make them.

In the picture below, Shayne is the yellow-face on the right. She still had her baby bars when we bought her, and being newbs, we thought she was a boy, until she grew into her brown nose. Sunny, also a female, is on the left (my picture frames are never straight). They are cage-free within the confines of of our office. I work from home a lot so we spend lots of time with them.

See Part 2.



Last edited by Dracorn; 11-13-2017 at 12:42 PM. Reason: Add reference to new issues on page 4
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Old 01-04-2016, 11:17 PM
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Part 2: Discovering the Problem.

On 12/22/15, 3-year-old Shayne laid 2 eggs. I had originally started a thread but I will summarize here.
https://talkbudgies.com/budgie-breedi...ng-female.html

I was worried that Shayne had not laid another egg, because she had what I thought was an "egg-belly." I was worried she might have an egg-binding problem, and I didn't know enough about it. I sent in pictures, and was advised that her belly didn't look right and that I should see a vet.

Shayne's Tumor, 12/27/15


Again, being a newbie, I Googled "bird vet," and found one in the next town (20 minutes drive). My husband and I took Shayne there. Understand, my husband just had surgery and the removed tissue had tested positive for cancer. We had just received the news that additional tests showed no more cancer in his body (thank God), but I was still emotionally frazzled and was very worried about Shayne.

It was a big mistake to go to this vet, because he was a regular vet even though he showed up on the list of bird vets, he had no idea what he was doing.
- They did a hack-job of clipping Shayne's wings only because they were afraid she would get away.
- He took an unnecessary x-ray and then admitted he didn't know what he was looking for.
- When she came back from the x-ray, she was terrified and it took 10 minutes to calm her down.

The lesson here: Call the vets and ask them questions, like what is the extent of treatments they can perform. If it's just clipping wings and nails, you need to find somebody else. You may also have to drive further, as there may not be many qualified avian vets in your area.

We did find a qualified avian vet (40 minute drive), who had been treating birds for 30 years. He handled Shayne without spooking her and diagnosed her quickly.

The Problem:
Because we thought it was an egg-belly, we didn't go to a vet earlier. We didn't notice it before the egg-laying. By the time we got her to the avian vet on 12/27, the tumor was already too big for the vet to operate - he didn't feel comfortable and said the operation could probably kill her. He said her lungs were being affected and gave us some antibiotic and instructed us to keep her warm. He also told us that a diet change will sometimes make the tumor shrink.

Diet Problem:
Shayne is a seed junkie and is very stubborn. Sunny does what Shayne does. Shayne's the smart one, and Sunny is my little dumb-dumb - think Pinky and the Brain. The only vegetable I have gotten them to accept is fresh peas. Shayne will nibble on other stuff but only because it is my food. Put it in a dish and they ignore it.

On 12/28, Shayne's breathing had become labored. She sat hunched over with her feathers fluffed up (but they looked ragged). She wasn't playing or singing and was sleeping a lot. I put a thermometer in the room and kept it from 68-75 degrees (it's amazing how 2 computers will heat up a room).

On the morning of 12/29, Shayne's sides were heaving and her breath had become rasping. Sunny started crying, a plaintive, mournful sound. My husband and I didn't expect her to live more than a few days. I beat myself up over it, but my friends here helped my align my perspective (thanks again).

However, a few hours after we gave her the morning medicine, Shayne started to perk up and her breathing eased a little, but we could still hear it.

See Part 3.

Last edited by Dracorn; 11-13-2017 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 01-04-2016, 11:45 PM
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Part 3: Diet

By today (1/4/16), Shayne's breathing has almost returned to normal. She is sitting upright and her energy has returned. We have hope now that Shayne has a chance... if only I can get this stubborn little seed junkie to eat other food.

I had been feeding them LaFaber's Nutri-Berries. My thinking was that this was better than plain seed - after all, the advertisement says, "all the nutrition of pellets."

I first tried Harrison's Natural pellets mixed with seed (per my vet's instructions). They devoured the seed and left the pellets.

Per the advice of FaeryBee, next I crushed the pellets and sprinkle that on the seed. Got some head shaking from the birds as they picked out the seed.

I picked up some ZuPreem fruit pellets, canary sized, and crushed those on top of the seed, and added some whole ones. After a couple of days, I did see them nibbling on some ZuPreem pellets, but they went nuts over the seed I gave them at night (fresh peas for lunch).

I called my vet today and he talked with some experts - these are bird-only vets about 1.5 hours or so from my home. They agreed that surgery would be tricky. My husband and I had already decided against that because we didn't want Shayne to be traumatized again and then die on the operating table. Also I have lots of medical bills and can't take on a large vet bill as well.

Per my vet's recommendation, I'm going to make an appointment this week to see the bird experts. He told me that they would have additional tips about changing Shayne's diet, as well as how long to administer the antibiotic.

OK, that's about it for the initial story. I'll send an update after we see the bird experts. I took another picture yesterday of Shayne's tumor, and it appeared to be the same size.
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Old 01-05-2016, 12:13 AM
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Thanks for the update - best of luck with the vet and i'm really glad Shayne is showing signs of improvement.
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Old 01-05-2016, 01:41 AM
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Poor wee Shayne. It sounds as if you are doing everything you can for her. i wish you the very best of luck in changing her diet. and I hope the visit with the bird experts gives you some positive news. I'm remembering wee Shayne in my prayers. She is a beautiful girl.
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Old 01-05-2016, 11:08 AM
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It's wonderful you are going to be getting some additional information from the Avian Vets. I hope they will be able to provide some additional tips for improving Shayne's diet and can give you an accurate prognosis with regard to the tumor.

I'm sending the very best wishes (and prayers) for Shayne to have a full recovery.
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Old 01-05-2016, 11:16 AM
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Praying for Shayne.....she definitely sounds like she's in good hands!
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Old 01-05-2016, 12:23 PM
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Thank's for sharing this ongoing struggle, it will help other's. Prayers for Shayne's recovery...
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Old 01-10-2016, 12:21 AM
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UPDATE:

On 1/8/16, we took Shayne to an expert. This isn't just a qualified avian vet, but a bird hospital, one of the few in the San Francisco Bay Area that specializes in birds only. It's an hour drive from our house.

Remarkably, between 12/29/15 and today, Shayne's swelling had nearly disappeared, and her breathing has returned to normal. She's back to her old, feisty self. I want to thank everyone for their prayers.

The vet, Dr. Fitzgerald of The Medical Center for Birds, located in Oakley, California is extremely knowledgable and has a wonderful bedside (birdside?) manner. She doesn't believe that Shayne has a fatty tumor at all, because the skin on her belly wasn't the right color to indicate that. Also, Shayne's weight has returned to a normal 36 grams (vs. 45 grams at Dr. Turner's office). The rapid recovery is indicative of distress and recovery from laying eggs.

Shayne may not have been egg bound, but possibly had trouble laying them. I didn't see the third egg until later and by then it had dried somewhat. Dr. Fitzgerald probed the vent (Shayne wasn't too happy about that), to see if perhaps there was the remnants of an egg shell that had not calcified yet. She didn't find one, although there was some blood and indications of inflammation inside the (sorry don't remember he scientific name) egg passage.

The respiratory distress could have been caused by a) the large belly pressing on Shayne's lungs, or b) a possible respiratory infection that may have been caused by throwing up. Shayne had eaten something in spring that made her sick and she threw up quite a bit, but she recovered in less than a day. In the case of the latter, the antibiotic cleared that up.

At this point, Dr. Fitzgerald sent us home with an anti-inflammatory which we will give to her for 4 days. We'll take her back in for a follow-up visit in 2 weeks.

CHANGE OF DIET
We still want to change Shayne's diet, but are not in a rush to do so. Here's a couple of suggestions Dr. Fitzgerald told us to try:

* Lay the Zupreem canary-sized fruit pellets on the table or a flat dish, and push them around with your finger. This makes birds curious because it sparks the foraging instinct, and they may try the pellets then.
(Shayne became bored with this rather quickly. She's too darn smart. If Shayne doesn't do it, Sunny won't either).

* Lay the pellets on a flat mirror. Budgies will be encouraged by seeing another bird eat the pellets.
(Not sure if this worked. After a couple of hours, there seemed to be less pellets on the mirror, but some were at the bottom of the cage, but maybe less than there was originally on the mirror? I didn't see them eat any because I had to leave to cook dinner, but I did see Sunny nibbling on the edge of the mirror.

DISCOURAGING BREEDING
Dr. Fitzgerald has heard of reducing the amount of light per day, but in her experience, that doesn't make much difference.
* Budgies take cues from behavior such as mutual grooming, beak nibbling, (even one female mounting the other) etc., to get their reproductive systems going. Doesn't matter if the other bird is female. Even too much cuddling with a human can set it off... so we were advised to "friendzone" our birds and don't get too cuddly.
* Separating two females just like doing so with a male and female is the most effective way to calm them down.
In our case, that means separate cages at night, and probably during the day while we are working, letting them out when we come home. I want to clarify with her if we wait until we see signs of the behavior or keep them separate all the time.

Again, I want to thank everybody who has helped me out, especially with my emotions.
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Old 01-10-2016, 12:33 AM
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What a huge relief. Haven't been on T.B in a while and I've got some catching up to do. (3087 posts. I'll be reading for a while) I'm glad Shayne is doing better! Best wishes to you and the ones around you!
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