Trained Parrot BlogParrot Wizard Online Parrot Toy StoreThe Parrot Forum

Sick Cockatiel with something unknown...

Talk about bird illnesses and other bird health related issues. Seeds, pellets, fruits, vegetables and more. Discuss what to feed your birds and in what quantity. Share your recipe ideas.

Sick Cockatiel with something unknown...

Postby lizarosco » Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:02 pm

My cockatiel Loki has been slowly losing weight and then struggling to fly. I took him to a vet, who completely overlooked it all, and a week later Loki got worse. He has severe ataxia now and I’ve briught him to another vet. They checked him, his feces, done x-rays and still no one knows what it is. X rays looked fine. Droppings are normal. He still eats, drinks, tries to preen, will climb any chance he gets, chews on toys, hangs upside down in his carrier when he wants out just as he normally does. Only suddenly today his eyes and nostrils look a bit red. They’ve given him an injection for metal toxicity and he’s started on antibiotics. We’re awairing the results of his bloodwork but I’m losing hope and feel that either the results will show nothing or come too late. Has anyone ever seen or dealt with something like this? It’s been days of horrible stress, no sleep, in and out of the vet. He can’t take a single step without falling flat on his face. It’s breaking my heart.
lizarosco
Lovebird
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 28
Number of Birds Owned: 4
Types of Birds Owned: Parakeets, cockatiel, sun conure
Flight: Yes

Re: Sick Cockatiel with something unknown...

Postby liz » Thu Oct 25, 2018 6:14 am

Don't give up hope, they are tough little birds. Shower him with love and attention.
User avatar
liz
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 6904
Location: Hernando FL
Number of Birds Owned: 11
Types of Birds Owned: DYH Amazon Rainbow
BF Amazon Myrtle
Cockatiels: Shadow Tammy Tommy Flutter Phoenix Jackie Andy Gimpy Louise
Flight: Yes

Re: Sick Cockatiel with something unknown...

Postby lizarosco » Thu Oct 25, 2018 10:18 am

Thank you Liz. That does give me hope. I keep saying how surprised I am that he’s still trying to be normal. It’s just so disheartening seeing him stumbling. Actually it’s not much stumbling anymore but just constantly being down. I have to hold him to do anything. If I let go even for a second he’s face first to the ground and end up on his back with his little legs kicking hard to get up. He keeps preening himself and I have to steady him so he won’t fall over. I don’t know what it could possibly be that’s wrong with him or how it happened so quickly. It’s been 4 days of waiting for test results and it’s grueling. 4 days of him not being able to move or function right. Right as I type this he’s next to me in his carrier grinding his beak slowly falling asleep after his feeding. I wish I could do more for him other than wait for those test results.
lizarosco
Lovebird
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 28
Number of Birds Owned: 4
Types of Birds Owned: Parakeets, cockatiel, sun conure
Flight: Yes

Re: Sick Cockatiel with something unknown...

Postby Pajarita » Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:19 am

I am so very sorry for the situation you and your feathered friend are going through... It's terrible when we see a beloved companion suffering and we don't know what is wrong and how to fix it. Has he had a bile acids test and an ionized calcium one? If not, please ask the vet to do them because the symptoms you list can be attributed to both severe calcium deficiency or fatty liver... Now, there could be lots of other things he could have, cancer being one of them as well as the heavy metal poisoning they are treating [did he have a test to determine he has it?] but these are the 'usual culprits' for the symptoms you describe. In the meantime, make him a 'nest' so you can sit him straight up on it without him falling on his face.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 13425
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: Sick Cockatiel with something unknown...

Postby lizarosco » Thu Oct 25, 2018 2:30 pm

I believe all the tests you mentioned were done but they’re part of the results were still waiting for. He has blood drawn on Monday the 22nd, and they sent them out to the lab. I was hoping to hear from the vet today but I guess no results have come in still. They found nothing in his x rays but decided in case it was metal toxicity to give him an injection for that. Same with the antibiotics. They don’t know if he has an infection or whatnot but put him on antibiotics just in case. Everything has been done as just in case but nothing definitive. If it were a calcium deficiency by chance, is there anything I can do from home to help until the results come in?
He is in his carrier for now with towels to make it nesty. He has some millet which he loves, cuttlebone, and some seeds with Harrison’s pellets. I don’t have water in there because even a shallow dish seems too much for him so I have to constantly offer him water with a syringe. He sleeps next to me in his carrier on my bed and I try to keep him warm for now.
lizarosco
Lovebird
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 28
Number of Birds Owned: 4
Types of Birds Owned: Parakeets, cockatiel, sun conure
Flight: Yes

Re: Sick Cockatiel with something unknown...

Postby Pajarita » Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:10 am

Well, you need to put water in there asap and make it easily accessible to him in such a way that the container cannot be turned over. There are little bowls with holders that you can attach to the side bars and, if you put it next to him, he will be able to drink. You can't not give a bird water... even if it ends up spilled all over the place because dehydration will make anything he might have 200 times worse.

In my personal experience, avian vets don't normally do bile acids or ionized calcium test as part of any routine, you need to make sure they ordered them because they are always done separately and you pay for them extra so, if I were you, I would call the vet and find out for sure because, if these tests are not being done, there is no way they can tell about the calcium or the liver function. I don't know details like how old, male or female, if female was she a layer, if so how often. As to supplementing calcium... well, I would also need to know about diet because giving a bird the choice of millet and pellets and some cuttlebone on the side is not going to do it when it comes to calcium and, because too much calcium is as bad as too little, you should not supplement it in earnest unless you know for a fact that the bird is deficient. So tell me exactly what the bird ate [NOT what you gave him but what actually got into him] regularly and we can make a temporary determination on the calcium and the liver issues.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 13425
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: Sick Cockatiel with something unknown...

Postby lizarosco » Mon Oct 29, 2018 12:10 pm

I was making sure to give him water by syringe constantly every day though. For now, I have taken him about 2.5 hours away to Houston from Austin to be with an actual board certified avian vet. They also specialize in neurology. He has been there with them for the last 3 days and will continue to stay another day or 2.

They are still trying to figure out what he has. The lab results FINALLY came in. I'm going to try to attach them so you can see them if that helps any?? Or just if you're curious. They couldn't test for lead because the blood sample clotted. The white blood cell count though is very high. His kidneys are functioning fine. They also said he is very slowly able to pick himself up more and eating a little more on his own. They are going to draw more blood (now that he has gained a bit of weight back and has had time to recuperate from the last blood drawing) in order to test for the lead and zinc and to check if the white blood cell count has fallen since he has started his antibiotics. The doctor mentioned she is worried about psittacosis and aspergillosis so that'll be checked out too.

Oh and to answer your question, Loki is male. He's about 10 years old. And he is a very finicky eater so even though I always still provide veggies and fruits, he does not care for them. He prefers and eats - seeds, pellets, millet, corn flakes, boiled egg on occasion, pasta/noodles on occasion, and likes popcorn as well. He might try new things when I eat with him but not fruits or veggies unfortunately.
Attachments
lokilabresults1.png
lokilabresults2.png
lokilabresults2.png (82.5 KiB) Viewed 330 times
lokilabresults3.png
lokilabresults3.png (50.34 KiB) Viewed 330 times
lizarosco
Lovebird
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 28
Number of Birds Owned: 4
Types of Birds Owned: Parakeets, cockatiel, sun conure
Flight: Yes

Re: Sick Cockatiel with something unknown...

Postby Pajarita » Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:15 am

Well, they did not do bile acids or ionized calcium so neither you nor they know if his calcium levels are OK or if his liver is working correctly and, with his age and the kind of diet he has been getting all along [eggs and human cereal - two HUGE nonos for parrots] they should have thought of liver disease because both things cause it - different diseases but both affecting the liver. Eggs are pure fat and bad cholesterol, something that parrots, which did not evolve to intake any bad cholesterol [they are herbivores and do not consume animal protein at all -the eggs are animal protein- which is the ONLY source of bad cholesterol in nature because plants don't have it] cannot eat and, when they do, they end up with hepatic lipidosis [fatty liver disease] and heart disease. Same with human cereal - it has huge levels of iron because it's meant for humans [cheerios have as much as 45% while birds can only eat 2%] and, because excess iron cannot be eliminated naturally, it's deposited in the liver for storage - too much of it and the bird ends up with hemochromatosis, a fatal and not curable condition in birds [in humans, they do blood transfusions but they cannot do it with birds]. I took in a sun conure with this condition because she had been fed cheerios for a long time [she is doing very well, has a special diet and supplements with she will need for the rest of her life].

Please ask them to run a bile acids and an ionized calcium so the 'picture' is complete for diagnosis.

As to his having chlamydiosis... well, unless he has recently being in contact or in the same room with no good ventilation and/or hygiene and with a bird sick with it, it's HIGHLY unlikely he has it because, if he does, he would have had it all along and, if that was the case, he would have shown symptoms long ago. So, the question that begs asking is: has he been with a new or strange bird recently? Aspergillosis is another story because aspergillus is everywhere and, again, because he has had a bad diet for a long time, it's entirely possible his immune system is compromised -which is the only way birds get aspergillosis unless he has been eating moldy seed for some time -which I seriously doubt. But, if to the bad diet we add a human light schedule instead of a strict solar one, then his immune system would be very severly compromised and his body a fertile ground for any type of pathogen.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 13425
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: Sick Cockatiel with something unknown...

Postby lizarosco » Sat Nov 03, 2018 2:50 pm

His bile acids were checked and his liver and kidneys are great. Tested negative for metal toxicity. Calcium hasn’t been checked yet but the vet feels he doesn’t have a calcium deficiency because his bones and body looked great in the x rays too. I asked about the boiled eggs once in awhile and the corn flakes and she said they wouldn’t be an issue. It’s some kind of infection that he had/has. After a week of being on antibiotics his ataxia hasn’t improved much at all. He’s still perky and shows a lot of strength and eats and drinks fine and drags himself around though but the vet said it’s most likely the neurological damage is permanent and we still just don’t have an answer as to what he had. His white blood cell count is coming down with the antibiotics though. I cried so much upon hearing that he’ll be handicapped permanently but I’ve looked up how other owners take care of special needs birds and I’m going to try to make things better for Loki. I bought him a new cage that isn’t tall but is nice and wide for him to move around. He has 3 sources of water until I figure out which one works best for him. I’m not sure if he’ll need any perches that are above ground level though. This is all new for us and we’re just adjusting to this best we can.
lizarosco
Lovebird
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 28
Number of Birds Owned: 4
Types of Birds Owned: Parakeets, cockatiel, sun conure
Flight: Yes

Re: Sick Cockatiel with something unknown...

Postby Pajarita » Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:11 am

Well, the answer your vet gave you is wrong. Please take into consideration that avian vets do not study parrot nutrition [they study disease, pathogens, physiology, etc]. The avian medicines books don't even have a chapter for it. There is one on avian nutrition but it's very vague as it covers all kinds of birds: herbivores, omnivores and carnivores. I have three avian medicine text books and one on surgery and I can assure you there is nothing there so, unless the avian vet has had multiple parrots for years and done research on his/her own, their opinion on diet is completely un-informed. Please do research on your own and see.

The question is why is he suffering from a neurological condition because I doubt it's due to the undiagnosed infection that is being treated with antibiotics. I mean, I've never heard of a pet bird having meningitis or any other infection of the brain but who knows? Maybe there is such a thing... Now, if he only has ataxia and not paralysis, don't worry too much because there is a VERY good chance that he will recover if not 100%, at least well enough to function normally. I've had several birds with ataxia and they all got better. Most recuperated completely and some partially with one single exception, a lovebird, that never did [he had been starved almost to death and ended up stargazing so severely that I had to handfeed him the rest of his life]. I have a bird right now that had neurological damage when he first came in and he got better with a good diet [please do NOT feed your bird eggs or human cereal - I know your vet told you it was OK but it is not, I can assure you without the shadow of a doubt that it is not - please do research on your own and find out what tiels eat in the wild and you will see there is NO animal protein or anything high in iron] and supplements. Poor Pablo still looks to be on his last legs all the time but that's because he is missing half a wing, half a beak and his poor feet are in real bad shape but I did not expect this bird to live and several years later he is still going - he cannot fly but he climbs, walks and eats and drinks on its own and even has a girlfriend!
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 13425
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Next

Return to Health, Nutrition & Diet

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 16 guests

Parrot ForumArticles IndexTraining Step UpParrot Training BlogPoicephalus Parrot InformationParrot Wizard Store