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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Help budgie fellows: my budgie Chichak has been lifting one of his legs for about three weeks now. He has been to the avian vet twice (as soon as the issue manifested and a week later for a follow-up) and was examined by two different doctors. They confirmed that the leg was not broken and pain medication was prescribed. I gave the meds for two weeks.

The second vet prescribed cage rest a week ago and Chichak has been confined to his cage since. He has a good apetite and is able to get around the cage without any problems (I have reconfigured it so all perches are on the same level to minimize jumping and hopping). He preens frequently. He is certainly not getting worse but I'm not sure he's getting better either.

The vet has said to return for an x-ray to look for internal issues, but I'm very reluctant to go this route. The x-ray would be enormously stressful for such a delicate, little bird and the issues they would be looking for would be either untreatable or highly unlikely (tumors/inoperable, enlarged fatty liver/highly unlikely - he weighs 34 grams and eats a healthy mix of pellets and veggies and a limited quantity of seeds, kidney problems/highly unlikely - his poops are perfectly normal, intestinal infection/highly unlikely given his good apetite and good poops and overall good condition three weeks since the foot issue manifested). I don't want to put my birdie through this procedure for no good reason.

In your experience, how long can it take for a sprained leg/foot to heal? I want to give Chicak more time to heal before doing anything more radical.

Thank you!
 

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I do know that sprains and strains in humans can take a long time to heal and can be more painful than a fracture. So it wouldn't surprise me if there are similarities. Since the injured side will be favored I would be keeping an eye out for discomfort on the unaffected side. I can only give you the human perspective and the staff here will give you far superior advice 馃挋!
 

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It might be helpful to have the bird on a low dose of Meloxicam (Metacam) for an extended period of time, it is an anti inflammatory as well as a pain med. I understand about the x-ray, when something comes up with my birds for which various stressful tests are suggested, I always ask the vet what the treatment would be if this or that was diagnosed, before making a decision.
 

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It might be helpful to have the bird on a low dose of Meloxicam (Metacam) for an extended period of time, it is an anti inflammatory as well as a pain med. I understand about the x-ray, when something comes up with my birds for which various stressful tests are suggested, I always ask the vet what the treatment would be if this or that was diagnosed, before making a decision.
I like the idea of asking about treatments before stressful test are done. Would I be correct that if a certain diagnosis would not be treated or impact health or wellbeing that you might decline that test, at the time anyway?
 

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I like the idea of asking about treatments before stressful test are done. Would I be correct that if a certain diagnosis would not be treated or impact health or wellbeing that you might decline that test, at the time anyway?
Yes, with my vets, they usually have a pretty good idea of what they are looking for, so I first ask if there is a treatment that can be tried, based on what is suspected, to see if anything changes, as long as the treatment is not harmful. In the case of tumors there is not really any treatment other than removal of the tumor which is not always possible. Each case has to be looked at individually and the condition of the bird taken into account.
 

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Yes, with my vets, they usually have a pretty good idea of what they are looking for, so I first ask if there is a treatment that can be tried, based on what is suspected, to see if anything changes, as long as the treatment is not harmful. In the case of tumors there is not really any treatment other than removal of the tumor which is not always possible. Each case has to be looked at individually and the condition of the bird taken into account.
I will bear this in mind at our vet visits. And as you said, the vet should have an idea as to what he's looking for. Also a great motivation to learn as much as we can! I'll add, NOT to self diagnose but to have the ability to ask intelligent, relative questions!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That's an interesting idea: to ask about the possibility of giving treatment for suspected causes (if the treatment is not harmful) without actually doing stressful tests. I will definitely ask about this.

I stopped giving Meloxicam after two weeks as Chichak was doing such acrobatics to escape being caught (hanging off the walls of the cage, twisting around quickly, etc.) that I sincerely felt that this posed a greater risk of further injuring his leg than the risks of stopping the medication. The Meloxicam did not seem to improve his situation while he was on it (he was lifting his leg just as much) nor did his behaviour change after I stopped it. I do put a bit of it in his water in the morning, but I'm not sure how much of it gets ingested.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
It was 0.04 ml but giving the med was so stressful for Chichak that I abandoned it after two weeks. I was hoping that he would get used to being handled, but it seemed like his fear was just growing and he became extremely anxious whenever my hand would come anywhere near his cage (he is normally a friendly bird who comes on my hand). He would scream and struggle throughout the process and it really made me feel like I was torturing him. I was also afraid that he would injure himself by trying to escape being caught.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Update: Chicak seems to be doing better at last: uses his beak less to balance himself on the perches when turning around, is able to stand on the injured leg while scratching himself with the other one, and is also starting to be able to balance himself on the injured leg while stretching his other leg. He seems to be putting more weight on the injured leg too, which I noticed when he came on my hand for some millet yesterday. I am beyond relieved! If he continues like this, I will be cancelling next week's x-ray appointment. It certainly seems to be a long road to healing. It has been four weeks since he began lifting his foot and he has been in cage quarantine for just over two.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I took Chichak back to the vet this afternoon for further diagnostics as it had been a month since he had been lifting his foot and the improvements I thought I was seeing turned out to be inconsistent (he'd be able to do something and then later not being able to do it again).

We did a contrast x-ray which revealed some enlargment in the the kidney and reproductive organ area (pressing on the schiatic nerve). The vet recommended a blood test for his kidney function and we did that too. Results will be in tomorrow. If the kidneys are fine, it's the reproductive organs and he would probably get hormone injections once a month (I believe they supress estrogen production which may reduce the enlargment). If it's a kidney problem, they will give me mored details later.

Updates coming in the next couple of days...
 

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I have had both issues occur with birds I have had and in both cases the nerves to the leg and foot were effected. With the reproductive issue he was given periodic Lupron injections and was on Metacam long term, it did help to restore the functioning of his leg and foot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It鈥檚 bad news unfortunately鈥 Chichak鈥檚 blood test showed abnormally high levels of the enzyme amylase. The vet said it means he has a serious pancreas condition and probably only a few months left to live. There is no cure. They have recommended two weeks of antibiotics in case of accompanying infection but it鈥檚 not curative. They are also recommending Meloxicam for pain/inflammation until he passes away and an Omega 3 supplement to support kidney function and thus elimination of amylase. I am heartbroken鈥
 

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So sorry to hear this, did the vet say how this affects the leg and foot issues? Do you know how high the amylase levels are? Sometimes with pancreatic issues there is a problem being able to breakdown food and enzyme supplements are needed, did the vet say anything about that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
They believe that it is the enlarged pancreas or a tumor on the pancreas that is causing pressure on the leg nerve. His amylase was 3,000. The normal upper limit is 600. The only thing that changed in his life in the last five months is that I switched 50% of his diet to (high quality) pellets. I am wondering if this had something to do with his decline and am considering abandoning the pellets altogether to see if it makes any difference. Has anyone else had the experience of their budgie falling seriously ill after being given a pellet diet for a few months?

No, the vet did not say anything about enzyme supplements. They said that he has a critical and non-curable pancreatic condition. It was the severity of the elevation of amylase that made them reach this conclusion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you so much everyone for your kind words and advice. I have stopped all palliative medication and am focusing on giving Chichak the best quality of life in the time he has left. I have eliminated pellets from his diet (perhaps a coincidence, but he fell ill five months after I had introduced them into his diet), and have introduced camomile and decaffeinated green tea (good for kidneys, pancreas and tumours apparently) every other day. I am also giving him a digestive enzyme and probiotics. Leafy greens and other veggies continue to be a part of his daily diet.

Chichak is doing pretty well. He still limps/lifts his leg and I have noticed a lot more water in his poo over the past week (kidneys probably failing鈥), but he is still active and happy: comes out to play every day, flies around (less than before but still), sings and chirps, preens and cuddles with my other budgie. He has a good appetite and demands treats.

It was a difficult decision to stop giving palliative meds but seeing how well he鈥檚 doing, I am glad I made that choice. He was undergoing so much stress in being captured and forced to take medication twice a day, that I sincerely felt that this would precipitate his decline. I spoke to the vet twice to make absolutely sure than none of the meds she had prescribed were curative. They were not.

When I feel that Chichak is no longer enjoying his life, I will likely have him put to sleep so that he does not experience any prolonged suffering. I do dread the idea of that final vet visit because he is so frightened to go there鈥 I wouldn鈥檛 want his last hour to be panic and fear. Does anyone have any advice on this please?

I feel grateful for this additional time we鈥檝e been given and that I am slowly rebuilding the trust I lost while I was catching him and forcing medication into his beak. The other day he came on my hand to eat millet for the first time in weeks. It made me very happy to know that he feels safe agin.
 

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Thank you so much everyone for your kind words and advice. I have stopped all palliative medication and am focusing on giving Chichak the best quality of life in the time he has left. I have eliminated pellets from his diet (perhaps a coincidence, but he fell ill five months after I had introduced them into his diet), and have introduced camomile and decaffeinated green tea (good for kidneys, pancreas and tumours apparently) every other day. I am also giving him a digestive enzyme and probiotics. Leafy greens and other veggies continue to be a part of his daily diet.

Chichak is doing pretty well. He still limps/lifts his leg and I have noticed a lot more water in his poo over the past week (kidneys probably failing鈥), but he is still active and happy: comes out to play every day, flies around (less than before but still), sings and chirps, preens and cuddles with my other budgie. He has a good appetite and demands treats.

It was a difficult decision to stop giving palliative meds but seeing how well he鈥檚 doing, I am glad I made that choice. He was undergoing so much stress in being captured and forced to take medication twice a day, that I sincerely felt that this would precipitate his decline. I spoke to the vet twice to make absolutely sure than none of the meds she had prescribed were curative. They were not.

When I feel that Chichak is no longer enjoying his life, I will likely have him put to sleep so that he does not experience any prolonged suffering. I do dread the idea of that final vet visit because he is so frightened to go there鈥 I wouldn鈥檛 want his last hour to be panic and fear. Does anyone have any advice on this please?

I feel grateful for this additional time we鈥檝e been given and that I am slowly rebuilding the trust I lost while I was catching him and forcing medication into his beak. The other day he came on my hand to eat millet for the first time in weeks. It made me very happy to know that he feels safe agin.
How difficult this must be for you. I understand the decision to stop the meds. My previous sweet boy Vern, was on many courses of meds and it broke my heart to have to push that foul tasting (from what I understsnd) med into his mouth. You end up feeling like the evil ogre for doing it. If the meds aren't helping, removing the trauma of not just giving the meds, but restraining him to do so. I imagine their instincts must tell them they have been trapped by a predator. It sounds like you've made a choice to put his happiness before your own sadness, and that truly defines love. My thoughts are with you!
 

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Most veterinarians are very aware of how traumatic it is for an animal to be at the clinic.
Generally, the bird is put in a little chamber and a gas is introduced very slowly until the bird goes to sleep.
After that, the level of the gas is increased until the little one moves on in its journey to the Rainbow Bridge.

I've had to have many of my beloved pets euthanized.
It truly is the most selfless act of love you can give when the time comes that your little one is in constant pain/suffering or has no quality of life

You are in my thoughts and prayers. If you wish to correspond via Private Conversation, please feel free to do so.
 
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