Friday, August 26, 2005

Teika's Trials

Apache's final checkup at the Vet's office was today. Though she still has a little irritation at the back of her throat, Dr. Becky doesn't feel its an infection, but rather, signs that Apache is having some drainage issues from her sinuses. Likely, Patchie is sensitive to all of the cockatiel dust and a hepa purifier will solve a
lot of her issues. I'll watch her for future signs that her allergies are developing into another infection, but she's gained back to 90 grams (YAY!) and is active and in good feather again. What a RELIEF!

In another entry, I posted that I had concerns about Teika. Nothing that I could really "put a finger on". She had lost a little weight, but I had tried converting the birds over to a pelleted diet to get Trinny and Taxi's weight gain under control. Teika and Patchie suffered for it so it was back to a seed and pellet mix. It seemed to work, but Teika still seemed a little "off" to me. Nothing I could pin down though. She regained weight and wasn't wheezing, sneezing or seemingly ill, but she wasn't being very vocal, and just seemed a little "off". Tense and not very friendly, and not as playful as she had been, yet not sickly acting. Just.. "Off".

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So, I made an appointment to have Teika seen while Patchie was getting her re-check. Dr. Becky exclaimed the MINUTE she laid eyes on Teika. (She gets that! HEHE!) She's SOOO pretty (and she knows it!)

The good news is, Lil Miss Teika checked out fine health wise. Her fecal came back fine, her nares are fine, her choana is a good color (not irritated like Patchie's) and her breathing and heartbeat are sound great. The bad news is, the stress she's endured is showing up in little ways. The fact that she was rehomed, underwent hormone shots, had a change of address prior to moving in with me, has played ring around the cage mates (never parting with Trinny but having Patchie pulled due to illness, and then other birds juggled due to hormones, etc) has left her a little rattled. We now have a cage arrangement that seems to suit her well. She and Trinny share a cage with Patchie and Silver, while Taxi and Neo share the other half. Teika has been coming out of her shell a bit since I've set things up this way so hopefully it will continue to be an upward trend. How was the vet able to tell she was stressed? Apparently there are these fine lines known as "stress bars" present on her feathers. They don't cause any damage to the feather and won't weaken them, but they are just little dark lines that are very difficult to notice unless you know what to look for. AWWWWWWW! Poor lil Teika. Dr. Becky wasn't able to tell me if they are on new feathers or old ones or both, but what really matters is that I'm aware that she is very susceptible to stressors in her environment now, and I will take measures to make sure she's accounted for in every way.

Teika and Apache weigh exactly the same. And funny, Patchie is at prime weight and Dr. Becky said Patchie is "chunking up". She even looks rather "squat" compared to Teika. Dr. Becky said Teika is a tall bird and she would like to see 5 more grams on her frame. She's not "underweight" but considering the stress she's been under, a few more grams wouldn't be a bad thing for her. Though they weigh the same, Teika somehow feels lighter on my finger than Apache does. Odd huh?

The last thing Dr. Becky noticed was Teika's beak. Though she's in good physical condition, she did notice that Teika's lower mandible is a little off center (not ground properly down). Not horribly noticeable but just enough. Since she didn't see Teika right after I got her, its hard to establish a foundation of "before and after" because Teika is now quite good about eating pellets. She likes the green ones. Dr. Becky feels the prime cause is nutricianal and wants me to put more pellets and less seed into Teika's dish as soon as I get her plumped up. I'm also to encourage her to chew more on mineral blocks (for mineral content AND to help grind that beak down) rather than cuttle bones and I have an idea to do that. She said I can even powder a mineral block and sprinkle it in her seeds if she's not eating enough pellet until she's more established on Pellets. She wants to see her back in six months to see how she's coming along. She also noted that Teika's claws are very long (even though I've clipped them) which could also be related to the nutricianal thing thing. I should have asked her what veggies I should encourage Teika to eat more of, but didn't think of it. If she's not showing improvement in 6 months, I'll have some blood drawn to make sure there's not a thyroid, liver or some other organ playing a part in why her beak and claws are growing like that. I also meant to ask if the hormone shots may have had something to do with it, but I was so intent on following her instructions I forgot to ask my questions. LOL! Fortunately, I have a great relationship with Becky and anything I think of after the fact, I can always call her up and ask.

So that's the update for now. Everyone else is doing great! I'll have to post about the rest of the flock here soon since everything has been about Patchie and Teika as of late!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Road To Recovery

Patchie has had a rough ride. Though her test for Psitticosis came back negative, she continues to fight this hideous infection, (whatever it is). Shortly after she and Neo started their dose of Doxycycline, I noticed that Patchie wasn't doing better despite the antibiotics. In fact, she was doing worse, loosing weight. I called to doctor and she ordered up a round of Ketakonazole to go with it in case she'd sprouted a secondary infection.

A few days into the dual antibiotic treatment, Scott, Cameron and I went on an overnight trip. I took Patchie with us because I just couldn't bare to leave her in such a precarious state. We were gone from about 2 pm until 10 am the next day. Patchie was a little nervous on the ride, but not overly so. She's been in a car several times. She handled it well. Once we arrived home however, I was distressed to see her huddled on the bottom of her cage. Yoi! I've NEVER seen any of my birds do that! I hoped maybe she'd "Unstress" but the remainder of the afternoon, she continued to sleep there. She became more and more lethargic, and when I weighed her, she had lost more weight. I called sounded the alarm bells and called the doctor's office. The doc wouldn't be in until the next day so I made an appt and kept her warm and quiet. Early the next morning, Dr. Becky called me to get a progress report and bumped up my appt time. When I got her in and Patchie was examined, of course.. Patchie tried to make a liar out of me by trying to look perky. The doc said birds often do that in a place they're not familiar with, so they don't look like the "sick link". When she's home.. she's "at home to be herself". Same reason she was probably on guard while on our overnight trip and didn't show signs that she was going downhill until we arrived home.

She examined Patchie and noted that her infection had abated by about 75% but we still had another 25% to go. She wanted Patchie to finish out the remaining 2 days on the Doxy, and then keep her on the antifungal. She cautioned that the anti-fungal is probably what is causing Patchie the problems because it can be hard on the tummy, and she's basically feeling really crappy because of it, but if I can pull her through it with hydration and lots of tempting food, she might make it. The next option would be shots of Baytril. A series of six.. the first one administered in the office and the next five, I take home and give her myself. Kinda scary for Mom.. but worse... painful for Patchie because the medication BURNS. WHAHAH! So.. I took her home and pleaded with her to do her best. I don't want to resort to that. The sacriest moment was when Dr. Becky said "Sometimes cockatiels just don't recover from their infections." Saaaaaaaaay whhhaaaaaaaaaat???????!!!! Maybe SOME cockatiels don't.. but PATCHIE will!

Here we are, almost two weeks later. Patchie has been in a hospital cage next to the boys. She's put on 3 grams. I give her pedialyte with her medication, and I noticed that as soon as she was off the Doxy.. things started to improve. Maybe it was the Doxy that was causing the grief.. or maybe the Doxy/Keta combination? All I know is now she's on JUST the Ketakonazole and it seems to be agreeing with her much better.

Silver is pining away for Apache. He is beside himself, and sits in the corner of the cage closest to hers, watching over her protectively. I have them seperate right now because Patchie doesn't need to be bullied in her weakened state, by the other birds, or pursued as a mate. She just needs to heal. Silver sings to her every day and only allows Neo to sit in "observation corner" with him. On occasion, he'll allow one of the others to pay condolences to Apache, but for the most part, he and Neo dominate that corner of the cage.

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(Silver singing to Patchie as soon as the covers are off the cages in the morning)

Then yesterday morning, Silver escaped! He'd had it with only singing to his hen from afar and aimed on fixing it! Somehow, he managed to unlock that cage door and wiggle out while I was filling the seed cups! I must not have latched it very tight. He also managed to shut it behind him so that none of the others could get out! ARGH! Next thing I know.. there's a cinnamon male tiel, clining to Patchie's cage, singing his lungs out! How could resist. I let them have a little reunion while I fixed breakfast. Then, this morning, I let everyone out to play with Patchie for a couple of hours. No one bullied her and everyone got along fine.

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(Oh Patchie! I missed you!)

Patchie is getting stronger by the day now and she will be done with her meds on Thursday. I'll make another appt. for her just to make sure the beast is gone and if it is, I'll be doing a serious happy dance! She's had a rough time of it, and I sure hope it has a happy ending.