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Ankle pain (attacks) and Deteriorating Feathers - Help!

Susan E.

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My male White Bellied Caique 'Loki' is 9yo. About 6 months ago he began visciously attacking his own ankle (mostly the right one); unprovoked screaming and biting hard enough to cause lacerations (we intervene quickly - now wears collar; unable to wean). Around the same time I noticed his feathers were looking a bit shabby and he hadn't molted as expected. Now Loki has stark progressive deterioration of his back and wing feathers (see pictures now, and prior). Never had a good molt, and new feather growth is slow (not absent). Diet is Roudybrush + red palm oil with some fresh fruits/veggies; Housing is huge and next to a window; Wooden/woven toys abundant. Appetite is very good (unchanged). Poops are normal consistency and color (unchanged). Eyes, nails and beak appear healthy. No change in mechanical usage of his legs/feet. Energy level is good when he's relatively comfortable. At times, he is so uncomfortable that he sits in one place, shivers, and briefly/intermittently vocalizes.

He has seen two avian vets so far without an explanation for his feathers deterioration. The vet said his feathers condition looks like overhandling/grooming. That's just not the case here. I'm with him all day, every day, handling is no different (maybe even a bit less) than years ago, and grooming is very reduced because he is always in his collar). Liver and kidney enzymes are normal. Fecal showed no parasites (a bit of yeast -> rx apple cider vinegar). Leuprolide was tried for hormonal suppression with no effect. PBFD was low on differential with No beak/nail changes (?) and it wouldn't explain the ankle discomfort. Notably, Bornavirus was positive - however neuropathy antibody was negative. I worry that the borna is a red-herring. Regardless, I understand the antibody could be a 'false negative', so we are treating 'neuropathy' with meloxicam and topicals -> now Onfior and gapabentin. Treatment has had questionable efficacy. I've noticed the gabapentin makes him sedated... but that effect is waning despite dose escalation, and he is still having breakthrough discomfort from 'something'. To my knowledge, even if Borna is causing a treatment-refractory neuropathy, Borna does Not explain his deteriorating feathers. Some feathers literally look as though they've been chiseled into arrow-heads (like the edges have been shaved down - see pictures). Loki can not have done this - he can't reach those feathers with his collar on. The pictures also show a fresh laceration on his ankle from brief supervised time out of the collar (clearly, unable to tolerate it). The problem is getting worse and I am at a loss at how to help my sweet boy. Anxiety is not causing pain and feather deterioration, so I've held off on the suggestion for prozac. There were no significant changes/stressors of any kind at time of onset.
- I'm supplementing with vitamins, and increased fresh fruits/veggies (no improvement so far after a few weeks).
- I've increased shower frequency to a few per week (he bathes in his water dish daily as well).
- I've tried anti-mite sprays with no change x several treatments (and no visible evidence of mites).
Can anyone please help identify what might be at the root of this issue???
 

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Hankmacaw

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Mary Lynn Skinner
That's a tough one. Has he had an xray to see if there may be a tumor or something else going on internally. My girl has very bad arthritis and Celebrex (very similar to Onsior ) and Gabapentin are taking care of the pain very well - so I'd say it's not that. He will get less and less sleepy on the Gabapentin. Maybe another ABV test to confirm the first one.

His feathers look as if they are more than badly bronzed from wear - I'd sure be suspicious of liver or kidney issues ( but the tests don't support that). An xray can also determine if his liver is swollen or physically damaged.

I'm not a great believer in supplemental vitamins, especially with as good of a diet as he has. I'd cut those out just in case he has hypervitaminosis.

I sure hope you can find out the problem.
 

Susan E.

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Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. X-ray showed enlargement of the heart (with some pulmonary edema), enlargement of the proventriculus down to the intestines, and thickening/inflammatory changes of the ankles, worse on the right. Liver/kidney and CBC normal. The GI changes strongly point to active ABV, so perhaps it really is causing such multi-system damage. Not well described in the literature to my knowledge... but then again this god-awful virus hasn't been known for all that long. Pimobendan (cardiac support) was added with initial improvement (eating without vocalizations) but the effect is starting to wane already. We're escalating doses of gabapentin and Pemobendan, but I see where this is headed (and quickly). My heart is just sinking. He's my buddy, and just an angel with my young children. If anyone knows of any 'experimental' or 'alternative' treatments that are being looked at, please let me know. We're short on options, and I'm afraid on time as well. =(
 

sunnysmom

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Birdbabe

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The feathers look " chewed" by mites or lice. But you have treated for that. Aloe vera therapy, wont hurt him, its natural medicine, cleansing the whole body. ..look up aloe cleansing..you can make it yourself, if you have the plants available, or get " Lily of the valley " aloe detox at a health food store or at SPROUTS,,..it wont hurt him..hope he will heal,,
 

Skyandkiwi

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I’m very sorry to hear that!! Get better soon Loki!! :hug8:
 
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