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Kidney issues?

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liltweets

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Hi all, haven't been here in a while other than to read. Lots of things going on. I'd love to get some advice though, and pick some knowledgeable brains here if that's ok. :)

Going to try and make a long story short here.

My babies have had (probable) psittacosis. This all started in March of this year. First vet said respiratory infection and put them on Baytril. It worked but they relapsed. That's another indicator (I was later told) that can point to psittacosis. Cultures grew nothing, gram stains showed no infections. Vet #2 an hour from here (supposedly "knows his stuff") wouldn't treat for psittacosis, even though Tweety (one of my 'tiels) would have red eyes at times. Had to wait for an appt. 2 hours from here with a vet that finally did treat for psittacosis and they started to show improvement. They had been on several other antibiotics with little to no improvement.

An avian and exotic vet clinic recently opened here in town (thank goodness) and the vet there is wonderful. He has many years experience and listens to the clients who know their fids best.

We recently lost our precious Piglet. :( She had no quality of life. She eventually stayed fluffed and tail bobbed most of the time. Pathology from the necropsy showed liver and kidney damage. Most likely from the infection (or possible from all the antibiotics) as psittacosis can cause organ damage.

Tweety (my other 'tiel) still has times when he doesn't feel well. He'll sit and start to close his eyes then jerk all over. Got the results today of his latest blood work on Friday. Everything was normal except low total protein. Albumin was low. Uric acid was normal.
The vet said this could be from kidney damage (he said definitive damage won't show up on blood work until 70-75% of function is lost) or it could be from G.I Disease causing him to not utilize nutrients properly since the gram stain on Friday showed a "sterile gut" from all the antibiotics even though I'd had them on a probiotic. He added benebac. He said either kidney damage or the GI issue is causing him to have protein leakage and that could cause low blood pressure and make him weak. His grip isn't as strong in his feet as it once was.
He's also on Aloe Detox (vet approved this) and red palm oil (vet suggested this).
My budgies are fine, no after effects at all. I think that's because once they started showing symptoms it was only a couple of days until treatment began on all of them, not as much time had passed for more organ damage to be done.

This isn't so short after all is it? Sorry!

My vet wants me to increase Tweety's dietary protein using non animal sources. I thought kidney issues required lowering protein? Or does it depend on the type of protein? A while back he'd had me to switch to 70% pellets. I was never sure of that so I didn't do it for very long. I've never fed that many pellets. I always fed a variety and used pellets to cover any vitamin/mineral they may not get in their diets. Plus, all those synthetic vitamins concern me as far as liver and kidneys. Especially in the smaller birds.
They get a lot of exercise and Tweety is feeling better from being on the natural supplements, although at times he still closes his eyes and jerks all over. He is once again flying all over the house, following us from room to room and is making those sharp turns into rooms again.

I'm really confused on what to feed now. Do I up the protein? He won't eat beans, although I guess I could hide them in birdie bread. Also, one of the things I feed is germinated Totally Organics all in One Seed Mix. All the ingredients have 15% protein, although I did cut this back when I shortly had him on 70% pellets as the vet suggested.


Any advice, suggestions diet wise and natural supplement wise would be much appreciated.

Also, can kidney issues (if that's truly what it is, which is a high possibility since Piglet also had damage) be halted? reversed? Or will this considerably cut his life span? :(

Oh, the test for psittacosis was negative, there can be false negatives. Piglet was never quite right as far as acting like she felt totally well but nothing was ever found. I really think she brought it in. She was "a mile a minute" for the most part but would have times she would stop and fluff like something was bothering her. I've also read that psittacosis is a normal part of a bird's GI tract but stress can bring it out? Anyone else ever heard that? I'd never heard that before. I found one article online that said that. All the others I read said it was a contagious organism and not a normal part of the GI flora.

Thank you so much!

:hug8:
 

srtiels

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I've also read that psittacosis is a normal part of a bird's GI tract but stress can bring it out?
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Yes...which is why the very first vet did not treat for it. it is also one of the largest moneymaker treatments that vets fall back on. Sorry to sound jaded but I been around the horn on these treatments only to find out from studies (can't find the links) done in AZ that this bacteria is in ALL birds.

Yes...if there is suspected renal/kidney problems you should cut back on protien sources. IF the bird had renal problems the bloodwork would show high levels of uric acid.

Below is some info I've saved from past postings and treatments.
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Renal problems are not exclusive to diet or genetics. A simple accident where the tiel get wedged somewhere with the wings up...even for a couple of minutes can cause a chill to the kidneys...thus crystalization of the urates, and if not caught soon enough and the bird Sub-Q hydrated it can go into renal failure and die. Quick action of Sub-Q therapy can actually reverse the renal failure and save a bird.

Clipped birds that have a draft going upwards can also suffer the same fate. Over the years I lost several birds this way (verified by necropsy's)
Excess protein in the diet can contribute to to renal problems and failure. A breeder friend of mine added powdered protein to her handfeeding formula to beef up her babies. Within 24 hours 11 out of 12 babies went into renal failure.

Pesticides or toxins can cause renal failure.

Typical indications of renal problems: The bird acts lethagic. The muscles feel bunched and tight. The eyes are slitted from excruciating pain. There is either blood (pinkish discoloration) in the urine, or the urates will be thin, gritty, and chalky looking.

Initial treatment would be a medication called allopurinol. Usually you will see a dramatic improvement with the bird within a day. Other helpful things are adding a small amount of cranberry or cherry juice to the drinking water. This helps to break down some of the crystals formed from the uric acid. Hulled oats (oat groats) helps to reduce uric acid levels. Celery greens and seeds are good for renal problems and act as an antiseptic to disinfect the urinary tubules. The silk from ear corn (organically grown or a herbal extract) will sooth the damaged urinary tract, and improve urine flow. Plus corn silk is a source of potassium, Vitamin C and K. Plain grass, roots and all (no joke, cats/dogs will eat this if they have urinary problems) will benefit both the liver and kidneys. Dandilion greens helps with the liver, but it also aids the kidneys by stimulating them to remove toxins in the urine.

The above is a few simple things to help those with renal/kidney problems. I've personally used many of the above things to help the bird and not lose it.

Celery:
Celery is an excellent food that digests well with almost anything else. It contains the necessary mineral sodium, which is present in a ratio that can be easily accessed by the body. Sodium is critical, along with the mineral potassium, in managing the body's electrolyte balance.

Electrolytes create electric osmotic pressure which helps the body to move fluids through the cell's membranes. It can be eaten with any other fruit or vegetable.
 

liltweets

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Hi Susanne, I read that some birds don't show high uric acid levels, maybe this is dependent on how far advanced the damage/disease process is?

Does psittacosis become a problem then when it becomes an overgrowth and causes symptoms? Or maybe they had something totally different that just happened to respond to the doxy only?

I'm wondering if he's in pain when he closes his eyes for a few moments then jerks all over. It sounds neurological too. I've read conflicting things about allopurinol, some articles said it can cause more problems? I'm going to ask my vet about it. If it'll help I sure want it. Evidently he didn't mention it because the uric acid was normal and we're still not sure it is kidney disease. A biopsy would be needed for that at this point.

I'll try the natural things you mentioned. Thank you.
 

liltweets

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Also meant to add, he has a lot of urates at times. Is this something usually related to kidneys?
 

srtiels

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Also meant to add, he has a lot of urates at times. Is this something usually related to kidneys?
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IF kidney problems the urates would be very thin, diluted, and gritty looking, and would look like chalk when dried.

As to Doxycycline...it is a broad spectrum antibiotic....meaning an antibiotic that covers alot of different bacteria. And yes it can sometimes contribute to CND (central nervous system) symptons. It take quite awile to totally clear from the body after treatment is stopped. With males it can cause temporary infertility for several months. It is a med I try to avoid. If the dosage is too high it can also harm the liver.
 

liltweets

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I'm going to try and get a picture of the urates so you can look at them, if you don't mind.

Thank goodness his liver (according to the blood work) is functioning fine.

Is the "sterile gut" issue something that will resolve over time? and would it cause the abnormal droppings? He's on benebac and I sprinkle the avibios over his fresh foods.

Thank you Susanne!
 

srtiels

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Is the "sterile gut" issue something that will resolve over time?
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Yes...with the use of probiotics to get the good bacteria built back up. Another side effect of the sterile gut is the bodies inability to manufacture and aborb Vitamin K, so looking for foods that contain vitamin K will help. Go to this link: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/ and at the bottom is a link to Nurients lists, and you can look up foods by the amount of nutrient content.

You also want to get some sources of amino acids into the body. A great supplement is Brewers yeast lightly sprinkled on anything the bird will eat for about a week, then 1X weekly.
 

suncoast

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Okay, does he have a cuttlebone or mineral block in his cage? It sounds almost like mini seizures like greys have when they are low on calcium. I agree that perhaps your vet misspoke about a high protein diet for kidney disease. Did you do any research?

Ginger
 

Thugluvgrl187

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I am sorry that you lost Piglet :hug8:. I hope they can find answers soon.
 
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