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Five Months of Recovery from Severe Head Injury

iamwhoiam

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It's great that Kev is making progress after her injury. You've done great with her. I hope that she continues improving.
 

Hawk12237

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Sure! So I guess the first thing to know is how she got hurt. She was out of her cage and flew into the other room, so I didn't see what initially happened. But I do know that something spooked her and by the time I got out there, she was flying around in a blind panic despite the fact that she's familiar with my home and was previously a very good flyer. She flew into the walls several times before falling to the floor on her back. She initially seemed fine, but several hours later lost the ability to use her feet (fortunately I already had her at the vet when that happened).

The beginning of that video is actually about a week after the injury. She was initially hospitalized at the vet for fluids and gavage feeding because she couldn't even lift her head. She got Metacam at the highest published dose, which for her was .1ml twice a day (not sure how that shakes out in terms of mg/kg but really you'd need a vet to advise on that anyway). She initially also had trouble with her gut motility, which is something we see a lot in human brain injury patients. So she also got l-glutamine, which is a supplement that supports cell junctions in the intestines (also used in human patients with neurological injuries). She lost 20g in the first 10 days after her injury despite gavage feeding, and that was really the scariest part of this whole thing. She started eating solid food again after she came home from the hospital, and although she continued having issues with her gut motility (she would strain to poop and it would be a frothy mess that smelled weird), she eventually stabilized and started gaining weight back.

She stayed on Metacam (though at half the initial dose) and l-glutamine until I think around Christmas? So about 3 months. We tried her on steroids at one point when she wasn't eating, but it made the gut motility issues worse so we stopped after a single dose.

In terms of rehab, I really just provided supportive care. We clipped her wings pretty early on because she had no motor control and we were afraid she would take off and hit her head again, which probably would have been fatal. I started her off on a flat bottom of the flight cage, padded with towels. I have a double flight and I put the divider in so that Kev was right next to her sisters but in her own safe space. I took her out at night and she slept in a soft-sided carrier. Gradually I started introducing perches (as you can see in the video), initially very low down. Then we moved to perches slightly higher. After that, I did a series of ramps and platforms, then took the ramps and platforms out and just did perches very close together so she didn't have to climb many cage bars. Now we're at a setup where she can hop/fly between most of her perches because her flights are coming back in and that's what she seems to prefer. She CAN do cage bars now, but it's somewhat clumsy and she seems to have either nerve pain or odd sensation in her feet, so she prefers not to. I don't know if she'll ever be 100% normal but I'd say she's about 90% back to where she was before. Which is amazing -- you would NEVER see this kind of recovery in a human who had an injury of similar severity. The best thing about Kev is that she's incredibly determined, so she basically rehabbed herself. All I had to do was provide an environment that was safe but also a bit challenging for her current ability, and through a lot of trial and error, we progressed together.
You did a marvelous job!? You were there and guided it. great story of success!
 

rockoko

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That’s amazing! :heart:
 

Zara

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Fantastic! It´s nice seeing Kev getting about and recovering well.

I love a good happy outcome :)
 

Tiel Feathers

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This is such a heartwarming and inspirational story.:heart: I’m amazed at her progress and how she picked you for her human. Now, in sharing her story who knows how many birds you and Kev will help!
 

sunnysmom

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Yay Kevin! Such a little fighter. :) And enigma, you are an amazing bird mom. All your birds are so lucky to have you. :)
 

Laurie

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Wow! How wonderful! Congrats to you and Kev :)
 

Hawk12237

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Wow! How wonderful! Congrats to you and Kev :)
Wow....so glad Kev is doing so much better! You think kev will make full recovery? I've heard stories where the impossible happened and they recoverd from illness or injury nearly 100%. Keeping fingers crossed for you! So far your doing fantastic!!!!
 

enigma731

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No, I don't think she'll ever be 100% the same as she was before the injury. But I think she will be 100% functional in terms of being able to do everything she needs or wants to do.
 

janicedyh

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Wonderful, thanks for posting the video!
 

Hawk12237

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No, I don't think she'll ever be 100% the same as she was before the injury. But I think she will be 100% functional in terms of being able to do everything she needs or wants to do.
That's still wonderful....they do adapt. And are just as loveable. Even more so I think, because your helping them along, and trust me, they know.
 

sunnysmom

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BTW the very first thing she did when she started being able to move on her own again was climb up and face squish me. I literally cried.
:heart:
 

Hawk12237

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BTW the very first thing she did when she started being able to move on her own again was climb up and face squish me. I literally cried.
That's love....from the bird....saying I'm glad you didn't give up on me....because I'm not giving up on you!!
 

Dartman

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True love...I must improve the design of your lamp to prove how grateful I am for your help...
 
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