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My bird has HEAVY METAL POISONING...AGAIN!!HELP

Discussion in 'Bird Emergency Highway 911' started by john5677, 4/19/12.

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  1. john5677
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    john5677 Meeting neighbors

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    I've had my Budgie/Parakeet(Dan) since late 2007. Two month's ago, I found out he had heavy metal poisoning. These were the symptoms

    1. Watery poop initially?

    2.Became much bigger. Black at first. Then green

    3. Blood in the white part of his poop.

    4. Day by Day, he'd get less active. To the point where he would stay in one spot.

    5. Loss of weight

    In order to get "rid of it", we gave him Calcium EDTA(I think thats what it's called). Because of the lack of a good schedule(me and my parent have had to work together to give him medicine) , and to not stress the bird, we've only been able to give it to him once a day. We'd do it for three days, then took a two day break. Rinse and repeat

    We also gave him "Yunnan Baiyo" and "Sucralfale" for five days. These were oral.


    After 1/2 - two weeks , he began clearing up. He returned to normal, and was active again. Blood wasn't in any part of his poop/stool. The doc recommended that I take the bird again to see how much Heavy metal he has left(So that it wouldn't return). Due to money issues, I couldn't do this anymore. Afterall, the whole thing cost pretty much 400-500 bucks(surgery, medicine, keeping in overnight for two days, visiting costs)


    A few months later..
    CURRENTLY

    - Today, I found that he's had blood in this area AGAIN. I did notice that he's been going in his cage more. But I thought that was because his male friend "Yellow" likes to stay in his cage. Though he's healthy, it seems Yellow just likes staying in his cage despite the fact that he can get out when I'm home. So I assumed that Dan emulated Yellow's behavior.

    He's still acting fine for now, but I know that this wont last. And I have a •••• good feeling it's HMP again due to the obvious sympton.



    Few notes: 1. Prior to him getting sick, he had lost his mate 1-2 months ago. 4 years I had her but she died to egg problems. We replaced her with a young male parakeet and both get along.

    2.This is the only time he's REALLY gotten sick. He's never had any sickness besides HMP.

    3.I have noticed that he likes rubbing his head against the CAGE. We bought this cage a year ago. Before, they were in a smaller cage. Could this contribute to HMP? I still have the smaller cage and he's never had issues until now



    IMPORTANT NOTES:
    Yes, he has bitten the paint off the top of the door. And there was a mirror behind the cage before the sickness(Which he would bite). Once he got HMP, I finally removed the mirror, and monitored him closely so that he would not bite any furniture. I locked him in his cage when I would go to sschool, let him out and monitor him when I got back home.


    - The doc said that unlike other parakeet birds who get better instantly, my bird got better at a longer period of time


    What should I do now? Go to the VET again? Get another X-Ray?(the bird came out looking horrible after the Anesthesia. So it took him a few hours to a day for recovery)? What are the options now?

    And how can I PREVENT THIS further? What new cage can I get? The "Stainless steel" cages i've seen on google are around $1,000 bucks. And that IS WAY TOO MUCH for me. Is it true that vinegar works? How do I go about applying it on my cage so that my birds wont get sick?:omg: I do NOT have much time left. Though he's just started to get it, I realize I need to work FAST.


    EDIt: I believe I STILL have some of the calcium EDTA injections. But my YUNNAN BAIYO and s SUCRALFATE medicationhave just expired in April 1st. I've kept the oral medications in the fridge, while the Calcium injections have been in a dark spot.
    Last edited: 4/19/12
  2. Macawnutz
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    Macawnutz Biking along the boulevard Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award

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    Yes, you will need to go to the vet. Heavy metal poison in nothing to mess around with and the clock is ticking. To prevent this you will need to check over your cage. Do not use any toys or bowls that are not SS or at least nickel plated. The cage must not have chipping paint or rust. Vinegar is used to remove rust but does not fix your problem or prevent your bird from poisoning due to zinc or lead. I would buy a quality cage of SS or powder coated, (not cheap painted). Your baby will once again need to go to the vet and continue to do the vet's full treatment to remedy this.
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  3. jmfleish
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    jmfleish Biking along the boulevard Celebirdy of the Month Avenue Spotlight Award

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    Do you know what heavy metal it was? Do you know what the numbers were? You do need to see a vet again but the price your vet is charging you seems outrageous. The price of a heavy metal test should be about $120. X-rays can vary but you shouldn't be looking at a $1000 vet bill unless you are testing over and over and over again which is what I did with my Cockatoo.
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  4. john5677
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    john5677 Meeting neighbors

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    Sadly yes, there are some chips/rust on both cages. If I need to go to the Vet again, so be it. However, do you know of any good sites that have SS or powder coated cages at an affordable price? Because I cannot afford $500+ for any bird cage.


    I removed all toys and what they have left is two wooden perchs(that they dont bite) and a calcium stick.
    Sadly...no. I dont think she even mentioned to me what the specific metal was. She told me that there were a lot of "stuff" inside him(that weren't good) and that it would take a longer period for Dan to get back to normal . Essentially , the amount was abnormal compared to any regular parakeet bird that would have HMP. I could call her and ask her for specifics, though I'm not sure if she'll give me a specific answer/ And this vet is pretty much my only option in the area that i'm in. Other vets dont take birds or dont have the treatment for HMP. Though I could look into a further location....

    I'll tell you the costs. This is what it said on the paper.

    Physical Exam: $54
    Calcium EDTA 200mg/ml : $87.95
    DMSA oral suspension: $82. 50
    Sevoflurane(1-25 min): $66.50
    XRAY2 View SM: $129.00
    O- Ohio Zinc:$ 82.00
    Boarding for Med Size Avian, rep, Mmamal. Quantity: 3. $55.50
    Medication while boarding. Quantity: 3. $24.00
    Insulin Syringes 29g 1/2in:Quantity: 6. $16.20

    total estimate charge: $597.65

    However, they made me pay $385 instead
    Last edited: 4/19/12
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  5. Marlene
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    Marlene Welcome to the neighborhood! Administrator

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    :(Awful. Hope you get help for your baby. Hugs to you both:hug8::hug8:
  6. jmfleish
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    jmfleish Biking along the boulevard Celebirdy of the Month Avenue Spotlight Award

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    I don't doubt that you are probably looking at HMP but I think it's weird that the vet didn't give you numbers. When I went through this with my Cockatoo he was hitting at 390 PPM which seems high because normal high for a 'too is generally no higher than 250 PPM. We kept treating and testing and treating and testing and he'd get better but then go back to 390 PPM eventually. The only signs he was showing that made us think HMP was that he was shaking a lot and feather picking. After about a year of this, the vets felt that he just had a high zinc count and that it was an individual thing. I haven't done any testing or treating for at least two years now and if his zinc count was truly elevated from any type of ingestion, it most likely would have killed him by now. A new resident said in the last year that he truly believes that zinc levels have to be in the 700 to 1000 PPM range to be significant and I tend to agree with him as Reggie is healthy as a horse otherwise.

    I feel for you but you might want to consider another vet. If your bird ingested zinc or lead and it's still in him, it should show up on X-ray and they should easily be able to point it out. If it doesn't show up on X-ray, my guess is that your bird is still getting into whatever started it. My heart aches for you as I know what going through this is like.
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  7. Macawnutz
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    The cage does not have to be $500. A&E, KINGS, HQ, AVIAN ADVENTURES all have excellent powder coating on their cages and I have macaws that really test that. Depending on what size you are looking at determines the price. You don't have to remove all the toys, just make sure they are safe for the birds. If you do not know then remove is better. Sadly yes, I understand that vet bill. Most of those services you pay less than I. Hopefully you can get this under control and prevent this from happening again. Have you given a call to your vet?
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  8. AmberMuffinz
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    AmberMuffinz Rollerblading along the road

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  9. Ziggymon
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  10. Mizzely
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    Also, do you have any "painted" toys, specifically woods? Those can contain lead paint which will also add to the HMP
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  11. john5677
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    john5677 Meeting neighbors

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    UPDATE
    Finally able to go yesterday. Wasn't able to go sooner due to a **** schedule

    GOOD NEWS
    - They did another Xray. And it turns out that it's much better than before. The doc informed me that there still looks like theres some stuff in his "Vent" area, but it's not as bad. The doc informed me that we should give the bird DMSA oral suspension for 6 Weeks.

    It goes like this
    - Give the bird 0.1 cc by mouth for 5 days. Take a two day break. Do it for 5 days. Two day break . Rinse and repeat. For a total of 6 weeks. Every 12 hours

    No need to give him injections. Despite the fact that the HM isn't anywhere near as bad as it was originally, he still has blood in the white area of his stool. Any reason why? Me and another individual will be giving him the oral medications later on

    The Bad news?
    The assistant of the vet is a ••••ing tool.

    Originally, when I got the calcium EDTA(during the time when my bird was sick) from the vet.... The assistant showed a demonstration of how to inject him and give him the medicine. The assistant found out that she bent the needle. And straightened it back up to inject him

    The bird was literally in pain for 5-8 minutes.

    I KNOW this is not right because me and another individual(who specifically did the injections. I just held him) were giving the bird the injections and my parakeet wasn't in anywhere near the Pain suffered from that stupid assistant. That and the same individual(Who I will not be naming) who is a nurse, told me that you aren't supposed to straighten it out under any circumstances. Just get a new one


    #2. Yesterday. She gave him the oral medication and my bird was vomiting, and shaking his head for a total of 8-10 minutes. It REALLY took a while until he recovered back to normal

    Now, I'm •••• sure that this is not right at all. I've given my parakeets oral medication in the past, and they wouldn't continuously do it for THAT long. At best, they'd shake their head for 30 sec's if something could have went wrong. And the funny part of it all? The assistant did this when the vet wasn't in the same room! Both times!

    So, if I do go there again. I know a few things
    1. I will NOT leave him by himself there. Why? Because the assistant can screw •••• up. No guarantee that the vet will do it by herself

    2. The first time, I thought: hey, maybe it was just mistake with the needles. I didn't think she would screw up the ORAL medication as well. So when I do go there again, I will DEMAND that she would not touch my bird again. And to leave it to the vet(who is good at doing her job). Dont care if I look like a dick.

    Honestly? I'm tempted to do something ASAP with that stupid assistant. But not sure on how to go about tackling it without bursting with anger. I really do feel like kicking her teeth in because of the possibility of her killing my bird.



    I will be responding to the other posts in a few days. Mostly with the cage stuff and I'll get back at others here since i didn't reply to them.
    Last edited: 5/5/12
  12. Birdiemarie
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    Birdiemarie Feather Snuggler Administrator Celebirdy of the Month Avenue Spotlight Award

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    So glad to hear Dan is improving!

    You do not have to allow this assistant to touch your bird. In fact you can have them put it in your bird's chart in big letters. Stand over them while they write it so you are satisfied. If it were me I also would not leave the bird there without me because of my fear the assistant would hurt my bird. I would also talk directly to the vet and complain and let him know you may have to find another vet if you are not assured the assistant will not go near Dan.
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  13. Tangle Elf
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    I don't ever leave any pets unattended during vet visits, even with a vet I trust. Have you found out the source of the heavy metal? It sounds like it may very well be your cage. You don't have to get a stainless steel one to prevent it. You could get a new, powder coated cage. Also, as someone else mentioned, painted toys can contain led. Make sure your toys use only stainless steel hardware and vegetable dyed or undyed woods. I hope your birdie gets better soon.
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  14. Bokkapooh
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    There are many lead/zinc based toys. Wires and hooks and chains that are not SS are often not safe. But if your current cage is chipped them the culprit is probably the cage. If these are budgies you have, I suggest getting a new flight cage and new toys. And Thankyou for.caring so much and so well for your budgies. Many do not because its "just a cheap replacable parakeet"....:(
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  15. john5677
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    john5677 Meeting neighbors

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    Thanks. And yeah I'll make •••• sure she don't handle my bird again. I guarantee it.

    And to be honest? I don't have much options left lol

    The only other "Competent" vet where I live..charges even MORE money than the vet I go to. And the vet I go to is expensive as it is. I've tried finding other vets but they all recommend the vet place that I already go to. Either that or some vets don't handle birds at all or the specific sickness. But if/when I do go there again, I'll request the assistant to not handle the job.

    Well prior to living in the house that I'm in right now, my birds would bite at the door when I was living in an apartment. He had a female companion during that time and they would both bite at it. This was in 2007- 2009 before I moved to another location+house


    Its only until this year, along with the fact that his mate died(egg issues) did he experience the symptoms of HMP. But the main culpreits right now? The majority of the top door in my room, at my house now was bitten up(think of it as a long line)by both parakeets. Along with the fact that I used to have a mirror in which they would bite.

    Granted, me and my parent got a new and big cage last year. Much bigger than the one Dan and his female companion lived in for three years

    So honestly? I think that there were many factors. My two main concerns are the top door(which i've covered up to make sure that my parakeet and his new companion can't bite) and mirror(Which I got rid of long ago). I'll be saving up for the new powder coated cage though.

    I've gotten rid of some of the toys already and will look for safer toys so that birds can bite it safely. I've provided calcium sticks(which both of the birds bite) in the mean time
    Will certainly do. I just need a medium sized cage that isn't too expensive, and that is also powder coated. My vet did say that the small cage I had wouldn't pose much of an issue. But she has yet to see the big cage. I have a feeling the big cage could be a culprit too(but not as huge as the mirror and door one),

    And yeah. II'll do whatever I can to make sure he completely gets over this. I've had this bird in particular for 4-5 years and i'm not willing to let those years waste away.
    Last edited: 5/5/12
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  16. Bokkapooh
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    Bokkapooh Joyriding the Neighborhood

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    Also just make sure you are providing variety of toys, so bar and paint chewing will be on the end of your birds "To Do" list.:)
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  17. jmfleish
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    I did CA-EDTA with Reggie the first several times and left him at the vet the whole week that he needed the shots because I didn't feel competent enough to give the shots and I believe they were giving them twice a day so bringing him in for them was not an option. We went the route of DMSA the last time I treated and like you, it was so many days on and then so many days off for four to six weeks. The one thing you have to remember about all these meds is that they are very heavy duty and can make birds very, very sick. My ekkie breeder had to treat her Palm Cockatoos a number of years ago and they got so sick from the meds (something different from the two meds listed above but it escapes me now) that she was sure she was going to lose them. They did end up pulling through. When I treated with DMSA at home with Reg, he didn't show any outward signs of being sick but he did sleep a lot. Another thing you may want to try is feeding peanut butter because radiographs are showing that your bird has metal in the body and close to coming out. The PB will stick to the metal and flush it out easier. The goal is to get it out of the body as quickly as possible. The medicines will do nothing to physically remove the metal piece, but will remove the metal circulating in the blood stream that has been absorbed from the piece that is in the body. Until that piece has been removed from the body, the DMSA won't really have much of an impact. I've heard that Metamucil is also helpful. Anything to get the metal moving and out.
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  18. john5677
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    john5677 Meeting neighbors

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    I actually didn't know this, so this information is very beneficial and very important.

    The peanut butter statement is VERY important. In which case I ask. Any real guidelines on how to feed them? Any specific brands? I assume I can't use something like

    [​IMG]

    Or can I? I've never fed any of my birds peanut butter so this is all new to me. Do I spread it over the food? Or keep it in a seperate dish?

    2. Any way to really know when he's gotten all of it out of his system? Or to the point where he's fully healed?


    2. From you're experience , how long would YOU personally recommend I give him the medicine for? With and without the peanut butter method
  19. jmfleish
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    jmfleish Biking along the boulevard Celebirdy of the Month Avenue Spotlight Award

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    Any peanut butter that has been pasteurized is fine. I would actually probably stick to the name brands with all the sugar to be safe. You run the risk of afalotoxins in the natural kinds that don't have the sugars. As long as you don't make a habit of giving peanut butter, the added sugar isn't going to kill him. It sounds like the metal piece is just about ready to come out, if he will eat the peanut butter right off a spoon, that's probably the best way to go but you can put it on toast too. I would also ask your vet about the use of Metamucil. I'm a bit surprised they didn't tell you about the need to physically remove the metal from his body because the meds will not do this. The meds are only going to remove the absorbed metal from his blood stream and until all the metal pieces are out of his body, it's totally a moot point. The only way to know for sure that the metal is out is another radiograph or if you see it in his feces. Did you see the X-ray so you kind of have an idea of how big the metal piece is? Since it's so close to his vent, I'd say it shouldn't take long for it to come out. Of course, this is another great question to ask the vet.

    PS - I would think creamy would be the best choice!;) Good luck!
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  20. john5677
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    john5677 Meeting neighbors

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    Alright, thanks. I guess 3-4 times a week of peanut butter would be safe.

    And yeah, I'm pretty surprised as well. I was under the assumption that he would be 100% healed if given the DMTA. So either
    1. She doesn't know about the Metamucil process

    2. She forgot about suggesting things to get the metals right out of the body.

    3. Deliberately didn't tell me..so I could go back and pay more $$$

    I hope it's not the 3rd one. As far as the X rays go? Yup, I saw it. The first Xray was when my bird had a lot of metal in him. So the EDTA helped in getting rid of it

    The second X ray..she said that she still saw some stuff in his "gizzard"( cant accurately remember what she called it) but it wasn't anywhere near as bright or noticeable as before.

    I'll give the vet a call monday, since she isn't available during the weekend.

    Im actually a bit pissed because I'm now a bit hesitant of giving him the DMSA if it wasn't going to fully get rid of everything in the first place. heh
    Last edited: 5/5/12
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