• 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

How much hope is there for birds with heart disease?

AGS

Strolling the yard
Joined
1/14/20
Messages
93
I made a couple threads about being worried Widget (my cockatiel) has a heart condition because he has cyanosis in his toes. I’ve known about it for 3 years now (the whole time I’ve had him so it’s possibly been there longer) but always forgot to mention it to the vet because we were always there for other issues. I also didn’t know it meant low oxygen and thought it might be either the cold or circulation being cut off from his food bowl since he would sit on it a lot.

Anyway, for the past few months he has seemed to want to nap all day. He was never that active (he doesn’t like normal bird things so he’s bored sometimes) so I kept trying to convince myself it was normal. In the past couple of months he hasn’t really been playing at all. He used to beg to go on my bed to play almost everyday and now he only does it once in a while or not at all. For the past week it has seemed worse though. He’s eating a ton of food and sleeping basically all day except when eating or preening himself. He’s molting so I thought that could explain it but it wasn’t like that last year when he molted and then today he was playing on my computer and he just stopped suddenly and started panting for like 15 seconds from the exercise (which wasn’t much because he was literally just walking around chewing on the keys). He also used to like to whistle everyday but now it’s only once every couple of days.

I just don’t know how else to explain it at this point. I know @Hankmacaw has had their bird with heart disease for many years, but I’m not sure how common that is. Is there even any chance I can get a few more years with him?
 

Hankmacaw

Cruising the avenue
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Avenue Concierge
Joined
10/18/09
Messages
12,004
Location
Arizona
Real Name
Mary Lynn Skinner
It takes a lot of care and vet attention. Right now don't let your bird put out any effort - any and all effort puts a strain on his heart. The care can pay off - Jasper has lived 15 years longer than the Dr. originally predicted.

Jasper was diagnosed from xrays - has your bird been diagnosed with heart disease by a vet. Which type of heart disease did the vet say it is. There are numerous heart medications that seem to do a good job. Jasper started on Enalipril, then Benazipril and now she is on Sildenifil because she developed high blood pressure. She takes Sildenifil and Lasix every day twice a day - you just can't skip those two for any reason. Because the blood flow has slowed down the body does not get rid of liquid as well as it should, resulting in fluid retention - this is called congestive heart failure and it is deadly. Daily Lasix will cause the body to excrete excess fluid. Your bird probably has atherosclerosis, which is caused by her circulation not being good due to the heart not pumping well. The blood circulation slows down and allows plaque to form on the blood vessel walls. It cannot be reversed, but can be slowed down with diet, the right amount of exercise and my Dr. has prescribed garlic twice a day (it is somewhat controversial, but my vet is very well educated and constantly studies). Garlic has a property that relaxes the muscles in the blood vessels and allows the blood to circulate easier.

I have an oxygen concentrator and she gets one hour of oxygen every morning and every night. It helps.

Please ask your doctor every question you have and read, read about heart disease in parrots. It is hard and intense, but your bird can live much longer than you might think.

Keep me informed.
 

Ripshod

Rollerblading along the road
Avenue Spotlight Award
TAILGATING!!!
Joined
12/6/18
Messages
4,740
Location
UK
Real Name
Linden
has your bird been diagnosed with heart disease by a vet. Which type of heart disease did the vet say it is.
That is key. I don't recall reading of a diagnosis. I would not be worrying myself silly about heart disease when it may not be. There's other things that can cause cyanosis. In my experience Tiels are prone to poor blood supply to the extremeties, and not just in the feet. A lot of tiels struggle to grow primary flights due to poor blood supply to the wing tips - I have personal experience.
Friday will bring an answer for you, I pray that it's good news.
 
Last edited:

AGS

Strolling the yard
Joined
1/14/20
Messages
93
Thank you both. @Hankmacaw @Ripshod He hasn’t been diagnosed, I just don’t see what else it could be at this point. The blue toes combined with the lethargy freaks me out. And the panting. If it was just the blue toes I would be less worried (because it can even be caused by cold). I’ll make sure he has x-rays done. He doesn’t seem to have fluid retention, I know it’s hard to say but I weigh him frequently and he stays pretty consistent at 80 grams. He normally sees the same vet you do (Dr. Scagnelli or Dr. Driggers) but they are currently only doing curbside and I’m scared if he does have a heart condition the stress could be too much. Even normal vet visits are so stressful without also being carried away from the one person he’s not scared of. So he is going to see Dr. Lamb but as far as I have seen she’s also a great vet. And she can possibly consult with Dr. Driggers if necessary. I’m glad to know there is hope though. I just am so attached to him, I’m sure some of you can relate.
 

Hankmacaw

Cruising the avenue
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Avenue Concierge
Joined
10/18/09
Messages
12,004
Location
Arizona
Real Name
Mary Lynn Skinner
Too bad you were afraid to see Dr. Driggers - he already has 20 years of experience with Jasper - who he said, when he diagnosed her, that she would be at the top of the list in a human heart transplant list. He has kept her alive for all of these years. I hear good things about Dr. Lamb, but don't know her myself.

The very best for you and your baby.
 

AGS

Strolling the yard
Joined
1/14/20
Messages
93
I will definitely see Dr. Driggers as soon as they’re doing normal appointments again. Thank you.
 

enigma731

Rollerblading along the road
Avenue Veteran
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
8/23/13
Messages
3,066
I think it's highly unlikely that he has heart disease based on your previous threads. I'm glad he's going to get a good exam, though.
 

AGS

Strolling the yard
Joined
1/14/20
Messages
93
I know I have anxiety but I know something’s wrong this time.

@Hankmacaw How bad was Jasper’s lethargy when you first got her? Widget is literally just laying there (on his chest) all day and will barely open his eyes. He only gets up to eat now. And I don’t know if I should go to the emergency vet or still wait for the appointment on Friday. If I go to the emergency vet it will just be an exotic vet not an avian vet. And if he’s really that bad that he can’t even make it until Friday I don’t know if there’s even any chance in them saving him anyway.
 

AGS

Strolling the yard
Joined
1/14/20
Messages
93
I’m going to see if Dr. Driggers or Dr. Lamb will see him as an emergency if we go during the day. The 24 hours emergency vet isn’t an avian vet though. But I know it’s better than nothing if it comes down to that.
 

enigma731

Rollerblading along the road
Avenue Veteran
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
8/23/13
Messages
3,066
I'm not saying I don't think anything is wrong, I just think it's far more likely to be something other than heart disease. When you go to the vet, please ask them to do a thorough workup rather than saying "please test my bird for heart disease." It would be a shame to bias the doctor.
 

Karen

Rollerblading along the road
Avenue Veteran
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
TAILGATING!!!
Joined
10/22/09
Messages
4,806
I'm sorry he's doing poorly. Best to always trust your instinct. Hoping Dr. Driggers can see Widget first thing tomorrow. Is it possible to start an emergency dialogue today with the clinic so you can set some thing up for 1st. appointment tomorrow?
 

enigma731

Rollerblading along the road
Avenue Veteran
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
8/23/13
Messages
3,066
Also if he's literally lying prone, I'd take him to the emergency vet now and at least have them hospitalize him for supportive care. Even if they aren't an avian vet, they probably have ways to contact their colleagues after hours.
 

AGS

Strolling the yard
Joined
1/14/20
Messages
93
He has been laying like that since he hurt his foot but it’s just never been this excessive. He still acts normal when eating/preening himself and if I get out my laptop he still wants to play on it. But any other time he just lays there. I just don’t want to make the wrong decision again. I know the emergency vet is better than nothing but if he could wait to see Dr. Driggers/Dr. Lamb that would be better. Sadly it’s impossible to tell how long is too long to wait.

I will tell him his symptoms but he will definitely have a thorough exam. I did call their emergency number but I don’t know whether they answer it on Sundays.
 

enigma731

Rollerblading along the road
Avenue Veteran
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
8/23/13
Messages
3,066
Can we see some pictures of how he's behaving now?
 

Hankmacaw

Cruising the avenue
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Avenue Concierge
Joined
10/18/09
Messages
12,004
Location
Arizona
Real Name
Mary Lynn Skinner
Dr. Driggers will always take a bird in on an emergency. It costs more - I think (don't know) $90 for the emergency. He will be in tomorrow morning. I will be there early too - look for a bronze 2000 Dodge Durango if you come to Dr. Driggers. Scagnetti is good too and always has Driggers for a back up.
 

Hankmacaw

Cruising the avenue
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Avenue Concierge
Joined
10/18/09
Messages
12,004
Location
Arizona
Real Name
Mary Lynn Skinner
Dr. Driggers will always take a bird in on an emergency. It costs more - I think (don't know) $90 for the emergency. He will be in tomorrow morning. I will be there early too - look for a bronze 2000 Dodge Durango if you come to Dr. Driggers. Scagnetti is good too and always has Driggers for a back up.

I had only had Jasper about a month when her symptoms were obvious. I and a vet here in town thought it was an infection, but her symptoms got worse so I took her to Dr. Driggers a couple of weeks later. A crumby vet had taken her xrays a month before and it was read by the only heart specialist in AZ, who wrote right on the xray "severe cardiomyopathy" (he didn't tell me because he didn't know how to treat it.) Dr. Driggers pulled that xray out, looked at it and stormed out of the room. He came back and shot Jasper with Lasix to relieve the fluid retention that was stopping her heart and gave me Enalipril to give her. Then he raised he - double hockey sticks with the Dr. who hadn't told me.

He really expected her to dies that night, but she didn't and is still kicking. Call both places - in the morning - and try to get an emergency appointment.
 

AGS

Strolling the yard
Joined
1/14/20
Messages
93
@enigma731 This is him right now. 8064A94B-E34B-4346-856C-DA36E64375ED.jpeg

When he’s up and eating he seems fine but then when he lays back down sometimes I think he won’t even make it through today. This is with the front facing camera and usually he gets way more excited to see the “other bird” on my screen.

If they don’t call back today I will call again tomorrow.
 

enigma731

Rollerblading along the road
Avenue Veteran
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
8/23/13
Messages
3,066
What's going on with the feathers over his nares? Has he had discharge?
 

AGS

Strolling the yard
Joined
1/14/20
Messages
93
His feathers have always been like that. He breathes in water and sneezes it out pretty much daily. It’s never made him sick before though. He’s also just kind of bald on his head so it looks worse.
 
Top