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How much hope is there for birds with heart disease?

AGS

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@Kassiani They replied today, and they don’t want to increase it until he has another check up even though they saw him a few weeks ago. Normally I’d be okay with that but he does so badly at the vet due to the heart problem. It just takes what little energy he has and it takes him a while to recover (and there is always the risk that he doesn’t recover/dies at the vet). It also takes about 3 weeks for an appointment so I’d have to bring him in as an emergency if I want sooner than that.

And the exam is almost entirely pointless, at least for the heart issue. One because besides increasing the medicine there’s nothing else we can do, and also because even when he was at death’s door they couldn’t tell anything was wrong with him.

I don’t know what else to do though because without increasing the medicine he will die.

It’s also hard to say how bad he’s actually doing right now. He played twice today and he still wants to do his weird chewing thing with his food (he’ll grab one piece in his mouth and chew on it for a long time, then grab another and chew on that one, etc. When he was really sick he’d eat as fast as possible and lay back down). But I can’t tell if he’s actually feeling better or just tired of feeling badly and really wanting to play, because he still sleeps for most of the day. Last time when he was feeling better he still wouldn’t do much but when he was sitting there he would have his eyes opened rather than closed. And I know no matter how bad he feels he’s still the same bird, he still wants to play but just can’t.
 

AGS

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Also the one medicine has about a week left before it fully works.
 

Kassiani

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I completely understand about not wanting to stress the poor thing out with another run to the vet. Even though he is not very active, he does seem to be eating, right? Has his weight, although under where it should be, remained stable? If you continue the course for the whole week, hopefully he will see some benefit for the full effect of this second medication.

Are you still providing oxygen treatment for him? Is he the sort of bird who enjoys being with you? In other words, if you are working or studying from home, would he enjoy resting next to you on a soft blanket rather than the bottom of his cage? There could be many small things you can do for his comfort!

I hope you aren't offended by this, but you and your feathery boy are in my prayers.
 

AGS

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@Kassiani Actually one of his symptoms has been eating excessively. I guess because he just really needs the energy from wherever he can get it. His weight is actually okay now, it’s a couple grams under his normal weight but that’s “normal” for him since I just treated him for the giardia again (he always keeps losing weight after the treatment then gains it back in about a month).

I‘m not doing the oxygen, unfortunately the machine broke after only a few weeks of use, so they are sending a new one. It should be here tomorrow as long as there are no delays so I’ll start that again.

I’m with him all day. My job is just drawing digital pet portraits so I can actually stay with him for the whole day. He definitely is happy about that and pretty much just wants scritches all day. One good thing is he’s still able to sit on his perches so even when he has to be in his cage he’s not at the bottom thankfully. I know that’s a really bad sign.

I’m giving him carrots and I think that might have been why he’s in such a good mood for the past two days. I have no clue why but they are his favorite food. He was whistling yesterday when he had them and today he wanted to play a bunch. I’m honestly not sure how healthy they are for heart issues but at this point I think it’s worth it just because it makes him happy. No point in extending his life if he’s going to be miserable. The only other thing he really likes is playing on my laptop but I don’t want to force him to exercise if he doesn’t want to. And I know he will play on it no matter how bad he’s feeling.

It doesn’t offend me, at this point I’d take anything whether it’s prayers or just good thoughts.
 

Kassiani

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I’m glad you can work from home so he has your company all day and you have his. I think carrots are ok? My budgies would eat carrots and kale before any other veggie. Does he like any greens, too? Sweet potato cooked, cooled and mashed? I’m just thinking of comforting things. And I think tons of scratches between one poodle and the next pony sounds like a pretty good way to spend the day :) Hang in there!
 

AGS

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He likes greens. Not sweet potatoes though, he only likes crunchy foods. I think they’re bad for atherosclerosis due to the sugar content anyway.

As long as he’s still happy I’m not giving up on him.
 

AGS

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We did, thank you!

Also turns out the person who was answering my emails never actually asked Dr. Driggers what he thought about increasing the medicine. I asked again to make sure and they said they will leave a note for him so he probably will call tomorrow or whenever he has time.
 

Kassiani

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I'm so glad you had a good day! Cockatiels and computers? Who knew? Whistling is a good sign of a happy cockatiel boy, I think!

Did the replacement oxygen concentrator arrive yet? I know you were waiting. I suppose you still have not heard from Dr. Driggers?
 

AGS

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He loves computers/tablets more than bird toys lol.

It did arrive, and Dr. Driggers just called yesterday. He basically said he can’t tell me to increase the medicine without doing the CT scan but he told me what to increase it to if I decide to anyway. I know it’s a risk but the way I see it, if I don’t increase it he’s going to die anyway so it’s worth the risk.
 

Kassiani

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Well, I'm glad he called at least! I've never been in your situation, so I can't advise you. You are living this with your boy. I assume you know all the potential side effects of the medication to watch for.

I'm glad the oxygen concentrator arrived and hope it is providing your Widget with some relief!
 

AGS

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Definitely. And the side effects are possible even on the dose he’s on now. But he hasn’t had any side effects and it’s pretty clear the medicine is helping or he would have died a while ago.

I think the risk of anesthesia is far higher. That would be required for the tests they want to run. Especially since he’s still pretty weak, and it’s risky even for a healthy bird.
 

Kassiani

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Has Widget had any more energy? Have the two of you been enjoying your days?
 

AGS

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I think he’s doing slightly better than before but it’s hard to say. The good news in he still wants to play and whistle. He doesn’t do it as often as before but he still has that same spirit.
 

AGS

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I think the increased medicine is really helping him. He’s been awake for most of the day, whistled this morning and played four times. The last time was just like he used to play. Recently even when he wants to play he can’t do it for that long but he was playing for a while. —]-:1 (He just typed that lol).
 

AGS

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He still seems to be doing pretty well. Whistling and playing most days. And he’s back to eating a normal amount of food. I know its temporary but I’m just really glad he gets a chance to be happy again.
 

Karen

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I’m happy the good days are out numbering the bad and hope they continue!
 
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