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Alternatives to restraint/syringe medication

GreenThing

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I should have desensitized both of my birds to a syringe from the time they were babies, and I will forever regret not doing that.

Regardless, Merlin is simply more sensitive to being restrained than either of my other birds. Percy would shake it off, even when he was getting subcutaneous fluids. I never handled a dying animal that became more cuddly, but that was Percy, even when he must have been in real pain. Margo, with her broken toes, will sit in my loosely closed hand like a burrito if it means she gets millet (she learned that in ONE NIGHT-- I was literally holding her up and pointing and telling Merlin, "LOOK, SHE'S FINE, WHY CANT YOU DO THIS?").

Merlin gets so upset about being handled that my vet was surprised he was hand-raised and utterly tame. We had to cut his tests short because he was getting so stressed. He's always been that way, no matter what I've tried.

For three days now, I've been able to get him to voluntarily stick his head through my index finger and thumb for a treat, then I scoop him up. I tell him what I'd doing, I praise him, give him treats on my shoulder afterwards. But he knows what I'm doing, so it's getting harder. He's showing anxious body language whenever I come into the room-- totally eroded trust. I am trying not to be an over-sensitive, selfish weakling about this, but it feels utterly wretched. I will, of course, keep doing it if it's what he needs, but the vet said this twice-daily pancreas/liver supplement might be something he needs to be on for the rest of his life. I am genuinely worried that restraining him twice a day for the rest of his life will kill him with stress.

He is getting such a tiny amount of medicine (0.02 in a cheap, horrible syringe with a stopper that doesn't slide smoothly) that there HAS to be a way to give this to him in his food. I will separate them and sit with him for hours until he gives in and eats it in his pellets, if I have to.

Has anyone else had success with putting meds in food? I saw using drops of baby bird formula suggested... it's literally just a DROP of medicine causing all of this stress. There has to be another way to give it to him.
 

Pixiebeak

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I had to treat my 3 budgie 2 untamed and one a little tame as will sit in me and let me rub chest and face .

I took their cage into bathroom, that I had cover window with a blanket to make dark. Turned off light. Waited a few minutes. Then reached in and grabbed one , wrapped in a wash cloth, turned light back on, have the tiny dose of medicine that I made mixed in with a little made up baby bird formula..turned off light again, and got my next one .

This greatly reduced stress in the birds. It didn't affect my friendship with my part tame one ..

But I understand your bond is deeper and you worry about loosing trust.

I have also had success with the budgies taking medicine mixed into a tiny amount of plain Greek yogurt. My budgies like and will come and eat a little yogurt. The yogurt stays thick enough to offer from my finger to my tamer one . The others had to give less exact on a little plate.

If you use a tiny pinch of bread , to soak up meds and your budgie will eat a little bread thdt can work. Mine weren't reliable esters if bread, but were with the yogurt.
 

Clueless

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Been there, doing that.

I use baby food. Must be no additives and I buy the natural (organic if it is sweet potatoes because I'm paranoid).

I put a tiny amount of baby food in a small tin cup, put in meds on top (.03) and put CRUMBLES of Secrets bird food on top. Bird thinks she's being spoiled (and she is). After she eats for a while, tiny amount more on top and use toothpick to stir.

I have a special top I put in the liquid meds bottle and I use a special syringe so it's not sticky. I can look that up later if you want.

Take food away after night feeding so they're hungry in the morning.
 

GreenThing

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I had to treat my 3 budgie 2 untamed and one a little tame as will sit in me and let me rub chest and face .
Both my others, who were/are less tame, seem to handle it better. Merlin has always been so freaking sensitive, and he's acting like a completely different bird.

I haven't tried yogurt... Merlin usually detests wet things (that aren't leaves). Honestly, I will wait until he's really hungry and try to find something he likes. We've never tried baby food. Something about the failure to digest his food properly was making him aggressively, inappropriately hungry-- so much so that he was going after MY food, including things like chips that he would have never touched, before.

The vet thought his weight was partially due to having an over-full crop, and when I weighed him this morning he had dropped 4g (I'm not freaking out because I think that means she was right). I hope that is the medicine working.
 

GreenThing

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Been there, doing that.

I use baby food. Must be no additives and I buy the natural (organic if it is sweet potatoes because I'm paranoid).

I put a tiny amount of baby food in a small tin cup, put in meds on top (.03) and put CRUMBLES of Secrets bird food on top. Bird thinks she's being spoiled (and she is). After she eats for a while, tiny amount more on top and use toothpick to stir.

I have a special top I put in the liquid meds bottle and I use a special syringe so it's not sticky. I can look that up later if you want.

Take food away after night feeding so they're hungry in the morning.
Thank you, hearing what other people have tried helps!

I will absolutely buy an actually functioning syringe if nothing else works-- if he aspirated today it was because of the [choice words I can't use here] syringe.

I took a lot of their pellets out today around noon-- not all of them, but I tried to measure it so he'll be REALLY hungry tonight. Last night I waited for three hours until he was so mad and hungry that he finally stuck his little head under my hand.

I'm also only giving seed (to both of them) from my hands. That's the only way I can think of to keep some positive association with them.
 

Clueless

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I believe these are what I'm using.

Screenshot_20231120_142432_Samsung Internet.jpg

You can also buy adapters to go into the top of the bottle of liquid medicine so when you put the syringe in and turn bottle upside down, nothing spews out.

I bought the adapters from another company.
 

Pixiebeak

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Your pharmacy will sell you a syringe, and it's usually under a buck for one. I get the kind with needle and remove the needle. Better than the oral syringe.

The kind mentioned by clueless are awesome, my fav
 

Spearmint

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This kind of takes a while, but imo worth it.
syringe training is something ive been doing with spearmint. i feed him a sweet juice (bird safe ofc) out of a syringe. I give a different flavour occasionally, some more sour or bitter than others. But nonetheless enjoyable. He looks forward to getting his treat out of the syringe, and it's made giving medication when needed a lot easier, as he doesn't seem to notice it's now a bad taste.
 

GreenThing

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Budgies are so freaking picky! I separated Merlin and Margo when I got home, and left Merlin nothing but the pellet bowl with a pinch of pellets that had been soaked in his meds. I tried making "bread", and that was a no-go, so I had to kind of glaze the normal pellets with the lactulose (it's horribly sticky syrup). It took a two-hour standoff and many tantrums, but he finally gave up and ate them (I watched while pretending to sleep, in case he would try to throw them out). He knew they weren't "right".

I will try a tiny bit of cooked rice, tomorrow, but for all I know he only eats rice when he thinks he is stealing mine.

I don't know, even though he eats readily eats greens and pellets, even though I measure out their seed mix, I still could have been overfeeding seeds. If the source of all of this is his liver, it could well be my fault. I am only giving them pinches of seeds, now-- from 3/4 a tsp twice daily to 1/4 tsp twice daily. They are eating their pellets and greens much more readily (after several tantrums and Merlin checking every forage spot for missed seeds).
 

Clueless

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I gave Secret her meds over cooked quinoa that was multi colored. She gobbled it but then the next check up her values were high. :-(

That's when I went to baby food. Peas are a fave here.
 

GreenThing

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Tried again this morning. One of the birds had wet, almost fluffy/spongy-looking droppings. Separated them. Left Merlin with nothing but a few pellets dripped with his medicine. He was just too freaking stubborn. Ate a few, but he knew they were "poisoned". I put it on a few oats (because he rolls those over and over in his mouth, I thought some medicine would have to get in there). I can try switching to soaking oats, but he detects and hates the stickiness of the syrup.

Tried rice and egg, too, which he loves when it's in MY bowl, but no go. It's like his baby days with me trying all kinds of veg and chop all over again. I might have to give in.

When he'd eaten as much as he was going to, I let Margo out and gave them both fresh pellets-- with like, a miserly pinch of seeds. When they are competing, they eat more. My only other thought is that I can try attaching Margo's bowl to the outside of the cage, giving them both pellets, and hope that he eats when he sees her eating. If he didn't possibly need the medicine very badly, I'd have more time to experiment and wear him down.

He looks like he is in discomfort after eating. He raises/trembles his wings and squints his eyes. His chest isn't swollen anymore, and he's steady at 40/41g now (so the lost grams must have been food in his crop), but something is clearly giving him pain. He had a bit of a wet sneeze (but rrrg, he's molting around his nares, so idk), and I'm trying not to panic, because I know pancreas issues can be rooted in infection, too.
 

Clueless

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It's hard to deal with our emotions during times like these. Hang in there!
 

DesertBird

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When my budgie, Sprite, was sick last year I also had trouble giving her medication through a syringe. What worked for me was I took some seeds off of her millet spray, put them in a bowl, and coated them in her medication. She new the millet had something on it she didn't like, but the temptation of yummy millet was too strong so she ate them anyway.
 

GreenThing

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When my budgie, Sprite, was sick last year I also had trouble giving her medication through a syringe. What worked for me was I took some seeds off of her millet spray, put them in a bowl, and coated them in her medication. She new the millet had something on it she didn't like, but the temptation of yummy millet was too strong so she ate them anyway.
Did it seem like Sprite got enough of the meds that way? I think Merlin would go for sticky seeds more than sticky pellets, but at least he eats the pellets whole-- I worried that using seeds he wouldn't actually be getting the right dose.

It's so much fuss to avoid a few seconds of stress, but all I can think about is Percy dying, and how grateful I was that our last time together was me scratching his head and giving him comfort.
 

Clueless

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It's not fuss, it's love that inspires you.
 

DesertBird

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Did it seem like Sprite got enough of the meds that way? I think Merlin would go for sticky seeds more than sticky pellets, but at least he eats the pellets whole-- I worried that using seeds he wouldn't actually be getting the right dose.
Yes, she was able to get enough of her medication that way. She had to roll the seeds in her mouth to get the husk off, so she got all the medication that was on it.
 

GreenThing

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Yes, she was able to get enough of her medication that way. She had to roll the seeds in her mouth to get the husk off, so she got all the medication that was on it.
I will try it with oat groats tonight... he tends to keep returning to those and rolling them around in his beak, so maybe they are a good option.

I just ran home to remove the pellets from their cage, and he was in obvious discomfort. :( Closed eyes, raising his wings, feathers slicked down. My new vet only has an avian specialist in on Fridays and Saturdays-- I have other options, but I feel like sticking with a consistent plan of care is best, at least for now.
 

GreenThing

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THE OAT GROATS WORKED. THEY WORKED. He threw two out, but I put them right back in, and when he ate them all I rubbed a few more in the residue of the syrup, so he got every drop. I always thought he "hulled" the groats (even though they have no hulls-- he does that to cooked rice, too) but he was hungry enough that he ate every bit of them.

I'm so freaking relieved. Which will last like, five minutes, then I'll go back to worrying there is another, worse problem that lactulose can't treat, but I will enjoy the five minutes while they last.

Thank you so much for all the suggestions.
 
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