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Night terrors?

RileyShy

Sitting on the front steps
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7/7/20
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16
Real Name
Cat
I have an approx 1 year old white pied female who gets consistent night terrors.

Several months ago she had a bad one and shattered multiple blood feathers, nearly bleeding out. I rushed her to a 24/7 exotic ER where she was hospitalized overnight. We started her on gabapentin, meloxicam, and tramadol. At our primary vet we checked in with them a day later and they added antibiotics.

After a couple months she broke some of the new feathers coming in. Our primary had us start gabapentin long term. The ER vet we did a recheck and they started her on fluoxetine twice daily with gabapentin twice daily. She's done great for the past month and a half.

Last night I nearly lost her. While I was away for a few hours with family to watch the Superbowl she shattered all of her new regrowth and almost died. I got home to a crime scene and rushed her to the 24/7 ER where they extracted 7 more blood feathers under sedation that were still actively bleeding. She's been hospitalized the past 24 hours. We're increasing her fluoxetine dose, but I'm scared and at a loss. Does anyone have experience with this?

Shes in a smaller cage with another cockatiel who's bomb proof to help keep her calm. She's next to my bed on a wardrobe so I can wake up immediately if she startles. Nightlights make too big of shadows and I can't find a trigger that sets her off. She can have panic episodes in the day, too. New feathers have stress bars. She's an absolute angel, sweetest bird temperament wise. Pellet diet with nutriberries.
 
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sb sigmund

Strolling the yard
Joined
11/27/23
Messages
114
I'm so sorry she's going through all of that. That is so stressful! My female was cutting her wing and we found that wrapping the perches in vet tape cushioned them well. We also have a security camera that automatically shines a light in the room if it detects noise at night.
 

Aestatis

Walking the driveway
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181
I know how tough the night terrors can be, especially when nothing seems to help (even a nightlight won't stop them for my birds).

I also had an incident where one of my birds broke 4-5 wing blood feathers and had lost about 10 feathers total. What is difficult is that the more broken/missing feathers a bird has, the easier it is for the blood feathers to break again.

With Candela, I had luckily caught her mid-night fright so while the damage was done I was there to help. I saw fresh red blood all over her wings. I grabbed her and tried to apply styptic gel, and realized I couldn't see what I was doing. (Turns out that styptic gel is NOT for blood feathers so this was for the best). So, with the blood at a steady drip I ran to the kitchen and poured out cornstarch into a bowl. I did my best to scoop bits of cornstarch on my fingers and press them under her wing, but she kept squirming around. I was starting to worry because she was looking a bit tired.

So, with desperation, I grabbed her, grabbed the offending wing, and smooshed it into the bowl of cornstarch. Then I grabbed the wing itself and applied pressure to the broken ends before repeating. After a few seconds I grabbed a clean paper towel to check for fresh blood. It didn't take long for the bleeding to stop. After the fact, I read it's recommended to try and grab the "straw" of the blood feather individually and pinch it closed. Luckily, Candela was OK even though she was a bit sleepy and sore the next day. I don't think you did anything wrong by taking your bird to the ER, I just wanted to share the first aid approach since you may have a good result if you can act fast and stop the bleeding on your own vs traveling to the vet.

While she is healing up, is she able to have any millet or pasta? You don't want to ruin her diet, but some extra calories might help keep her strength up, especially with how sore she must be.

If she is getting scared during the day you either have something in the environment/outside, or she is just a skittish bird. You could try leaving a brighter light on like a desk lamp while she is healing up. I know birds are supposed to have darkness to sleep, but I find they will still sleep when the room is bright, as long as it is quiet.
 

Rebel

Strolling the yard
Joined
1/1/24
Messages
79
I run a fan at night for noise. That way every little noise doesnt scare them. I have a night light plus i dim the main light down low. Ive had many night fright episodes. I dont have anything down low in their cages like perches or toys and i take their food dishes out at night. Reason being, in my experience , they usually flap around on the floor during night fright therefore i limit what they may hit their wings on.
I also have a camera so i can check up on them when im not home.
 
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Rebel

Strolling the yard
Joined
1/1/24
Messages
79
I know birds are supposed to have darkness to sleep, but I find they will still sleep when the room is bright, as long as it is quiet.
My birds can also sleep during the day with all of the others squawking. Silence is not a must.
 

sunnysmom

Ripping up the road
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My suggestion would be first to put her in bigger cage. If the cage is small, that could be why she's getting so injured when she thrashes around. I also always use a night light. I know you said that creates shadows but I arrange my cage/night light so they can't see shadows. I also cover my tiels' cages half way. So they're not completely in the dark but also have a back area that's covered where they can feel secure. I also use white noise with them. If you have windows in your room, you want to make sure you close the curtains or blinds at night, so she's not seeing car lights, etc which may scare her. Also, I know for safety reasons you like having her beside you but maybe she's hearing you. I have my cockatiels sleep in a spare bedroom beside mine. There's an adjoining door so I can hear them but you can also do like a baby monitor.
 
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