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Not again :(

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Not again :(

Postby marie83 » Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:13 pm

Back in October we found Ollie was unusually quiet all the time and when out of his cage he didn't want to fly anywhere. We took him to the vets had his bloods done and some xrays but nothing showed up. The vet put him on a week long course of antibiotics which seemed to improve his condition for a few days but then he went really downhill again but he had also started preening himself very aggressively to the point of making himself scream. I didn't think he was pulling his own feathers though as there was none around his cage and he had no bald spots. The vet suggested it was an infection and the antibiotics hadn't been long enough to clear it up properly but upon checking under his wings it was discovered that he had two small bald spots right in the wingpits (which is why I hadn't noticed) which were red raw and scabby. My other bird Harlie was 100% fine.
All in all with no proper diagnosis Ollie spent until January on antibiotics which seemed to clear everything up nicely, everything has been completely fine since then, I check under his wings often just to be sure. This morning I heard him screaming like he was in pain but when I came in the room he looked like nothing had happened. I looked under one wing which was fine, then I looked under the other and right in the pit there are feathers missing again and traces of dried blood.
I've noticed this afternoon that Harlie also seems to be preening herself agressively too then shreiking out like she hurt herself so looks like I'm headed to the vets later this week. :(
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Re: Not again :(

Postby Grey_Moon » Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:58 pm

My tiel had symptoms exactly like that, plus the reoccuring infections. He chewed his leg bloody instead of his underwings but they were plucked bald.

Get them both tested n treated for giardia---ASAP. IF your vet prescribes flagyl (metronidazole) save yourself the money and ask for ronidazole instead, many strains of the parasite are demonstrating resistance to flagyl and treatment is 50-50.

Even if your other bird tests negative treat and disinfect it as well, and disinfectant common areas, perches and toys---throw out anything you cannot disinfect properly. The longer this goes on the more damage is done---my tiel needed to be on probiotics and digestive enzymes for the remainder of his life. Plus every round of unneeded medications does more harm than good. Unfortunately the parasite is tough to kill and prone to reinfections. Took me three rounds of treatment.
:gray: ---Jacko (13 year old TAG rescue and my little turkey-bird girl :) )


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Re: Not again :(

Postby Andromeda » Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:10 pm

Aww, poor little Ollie. :-( Best of luck at the vet and keep us updated.
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Re: Not again :(

Postby marie83 » Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:00 am

Grey-moon , Thank you for that. I just googled it and it sounds nasty. I shall be asking for a test for it and having read about it I don't understand why the last vet didn't test for it. My birds don't seem to have any other symptoms, just the aggressive preening but it does say some birds have it and never show symptoms at all.
I'm taking my birds to a different avian vet this time as I wasn't convinced by the last one, although Ollie did get ''better'' so I pushed those doubts to one side.

Thanks for the good wishes Andromeda.
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Re: Not again :(

Postby Grey_Moon » Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:42 am

You're welcome :)

My tiel suffered for four *years* because of vet stupidity---she kept running gram stains and saying well it doesn't show up so he doesn't have it! (Gram stains only show fungus and bacteria...not parasites -_-) I switched vets and lo and behold--he had giardia. Make sure your vet runs a parasite test as well as a gram stain on the fecal samples (often giardia weakens the digestive tract causing secondary infections).

Good luck with your birds :) wishing a speedy recovery.

Forgot to mention, the itching seems to be caused from an inflammatory/allergic response to the parasite, so you could try some aloe juice applied to his scabby spots (or a little vitamin E oil) and could give him some chamomile tea in his water, as its mildly anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving and will calm him a bit.
:gray: ---Jacko (13 year old TAG rescue and my little turkey-bird girl :) )


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Re: Not again :(

Postby Andromeda » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:13 am

Regarding giardia: one of my birds started plucking suddenly in October and the vet tested for giardia. The test came back negative but I later learned that giardia can be difficult to diagnose because sometimes it doesn't show up if a single test is done. I was worried that he still might have giardia so I found a giardia test kit online. You collect three samples from the "morning dropping" as giardia is more likely to show up in the first dropping in the morning than in any of the other droppings later in the day.

The only problem is that you mail the samples to California for the actual analysis and I see that you live in the U.K so I know this is not possible and/or cost prohibitive. It might be worth looking around to see if any vet in the U.K. offers a similar service, though, because the best way to definitively rule out giardia is to take more than one sample.

Definitely try a different avian vet. My rescue was sick when we adopted him and we took him to an avian vet over and over again and they ran all kinds of tests and found nothing. They gave him several different types of medication which did nothing. They finally did an x-ray and still found nothing. When I brought him back after the x-ray and told them he was still sick I got the distinct impression that the vet and all of the staff thought I was crazy.

I knew I wasn't inventing his symptoms (sneezing all day long and runny nares) so I took him to a different avian vet and she did a nare flush on the first visit. They collected the mucus and ran several tests on it and actually diagnosed the problem (streptococcus pneumoniae) with a Gram stain. The first vet never did a nare flush, and so never had a sample of mucus to do a Gram stain.
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Re: Not again :(

Postby marie83 » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:39 am

Am I best of collecting 3 samples from different mornings then to take for the vet? If so what would be the best way to collect them? Should I store them in a particular way until the morning of our appointment ? like a plastic container to prevent them drying out or a food bag would be better? At room temp/refrigerated etc?
I did read about them liking 3 samples to test but as I've not been to this vet before I only planned on taking that mornings but if I can get them in advance for testing that would work better than having to drop more off at the vets as it's over an hours drive away. The soonest I could get an appointment for is next Wednesday so theres still alot of waiting to be done for them to even be seen :(

Did your bird have giardia in the end after all that testing?
Last edited by marie83 on Sat Feb 02, 2013 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Not again :(

Postby liz » Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:02 pm

Use zip lock or twist tie plastic bags and label the day on them.
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Re: Not again :(

Postby marie83 » Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:14 pm

liz wrote:Use zip lock or twist tie plastic bags and label the day on them.


Thanks Liz, any need to put them in the fridge or are they better kept at room temperature? Apparently the pests are pretty fragile and thats why they get missed so often. If it is that obviously I dont want to destroy the evidence.
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Re: Not again :(

Postby Andromeda » Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:50 pm

No, he didn't have giardia, which is great since I have two birds and I worried about it being contagious, but at the same time I was hoping to find a health reason behind his plucking.

The giardia kit I bought came with three little vials that were filled with liquid to preserve the protozoa (in the case that giardia was present). The instructions specifically said that if you don't take a sample immediately from fresh droppings and place it in the vial for preservation straightaway the test wouldn't be accurate.

If you collect the samples but don't have a liquid medium in which to preserve them they won't be of any use, unfortunately. If you just put them in a bag at room temperature the protozoa will die. I know for a fact that freezing them will destroy the protozoa. I'm not 100% sure about refrigeration but I don't think that refrigeration alone is enough, either:

"The organism is difficult to diagnose for several reasons. Giardia is not shed in every dropping. It is a very fragile organism in one form, and may disintegrate before it can be diagnosed. Regular fecal parasite exams, performed in a vet's clinic or by a professional lab, may miss this organism because of its fragility. A new procedure has greatly increased the chance of diagnosing giardia in birds. This involves preserving the feces (and giardia cysts) in 5% formalin (NOT the usual 10% used to preserve normal tissues). The preserved feces are then sent to a special lab that only studies parasites, and a different type of microscope, called a phase contrast scope, is used to diagnose giardia." (Giardia in birds).

The kit that I bought (only available to ship to the U.S., unfortunately) had vials filled with a 5% formalin solution.
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