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Lovebird with Respiratory Problems!

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cruelfeline

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Hey all,

So my cute little lovebird hen was doing all right until, about a week ago, I noticed her tail bobbing. After having my little moment of panic and putting a light over her, I called a vet and got her in last Monday.

The vet looked her over and told me it could be any number of things, but that we'd start by trying a dewormer to see if it was a parasitic thing that could be knocked out quickly. She gave me some ivermectin and told me to come back if it wasn't better in a couple of days.

So, a couple of days later, my lovie is still tail bobbing. I took her in again on Friday to get some radiographs taken. The vet essentially said that, other than parasites, it could be a fungal or bacterial infection (though since my bird is young, she was leaning towards bacterial rather than asper) or it could be some sort of organ enlargement pressing on her air sacs or a bound egg pressing on them.

The radiographs showed no egg, no organ enlargement. The only abnormal thing was a little bit of cloudiness in the upper air sacs, but nothing dramatic. So I was given the options of trying a couple of antibiotics or having her put under for an air sac wash. I have to say, I was really nervous about putting her under, not to mention that I'm a student and, while I have an emergency stash and credit card for moments like these, I'd rather not blow it all at once if I don't have to.

Let me say that throughout all of this, her only real symptom has been the tail bobbing. She did open her beak and stretch her neck out a couple of times during the last week, but not consistently. Also, no sneezing, normal poops, normal appetite, playing every day, preening, no voice change, steady at her weight and nicely padded alongside her breastbone. Just tail bobbing, but enough that the vet justified my concern. Right now, she's having a blast hanging upside down and chewing her rope toy.

Anyway, the vet suggested Baytril and Doxycycline, either trying first one and then the other, or doing them both together. I opted to try one first, since I didn't want to shock her system with two. Right now, she's on Baytril, .04 mL once a day. She's had three doses so far. The vet told me to try it for 2 weeks, and if there was no improvement, to come back to try the doxycycline for 2 weeks. If that doesn't work, I'm left with having her knocked out for a wash to see exactly what's down in her air sacs.

So, after that longwinded explanation, I'd like to ask if anyone has any advice? She's been on the meds for three days, and while she hasn't gotten any worse, there has been no change whatsoever. Still tailbobbing. I realize that the air sacs have a weak blood supply and that oral antibiotics take a while to work, but does anyone think I should see improvements before 2 weeks in? The vet said that I should wait 2 weeks (unless she's getting worse, of course), but I just want to know if anyone has any experience with this situation?

Basically, I'm looking for a little pep talk, as I'm insanely worried :o:.

Any advice for me?

~CF
 

Anne & Gang

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ok so you really havent given the meds time to work..he said two weeks correct..I would wait another three or four days and if she is still tail bobbing, then I ould take her back..however, is she wheezing at all???? if she sounds normal, and is acting normal, playing , eating etc..then I would wait for a little while... if she suddenly starts to wheeze or sneeze a lot with discharge, get her back in ...
 

cruelfeline

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No, no wheezing or sneezing. The vet listened to her with the stethoscope during the first visit and reported nothing. Heck, I listened to her with my own (vet-in-training, so I get to play with these :D) and got nothing.

~CF
 

Anne & Gang

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she should be ok then....I know how hard it is when you are so much in love with your birdie..and thank goodness he ruled out egg binding..so I know you are going to keep a super close eye on her...any changes, you know what to do..:hug8:
 

cruelfeline

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Thank you for the kind words!

She's still not doing any better, but also no worse, I think. I keep having little moments of panic, thinking she's open-mouth breathing (and it turns out to be just her cheek feathers puffed and the shadow of her beak on them!).

The kicker is that she's still really active, playing and eating and everything. Occasionally, it seems that the bobbing calms down, and other times it almost seems worse. I guess I just have to be patient and let the meds work? But that's so hard to do!

Any other advice would be greatly appreciated :)

~CF
 

Jeddy

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Like Anne said I would give the meds more time, but I know what you mean by being in a panic and watching their every move and sound. I do the same thing and try not to freak. Hard thing to do.

We are all here to help you and you will get some great information.
:heart:
 

Danita

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I would hope that you might notice a small improvement. Make sure your little lovie is kept WARM, using a ceramic bulb heat lamp, or a heating pad under one side of the cage, it really does make a difference. Does she like the bathroom? If you give her 15 minutes, a couple of times a day, in a steamy bathroom that is good too.
 

suncoast

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I would ask for an antifugal if she's not doing any better soon. I would also keep her warm, move her perches and food down to keep her from expending excess energy. Even though she seems active she may be trying to look like she's not sick at all, birds try and hide their illnesses so they don't appear weak to a predator or get kicked out of the flock.

Ginger
 

cruelfeline

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The little lady has had a heat lamp on her all week; I've got that covered.

At this point, this is my plan:

Wait the two weeks the vet suggested while giving her Baytril. If there's no change, go in for Doxycycline next Friday and, while there, ask for an antifungal just to make sure. The vet said that the radiograph didn't look consistent with a fungal diagnosis, but I doubt an antifungal would hurt.

If she starts to worsen before that, take her before the two weeks are up and go from there.

Right now, she's sleeping in her little snuggle hut. A little while ago, she was hanging about on her rope toy. Hopefully that's a good sign?

~CF
 

suncoast

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Good plan, what is her name?

Ginger
 

cruelfeline

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Her full name is Quetzalcoatl (a big name for a tiny bird!), but I call her Quetzal.

Or Birdiemonster, depending on her mood at the time :hehe:.

~CF
 

cruelfeline

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Okay, so a little update.

The Baytril doesn't seem to be helping at all, so we're going to switch to Doxycycline (haven't yet; the vet has to call it in from somewhere else in liquid form at the proper dosage).

My current worry is that I asked her about getting Quetzal on an antifungal just to be sure, and she said that she'd rather hold off, since in her experience, antifungals are hard on birds. She'd rather try all other options before going the antifungal route.

I'm just utterly terrified that, with all the antibiotics, good bacteria will be weakened and, if there is asper in her lungs or sacs, it'll be able to grow faster.

Should I be worried about something like that? Or should I just take the new antibiotic and wait and see? I hate waiting and seeing; I feel like if there is fungus in there, waiting another 2 weeks just gives it more time to grow!

Help, anyone? :(

~CF
 

ncGreyBirdLady

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I'm sorry that Your Baby is still not improving:hug8:Did the Vet do any blood work to check the WBC to decide on or rule out infection?
 

Cruxon

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If tail bobbing is the only symptom, and the bird is fine otherwise, then I think I should congratulate you promptly for detecting the infection early! Birds go downhill very fast and I think you did the right thing by taking her to a vet! And so nice to see a vet in training here! Maybe you could help us when you become one! :p

My wishes are with Quetzal and I hope you figure out whats happening very soon! Doxycyline is broad spectrum and should cure the disease, if there is any! Hope Quetzal gets well soon! :hug8:
 
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