Individual or Pooled Fecal Sample? To Owners of Multiple Budgies/Birds
Hi guys,I will be taking my two budgies to the vet soon to conduct some fecal sample tests to check for bacteria,fungi,or parasites.
The vet teaching assistant said usually they do a pooled sample as the birds are living together in the same cage currently.
However,my concern is that they are both exhibiting different symptoms,so I want to conduct separate fecal sample tests on them. She said it would be silly,but I am willing to pay the separate fees,and have separated them.
Also to anybody who has collected fecal samples before,how did you guys do it? How long will they be viable if refrigerated,and how much droppings did you need?
Also if one budgie has tested positive for something,will I have to treat the other one as well?
This is my concern with taking a pooled fecal sample as opposed to individual samples.
If the test they will be doing is a gram stain, and that is quite common, one dropping is enough but it needs to be fresh, not dried. I would also have separate tests done on each bird's dropping as you mentioned. If the birds live in the same cage it is not unusual to treat both birds, however I personally would want to know exactly what the issues are for each and you can't know that with a pooled sample. The assumption is if one has something then all are treated but that is not always necessary. I have had birds that have had a bacterial GI tract infection and only the ill bird was treated and not the cage mate and everything was fine, but it may be different with other problems. What symptoms are the birds exhibiting, there are issues that can show up in the droppings that are not contagious so there would be no need to treat both in that case.
Hi Cody,thank you so much for your reply. You seem so knowledgeable and I hoped you would have insight.
I'm submitting the samples for culture and sensitivity,mycology and parasitology testing.
My budgie Percy has been displaying some respiratory issues (coughing/squeaking fits) since 2018,and recently the urine around his droppings has been staining green. He is very active however,
My other budgie Annabeth has been displaying coughing fits like Percy (that began in quarantine,and I thought with treatment had resolved), but more prominently GI issues,such as vomitting and larger stools that stick to,as well as staining of the vent. The urine around her droppings I believe, were staining green first. Previous physical exam also showed an enlarged crop.
Percy has been regurgitating to feed her as well.
These are amongst other symptoms I have observed.
The vet assistant told me I could just bring refrigerated samples and the history if I want and she could pass it onto the avian vet (who is retiring and unfortunately not seeing cases,so I would have to go for a physical elsewhere with a regular vet)
I have been debating on whether to bring the birds or not,as the freshest samples seem to be best.
I believe the same as you in not treating unnecessarily,hence my want for separate tests.
Have they mentioned doing a blood test for psittacosis? With those symptoms that is something I would want to rule out. However testing for psittacosis by faecal can give false negatives due to how the disease is shed so I always advise a blood test for it.
As for pooled vs not. In your case I'd go separate tests. If you were just checking the overall health of your flock I'd go pooled.
As CaptainHowdy indicated, if a bird has psittacosis you might see neon green urates, liver issues will also produce yellow to green urates. What is their diet? If they were my birds I would want an exam because of the coughing and squeaking you have noticed to rule out things such as air sac mites, or an upper respiratory or crop infection. When you collect the droppings put something non absorbent like wax paper at the bottom of the cage and then put the sample in a plastic bag so it does not dry out and then refrigerate. If your vet is retiring has he/she referred you to another vet, it is important to see a vet that has experience with birds.
Hi guys,I wanted to get some blood tests done ,but the teaching assistant told me that she wouldn't be able to take blood from the birds and they wouldn't give enough to run through the machines.
I wouldn't mind testing for psittacosis,but given the unavailability of machines, I'm not sure if it's possible. Their symptoms don't match up either.
Their diet consists of veggies like carrots,broccoli,lettuce,recently lentil sprouts as well as supplements like ACV,multivitamins,iodine,recently probiotics and I'm trying to convert them to pellets by crushing and sprinkling them over their seeds.
The last vet visit I had,I was told on physical exam that my male budgie just had good muscle tone,however my female had an enlarged crop and a lipoma.
I was prescribed antibiotics (amoxicillin clauvunate),ACV and iodine.
It didn't resolve the issues. I treated them with Ivermectin before several times,however it didn't help,so I ruled out air sac mites.
I wonder if it's a chronic respiratory tract infection that Percy has(or I'm not sure if it's possible some organ enlargement that's causing him to have small random coughing fits once a day) .
My female,I worry she has a fungal or parasitic infection causing her enlarged crop (I kept trying to call the vet back to do a physical and diagnostics but she ignored me-so my plan is to run diagnostics with the lab and carry them by another vet who has a 'special interest' in birds to do a physical in combination with the diagnostic results)
The latest info I got from calling the vet hospital is that I have to do a 24hr collection of sample. The lady told me that because budgies don't produce much stool,they do a pooled sample to fill up one of those human blood collection tubes halfway.
When I asked if it's possible to reschedule the appointment to collect and refrigerate stools,she just said,come in and we'll see,which makes me a bit worried,as it is very difficult for me to arrange transport if there aren't enough stools.
Also,I really don't feel comfortable with a pooled sample,as if a fungal infection is present,I don't want to treat a bird who doesn't have it.
Additionally I am now worried if they don't produce enough stool,I might just have to pick one test to do,whether fungal,bacterial or parasitic.
Currently I am leaning toward fungal tests as previous antibiotics didn't work (however I really hope to do all three).
There is only one avian specialist in my country,and unfortunately the next best thing after searching everywhere is going back to seeing vets with interest in birds.
Either that or I'll have to wait to see if the university hires back another avian vet,but I don't want to wait that long.
The symptoms do match that of psittacosis. Having dealt with psittacosis in my flock before I can also confirm that some birds do not show any symptoms of it but can carry and shed it for years infecting all others they come into contact with.
I'm very surprised they've said they can't get enough blood from a budgie to do a blood test. Just a couple of weeks back I had one of mine tested by blood for psittacosis.
There are often companies that will do the test for you if you send them the sample and pay them. It might be worth looking into this option.