• Welcome to Avian Avenue! To view our forum with less advertisments please register with us.
    Memberships are free and it will just take a moment. Click here
  • This forum is for advice about initial treatment given to your injured/sick bird until a qualified avian veterinarian is available.
    THIS IS NOT MEANT TO REPLACE VET CARE

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

Azellia

Meeting neighbors
Joined
3/16/23
Messages
57
Real Name
Melissa
My one bird (the sickest one) is now back to breathing rapidly and sitting with his wings held away from his body. Put him in a covered hospital cage, which seems to have calmed his breathing a bit. If this continues, I'll probably have to bring him back to the vet again tomorrow, though I don't think there's much they'll do besides give him oxygen. :unsure1:

He was doing this before he was hospitalized for the first time, too. It stopped, mostly, after he came home. Now I'm wondering if one of the meds we discontinued was helping...? He was on Baytril/Lamisil/Itrafungol (just him, other birds were never on this)/Metacam, and the Ivermectin, of course. We're still doing the Metacam, but stopped using the rest.
 

Aestatis

Walking the driveway
Avenue Veteran
Joined
1/22/12
Messages
222
Only other idea I have is asper because of the respiratory stuff, especially since you haven't been able to test for it. It feels like it's more likely of an explanation vs goiter. Wouldn't goiter be able to be palpated anyway? You've cleaned a ton, but theoretically asper would be growing in the house due to hidden moisture in basements, bathrooms, or from humidifiers.

Have you tried cutting out all supplements and other food besides the basics? That would be to check allergy-type stuff.

Has any blood testing been done? There might be a way to check white blood cell counts which would at least confirm if the issue is from an infection or something else.
 

Pixiebeak

Biking along the boulevard
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
6/18/22
Messages
7,549
Location
USA
Real Name
Laura
I'm so sorry
 

Azellia

Meeting neighbors
Joined
3/16/23
Messages
57
Real Name
Melissa
I did suspect asper initially, because they got sick not long after I bought wheat grass for them for the first time. Didn't realize the dangers of wet soil at the time, so I had the very damp plant on top of their house for over a week. :o:

Mentioned this to all three vets I visited, but they said asper was rare enough they weren't too concerned about it. And we never tested for it, because they said a titer requires too much blood; would be very dangerous for budgies.

SOMETHING in that Baytril/Lamisil/Metacam/Ivermectin combo really seemed to have helped them, though. Their symptoms decreased a lot after we started it. Vet and I both thought it was the Ivermectin, but it's possible it was the Lamisil and Metacam instead.

We did blood work for one bird (the sickest one) a while ago. According to the vet, everything looked normal, except he had slightly elevated protein levels (if I'm remembering right, they said that could just be due to dehydration).

I can try cutting non-necessities out of their diet!

They've been on this one particular seed blend for a while now, so I don't know if they all could have suddenly developed an allergy to it. It is developed in a peanut-using facility, though; I've heard peanuts are a common bird allergen? Also has wheat flour; heard wheat allergies aren't unusual either. Maybe I could try a new blend.

I also began putting Harrison's and probiotics in with the seeds a while ago, and of course, they've been getting veggies. I can take those out for a little while.
 

Pixiebeak

Biking along the boulevard
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
6/18/22
Messages
7,549
Location
USA
Real Name
Laura
Baytril is harsh enough it can cause vomiting.
Did you say they had already had a round of doxy longer than ten days ?
And they never had green stains around poop? Like green urine rings?
 

Azellia

Meeting neighbors
Joined
3/16/23
Messages
57
Real Name
Melissa
Vomiting seems to have stopped now, after a day or two on Carafate and Metoclopramide, so that's good. Hope it stays that way!

They were on doxy twice, once in the water, once orally. This was back when their only symptom was sneezing. It didn't do anything for the sneezing, so we stopped it. I'm blanking on how long the courses were-the water one was probably at least 10 days.

They do have staining around their poop (discolored urine). It's not constant, but it's there. It got worse after starting them on their meds, probably because their livers are taking a bit of a beating. It has a slight green tinge to it, but I'd say it's more of a light yellow than green.

Now another one of the birds is panting. I'm conflicted on what to do about this, because I'm starting to wonder if there's a chance it's stress-related (the two that are panting are my most high-strung bird, and the one that's been on the most meds/vet trips). I noticed that when I first peeked into their cage this morning, they were breathing okay for about a minute, and then it became more rapid when I took the covering off. Maybe they get scared when they see me now because they associate me with the vet/medicine? :unsure1: I'm wondering if I should try leaving them in the cage for most of today, covered, and have another family member check in on their breathing for me.
 

Azellia

Meeting neighbors
Joined
3/16/23
Messages
57
Real Name
Melissa
Hi, everyone. Sorry for disappearing for so long-Ive been very, very busy.

An update: all four birds are still kicking, for now.

Talked with my vet a little more, told them I thought we needed to continue the mite treatment for a while longer. Also expressed concern that our original protocol (Ivermectin + cleaning with soap and water) wasn't enough.

For one, my birds don't take oral medicine very well. I was worried I wasn't getting the full dose in their beaks, or they were spitting some up afterward. Also, Ivermectin is only active in the blood for a short amount of time-which I was concerned opened up the possibility for reinfection, especially since soap and water wouldn't necessarily kill all mites on a surface.

SO, we decided to try Moxidectin (SCATT), and I bought Avian Insect Liquidator to spray on all their stuff.

They got their first dose of SCATT on the 2nd. Frustratingly, they started molting (heavily!!!) around the same time, which has made it difficult to gauge if they're improving or not.

About two days after application, all four birds started sneezing intensely. Constant, squelchy sneezes. This went on for a few days, then the sneezing tapered off. I don't hear any sneezing during the day now, and only intermittent sneezing in the early morning and at night before they go to sleep.

All four birds also became sleepier/quieter than usual. I imagine this is at least partially because of the molt.

Their breathing has also seemed a bit worse? Three of the birds aren't too bad. But one (the one who has consistently been the sickest) has been having a really rough time. He started wing drooping, and having labored breathing (sometimes open-mouthed) with a heavy tail bob. The breathing issues aren't constant, but when he has an 'attack' it's pretty scary.

The good news is that this bird's attitude has improved significantly since applying the SCATT. He's cheerier, moving around and singing more than usual. Which he's done little of the past few months, so that's somewhat encouraging.

I'm hoping the breathing issues are temporary and because of dead mites accumulating in their system. But if this is the case, I'm not really sure what the timeline is for when I should expect improvement. Couldn't find anything on how long it takes mites to decompose.

As mentioned before, for the one bird, I'm also wondering if it's possible the wing drooping/heavy breathing/tail bobbing could be partially from stress. This one particular bird has been through a LOT. Breathing seems to get worse when I get close to him, so he may be scared of me now after all the vet visits/handling.

Everyone gets their second dose of SCATT on the 23rd.

I'm hoping that will solve things, but I don't know. They DO seem to react to antiparasitic medicine, but multiple doses still haven't fully cleared their issues, which is throwing me off.
 

Pixiebeak

Biking along the boulevard
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
6/18/22
Messages
7,549
Location
USA
Real Name
Laura
Wishing you success and full recovery!
I haven't had experience myself with moxidectin in birds, tho we did use in hoofstock .
I'm glad they are such fighters! I'm so glad they have you!
I appreciate you sharing your journey with us !
 

Azellia

Meeting neighbors
Joined
3/16/23
Messages
57
Real Name
Melissa
Hi, everyone!

Back with another update, hopefully one of my last.

This is definitely a case of air sac mites. And because of how long it went undiagnosed, it developed into a pretty bad one.

The good news is that the new treatment protocol (SCATT + AIL + twice daily cleaning) is working!

The first dose of SCATT made them worse initially, probably because the mass die-off of mites was clogging up their airways. Post-application, all four birds were very quiet, lethargic, and had a hard time breathing. But these symptoms started to go away after about two weeks.

They had their second dose of SCATT a few days ago, and are tolerating this one much better. Like last time, they've been having sneezing fits the past few days. But they're loud, active, and seem to be breathing normally! All four are (mostly) back to their normal selves.

I'm hoping this dose will clear up the mites, but given the severity of the infestation, they may have to go one more round. After that, I plan to do preventative treatments a few times a year (because from my understanding, mites are hard to clear completely, as they can go dormant and reemerge later on).

I'm just confused as to how they could've gotten mites to begin with! They haven't had any direct contact with other birds since I adopted them about 4 years ago. Only things I can think of are that a perch/toy/food bag I bought was infested, or one of my birds (whose previous owner kept chickens, quails, and finches, though only the finches were inside with him) brought them home and has just managed to keep them dormant for a long time. It's a mystery.
 

Pixiebeak

Biking along the boulevard
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
6/18/22
Messages
7,549
Location
USA
Real Name
Laura
Oh I'm so glad the new protocol is working!!!
Yay!
Do we get birdie pictures?
 

Azellia

Meeting neighbors
Joined
3/16/23
Messages
57
Real Name
Melissa
Not the most flattering photo, haha, but this is them right now, getting ready for bed!

20240227_202948.jpg

They're extremely bath-adverse, so they still have some dried meds matting their feathers. Hoping a molt will take care of the mess soon. ;)

This is a nicer shot from before they got sick:

Screenshot_20240227_203904_Gallery.jpg
 

Azellia

Meeting neighbors
Joined
3/16/23
Messages
57
Real Name
Melissa
Hi, everyone. Another update. I guess I jinxed myself with the last one. It's been rough.

After the last dose of SCATT, all four birds' sneezing picked up again. I didn't think much of this at first, because this had happened every time I'd given them Ivermectin or SCATT in the past. Usually it would be a few days of bad sneezing, then practically no sneezing until it was time for the next dose.

But this time, the sneezing hasn't gone away. It was really, really bad for a few days. It's died down a little, but it's still worse than it used to be. Multiple sneezes per hour, and I've been hearing some "coughing" too.

Did I give them too little SCATT, so the mites came back? Too much, and they're dying off too quickly? Or is this just not mites at all? I'm so confused. It feels like everything I try helps a little, but never gets rid of their issues fully.

As long as they don't decline any further, I guess I'm just going to hold out until their next SCATT dose is due in a couple days. I'm really hoping I just fudged the last application, and this next one will go better. But if they don't improve after this coming round , I'll be at a loss again. I feel like 5 rounds of Ivermectin and 3 of SCATT (nearly 4 months of non-stop treatment) plus intense daily cleaning should realistically be enough to at least mostly clear an ASM infestation.

Still, if it's not ASM, I don't know what it could be. Their symptoms are still mainly just sneezing (with occasional coughing and panting), and they're the worst in the early morning and at night. I feel like most other diagnoses wouldn't exist on a timed schedule like that?
 

Azellia

Meeting neighbors
Joined
3/16/23
Messages
57
Real Name
Melissa
Hi! Back with yet another update! Sorry for bombarding you all with so many posts!

As mentioned in my previous post: after the last application of SCATT, the birds' sneezing picked up again. I didn't worry about this at first: the same thing happened with every other application of Ivermectin/SCATT, and each time, the sneezing eventually went down again.

Well, this time the sneezing didn't go down. It kept getting worse, and eventually, their breathing got bad again too. So, I took them back to the vet. I didn't really expect them to find anything, but they did! Nothing earth-shattering, but the birds had developed a secondary bacterial infection. They've been on antibiotics for 3 days now, and the sneezing is almost practically gone! Down to just a handful of sneezes a day! This is the least sneezing I've heard in nearly seven months.

My current plan is to finish their antibiotics. And if they're still sneezing at the end of it, I'll do one final round of SCATT. I'm really hopeful that will be the end of this.

I also got some new bottles of AIL and F10 yesterday (I didn't buy enough last time and ran out quickly). I sprayed down the entire bird room-their cage, the windows, the walls, the floors, literally everything-which will hopefully eliminate any remaining mites and other nasties in the environment. Will use the F10 every day for cleaning and reapply the AIL to their cage after every deep clean, aka once a week (I know it's supposed to last a month, but I worry I wash it off when I deep clean/rinse their cage in the shower!).
 

Azellia

Meeting neighbors
Joined
3/16/23
Messages
57
Real Name
Melissa
Hi, everyone. Just a small update. Jinxed myself again. The antibiotics improved their symptoms temporarily (and dramatically), but the sneezing and coughing has kicked back up again. I gave them yet another dose of SCATT a few days ago, so maybe that's the cause of the increase in respiratory symptoms? I don't know. At the very least, their breathing issues have subsided, and my sickest bird is more vocal and active than before.

They have an appt. with yet another new vet on April 12th, so maybe I can get some answers then, but I'm not super optimistic. At the very least, I think I'm going to ask them if they would be willing to do a SCATT application themselves. I'm always worried I'm not getting enough on their skin... maybe a more accurate/stronger dose would show results? I feel like this HAS to be something related to parasites or bacteria, at the least, because anti-parastitics and antibiotics have improved their symptoms & kept them going this long.
 

Azellia

Meeting neighbors
Joined
3/16/23
Messages
57
Real Name
Melissa
Also, a quick question... a respiratory click is a quiet sound, a bit like beak grinding, right? I ask because I've been hearing a new sound from one bird... the best way I can think of to describe it is that it's similar to the noise that's made when you click your tongue on the roof of your mouth. It's loud and distinctive. I don't know if it's a respiratory noise or just him mimicking something.
 

Azellia

Meeting neighbors
Joined
3/16/23
Messages
57
Real Name
Melissa
One other thing potentially worth noting is that, while on the antibiotics, all four birds' nares kept clogging up. I gave them drops & steam baths, which would clear the clogs, but they would eventually come back. This is new-their nares have looked mostly clear the entire rest of the time they've been sick.
 

Aestatis

Walking the driveway
Avenue Veteran
Joined
1/22/12
Messages
222
Also, a quick question... a respiratory click is a quiet sound, a bit like beak grinding, right? I ask because I've been hearing a new sound from one bird... the best way I can think of to describe it is that it's similar to the noise that's made when you click your tongue on the roof of your mouth. It's loud and distinctive. I don't know if it's a respiratory noise or just him mimicking something.
That's what I've heard (or a 'wet' sound), but sometimes it's just a sound. I was convinced Candela had issues but all tests (including X-rays) came back normal. Since she's active, we're convinced it's some sort of weird quirk she has.
 
Top