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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello and thank you! I've read the information and it's a great help. But a problem has come up with my youngest budgie (bought late February) and I'm not sure what's wrong. Since Thursday evening, he's been extremely lethargic and weak. Thursday was the worst as he just wouldn't move at all. Subsequent days were slightly better. He has a little more energy and shows interest if I say put broccoli in the cage. I see him preening from time to time. But he seems very weak. He sleeps constantly and stumbles easily and often while moving or even while preening and eating. His wings often tremble too. Some tail bobbing while he's sleeping, which is getting more pronounced late today.

The confusing part is besides this, there's been very little sign of illness. No discharge from the cere, the vent is clean, the poop looks normal. His feathers are bright and vibrant. He has an amazing appetite (I feed them Roudybush pellets with some Zupreem Pure Fun). When he's not sleeping, he's at the food bowls, and he eats much more than my other 3 budgies. When they go to eat, he easily spends 10-20 minutes more than the rest eating.

If I offer him millet, he instantly wakes up and eats longer than the rest. The last time I gave him millet, he stood on my hand and ate, though he stumbled on my hand and eventually went to a perch to eat where he seemed to be steadier. I've stopped giving them millet because I noticed one of my other budgies spit up bits of millet taken from the same bag (Kaytee), and on another day another budgie spit up millet too, so I'm wondering if there might have been a problem with the millet.

My other three budgies aren't showing any signs of illness like the youngest. They're happy and active as usual.

The youngest did go through a similar period in April, when I believe he was molting. I don't know if he's molting again. Lately there's been a lot of feathers around the cage, but I'm not sure if these belong to him or the others. I didn't take him to the vet back in April because he recovered much sooner and within a day was back to normal. Since then he has slept more than the rest while being a bit puffed up, but until Thursday, he didn't show any sign of weakness. Whenever he woke up, he was always alert and energetic, even if he slept more often. This was how it's been for months, again, until Thursday.

It was too late to call the vet when he started showing symptoms on Thursday, and Friday morning the secretary told me they wouldn't have an avian vet until Monday. The emergency clinic wouldn't have an avian vet until after Monday. So the plan is to call the usual vet first thing Monday. Still, I would really appreciate any insight or advice. Thank you very much and sorry for any bother.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There are so many possibilities here that a trip to the vet is the only way that you will get a diagnosis and proper treatment. A few things that come to mind in which you might see the lethargy, weakness and stumbling are heavy metal poisoning, electrolyte imbalance, dehydration, nutritional issues, kidney and liver issues, & pituitary tumor. Does he eat pellets only, what do the droppings look like? Are you able to keep him in a separate cage until the vet see him? Are you sure he is eating and not just picking?
Thank you very much! Yes, I thought as much. Symptoms for different problems seem so similar, so a vet visit is crucial here. But I figured it couldn't hurt to ask. It's torture watching him like this and not being able to do anything until I get him to the vet tomorrow.

I would doubt it's heavy metal poisoning. He hasn't been in contact with anything that could cause that. I'm not sure I understand electrolytic imbalance. Dehydration I would doubt. I think I've seen him drink, the food bowls are next to the water silos, but I don't have the clearest memory of seeing him drink, if I'm honest. I hope it isn't nutritional issues. All my budgies have had Roudybush mixed with Zupreem, and vegetables clipped to the cage. I usually alternate between carrots, broccoli, bell peppers, cilantro, and more rarely cabbage and lettuce. I haven't had luck convincing them to try fruits, so it's been mostly vegetables, and they all luckily love the vegetables, especially carrots, broccoli, and cilantro. I can't be totally sure he's eating when he's at the food bowls, though that's what it looks like to me. When I gave him millet, though, I clearly saw him eat, so if he's doing the same at the food bowls, then he's eating. As for tumors, hopefully I'll find out when I take him to the vet. Thank you for your advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Don't be concerned about him not eating fruits, they are high in sugar, the veggies are better anyway. Is he falling off of the perch? It would be a good idea to put a folded towel at the bottom of his cage and cover it with paper towels so if he falls it will be soft. Please keep us posted on his condition after the vet visit.
Yes, I was never too bothered about the fruits for that reason. He's not falling off the perch, thank goodness, but thank you, I'll do that.

Sorry about the double post! When I take him to the vet tomorrow, are there any specific tests I should ask for?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
That article is fantastic! I'll be sure to read it thoroughly before the vet visit. Thanks so much.

My only concern would be with drawing blood for a blood test. For larger birds it makes perfect sense, but I'd be concerned when dealing with as small and delicate a bird as a budgie. That seems like something to avoid, unless absolutely necessary. Same for any tests that require anesthesia. But in any case, I'm getting ahead of myself. It's likely best to wait and see what the vet says. A physical examination (hopefully) could be enough.

A final question. I've always read that budgies should get 12 hours of sleep or more to make sure they get enough rest and avoid becoming hormonal. I've always given them 10 to 12 hours of sleep, but there have been nights when I've been behind on my work and ended up putting them to bed past 10 pm, at times around 11 or 11:30, to wake up the next day at 10 or 11 am. I live with my parents and my father (rightfully) pointed out this was unnatural and possibly harmful for birds. I've tried recently to make sure I get them to bed earlier, but I'm worried that unusual schedule could be a factor. While my other three budgies seem completely unaffected, not every individual has the same constitution or resistance. Do you think this could have caused the problem? It's definitely something I need to mention to the vet, but I wanted to ask here as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you for the information! That makes me less nervous should any test be necessary.

Update: Just finished talking with the vet. Unfortunately, the secretary told me she was mistaken about the vet's schedule and that I should call Thursday morning in case they have an appointment. It's never been this hard to get an appointment with them before. Time to go on a Google search for other avian vets in the area, because I really don't want my budgie to wait that long.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you. Yes, I let the secretary know he's been quite ill and needed help urgently today. She was understanding and took my phone number in case someone cancelled, but they just didn't have an appointment today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It took calling about 10 clinics that either had an avian vet but were fully booked or said they had an avian vet on their websites but hadn't updated their websites to reflect that they didn't offer avian medicine anymore (and frankly admittedly my fault for not having a back up for situations like these), but I finally got my baby an appointment today for 4 pm.

I woke them up shortly after getting off the phone. He's still lethargic, weak and stumbling, which remains extremely worrying. But he shows interest in food. He went immediately to the food bowls and when I went to clip carrots to the cage, I tried bringing a piece of carrot close to him and he tried to nibble on it. He didn't bite down, but at least he showed interest. If I brought my finger close him, he would try to nibble softly on my finger, something he's done since he was much younger. After I finished clipping the carrots to the cage, he immediately went to the good bowls to eat. When he finished eating, he went up to a higher perch where he's been alternating between sleeping and preening, and very occasionally chirping softly. So still very worrying, but at least some hopeful signs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Thank you FaeryBee and Cody for all the great information. Sorry, I hadn't given the name! The youngest is Napoleon but we've taken to calling him Nepo at times.

I was very lucky to get an appointment today from a different avian vet. We just got back from the appointment. The vet asked similar question to what's been asked here, if he had eaten anything unusual like paint, if he had hit his head, if he had been in a fight with the other budgies. The vet did a physical exam and said she didn't notice anything unusual with his heart or lungs. Weight was 33 grams. Based on my description of the problem, the vet told us to keep him with the other birds. I do have a separate hospital cage just in case, but in view of the fact that she didn't notice anything potentially contagious, the vet advised us not to separate them and cause him more stress. She believes it may have something to do with the change of weather, as where we live it was relatively warm until recently when the temperature dropped very suddenly the last few days. The vet had said that, had she noticed anything in the exam, she would have suggested putting Napoleon in the hospital cage and administering Baytril in the water. Given that nothing showed up in the exam, she instead suggested adding Lafeber Avi-Era Powdered Bird Vitamins to all of their food. That could be quite good in addition to the pedialyte and egg food. I couldn't find it in local stores so I've ordered it online.

I completely forgot to ask the vet and just remembered now. The base of their diet is Roudybush Crumbles. I seem to remember reading on Roudybush's website that they don't want people adding vitamins to their food. Would LaFeber cause any problems? I don't think it would, especially as Napoleon is clearly under stress, but I thought it best to ask here where everyone likely has experience with these products. If necessary I'll call the clinic to be completely sure.

EDIT: Oh, I didn't notice I put this in the wrong forum! I should have noticed, it's really obvious now. I apologize for that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yes, I've always given them Roudybush for the pellets mixed with Zupreem Pure Fun for the seeds. In addition, I clip vegetables to their cage every day. I'm always trying to find new vegetables they might like, but currently I rotate between carrots, broccoli, cilantro, bell peppers, and more rarely, lettuce and cabbage, not for nutritional value but more just for the sake of variety and the mental stimulation of seeing something different. Carrots, broccoli, and cilantro are clear favorites, though. (I heard from a relative that cilantro might be too strong for budgies? Is there any truth to that?) I usually also give them a little millet every day for a couple minutes, though for the present I've paused that since I saw my two other budgies, on separate occasions, spit up after eating millet from one Kaytee bag. I threw out that bag, I can't prove anything but I was suspicious after two budgies spit up and one was under the weather. It can't hurt to buy a different bag later on.

I really can't believe I messed up this much. I brought the bag of Roudybush Crumbles and Zupreem Pure Fun with me to the clinic specifically to show the vet. A vet tech came and spoke to us first, and I did tell her about their diet and show her the bags. Where I messed up was not telling the same to the vet herself.

In any case, the Lafeber's will take a couple days to arrive. I'll call the clinic tomorrow to clarify, as they're closed now.

Thank you very much for your advice, it's greatly appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Thank you. Is there any kind of millet you would suggest? I'll limit how much they get as well.

EDIT: Do you recommend a specific brand of avian probiotics? I'm a bit wary just because there seem to be a lot and I don't know which are better than others. I'm considering Avi-Culture-2-PLUS, The Finest, Live, GMO-FREE, 100% ORGANIC, Avian-Specific Probiotic/Prebioic/Enzyme/Amino Acid Blend but I'm not sure.

A similar question: reading up on Roudybush shows me they also advise against having a cuttlebone in the cage when feeding Roudybush. This I hadn't heard about. I've had two cuttlebones in the cage forever, in part because I have two hens. They all, male and female, nibble on the cuttlebone, though sometimes they'll decide to eat quite a bit. Is this dangerous? I know one of my hens likely needed it. A couple weeks ago she decided to lay three eggs. I was suprised because I've tried to avoid anything that could make them hormonal, and because this specific hen had prior to laying the eggs never been with either of the males in the cage. The eggs predictably ended up being infertile and she promptly forgot about the eggs, but the extra calcium was probably needed at that time. But is having cuttlebones at other times dangerous in addition to the Roudybush diet?

Sorry for all the questions and thank you again!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Thank you very much for the recommendations!

As with the cuttlebone, I'm guessing it's also fine to give them vegetables in addition to Roudybush? Roudybush mentions on the website that you can add vegetables as a "minor" part of the diet. I was a bit worried. When one hen (Isabela) started laying infertile eggs, I knew I should supplement her diet but she's the most skittish of them all and I had never had any luck getting her to try egg food. However, since she already enjoyed vegetables, I decided to double up on the amount of vegetables clipped to the cage while she was laying the eggs in the hopes of getting her the additional nutrients she'd need. Specifically the carrots, since I've heard that broccoli is extremely nutritious but apparently can limit calcium absorption (the explanation I remember reading, is that broccoli has a substance which prevents the absorption of calcium from the broccoli itself but not calcium consumed from other foods, but I'm not entirely sure how true this is, there seems to be so much debate online about budgies eating broccoli and plants related to it). Isabela did eat more vegetables, which I hope was helpful, and since it was clipped to the cage, so did all the budgies. I'm wondering now if that might have been too many carrots to add to Roudybush? But then, none of the others exception Napoleon seemed to react badly to the increase in carrots.

I just got off the phone with the vet who saw Napoleon yesterday. It was a bit unusual to me that she didn't recognize Roudybush as a brand, but she looked it up online as we were talking. She couldn't find where it said not to add vitamins to Roudybush, only where it said that vitamins weren't needed, and I didn't have time to find the page during the short phone call. She didn't seem to think it would be a problem adding vitamins to Roudybush, but her suggestion was that, if I was worried about combining the vitamin and Roudybush, to switch them to Zupreem Pure Fun and the vitamins for a while. She thought a probiotic would be fine. Now I'm not sure about changing their diet when Napoleon is under the weather. I wonder if I should give him the Lafeber vitamins for a brief time, to see if Napoleon improves, and then stop to make sure they don't have a toxic overdose of vitamins.

EDIT: Zupreem Pure Fun and Roudybush have very similar vitamins. Has it been a mistake to mix these two?
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Thank you very much for your advice! I was surprised the vet didn't do more exams. At the time, she seemed concerned over how stressed Napoleon became during the physical exam, which might have affected her decision not to do exams given that physical exam didn't reveal any problems, for good or for bad. If I'm honest, it also affected my decision not to ask for more, because I've seen my oldest budgie once become ill from the stress of being transported to a very distant vet a few years ago. Napoleon was more active in the carrier than he had been during the day in the cage at home, but after the exam, he was clearly stressed energetic.

When we got home from the vet, and during today, Napoleon is minimally better. He's clearly more alert at times. Last night he watched me as I was cleaning the cage, something he didn't have the energy to do previous days. Today he spent most of the day sleeping with his beak under his wing, like previous days. And he still stumbles when he tries to preen or move about. Earlier, I noticed brief tail bobbing, but that stopped after about 2 pm. Having said that, I've also seen him awake and sitting on the highest perch, less fluffed up than previous days and more alert. I'm still very concerned, but there are positive signs.

Looking up ataxia online, I don't believe the vet meant that. She asked about injuries, but didn't focus on that once I told her he hadn't been injured. The vet moreso seemed to think the change in weather had been hard on him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 · (Edited)
Yes. Only a couple of the symptoms apply, though it might only need to be a couple to cause some illness or problem that in turn causes ataxia, so I didn't know what to think. It didn't seem like the vet meant ataxia, though.

From the page:
  • Standing with legs splayed wide for balance (No)
  • Using their beak to hang onto the cage or other objects to remain standing (No)
  • Uncoordinated movements of their head, wings or legs (Not of the head and wings, but definitely of the legs)
  • Lethargy or excessive sleepiness (Definitely)
  • Falling from their perch (No)
  • Difficulty breathing including stretching their neck and leaning forward to breathe, open mouth breathing, puffing out their cheeks with each breath or bobbing their tail with each breath (No, except for brief and occasional tail bobbing)
As for the weather explanation, I haven't heard about the weather causing illness either, though admittedly because illness from drafts and illness-like symptoms from sick molts occur, the explanation sounded plausible.

One ongoing positive sign with Napoleon is his appetite. He eats so much more than the rest. I've been watching more when he's at the food bowls and I don't think he's picking. He looks exactly like the other three when they eat, except for much longer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Thank you. I'll need to call the vet tomorrow when the clinic opens.

No, he's not overweight. When they weighed him on Monday, he was 33 grams, which seems normal for an Australian style budgie. He should be about 7 or 8 months old.

Today Napoleon was more or less the same, lethargic and unbalanced when he moves but as I'm writing this he's eating. This morning, the Lafeber vitamin powder arrived in the mail and I added a small amount (less than the instructions indicated) to the food bowls. I didn't want to add too much given the possibility of vitamin toxicity, but I don't think for a few days it will cause them any problems. The budgies seemed to notice something was different with food because they, particularly Napoleon, avoided the food bowls for a while before decided to eat like normal.

The probiotic was supposed to arrive today, but it seems it'll arrive tomorrow. When that comes, is adding it to the food fine?
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Thank you for asking. It's hard to say. When Nepo's awake, he does seem more alert than before. I saw him climb to the highest perch to play with one of toys, so that's good. He used to move from perch to perch by climbing, but recently I've seen him fly more often for brief periods.

But he's still... weak? He seems weak to me. If he's still, sleeping or standing still, or if he's flying, he has no problem balancing. But when he walks, whether along a perch or from food bowl to food bowl or to reach a toy or while preening, he'll stumble occasionally. After he stumbles a couple times, he'll fluff up and sit still for a bit. He's still lethargic and spends most of the day sleeping. Sometimes I see him on the lowest perch near the food bowls.

The vitamins arrived yesterday and the probiotics today, so I've been able to give him a little of both. Ever since I started adding these, he eats slightly less. I don't know if the vitamins and probiotic change the taste or if he is losing appetite. But because he normally eats so much more than the rest, he's gone from eating more than my other budgies to eating about the same as they do, except during the last meal before going to bed when he continues to eat significantly more, so I'm not worried about his appetite.

It is confusing because there are clear symptoms of something wrong between the lack of energy and general weakness, but absolutely no other signs of illness. No discharge from the cere, the poop is normal and the vent is clean, no sneezing, no difficulty breathing, and if his appetite decreased slightly, he still overall eats more than the rest. If I approach the cage with millet or vegetables, or even if I just replace the food in the bowls, he immediately becomes very attentive. So he does have some energy and clear interest in food. But it's just the sleepiness all day and the stumbling that are really confusing. I'm still trying to get in contact with the vet clinic to ask more about that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Thank you very much. I really appreciate all the help and well wishes. I'm going to try to contact the vet I visited on Monday again tomorrow. I tried making an appointment today with my usual vet, but no luck until next week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 · (Edited)
The clinic we went to on Monday said the vet who attended Napoleon would be working next Monday, so I'm calling again then. So far Napoleon is... I think minimally better? He's slightly more energetic, but still sleeps most of the day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
I appreciate all of the information! Without having spoken to the vet again, just based on her original comments, I think she interpreted his stumbling as a sign of general weakness that could have been provoked by various environmental factors, including possibly the change in weather.

Regarding gout, it would explain the stumbling. Reading about it, it seems both visceral and articular gout have unusual poop as a possible sign, but his is normal. Still something to consider.
 
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