I've had three birds pass in the last two years, each time the exact same story.
Absolutely no visible symptoms. No tail-bobbing, no sitting fluffed, interacting with other birds, flying, singing, everything normal budgies do. Eyes are clear and alert, bird's responsive.
The only HINT of any indication I might have is I might see them acting more responsive to food, and feeding after the others have finished or snacking alone (noticed this about 2 days ago with the one I lost this morning).
Then out of nowhere, they're weak. Usually falling. They'll still climb around, even fly a bit, eat, etc. But they don't last long after falling. Still no puffing, and only a mild tail-bob.
Examining the body, they're EXTREMELY thin. However, their vent is clear. Their mouth/nare is clear. Their droppings appear healthy. Normal consistency, normal colour.
I have an avian vet (she is a specialist). She's basically shrugged at the losses, saying "birds this small are just so delicate, it could be anything".
She's also aware that these birds were adopted from bad homes, so there's no knowing the birds' histories.
So, what do I do? I have 4 other budgies and 2 cockatiels. Obviously I'm concerned about their health. The weight loss despite healthy apetite raises some concern for AGY, but completely asymptomatic three separate times? Wouldn't you typically expect at least some indication of vomiting or stool problems?
The vet's never suggested testing for this. I suspect she may be one of the vets out there who doesn't know about testing/treatment for this? What test should I be discussing with her, if I were to specifically request one (obviously an AGY, but how SHOULD it be tested for?). Or maybe this sounds like something completely different?
The first two I was willing to overlook, as the birds were bred by the same person (brought up in bad conditions, parents kept in questionable condition). The one I lost this morning was from elsewhere. Age unknown, but definitely older than the other two.
I weigh the cockatiels regularly and they're doing well. The budgies wont have it though. They're so small their weight fluctuates considerable as is.
Pixels, so sorry to hear that happened!
I can't make a diagnosis, but I do know that parakeets are the masters of disguising illness. Depending on how long you had them before they died, they may have been sick already and were hiding it until they simply couldn't hide it any longer.
There is some good in this world, Mr. Frodo....and it's worth fighting for.
I'm sorry to hear that you have been having issues with your flock.
If you ask me, the vet you're seeing doesn't seem to be a specialist, no matter what her qualifications are. It's not at all professional (or ethical) to dismiss a bird's illness because "it could be anything" and they're "fragile".
I would seek the opinion of another avian vet right away and ask for their input. It very well could be AGY, but I wouldn't trust the vet you have now to do the proper tests.
Let us know how things go.
and Princess Mallorn!
Thank you to Deb for her wonderful Faery magic
Sorry for the loss of your birds. I agree with the previous posts, I find the vets response totally unacceptable and I would find a different avian vet. Any avian vet should be aware of AGY and the protocol for diagnosis and treatment as it is not a rare condition. I hope you don't have any more die suddenly, but if you do have the vet do a necropsy, that may give you some answers.
Let me first say that I am so sorry for your losses. I know how hard it is, as do many of us here. You of course have my sympathies and condolences.
If you can't find another vet, tell her you want blood work and a fecal tri-chrome done. Blood work should tell you for sure what your birds have, but should only be done on stronger birds, ie not obviously sick ones who may be too weak. The fecal tri-chrome test covers a much wider variety of illness in a poo sample. The fecal tri-chrome is not the same as a fecal float, or a fecal smear. The latter tests are very different and won't tell you as much. Even with the fecal tri-chrome, it's not a guarantee that it will confirm or deny AGY, but it's your best shot without having to do blood work.
Even if you can find a different vet, and she doesn't suggest doing the above, I would get them done anyway, if possible. I had to deal with all the AGY bs with our Holly, but unfortunately, we only found out she had it after she had died. Her necropsy found the AGY, plus 2 kinds of hepatitis. Although she actually had symptoms.
I agree, I'm not totally thrilled with her response. She's the only avian vet listed by the Association of Avian Vets in my province though. There was another, but he retired.
She's strongly expressed reluctance to do blood work on such a small bird. Her feeling is the amount of blood she could actually draw from such a small animal and the amount required to run tests would be problematic.
When I bring them in she'll do a general physical examination and watch their behaviour, listen to their breathing, weigh them, etc.
I'll inquire about the specific fecal tests. It helps a lot to know the actual tests I'm looking/asking for...
I've looked into necropsy, but the university they send out for necropsy quoted me in the area of $600. I mean... It's not out of the question... I've spent well over that on my birds already, but I'm not in a financial position to just shrug off that kind of expense before less extreme diagnostic attempts have been made (I also don't have a suitable specimen right now, and hopefully I don't get one for many many years).