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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of my budgies, Dib, (7 yrs old) has had a reoccurring bruise showing up on his beak for the past few months, and I've also noticed his upper beak starting to look overgrown. Otherwise he acts mostly normal, still eating/socializing, his poop is normal from what i can tell
Bird Beak Feather Wing Perching bird

I talked to my vet today about him while at a checkup for one of my other birds and she immediately suggested bringing him in to check for liver disease. He is at higher risk since he's on a very seed heavy diet with occasional fruits and veggies like apples and celery (I've been trying to switch them to pellets but all of my babies are sooo picky馃檮) I managed to get an appointment for tomorrow but I'm extremely nervous!

For one, I'm worried about how manageable/effective the treatment for fatty liver/liver disease is, I've heard recovery go both ways. Plus, I'm not always home because I have college an hour away from my house.

Second, most likely he'll need a blood test to confirm a diagnosis tomorrow, and I've heard horror stories about blood tests in budgies and how dangerous it can be, especially if they do have liver disease.

I guess I'm mostly just looking for reassurance that tomorrow won't be as bad as my anxiety is saying it will be, but any advice on dealing with this is very very welcome!! 馃槵
 

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The bruise on the beak and the overgrowth are definitely a sign of a liver issue, liver issues can cause a problem with blood clotting and that is why you see the bruise on the beak, you can sometimes also see dark spots on the nails. If the vet wants to do bloodwork I would ask what they expect to discover since the symptoms already indicate a liver issue and unless it will influence what treatment is prescribed it may not be necessary. Milk thistle is commonly given for liver issues and losing weight is also helpful. I have had several birds over the years with various liver issues, one I had to take to the vet for beak trims every 2 weeks because it would grow so fast. Are you seeing an avian vet?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for the reply!! Yes, it is an avian vet (thankfully i found a very good one less than 30 minutes away as opposed to the old one I had to drive an hour to see!) I鈥檒l definitely ask about if the bloodwork would even be necessary, I鈥檇 much rather like to avoid it if i possibly can. With your past experience with liver disease, what did it mean for their quality of life going forward, and how effective was treatment usually? Also how often or did you ever end up doing the bloodwork for your birds to diagnose?
 

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Never was there any bloodwork done to diagnose, as it was obvious from outward signs that there was a liver problem and there would not have been a difference in treatment if it could have been determined if the issue was fatty liver or cancer. One of the birds I had with liver issues turned out to be cancer which was determined by a necropsy after he passed, from the first sign of liver issues to his death was only about 6 months, but the others which were not cancer lived for a couple of years + after first signs appeared with a good quality of life, all were on milk thistle and Metacam and one also took a bile acid called Ursodiol and an antibiotic when an infection was suspected. If you can get the weight down, that helps. Dib looks a bit chunky do you know his weight? If you do not have a gram scale it would be a good idea to get one so you can monitor his weight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I鈥檓 really sorry about your boy who passed to cancer, I know how hard loss to a misdiagnosis can be since thats how we lost Dib鈥檚 mother (vet thought it was a fatty tumor and she passed during surgery when it turned out to be a really nasty hernia) That鈥檚 good to hear about the rest of them living fairly normal healthy lives though, makes me feel a little better that this is manageable. We鈥檒l figure out his weight today at the vet, I do have a gram scale but all my birds are kind of skiddish so its hard to get them to step up to it usually. Do you have any advice for ways of getting his weight down?
 

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It was really not a misdiagnosis, it was apparent that there was something wrong involving the liver but just not obvious as to what it was. I lost Louie last year who is the one that had to go for the beak trims so often, it was not the liver issue that he passed from it was a tumor growing on the spine, had it not been for that, he would probably still be here, upon necropsy the vet said the liver did not look too bad, certainly not bad enough to have caused his demise. No one even suspected the tumor that was found, and the vet was very surprised that he was still able to stand given the fact that the tumor was pressing on the spinal nerves to the legs. To get the weight down you can restrict the seed to a small portion in the morning and another at night rather than allowing them to free feed, in the interim you can offer veggies and pellets if they will eat them and see if you can encourage more activity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Oh wow, I'm really sorry. I'm always so nervous about things like sudden tumors in my babies, especially as they're getting older. But thank you for the tip about feeding, I'm starting them on that today. I'll post an update after the vet visit. Thank you so so much for answering all my questions, I deeply appreciate it!!
 

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Good luck at the vet , if you are uncomfortable with anything they may want to do it is always best to ask why they feel it is necessary and can they proceed with some treatment without. Sometimes they want as much info as they can get but will not change the treatment plan, so why not try the treatment first.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So we did the vet visit and she confirmed that it is likely a liver issue. He's about 39 grams which she said could be attributed to a little fatty pocket he has on his chest (something she said she saw often in older budgies.) She gave him sedative and trimmed his beak which was fine, but, unfortunately she did also insist on a blood test since he had never been to a vet for any issues prior to now and really wanted to know if there was any possibility of any other factors than fatty liver. In hindsight I'm a bit upset about this, I don't think I'll ever take this risk again if it crops up in any of my other birds, but she took the absolute smallest amount of blood she could and held him to let him clot up for a few minutes and managed to stop the blood, she said it bruised a very small bit but overall it seemed like a successful blood draw. Also said same thing about having him on milk thistle and getting him on a better diet based on test results tomorrow.

However, I'm still quite nervous because she had said the reversal of the sedative should have had him back to normal within an hour after leaving the vet, but Dib was still woozy several hours later, so much so that he can't fly or jump to any perches around him well and because of that tried to mostly stay still. He still ate and drank (I had to help him to the water feeder) and attempted to socialize as best he could, but I'm afraid to leave him to go to bed tonight because of how prone he's been to falling (which obviously won't help the bruising issues he already has). He also took opportunities to bite me, which he has NEVER done to up this point, but that's most likely since he got handled in a way he's not used to combined with his dizziness. He's asleep right now with all of his siblings, he has his head tucked under his wing like normal which I take as a good sign, but I'm worried about his recovery. When should I start to really worry and call the vet about this? This slow/bad recovery shouldn't have anything to do with the blood draw should it?
 

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Sorry things turned out like this, I would be up all night watching over him as I have done many times with my own animals. If he is not back to normal in the morning I would call the vet. Some of it may be due to the stress of the whole thing. When I take my Linnies to the vet it takes them 24 hours to recover but they do not get any sedation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Will do, the avian vet at the hospital I go to has somewhat spotty availability towards the end of the week, but if it's bad I might consider going to the other hour away vet if there's no other option. I'm really hoping it's just stress. Thank you again for all the help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you guys so much for the support! Thankfully Dib was pretty much back to normal this morning, he was flying around and chirping and eating like usual! I also just got the lab results back definitely confirming fatty liver disease, but also high cholesterol and some dehydration. I鈥檓 calling the vet tomorrow with my specific questions about how to handle all this going forward tomorrow morning, but is there anything I can do in the mean time especially for his dehydration? I have noticed he doesn鈥檛 drink as often as his siblings.
 

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I am so glad to hear that he is OK, I was worried about him after his ordeal yesterday. Several of my birds showed a bit of dehydration at their annual exams which included CBC bloodwork. It was explained to me by my vet that the bird is nervous and will sometimes urinate during the time of transport and exam and they have no way to replenish the lost fluid during that period so it is not uncommon to see a small degree of dehydration, if it is other than a small degree then that is a different thing. Giving the electrolyte solution would be fine for him and it's ok if the others drink it as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yea, the slight dehydration at the vet makes a lot of sense. When we got back last night and he was woozy I know I did help him drink (he drank a good bit then) but I didn鈥檛 really see him drink too much today, so I鈥檒l try to get pedialyte or make that solution after I get back from class. Thank you guys again!
 
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