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Urgent Birds Sick for Months, Can't Figure Out What It Is (Have Been To Vet)

Azellia

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Melissa
Hi, everyone. Emergency vet wasn't of much help, predictably. Turned out we did do an X-ray at the other vet, and that was clear, so no tumors on the one bird. Emergency vet said there was no way to check a bird's iodine/thyroxine levels. Even if there was, they said, they don't have iodine in stock. Didn't think it was canker and didn't want to test for it. They gave me an anti-histamine, which I'll try, but am not expecting to work.

Out of curiosity, is it safe to give a bird topical Lugol's iodine, as long as diluted appropriately? I can pick that up a local store today. Any other form of iodine will take days to arrive, and I'm really, really desperate at this point. I really think this might be it.
 

Pixiebeak

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I haven't heard of low iodine in birds we treated , so I'm not sure how common it is. I'm not saying it can't be a thing, but it's not what I would jump to.
 

Aestatis

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I haven't heard of low iodine in birds being an issue to the point of goiter before, no matter how poor the diet. But, seaweed is high in iodine and might be safer than dosing with iodine. You can also get dried seaweed capsules.

Never heard about cruciferous vegetables causing thyroid issues. However, I have heard it causing calcium deficiency issues. Calcium deficiency can cause a variety of problems, but I'm not sure if respiratory is one of them. Do your budgies have a cuttlebone to chew on?
 

Azellia

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I read that cruciferous vegetables are goitrogens, which aren't great for thyroid health. I also read that iodine deficiency is somewhat common in budgies (specifically) on a high-seed diet. That's why I was considering it. But I'm by no means an expert-this is just info I found while digging!!

They have a cuttlebone. And a calcium perch. And a calcium toy. One of my birds presented with a calcium deficiency in the past, so now I make sure they have multiple sources of calcium available at all times.

Still waiting on the AGY test.

I am still worried this could be a deficiency, though. (If not iodine, maybe A? The symptoms of that also closely match their symptoms.) For one, my birds have been sick for nearly 5 months now. A deficiency, I feel, is one of the few things that could persist this long without them dying.

Also, I ended up getting some kelp and sprinkling it on their food (was too nervous about the Lugol's), as well as putting a liquid multi-vitamin in their water, just to see if it did something.

Since then, the brown spot has started disappearing on the bird who had it. Vomiting has almost gone away for all of them. And the one bird-the one that's been very, very ill-actually became a bit more active, and starting chirping/singing again (he's been very, very quiet since December-previously only made noise when I handled him during med time) He's also been eating more heartily.

But he's still more lethargic than I'd like, and seems to occasionally have a fast heart rate/fast breathing. So he's still quite poorly, and I'm still worried about him.
 

Azellia

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Might also be worth noting that I think air sac mites are still in play as well, but I don't think they're the sole thing going on. Birds have had 3 rounds of Ivermectin so far, which is the usually recommended number, so I feel like there would have been more improvement in the one bird at this point?

Or could a very severe infestation cause vomiting/lethargy/breathing issues well after three weeks? Most of the sources I read online say that if symptoms don't go away within a few days of Ivermectin treatment, there's something else going on, too. I've been struggling to find any sources documenting anything other than mild infestations, though, so I don't know. :unsure1:
 

Azellia

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Also, I'm so sorry for bombarding everyone here with questions!! I'm just very confused and trying to find answers. Also, my vet has been closed since Saturday, so I haven't been able to reach out to them. They should be back tomorrow, so I can start bothering them instead. Thank you again for all your help. :)
 

Azellia

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Another small update. AGY test was supposed to come back today, but is running late. One of my birds starting vomiting badly not too long ago. At emergency with him now. I'm hoping we can try some new meds-either ampho early, or something for a protozoal infection, I don't know, those are my last guesses besides nutritional. If we can't figure this out soon I don't know if any of them are going to make it. :(
 

Azellia

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Okay, the good news is that this emergency vet is very thorough! They're checking for a protozoal infection (on the off chance it could be that), and they're going to prescribe Flucanazole to see if it helps (in case it is AGY). Vet also said iodine deficiencies are more common than you'd think with parakeets and that could also be an option. But with the new vomiting symptoms I'm a little more worried about AGY now.
 

sunnysmom

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I hope it gets figured out and that they will be ok.
 

Azellia

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Vet couldn't find any parasites, so it's not a protozoal infection. Which is good, but that means I'm down to my two last hypothesis, the AGY and a vitamin deficiency. I'm really hoping to get the AGY results back tomorrow. In the meantime, the emergency vet gave me Flucanazole, which should help with symptoms a little if this is AGY. And I'll continue the multi-vitamin and kelp supplements in case it's a deficiency.

Vomiting bird is stable, and vomiting seems to have stopped for now. He's being given Clavamox and an anti-nausea med, which will hopefully prevent further upset.
 

Azellia

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Still no AGY test results. And starting last night, I noticed an odd sound when I hold them to give medicine... almost like a crackling noise. :( This is before I even administer the meds, so I don't think it would be from aspiration... I'm very worried. Going to rush them to my main vet tomorrow morning.
 

Pixiebeak

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I'm so sorry, this is all so stressful and serious. I commend you on working so hard to get them healthy. I know this has to all be expensive! I appreciate you sharing your difficult journey with us. We are learning from you, your thread may help many others over time .

I asked my vet about air sac mites, she said it is more of a struggle to clear them and can take many treatments. Vomiting shouldn't be related and she asked if they were be tested for agy... gosh that is a scary diagnosis if it comes to be, but better to know and to try and treat .. I don't have experience with that, but others here have . My memory is terrible on which members tho. I suggest making a new thread to ask questions on that topic and put in the title so folks who have will recognize it's a topic they can share info with you on.

Stay strong! Keep fighting! Sending you loving support! They couldn't have a more dedicated parent
 

Azellia

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Hi, everyone!

Back from the vet. STILL no AGY test results! Lab must be seriously backed up! :eek:

Vet said they're concerned about AGY still. But they don't want to start the birds on Ampho until they can confirm the diagnosis, because, of course, Ampho is extremely harsh. But now we'll probably have to wait through the weekend AGAIN before we hear back. Ugh.

Vet decided to stop most of the birds' meds, because they're on a TON right now, and they're worried that could be contributing to gastrointestinal distress and other issues. They're remaining on Metcam and Metoclopramide, and starting on one new med (blanking on the name ATM). Off everything else-including the Ivermectin, unless their sneezing gets bad again. They've had it four times, and four is the max # of dosages you can give, apparently?

They said 3/4 birds have doughy crops, but their bacteria and yeast levels are mostly normal. 10% off in two of them, which is the threshold when they start to treat for an issue. Other than the gastrointestinal problems, they appear stable, at least for now.

Interestingly, the one who has a normal-feeling crop is the one who initially went in with crop issues! This does make me wonder, again, about an iodine deficiency (which I've heard can cause crop distention)-since this bird has had the most of the supplements.

Vet did say to keep them on the multi-vitamin and the kelp, especially since they seemed to help my one bird dramatically. Said it shouldn't hurt to give them short-term, especially if we're suspicious of nutritional issues.
 

Aestatis

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There could be something to the medicines causing nausea. When Candela started vomiting suddenly there was never an explanation except that the Glipizide she was on.
 

Azellia

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Just a small update (again). Hoping to get the AGY test results tomorrow. I've been so stressed out waiting for them; if my birds have AGY, I want to get them on meds ASAP.

I mixed a couple of things up in my last post.

These are the three meds they're on:

Metoclopramide
Carafate Suspension
Metacam

And oops-the one without the doughy crop isn't the one that initially had crop issues-it's the one that's been having the bad vomiting episodes, interestingly.

That weird crackling noise I heard went away. Their voices were hoarse that night/the day after, but then went back to normal?

The anti-nausea meds seem to be helping. I haven't seen the dry heaving movements from most of the birds anymore. One of them is still struggling a bit, though. Had three back-to-back fits where he made "coughing" noises and the vomiting movement earlier today, though nothing came up. I've noticed he only vomits at night, usually shortly before he's due for another round of meds?
 

Azellia

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Though I did read a common side effect of oral Carafate is nausea, so it's possible the one bird is affected by that? Metoclopramide is apparently only active for a few hours, Carafate effects would last longer than that. I'll just have to watch him and see how he does these next couple of days.
 

Azellia

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The weird voice changes came back! They all sound very raspy right now. :eek:
 

Aestatis

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Though I did read a common side effect of oral Carafate is nausea, so it's possible the one bird is affected by that? Metoclopramide is apparently only active for a few hours, Carafate effects would last longer than that. I'll just have to watch him and see how he does these next couple of days.
Not sure how nausea side effects factor into the absorption of the medicine. I will say that Candela didn't start vomiting after 4 or 5 days, and the Glipizide was given twice a day. But, that was a medicine to lower blood sugar so it may just have taken that long to start affecting her.
 

Azellia

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Sorry, I didn't word that very well! Since the effects of the anti-nausea (apparently) only last a few hours, I was wondering if, once they wore off, they could be getting nauseous from the Carafate (since the Metoclopramide would no longer be inhibiting vomiting)? But I don't know. I'm just looking for any answer at this point.

AGY test results just came in. Negative. My regular vet is now officially out of ideas. There are no bird specialists in my area, so for further diagnostics, I'll have to travel several hours to another state. :unsure1:

All four birds' voices are now on-and-off hoarse. I know goiter can cause that, and so can asper, both things we never really tested for. But I'm not sure how likely those diagnoses would be.
 
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