Saturday, July 23, 2005

Good News and Bad

Well, the good news came back. Patchie and Neo don't have Psitticosis! YAY! That means.. none of the other birds were exposed to a potentially horrible, contagious illness. YAY! That's a mega relief, especially since I just introduced Trinny and Teika to the flock.

The bad news: Patchie isn't improving much even though she's been on two weeks of Doxy. Neo on the otherhand... is doing well. He's very active, singing and his tail isn't bobbing near as much. I think he'll always have a slight flick to his tail, but its hardly noticeable now. Patchie's tail still pumps just a bit.. she's still a bit lethargic, she still shakes her head and most alarmingly, she's dropped a considerable amount of weight. She's gone from 100 grams to 84. I called the vet with the update and she said not to fear. Its probably a secondary infection from the Doxy that has set in (uh-huh.. I feared as much. In fact... over the last weekend.. I noticed the the above symptoms and started adding a bit of apple cider vinegar to the drinking water to stave off the beasty-yeasties until she could be medicated). My vet said excellent.. that can't hurt her one bit and ordered up some ketakonazole. Kaching. Forty bucks. OWCH. So.. she's had a dose of that now (started it last night) and we'll see if it doesn't help. Today, she seems a little bit perkier. I think the apple cider vinegar WAS starting to help because I weighed her prior to adminstering the meds last night and she was back up by 2 grams. YAY.

The other birdies seem to be doing well. Trinny is quite the little character! She's becoming VERY affectionate these days and loves her scritches. She's beginning to get the "hang" of things around here and is learning how to beg like the others. She also knows to have her head ready and waiting when I open that cage in the morning so she can be first to get scritches. HEHE! Taxi has competition! Lately, Taxi and Trinny are the first two birds to greet me in the morning.

Teika has me a little worried. I pretty sure she's fine health wise. She's not showing any signs of being ill. No sneezing, tail bobbing, or anything like it. Her plumage is great and she's very active. She loves to crawl upside down on the cage bars. But.. she's lost some weight and out of all of my birds, she's not one of them who I had weight concerns about. She's not at an unhealthy weight. SHe's down from 94 to 86 grams. And.. I weighed in this morning before she'd eaten. But.. down is down. As I type this.. she's eating. I had tried to cut back on the seeds earlier this week to thawrt Trinny's weight GAIN, as well as Taxi's, so that may very well have something to do with Teika's loss. Patchie's as well... so as of now.. the diet is off and the birds are getting more seed in their pellet dishes again. I'll deal with the chunkers later. If I have to put my fatties in "Fat Camp" (aka... a differnt cage) for a while.. then so be it, but I won't have my slighter hens loosing weight as a result of the porkers. Meanwhile, I'll keep a sharp eye on Teika and if she drops anymore weight, off to the vet she goes, just to make sure she isn't loosing weight for reasons other than the more obvious ones.

Taxi thinks her vent doesn't stink recently! See.. she just grew in her wings and figured out how to fly! Oh BOY! Well... unlike Neo.. she doesn't just circle the room once and return to the cage. Taxi isn't exactly the brightest crayon in the box. Today.. she escaped from the cage and nearly flew out the window! The curtain was in the way and fortunately, it caught her! Omg... ! I had a flippin cow! She wasn't supposed to be out of her cage.. but don't ask me HOW that little snot got that cage open. She WANTED to come see Mamma.. but once she got that door open.. she just started flying. The other day... I had the door open and was feeding the birds. Taxi escaped under my arm and flew all the way down the hallway and into my bedroom. Her goal? She wanted the bag of potato chips she saw Scott carrying down there. BEGGETHA! So... Miss Taxi got her wings clipped today. I hadn't wanted to do it because she'd gotten such a bad clip before that she used to flap backwards and she broke off all of her tailfeathers. Now they're back and she was learning to fly again. WOW did she! HAHA! She just can't be trusted with those wings the way Neo can. But then again.. Neo can fly even with clipped wings so it doesn't matter much WHAT I do to his wings. I only trim his wings enough to slow him down so that if he crashes into something, its not at breakneck speed.

Speaking of clipping.. Silver needs some length taken off. Oh boy... I'm in for some nips there! Everyone else is really good about being handled, but Silver... well.. he has his moments. HAHA! Naw.. he squeals louder than anyone though.

And.. last but not least.. the cute pic of the day!

Trinny at bathtime. omg.. was she ever soaked and loving it. And..what a lil loser! I'd scritch her wet lil mohawk.. and she'd spread her wings like she was getting sprayed again!!! HEHEEH! Cute alert!

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Friday, July 08, 2005

The Saga Continues

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The vet called back with the results of Patchie's throat culture. The bacteria was "too numerous to count" and it was gram positive. Meaning, she's fighting off one heck of an infection. How she could be doing so and not showing any symptoms is blowing my vet away. (And me too.). ::Sigh::: She's one tough cookie I guess. Poor Patchie. ::Sniffle:::

Dr. Becky was definite on one thing. Its not yeast. However, precisely WHAT the bacteria is, is unclear, other than its gram positive. (Or at least some were.) Sooo.. she asked me to bring both Patchie AND Neo in for more specific testing. Specific meaning Psitticosis testing. At this point, the vet isn't saying they HAVE it, but its better to rule it OUT than rule it IN. I sort of pinned her to the wall and asked her what the odds are. She said 50/50 that the test will come back positive.

Okay... ::Sigh:: So worst case scenario. It IS psitticosis. We discussed it and I did some research on it. People make it sound like the be all and end all of horrible Zoonotic illnesses, but if caught and treated, its no worse than anything else that can go around. So.. if it IS Psitticosis, all birds go on a round of Doxycycline for 45 days whether they're showing symptoms or not. See.. a bird can be exposed and not acutally get "sick" from it. They may not actually GET it. They can be carriers of it, or might not become infected at all. BUT... because it is contagious, its stupid to NOT treat because there's no "immunity" if you catch it. Meaning.. if re-exposed, you can get it back again. So.. say Taxi came down with it later and Patchie and Neo had successfully finished treatment for it. They could become infected all over again. The smart thing to do would be to wipe it out all at once, disinfect anything and everything with bleach and water, and that should be the end of it. Luckily.. if it IS Psitticosis, none of my birds have become deathly ill from it.

The thoughts have been crashing through my mind all day. Who would be the likely "infector". My guess would be Neo since he came to me sick in the first place. If that's the case, he was probably exposed to it in his first home. That means his parents Jack and Ele were too and are likely carriers, if not infected. That means Christy's whole flock is at risk.. and the birds she's bred and sold to CJ's. The only other source would be Apache since she came from Petco, but she's been healthy and was checked out by Dr. Becky a week after I got her and received a clean bill of health. Of course, that doesn't mean she wasn't a carrier, but they did a gram stain at the time of her visit and there weren't any gram positive sheddings in her stool. The only thing that doesn't "jive" is that Silver's been to the vet twice and has never been presented with respitory problems, and Taxi has never either. None of Christy's birds appear to display symptoms, so it seems to me between her numbers of birds, and mine, wouldn't ONE of them have shown some of the more serious symtoms (including sudden death) that Psitticosis can manifest with?

Well.. I won't know the answer until sometime next week. Probably not till Wednesday at the earliest. I can churn over this until I have an ulcer but it won't do any good. Meanwhile, at least Patchie got some antibiotics today. (Millet flavored Doxy). MMMM! As a precaution, the vet put Neo on them too. And then.. Neo scared the CRAP out of my by aspirating on them even though he licked the meds from the syringe. I guess he licked and then "held" the medication in his mouth instead of swallowing, so he ended up with more than he could handled and aspirated. GOOBER! This medication is to be stored in the fridge and maybe that is what threw him off. Next time, I'll leave the syringe out for a bit so it warms to room temp before trying to give them too him again. Perhaps that will make a difference. Thankfully, Patchie didn't fight me and took her medicine like a perfect angel. We'll see how she does when she's feeling more like herself later this week! HAHAH!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

The Q-Tip Holds The Answers

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::Sigh:: One of my favorite pictures of Patchie and me. She just looks so sweet. (Because she is).. and so happy..getting her lil head kisses. Its her "thing". She hates scritches. I can only sneak them on occasion, but beaky kisses and head kisses.. she loves that.

I'm just a little bit sad tonight. I took Patchie in to the vet for what I thought was a minor little owie and it turned into a major "Oh Crap!" But first, we have to turn back the pages of time to about February. It seems about then when everything started. I noticed Apache had poop clinging to her vent and wasn't "herself" one morning. Later in the afternoon, she was straining to go the bathroom and wasn't eating or drinking. I was able to get a vet appt. the next day so I kept her warm and got her interested in some water by dripping it onto her beak with my finger. Once she got some water into her..she ate a little on her own and was a little perkier the next day, but I wasn't fooled and into the vet we went. The vet we went to see wasn't our normal vet (she was out of town). Dr. Wickenheiser saw her and at the check-up, her oral and upper respitory exam was fine but her fecal came back with undigested food. It was the Doctor's opinion that perhaps the boys were crowding her at the food dish and it was beginning to stress her out but just in case she was starting an infection but wasn't showing it yet, she gave her a ten day course of Doxycycline. Apache was quarentined during this time and improved drastically. I don't know if was the time off from the boys or the medication, however about five days into the meds, she began to get depressed. By day seven she had lost 6 grams so I had to do something. I moved her into the same room with the boys but still a seperate cage. This perked her up and she did fine afterwards.

Now, when the doctor prescribed the Doxy, I had asked about perhaps a second antifungal in case of a secondary infection but she said it wouldn't be necessary. Oooohkay. The same doctor saw Neo when he banged up his wings and had an upper respitory infection in April. She prescribed the same medication (its a fairly common med)... and again.. no antifungal. Again, I asked after secondary yeast infections and she said it was unlikely.

So, in April, four precious babies were born to Apache and Silver. All four died. Two of them were submitted to the University of MN for necropsies. Though the tests came back inconclusive and they couldn't determine a cause of death, they DID find yeast in the intestines. I'm no doctor, and I DO know that yeast IS a normally occurring organism in the body, but it becomes a problem when there is an over production of it in the body. The necropsy did not say there was an over abundance of yeast in the intestines, only that there was yeast present. What I don't know.. is should it have been IN the inestines.. or not? WHERE in the body is yeast supposed to be, and where is it NOT supposed to be? The final findings did not state yeast as a cause of death. But still...

So.. back to the reason for today's visit with Dr. Proseski... On Wednesday morning, I had seen Apache "pick her nose" to make herself sneeze. Later on, as I was feeding them breakfast I noticed that one of Apache's nares looked enlarged and a little swollen and there was most definitely dried blood inside. Her claws are quite long, (as are everyone's). Kirsten (my bird holder) isn't here to help me trim claws so they've gotten pretty darn long. I thought "CRAP! Apache got her claw stuck in her nare and it bled! When Cam came out, I asked for his opinion and he saw exactly what I was talking about. There was some swelling and definitely dried blood. Knowing she could have cut the delicate tissue inside her nare with her dirty claw nail, I thought I'd better make an appt for her so the vet could have a look and make sure an infection didn't set in. Plus... while she was at it, she may as well trim up Patchie's daggers.

I didn't worry too much when the receptionist said she had a Friday appt. It wasn't like life or death. It was a claw trim and a nare check. So.. off we went. The doctor walked in while Patchie was sitting on my finger and I was talking to her. The first thing she noticed was that Patchie shakes her head when I speak. She's been doing that for a while though, off and on, but the Doctor commented on it. She said.. Hmmm..we need to have a look. She opened up her beak and said. "Yupsie..she's red on her tongue and down the back of her choana." Though her nare looks MUCH better than it did on Wednesday, the doctor shined a light down inside and said.. yah.. there is dried blood down there. You weren't imagining things. She handed Apache back to me and asked the typical "has she been eating" (to which I had to laugh.. fatty weighs 100 grams on her scale), fluffing up (no), moody (yeah.. but not so much the last week), sleeping alot, (no).. etc, etc, etc. We got to talking about how good birds are at hiding their illnesses, and she paid me a very high compliment. She said "You have a sixth sense when it comes to birds it seems. They're very adept at cloaking illness, but you sense it. People like you are great with birds." She also said she can tell I feed my birds well and that they eat the right foods (she said she could smell vegetables on Patchie's breath.. hahah.. Cilantro) and she said she knows I keep my birds housing clean by their overall condition every time I bring them in. She said Patchie's feathers are just beautiful. (Glow.. glow.. glow). LOL

We discussed a few possible diagnosises for Apache. The fact that Neo has had an on-going upper respitory thing that Patchie might have caught is one possibility, but if that IS the case, are the others infected too? They've been exposed. Why aren't they showing signs of illness. Although, Patchie really wasn't either (save for shaking her head) and the nare thing. The other guess is a yeast infection she might have developed as a secondary infection from being on antibiotics. My weight is leaning in that direction. I know that yeast CAN be passed down to chicks in the nest and its deadly. I also know that Patchie was on antibiotics about a month prior to going to nest... so the timing is there. The fact that Silver saw Dr. Proseski during the nesting time and didn't have any signs of upper respitory problems is another indicator that maybe whatever didn't come from Neo as they were both in a cage with him before and Silver would have surely been ill too.

At anyrate, the Doctor decided to culture Apache's throat. That meant.. my poor Patcheeta had to hold still while they shoved a Big Ole Long Q-Tip down her throat and Mom had to stand upright when they handed her the bill of $117 bucks! So, that $117 dollar Q-Tip BETTER sprout some awnsers as to why my poor Patchie is sick, and maybe I'll even get a 5-fer and find out why the babies died too. In the meantime, the doctor felt more comfortable waiting until we get the culture back before we start her on antibiotcics. That's fine with me since I know her clinic goes through Prescription Specialties (and they make BOOKOO expensive medicine taylor made for a bird's pallet.. like.. millet extract with doxycycline in it, etc). So.. I'd rather get the RIGHT stuff the first time, rather than pay 20 bucks a bottle only to have to discard it after 2 days and buy MORE expensive taylor made stuff). Since its a long weekend, the results won't be back until at least Tuesday. That's a long time for Patchie to sit and bake with an infection. Doctor Becky said to weigh her every day, and if she stops eating and/or drinking over the weekend, I'm to call her at home and she gave me her home number. Wow! That was really nice. ::Sits on hands::: I can think of a thousand questions I want to ask her.. hahah! But.. I don't think she would appreciate me using her number to my advantage. LOL!!! Another part of me was rather alarmed. Hmmm.. is Apache sicker than she's letting on that she would give me her home phone number for the weekend? :;:gulp::: Well.. I asked her if I should quarentine her (hahah.. not like she hasn't been living with the flock) and she said.. naw.. why bother. Everyone's been around her and it would just stress her out and possibly make her symptoms flare up. (Which is exactly what I thought).

So, now I just sit tight and wait for the results and do a little internet surfing on yeast infections. I wonder if this is something I'll have to treat the whole flock for as a precaution? Probably. Lovely... six birds getting oral meds before I go to work in the morning. YIP!