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Urgent Heavy Metal Poisoning - Please help!

Arsantiago41

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Hello all thank you for reading and responding to my post. It is truly appreciated. Unfortunately two days ago my little baby Lovebird, kiwi, was feeling sick and we quickly realized it was heavy Metal Poisoning. Fortunately we brought him to the vet immediately after we recognized his symptoms and thankfully he is doing much better day by day under the supervision of the veterinarian. I was wondering if any of you had any experience with this situation or have any advice to help us rehabilitate kiwi back to full health when he comes home? Unfortunately we could only keep him at the vets under supervision for two days with plans to come home tomorrow. We wanted to keep him there for as long as possible but the veterinarian expenses have already costed us $1,200 and we’re only college students, leaving us nearly broke.

Bio

Kiwi is a beautiful, friendly, and loving year and a half old lovie who has instantly created a bond with both my girlfriend and I. He has brought so much enjoyment to our lives and our only goal is to make him as happy as he can possibly be. He is an extremely active, healthy, and curious bird and loves to spend time with us as much as possible. All we want to do is to be in the best position possible to rehabilitate him back to full health and make him happy again.

Incident

Day 1

Kiwi being the chewer and explorer he is had found himself a new “toy”, a metal door hinge with paint on it which he ripped to shreds. Unfortunately by the time my girlfriend and I got home from work we had not recognized what he had done and had given him love and said goodnight to him and his reactions were his usual sleepy bird self. (Note: usually my girlfriend and I have opposite work schedules so that one of us is always home with the baby so we always keep him outside of his cage where he is happier and never creates any issues. We had bird proofed the whole room for his safety and had never thought something as obscure as a door hinge would be something he would chew on.) Well we had gone to bed and nearly a few hours later in the middle of the night, I had heard kiwi, moving around in his cage. I turned on the light to check on him and I had saw his feathers were ruffled and he generally looked weak. After a while he was continuously vomiting and excreting black poop. We looked for the source and had found he chewed on paint from a rusty door hinge. Immediately we looked to hydrate him and prepared our plans to bring him to the vet once it opened.

Day 1 Vets Office

Once the vet had opened he was quickly submitted and we told the doctor the source of the sickness. The doctor had noted the situation was very serious and gave us treatment options giving us an estimate of 50% chance of survival. We elected to give him the best possible treatment although it broke the bank for us. After diagnosing him they had realized he had ingested two small pieces of metal and gave him a chelating medicine, foreign body antibiotic, anti vomiting medicine, as well as fluids, feeding tube and an incubator. After a few hours of treatment they had advised us that kiwi has stopped vomiting and had noticeably improved his energy and general well being. The nurse noted he even ate a few seeds on his own.

Day 2

The veterinarian called us to tell us that kiwi is doing much better than when we had been submitted to the hospital. They noted he was still a bit depressed and had vomitted only once the prior night but had substantially an increase in his energy even hoping around and climbing on their cage. Later that day they gave us an update that he had not vomited at all that day, had looked better, and was much more active but still did not have much appetite and therefore had administered the feeding tube once again. After talking to the vetrinarian before nights end they had given a much better outlook on kiwis life expectancy which emotionally broke us down in joy and relief

Although we would like to keep him in the hospital as long as possible the bills had already racked up to $1200 which really broke the bank due to the fact that we are college students. If given the chance I would pay 10 grand for his treatment to ensure he recovers but we are forced to pick him up tomorrow and care for him ourselves. Thankfully the vets did an excellent job taking care of him and he is doing much better than when he arrived.

***As loving owners we are asking for your help to share any experience or advice that you have encountered with heavy Metal Poisoning or any sickness and what you did to care for your parrot during their recovery at home***

- tips on feeding/force feeding and hydrating when the parrot has no appetite to ensure they are well nourished
- things to look for hinting a deteriorating well being
- best conditions to keep the parrot under
- anything you feel is fitting to improve the health of the bird
- all comments are welcomed and greatly appreciated

I can’t stress enough how much we appreciate you taking the time to read this post and commenting and can’t thank you enough.
 

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MommyBird

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I'm glad you found some good vets right away.
I've never dealt with heavy metal poisoning but I wanted to bump up your post so more will see it.
I hope all will be well with Kiwi.
 

Zara

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Sorry to hear about Kiwi. Thanks for sharing, it may help another bird. You guys did great getting him to the vets so quick.

I will say, that he would be best to stay at the vets. They have done a fantastic job and it really is the best place for him to be.

I know you say you are broke, I know what that is like. But do you have friends? Family? your girlfriends family? Colleagues? Ask around. Be shameless. Tell them your beloved bird is sick and you will pay them back. Maybe even a loan or other financial help as a last resort.

Money comes and goes, and come and goes. Kiwi is only here now.
 

Hankmacaw

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My Hank had heavy metal toxicity 21 years ago. Like your baby probably has, Hank had Zinc toxicity from eating a bunch of white painted molding on the patio door. At that time the only medication available was DMSA and it is nasty stuff. There are better ones now. What is Kiwi on now?

It took Hank about three weeks of medication for his tests to show he was metal free.

While at home; keep him warm, keep him quiet and make sure he gets plenty of water. If you need to feed him by hand try feeding him with a syringe filled with ground up pellets and almond butter. Almond butter also has some chelating properties and lots of protein and carbohydrates for energy. If he won't eat you can take him back to the vet for just a tube feeding. Above all make sure he gets his medication.

With the care he got at the vet's and your diligence, Kiwi should be fine.
 

Davi

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I'm so sorry to hear about Kiwi's ordeal, but I definitely hope he's on the mend! This can happen to any of us, which really is a reminder that 100% supervision during out of cage time is always the safest option. There are no guarantees when it comes to birds, as they are such fragile creatures, but I hope Kiwi will make a full recovery. Keep us posted, please.
 

sunnysmom

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So sorry about your bird. I'll reach out to a man I know that helps at our local rescue. He took care of a cockatoo with heavy metal poisoning. If he gets back to me, I'll let you know what he suggests.
 

webchirp

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My vet recommended Jiff peanut butter.

See if your vet has Emeraid Omnivore and the Emeraid Critical Care System: Hand and Gavage Feeding | LafeberVet. If you mix with pomegranate juice or something Kiwi really likes, he might eat it from the spoon. It certainly won't hurt him to offer two or three times daily. I usually squirt 3ml of water and then add a tiny bit of powder to the liquid so I don't make too much. This feeds three cheekies 1ml each with a little bit left over. Bitty is wild so I just put it in a spoon and lay it on his platform perch. He loves it.

Make sure you weigh him daily or every other day.

If you have to give fluids...drip one drop at a time into his mouth. Listen and watch to make sure he's swallowing before giving the next drop. If you put too much in his mouth and he doesn't swallow, he could aspirate and then you'd have another mess on your hands. You could try the powdered pom juice as a fluid as well.

And follow @Hankmacaw 's advice. You can also request subq fluids as well if you need to take him in for a feeding. Hydration is super important right now.
 

EkkieLu

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So glad Kiwi is on the mend. Follow the doctors directives as best you can. We know how much you love Kiwi!
 

sunnysmom

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My friend suggests plenty of water and fresh foods, and recommends bee pollen.
 

Tiel Feathers

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I’m so glad you got Kiwi to the vet right away, and that he will be okay. How scary! Just make sure he eats, is hydrated, takes his meds, and stays warm. I hope all goes smoothly!
 

Arsantiago41

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You guys are the best and are all so helpful I can’t thank you enough. The winter park veterinarian hospital did an excellent job comforting him and caring for him and when we went to go see him today he was looking much healthier and energetic. He flew to us immediately when he saw us and was chirping with excitement. The vet had stated that he was in a good enough condition for us to take him home. They gave us two medicines to administer to him twice daily (DMSA 50mg/ml for chelation and metoclopramide 5ml for vomitting.) Since he’s been home he’s been eating and drinking on his own which we are very happy about. He still seems a bit weak and a little lethargic but nothing alarming at all due to the fact that he was so sick. His overall well being is actually better than we expected. He’s extremely happy to be home chirping here and there and often scratching his bill. He was a little upset that the vets and I had decided to clip his wings only for the time being for his safety and ease of administering his medication but other than that you can tell he’s very happy to be home just by looking at him. We have noticed though that kiwi has been preening himself very often as well as shaking out his tail feathers. I figure this is simply to catch up on some cleaning he had missed the past days and to reorganize is feathers from how ruffled they were but maybe one of you have observed one of your parrots doing this after a sickness and give an opinion on it.

Once again thank you so much for your help. You guys are the best. Looking forward to seeing your further comments.
 

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Hankmacaw

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Sounds great. Now it will just be a case of good nursing and making darned sure he gets his meds.

Is that DMSA as nasty smelling as it used to be?
 

Hankmacaw

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Isn't that the worst stuff you've ever smelled. I'd gag and Hank would gag every time I gave it to him - twice a day for three weeks. The GW macaw's dose isn't small!
 

iamwhoiam

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It' good that you got Kiwi to the vet and he is getting the treatment he needs. Hope he will be 100% soon.
 

EkkieLu

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How's Kiwi doing tonight?
 

simon777

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My darling Simon, a rainbow lorikeet, was extremely sick with heavy metal poisoning about 17 months ago. He started vomiting over and over and over. It was a long weekend so the best he could get quickly was something to stop the vomiting. Thursday night it started, Friday a holiday he received anti-vomiting, Saturday more vomiting, Sunday more anti-vomiting. It was only on Monday morning the avian vet at the vet hospital saw and admitted him. He had been living with Bruce at that time, who rang me in a panic every day. I kept telling him get Simon to an avian vet because vomiting is really bad. Bruce arrived at my place late Monday morning asking if I wanted to visit Simon at the vet hospital because he was probably going to die. I stayed all the rest of the day by the incubator talking and singing to Simon until they closed at 5-30pm. I went and stayed with Simon all day every day at the vet hospital. The vet tried to suggest that Simon should be put to sleep because his chance of survival was very low and even if he did survive he may never regain full health. I said I didn't care how disabled Simon may be I wanted him alive. On Friday afternoon I took him home after having learned to give him injections. Very slowly Simon improved with my 24hr care. Now Simon is fine, although he does have some trouble with his vision. Lots and lots of saying how much I loved Simon and wanted him to get better was really the key. Also begging him to eat, when he was refusing, really helped. I say give Kiwi the real 'will to live' and get better; it worked with Simon.
 
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