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Limitations of physical exam

moothepoo

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I have an 8 year old Linnie. We have never missed an annual health checkup. Every annual checkup, the vet said that he is healthy. He has a healthy weight, he acts normal; talking, eating, drinking, chirping, making demon noises in the middle of the night after the light is off, humping (yeah, long daylight leads to humpings...) and flying.

So, last year, in September, he had a runny nose (liquid on his beak). The runny nose is not exactly runny 24/7, I happened to see it that one time and within half an hour, it dried up. Other than the runny nose, he is perfectly normal. So, we took a vet appointment and the vet gave him a checkup; measured his weight, checked inside his nose, listened to his lungs, checked inside his beak. He was given a perfect bill of health. The vet said, it is normal for birds to sometimes sneeze or produce discharges, especially when they are moulting (dust from moults) and if it is very dry (fall is usually cold and dry in Montreal).

From time to time, I do see runny nose, but just like before, it dried up quickly.

This June, I saw him having runny nose again, this time, it looked a bit thicker. I immediately called the vet. Within half an hour, it dried up. Nonetheless, we still went to the vet. Just like before, he was given a clean bill of health.

From the June appointment, I still see runny nose, not everyday, but a few days a week and as before, they dried up. I have also been documenting them, to rule out environmental stressors.

This August, I took him to the vet again, because I am paranoid. I told the vet about the runny nose, and how he sometimes pants after flying a lot or preening aggressively (which could be because of the heatwave in Montreal). Other than that, he is acting normally and as physically active as before.

Diagnosis
This time around (3rd time) the vet gave him a physical exam, which shows him in a perfect health condition and recommended some tests. She recommended these;
  • Bacterial culture taken from sinus - to test upper respiratory - result expected in one week
  • Radiograph - to test lower respiratory
  • Fungal culture taken from sinus (optional) - to test upper respiratory - result expected in 2 weeks
Though the vet only recommended bacterial culture and radiograph, for my sanity, I also opted for the fungal culture.
  • The radiograph showed a shadowy back air sac and gassy lower GI tract - she didn't point to any other issues (nothing about the lungs) - if the vet didn't point to me the air sac, I wouldn't be able to tell, it looks very very faint
    • I asked the vet if this is severe? She said this is mild to moderate condition.
  • The bacterial culture came out a few days after, and indicated that he had upper respiratory Staph infection
  • Still waiting for fungal
Treatment
The vet (even before getting the culture result), but seeing the back(?) air sac showing in the radiograph, prescribed anti-fungal, anti-biotic, and anti-inflammatory meds; itranazole, neofloxin, and meloxicam. And probiotic as supplement. All taken for 1 month.

She called me to tell the result of the bacterial culture (Staph) and I am still waiting for the fungal culture. And she said that this bacteria should respond well to the prescribed anti-biotic.

She also said that just because the upper respiratory had Staph does not mean that the lower respiratory also had Staph. It is definitely possible but not always. And Staph can cause all the symptoms seen so far.

We basically don't know what infects the lower respiratory system, hence we are just treating everything.

In just a week, I see less runny nose and less panting. Better poop too. I have been tracking it on excel.

The vet said, if he is better in one month, there is no need for another check up. But, I questioned her about what is better? What are the metrics? She said, if the symptoms stop. And I just took an appointment anyway because I am super paranoid.

The What-if (Because I am a hypochondriac pet parent and can't stop catastrophizing)
I have been praying to the God's of the animal world so that it won't be aspergillosis. Side point, my people's God before the arrival of Christianity is a bird (God of war). And his 7 son-in-laws are also birds and are the bird we have to watch for before going to war, harvesting, and etc.

The vet said that there are some species that are prone to aspergillosis like Greys and Pionus, and my bird is not one of those, but it is still possible.

She said that to test for aspergillosis, he has to undergo blood test, which is risky for a bird his size and he could bleed out. This is not what she recommended for now. She recommends that he finishes the 1 month course of his meds. She also said that aspergillosis is very hard to treat.

I can't stop but catastrophize. The night we came home from the vet visit, I started crying violently because I can't imagine living in a quiet house without him.

How do people deal with this?

And does anyone else have a positive experience healing aspergillosis? (I know we don't know yet).

Does anyone have experience with small bird blood test?
 
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Zara

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Hankmacaw

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I hate Aspergillosis. Both of my birds have had it - one of them three times and the other twice. It can be cured with good vet care and devoted nursing care by you. My Hank ( male GW macaw ) had it three times but been aspergillosis free for several years, when he died of cancer. Jasper has had it twice.

I'm pretty old and have been through a lot of crises in my life and I take them in stride any longer. I don't cry - period. I do what needs to be done when it needs to be done and I grieve a much as anyone, but I do it privately. That's how I deal with it.

Yes, blood draws can be risky with small birds, but there are other tests and the xray is one of the best diagnostic tools. My vet 9Who is one of the best) says that Asper can and does present in a hundread ways. Here is a good article about Aspergillosis that I hope you will read and try to understand. Come back with any questions you have.

 

moothepoo

Strolling the yard
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Joined
10/4/15
Messages
108
I hate Aspergillosis. Both of my birds have had it - one of them three times and the other twice. It can be cured with good vet care and devoted nursing care by you. My Hank ( male GW macaw ) had it three times but been aspergillosis free for several years, when he died of cancer. Jasper has had it twice.

I'm pretty old and have been through a lot of crises in my life and I take them in stride any longer. I don't cry - period. I do what needs to be done when it needs to be done and I grieve a much as anyone, but I do it privately. That's how I deal with it.

Yes, blood draws can be risky with small birds, but there are other tests and the xray is one of the best diagnostic tools. My vet 9Who is one of the best) says that Asper can and does present in a hundread ways. Here is a good article about Aspergillosis that I hope you will read and try to understand. Come back with any questions you have.

Thanks for that article.

Yeah, my bird had an x-ray and it showed that his air sac is a bit inflamed. The vet said that this can be caused by anything, hence that is why we are treating for everything right now. I am just praying that it is not aspergillosis and he will be cured of whatever it is, after our treatment is over.
 
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