Buddy has had this bruise for a week now, like he is bleeding under his beak. I sent photos to his avian vet who said it looked like a bruise, like he flew into something. But I donít recall him knocking into anything. Heís cage bound unfortunately, and while he does have night frights occasionally I havenít noticed any lately. Itís possible something happened when I wasnít in the room.
He has a bell that he loves to tap and knock with his beak, and maybe that is what is causing this, if he bruises very easily? He is otherwise eating and acting normally, except a bit more sleepy and quiet than usual. But he is molting as well which could be the reason for that.
From what Iíve looked up on, it could be liver problems that cause them to bruise easily. But Iíve never seen any photos as bad as his. Has anyone seen anything like this?
Heís on a seed mix which has just a little zupreem fruit pellets mixed in. Oddly the seed mix has a lower listed fat content than the pellets. I give him lots of millet too. I canít get him to eat veggies.
I bought some milk thistle extract in case it is his liver. I asked the vet, who provided me a dosage. But I havenít given him any yet because I donít know the best way to administer it. It is super stressful for both of us for me to catch him and give him oral meds, so Iíd rather avoid that. He is a very picky eater so I donít know what I can put it on that he would take. The vet recommended a little bit of bread or on a nutriberry, but again heís a very picky eater that doesnít like new foods. The vet advised against putting anything in his water.
Iíve scheduled a vet visit but I am very nervous. Iíve always avoided blood tests for him, and that is what they recommend. But if he bleeds so easily, that really scares me. Heís also not very tame and I worry about it stressing him out.
A little medical background, heís 8 years old. He was very sick last December with some kind of infection. Green poops, not eating or drinking. I gave him antibiotics, he got better, and then he got sick again with Candida. I gave him nystatin and he got better. Heís been itchy ever since.
Im attaching photos. Theyíre 6 days apart and you can see itís only gotten bigger
It very well could be a liver issue causing the bruise, dark spots may also appear on the nails. I have had several birds with this over the years. Treatment has been milk thistle with lactulose, sometimes Metacam has been added as a anti-inflammatory. It has been my experience that these birds with liver problems seem more prone to infections and have flare ups periodically that require a course of antibiotics. A blood test can determine the severity of the problem. It could be fatty liver but there are other liver issues as well.
The vet said 0.01 to 0.05 ml which I converted to be up to 1.4 drops. I have tried rubbing a drop on his millet but he doesnít like it. When youíve treated your birds, did you put it in their water, and how much? Did you see an improvement?
The milk thistle I got was dispensed to me by the vet, the dosage was .03 ml right into the mouth. There was improvement but it's hard to say what caused the improvement because all my liver problem birds were on multiple meds, I had one that was on 5 meds and I felt so bad for him, he had a lot of ups and downs. I do have one guy that is on just the milk thistle now, he does not have anymore bruises but his beak grows like crazy and he has to have it trimmed every 3 weeks, other than that he appears normal but we know he has underlying liver disease. It is important to have the vet examine your bird to determine if the liver is enlarged, an experienced avian vet can feel it if it is enlarged and sometimes an x-ray is in order, the blood work will show if the plasma is yellow tinged, which is an indication of liver disease and the blood work will reveal many other things showing the health of the bird. Is it an avian vet you are seeing, are you in the US or elsewhere?
Thank you for your responses Cody. Did your birds' bruising look like this? It seems a lot more bleeding than any other photos I could find on the Internet.
It's an avian and exotic vet. The whole place specializes in just avian and exotics. I'm in the US. Unfortunately they'll be closed this weekend and labor day so I don't know what day I'll be able to get him in.
I'm really afraid for him to have a blood draw because he's not very tame and easily frightened. And apparently has bleeding issues now. The thought of it really terrified me the last time I took him in, and I declined blood tests then. I don't know what to do, because if it is his liver, would they suggest anything other than to give him milk thistle?
It was so so hard giving him the meds last time. I had to chase him around the cage and grab him with a towel. He'd probably bruise like crazy if I had to do it now. I really hope I can somehow give the milk thistle in his water.
I think his beak has always been around the length it is now. Does it look overgrown? The vet never mentioned it when I took him in before.
He's been sleeping a lot today, head tucked in, except when I come into the room to check on him. Then he acts like he wasn't sleeping.
The bruising in my birds looked comparable to yours, some of it was not quite as centered as yours. I can't tell from the picture if the beak is overgrown, it may not be as it does not always happen with liver issues. I understand your concern about the blood work, talk to the vet about treatment on the assumption of liver disease. The treatment can differ a bit depending on the severity of it and if there are any underlying issues. If it were my bird I would have a fecal gram stain done to rule out any infection in the GI tract, as I had that happen often with my birds that had the liver issues. The vet needs to determine if the liver is swollen which may change the medication protocol. The milk thistle with lactulose is good because when you have liver disease, the liver which usually breaks down ammonia, is impaired and cannot do so, the lactulose helps with that. Metacam will help reduce inflammation, Ursodiol is a bile acid and can also be helpful, an antibiotic if an infection is suspected,
and perhaps DMG an immune system booster. All of these have to be given directly into the mouth. My birds are not hand tame so the method I use is as follows: I medicate in a darkened room with only a night light on, in the am right before it is light, and if meds are required twice a day I do the same thing at night, I wait for about 15 minutes after I have turned off the lights and covered them for the night, I quietly open the cage, determine where the bird is and slowly reach in and cup my hands around the bird and remove from the cage, I do this with bare hands, the bird is awake when I reach in so I am not startling the bird out of sleep. I am right handed so with the bird in my left hand and the syringe in my right I give the meds. If the bird is squirmy I set them on my knee with my left hand over them so they cannot fly away and then give the meds. It does take practice to get comfortable with it. Remember when holding a bird never compress the chest or the bird will not be able to breathe, if the medication goes into the choanal slit, which is a slit in the roof of the mouth, it could cause the bird to aspirate and you will notice sneezing and coughing. If you are uncomfortable medicating, have the vet show you how to do it. When you put meds in the water you can never be sure if the bird is actually getting enough to combat the problem.
Thank you for the suggestions! The vet taught me to do a similar thing, but turning the lights off and grabbing him before his vision adjusts. It's still really hard for me to do because of the way the perches are set up, I have to wait for him to fly down so I can catch him with a towel. Hence the chase. I get so nervous, I don't know if I can do it with bare hands
Here's some photos that show his beak from another angle. Please tell me what you think about its length.
I enlarged your photos and I think it is a bit long but not too bad, he may benefit from having the vet trim and grind it smooth. It is important that the vet does this in a bird with a liver condition because of the bleeding issue. At my vet the vet techs usually do the beak and nail trims but not on the birds with liver issues, the vets do those. If the vet looks at it and says it's ok then I would just keep an eye on it and if it gets longer then it will need trimming as it may begin to effect his eating capability.
Just an update. Buddy had his blood tests last month and they came back with very high cholesterol and triglycerides. But the liver enzymes were good. Is it possible he still could have a fatty liver?
The vet mentioned how this could lead to atherosclerosis and he said he could prescribe VetOmega fatty acids supplement. Is anyone familiar with this? The vet never replied back to me so I got some Missing Link supplement powder which has omega fatty acids. I don’t like that it has beef liver in it though - that seems like it would be bad for cholesterol? I was looking into red palm oil - any thoughts on that?
The vet recommended changing his diet to include more pellets and fresh fruit/vegetables. I am able to get him to eat some fruit Zupreem pellets, but he will not take to any fruit or vegetables. Is there anything I can do to get him to eat them?
He also recommended exercise, but I don’t know how I can do this because he is cage bound. He does not want to come out of his cage. I have gotten him to step up on my finger for some millet though, but if I try to get him too far from his perch he gets off.
Also, his beak bruise grew out and eventually shed off. But in the past few days he is getting a new one, smaller, in the same spot. I was giving him the milk thistle by dropper for two weeks after the vet visit, but went back to just putting it in the water because catching him is so stressful. It’s been about a month of the milk thistle water. Should I go back to the dropper?
His beak may still be overgrown. I’ve tried to get him used to chew toys - he really enjoys the bird kabob made of yucca I think. Is there anything else that would be good, like a mineral block?
Do you know if the blood work done included the level of bile acids? The bile acid levels can give a good indication of the condition of the liver, also I would ask what was the color of the plasma, if it had any tinge of yellow in it that can be an indication of the degree of liver function. Given the fact that the tests showed very high cholesterol and triglycerides it would not surprise me if there was fat infiltration into the liver, I think it is a question of how much, the bruising on the beak is due to the blood not clotting properly due to the liver not functioning at 100%. I have a couple birds with liver issues and they get the milk thistle right in the beak, and that is long term. With the veggies I would try offering them in different sizes, I chop up kale, romaine, swiss chard and finely grated carrots and serve and other times I may just hang a piece of something green in the cages. It can take a long time to get them to try something new. Is he in a room where it would be safe to leave the cage open as long as someone is there, maybe he would come out eventually. If he is not accustomed to coming out and flying he may not have developed his muscles enough to be able to fly very well, if you could get him to come out you could get a playground for him to be on and maybe he would get comfortable being out of the cage. Mineral block, cuttle bone or a lava stone will help with the beak.