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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Water Organism Bird Plant Wing

(Image attached is admittedly a poor angle but the only one I have. Hopefully you can see what I’m talking about)

I have a two-year old (M) budgie. About a week ago, we purchased some oat grain that was advertised as being budgie safe and I started sprinkling it into his food as a treat—we believe the oats were contaminated and he got ill as a result, loosing a lot of weight. We took him to the specialist, and they kept him for observation for the day. When we got him back last night, I noticed his feet were curled tightly, and he could not walk. They seemed unresponsive.

I gently studied them, and stretched them as carefully as I could and moved them a bit, hoping he was just stiff. It did not help much, and one of the people I live with suggested that maybe he was paralysed.

This morning he was a bit different. Instead of curled tight, his… claws? Fingers? Were stretched out, but bunched together, and he still couldn’t walk.

Could this be a permanent issue? If so, I’m confident in my ability to rearrange his cage to accommodate him (advice welcomed all the same) and I am not about to give him away just because he can’t walk. He is able to fly—he tried to get on my shoulder when I first took him out.

Additionally, what sorts of things could I try to help him regain full or partial motion? Could this be because of the weight loss or might it be something else?

TL;DR: Young budgie got ill and lost weight. Is in recovery and seems fine except for his feet, which aren’t functioning correctly. Any advice/experience is helpful
 

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Poor baby, what was the diagnosis by the vet? Why would the vet release him in that condition? It seems to me to be a neurological issue, but if it is, the question is caused by what? If anything internally is pressing on the nerves in the spine that lead to the feet and legs, that can cause various symptoms. Was any blood work or x-rays done?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Poor baby, what was the diagnosis by the vet? Why would the vet release him in that condition? It seems to me to be a neurological issue, but if it is, the question is caused by what? If anything internally is pressing on the nerves in the spine that lead to the feet and legs, that can cause various symptoms. Was any blood work or x-rays done?
We went to an avian specialist—diagnosis was that he had digestion/stomach issues that kept him from wanting to eat (is now eating fine). It was proposed by my roommate that it was a spinal injury causing the feet thing, but nobody in the house recalls him having any rough landings for the past six months and he’s a pretty good flier—he still could have gotten hurt but nobody has any idea of how long ago it might have happened.

We were advised against bloodwork as he’s underweight at the moment (due to stomach issue mentioned above) and they offered radiography but it was far too expensive for our finances. So we refrained from those options. I‘m going to be driving to a bird shop after work (they do rescue work and such) and seeing if they have any idea what it could be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
He lost 20% of his previous recorded weight. He was previously around 40 grams. I’m terrible at math, so I’m not even going to try and calculate that out of fear of giving the wrong number. I was told by the vet on our last checkup (eight months ago) that he was at a healthy weight then (40 grams).
 

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If he lost 20% of 40 then he would weigh 32 grams now, that is not generally too thin, but to have an abrupt weight loss of 8 grams is concerning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If he lost 20% of 40 then he would weigh 32 grams now, that is not generally too thin, but to have an abrupt weight loss of 8 grams is concerning.
He was prescribed Metacam (orally) and we administered the first dose this afternoon. He seemed irritated by it to say the least, and we think it made him drowsy (has eaten very little since despite eating consistently throughout the day). By the time I got back from work, the bird place I previously mentioned was closed. I called anyway, and left a message. Right now, I’m mostly concerned about his breathing—are there any positions that would make breathing harder or easier for him?

Sorry for all the questions; I haven’t been able to contact the vet again—they are calling us tomorrow to check on him, and we plan to ask many questions then—and I’m a naturally anxious person. While family members have kept birds (including budiges) before, they have never encountered such a situation, much less recently.

If needed, I can provide pictures of him at this point in time (including of his feet in better quality, since while that is still a worry of mine, I’m much less concerned about it as opposed to his breathing which seems to take effort) if that might help you advise. Thanks so much for your time, it really does mean a lot.
 

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I have administered Metacam many many times for different issues and have never had it make any bird drowsy, was it a struggle to get him to take it, if so maybe the drowsiness was a result of being stressed. The difficulty breathing is troubling, when did this start and what exactly is he doing, is he open mouth breathing? Is there any noise like squeaking when he breathes or do you just notice the breathing is labored? If there is any internal swelling it can displace the space that the air sacs need and that can result in breathing issues, I would keep him warm and quiet until you can speak to the vet. Please keep us posted on his condition.
 

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I'm so very sorry your little fellow is experiencing such problems.

Cody has given you excellent advice. I would be concerned about his breathing and definitely let the vet know the current status.

In the meantime, you can use a warm mist humidifier in the room with him. If you have 100% pure eucalyptus essential oil, put a drop or two of that in the water, as that will also help to clear the airways so the budgie is better able to breathe.

If you do not have a warm mist humidifier, you can put your budgie’s cage in the bathroom when you run hot water through the shower so the cage is in the hot steamy air -- that will help open the airways.

Another option is to tent the cage with a sheet and place a pot or kettle of boiling water under the sheet where your budgie is unable to touch it and allow the steam to accumulate that way.

I hope the vet is able to get to the source of the problems and your little boy (name?) has a full and speedy recovery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
His breathing is mostly just concerning in general. It is not gasping or causing any noise, but it does seem to take effort for him to breathe—we’re not sure if that’s us being helicopter parents or if that’s just how he looks when he breathes (none of us can remember). We don’t have a humidifier of any sort, but we can try the suggested bathroom-warm water-steam idea. He made it through another night and mostly just seems chilly this morning, so we’re going to heat up a beanbag to a safe temperature and let him rest on that (something we’ve been doing off and on that he seems to enjoy).

It could be the stress from the medicine that caused him to stop eating although we also theorized at one point that it might be the taste, as he is a picky eater. He is eating now (second morning since vet trip) and we plan to give him the medicine this afternoon once we’re sure he’s ate enough. Feet are still nonfuctional and while he can move about it involves a lot of flailing and general annoyance from him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Will he allow you to massage his feet gently?
Moving the feet and the toes may help him to regain use of them if it does not cause him pain.

You can try giving him Guardian Angel or Pedialyte to encourage him to eat.
Guardian Angel//Pedialyte//Pedialyte Recipe


Remedial Solutions for Birds with Disabilities
I have been able to move his feet to a degree. The angle they are at makes it difficult to do so unless I want to place him on his back (which I have not done out of fear of making things worse). I have spread the digits of his feet gently, and stretched the leg overall and moved it to its basic range of motion to try and encourage movement. No changes have been observed at this moment when it comes to the feet

We don’t have any electrolyte solutions—looking at the provided link, I think we can make our own, however, and will attempt to do so and see if that helps any. Is there a limit to how much we should allow him to have? I know that rapid weight gain or the introduction of too much food in starving humans can cause a negative reaction in us, but am unsure if it is the same for birds.
 

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You can soak a millet spray in the solution and give him a few little balls of the millet.

You can also use the electrolyte solution in place of his water for a day or two to see if that will stimulate his appetite for his regular food.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Have you informed the vet about the feet issues?
I’m waiting for their follow-up call—it should be coming any moment now. I managed to check in at the avian store I spoke of earlier and provided information and pictures of the situation. They advised me to lower his medication dosage which I’m going to be asking the vet about when they call me back. He’s breathing much easier now and seems quite perky. We made a hammock for him out of a clean face mask for him to rest in (the hope is that it will provide support to most of his body without there being any hard surfaces that might dig into him and restrict breathing or movement. He really seems to like this idea of a hammock. Overall, he seems to be much better then yesterday, or even this morning.

(The red light in the image is his heat lamp; it’s advertised for reptiles but we couldn’t find any for birds and the vet approved it when we first brought him in when we first got him.)
Amber Automotive lighting Orange Kitchen utensil Gas
 

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Is the light a heat lamp or a full spectrum lamp?
I'm only asking because too much full spectrum light is not good for budgies.

Have you heard back from the veternarian yet?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
He passed last night. I had brought him out of his cage as he kept attempting to get out and failing, and I played some budgie sounds in hopes of cheering him up. He passed almost immediately afterwards.

My roommate took measurements and is constructing a wooden box. We plan to burry him outside my window when the ground is soft enough in spring—

Thanks to everyone who offered advice over the past few days, and who helped me care for him before his passing. I’m going to probably make a memorial post with photographs soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Is the light a heat lamp or a full spectrum lamp?
I'm only asking because too much full spectrum light is not good for budgies.

Have you heard back from the veternarian yet?
As I plan to get another budgie in the future, I checked over the packaging for the spare bulbs we have for the lamp (as they tend to randomly die without warning). I can’t see anything about full spectrum? It’s advertised for reptiles since we couldn’t find one for birds, and claims to be “Infrared Basking Spot” (50w). It’s from Exo Terra. I’ve checked the alternate langauges on the packaging that I can read and none of them translate to anything that could indicate that to me.
 
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