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Old conure on the decline. Vet or let be?

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Old conure on the decline. Vet or let be?

Postby imdjay » Fri Oct 20, 2017 2:51 pm

So, my friend of around 27 years is starting to decline in the last few weeks. For a few years he's had arthritis in one foot and the Vet prescribed metacam. But more recently he seems to have what i suppose would be called a sort of loss of coordination. Like when you go to hand him something he kind of goes for it in a shakey/twitchy head kind of bobbing. and just overall is a bit shakey/unsteady and he sleeps a lot (on his tummy/head on the ground/in his hut. He also has the occasional seizure where his foot locks up.

So, my question is, with him being near the long end of life expectancy, should i give him a vet physical, or leave him be? I know how they draw blood for analysis, and i don't want to put him through that if all it's going to do is verify that he's darn old. Do you take to the Vet always, or at some point just keep them comfortable? If there is any possibility that he's otherwise sick/not getting enough nutrients, etc... then i would of course bring him in.
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Re: Old conure on the decline. Vet or let be?

Postby Pajarita » Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:59 pm

Welcome to the forum and I am deeply sorry for what you are going through but there are a couple of misconceptions on your posting. One is that old birds don't look old or act old so they don't 'slow down' unless they are sick. Two is that, although I don't know what species of conure you have, 27 is not on the 'long end of life expectancy' - cockatiels last into their 30's and conures even longer.

Now, first of all I have to tell you that I am not an avian vet but I've had experience with a lot of old birds and I would NEVER give metacam to a parrot in any kind of long term basis, arthritis or no arthritis. Why? Because it destroys their liver -which is ALWAYS their weak point, even when they are young but more so when they are old- and there are other ways of controlling the inflammation and pain from arthritis. Avian vets are regular vets that have learned to treat birds but the greatest majority of them tend to treat birds the same way they do mammals and that is a big mistake.

I strongly urge you to take your bird to a good avian vet [see if you can find a holistic one] and have a complete physical [with bile acids test!] because, going by what you posted both in terms of the metacam he has been taking, his age and the symptoms, it seems to me that his liver is in bad shape. The disorientation is typical of this because, when the liver cannot filter properly, ammonia is accumulated in the brain which causes the lack of balance and disorientation you speak of... I would recommend lactulose [this helps get rid of the ammonia build-up in the brain], milk thistle and dandelion root non-alcoholic extract in its water and milk thistle, methionine [or SamE if you have the time to grind it fresh every morning before you feed him] and artichoke extract in its food. I would eliminate pellets entirely if that is what you are feeding it and put him on an organic, human grade, fresh food diet with just a bit of a good quality budgie seed mix for dinner. I would spice the fresh food with things like garlic, ginger, turmeric, cayenne and also add a sprinkle of yucca intensive, devil's claw, glucosamine and chondroitin as well as flax seed for the omega 3.

The other thing is to give him places where he can stand comfortably so put a number of different things in his cage and observe which one he chooses. Perches, most especially dowels, are usually not good for them while platforms that can be made to have a 'solid' flooring seem to work best -at least, it does for my old conure with bad feet [I use a grate but cover it with a magazine so I can tear a couple of pages twice a day to keep it clean but he also likes his soft hut].
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Re: Old conure on the decline. Vet or let be?

Postby liz » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:59 am

I agree with Pajarita. Checking with a vet to make sure it is not an illness. If it is actually old age or just the body breaking down that is different. I use the "do they have any joy in their life".

The dog Bruce was blind and deaf in his 18th year. The others looked after him to find his way around and Riddick would even bark in his ear to tell him it was time to bark. He no longer played with the boys but loved to play with the little girls. When he stopped playing and sort of stayed in one place it was time to let him go. Putting him to sleep was mercy.

Fancy cat was also 18. They grew up together. She had bad arthritis and showed it. I know she was in pain but would not give up. She gave up on cat food but would eat treats so that is what I gave her. When she smelled chicken she found her way to it. She loved to sit on my lap and purr. Her eyes were still bright and she still had her hearing. When she stopped coming for attention I knew it was time to give her up.

It hurt really bad to give up these two oldies and it was within a month of each other. I still miss them but I gave them mercy.

If there is no joy you have to give mercy rather than let them suffer.
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