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Pictures not better! Afraid Enlarged Organs Liver proventriculus don't know what to do!!!

Sam R

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I am new to this forum. I have already been to a VET multiple times. I am struggling with how much $ I have already spent and my bird is still not better. Looking for opinions/advice and personal experiences. 1644765895934.png

I will attach xray images. I don't know what or if I should do any further testing or treatments because not sure if she will even make it but I also have 2 other english budgies and a cockatiel. I am considering just treating her with antibiotics for a few weeks along with supplements and see how it goes. I really appreciate any thoughts or advice you could give.

Female Eng Budgie. Born about 1/2020

Mostly seed, picky, gets lots of outside cage time.

Breathing issue @ 6/2021

Eating, drinking, no abnormal droppings, no abnormal discharges, increase sleeping

Housing in vintage decorative cage with chicken wire and probably iron

10/2021 vet

Underweight 2/10, 40grams

Xrays ABNORMALl showing enlarged liver, and enlarged proventriculus

Lead level test came back negative

Chlamydophila test negative

Doxy injection (7 day lasting)

Given calcium edta inj @0.01 cc bid a day for 10 days

Given penicillamine d @ 0.03ml sid for 9 days.

12/2022 Owner tested via animal genetics for Avian Borna virus -Negative

2/2022

Breathing issue

Eating, drinking, no abnormal droppings, no abnormal discharges

doxy injection (lasts 7 days)

WEIGHT 48 grams

Repeat of xrays, ABNORMAL, only minor improvement.

Suggested Barium xray

1644766134014.png 1644766193133.png
 

Trogdora

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Jen G.
So, some thoughts just based on your writeup.
Bird needs to be on a better diet, so many liver issues are caused by poor diets and she definitely needs a good quality pellet as well as some fresh fruits and veggies.
I'm worried about her cage and possible metal toxicity.
It's great that you've ruled out ABV but you really need that barium x-ray to check for PDD. The two don't always go together.
If your vet even remotely suspects PDD, which they might because of the barium x-ray rec, you really need to isolate this bird away from your others. Antibiotics will not help with this particular condition, so unless you're prescribed them specifically by your vet please don't try to administer them yourself.
 

Sam R

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She was put into a new home with all new accessories on 10/2021.
What is considered a good quality pellet?
In regards to PDD, when I research symptoms she only has the breathing issue, seemed like PDD has other symptoms. What is the cure for PDD? I did the 30 day quarantine with the new birds and she is housed separately, but unfortunately has had close contact with my other birds after the 30 day quarnatine... :( I got her in 2020 and got the other 3 birds 11/2021, she had this issue before I goth the other 3 birds. Vet was confident it was the metal poisoning so I thought after the 30 days it was safe... :( Since she gained weight it seems as if the metal poisoning was an issue but i guess not the only issue? :( :(
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR REPLY!
 

Hankmacaw

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The extended proventriculus made me quite suspicious that your bird may have ABV or even PDD. There are other diseases that can cause the extended proventruculus, but they are quite rare. The avian bornavirus stays with them for life whether it develops into PDD or not. There are some treatments for PDD that will give a bird a longer life, but there is no cure for the disease. The only test for the likelihood of PDD on the market today is the avia antiganlioside assay test. It only gives a high likelihood of PDD when the antiganglioside reading is very high.

Please read this about ABV and PDD;

It is possible that since your bird had a cage that incorporated "chicken wire" that she has developed chronic heavy metal toxicity. If this is the case it will take a long regimen of medication to cure (like 10times longer than 9 days). Chicken wire is galvanized.

Her swollen liver could be caused by a bad diet that is high in fats causing fatty liver disease, or it could be the result of another disease of the liver.
 

Sam R

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The extended proventriculus made me quite suspicious that your bird may have ABV or even PDD. There are other diseases that can cause the extended proventruculus, but they are quite rare. The avian bornavirus stays with them for life whether it develops into PDD or not. There are some treatments for PDD that will give a bird a longer life, but there is no cure for the disease. The only test for the likelihood of PDD on the market today is the avia antiganlioside assay test. It only gives a high likelihood of PDD when the antiganglioside reading is very high.

Please read this about ABV and PDD;

It is possible that since your bird had a cage that incorporated "chicken wire" that she has developed chronic heavy metal toxicity. If this is the case it will take a long regimen of medication to cure (like 10times longer than 9 days). Chicken wire is galvanized.

Her swollen liver could be caused by a bad diet that is high in fats causing fatty liver disease, or it could be the result of another disease of the liver.
so, it sounds like no matter what the conclusion will not be good. She had a round of detoxifier injections for 10 days and then the oral detoxifier for 9 days. She isn't as sleepy as she was and the breathing has improved minimally. I am just baffled because she has no other symptoms to indicate PDD. She has gained weight so that suggests to me that the toxicity is on the decrease or has left..... I guess your saying she either needs more detoxifier or she has PDD. PDD means probably my other birds have it. :( She has been the only bird in the house from 5/2020 until 11/2021, so that means she was sick before the new birds came and now I am worried about the new birds. I have spent alot of $ on her and hate to spend more on diagnosis for something that is incurable or not have an answer. Feel defeated. Thank you for the reply!
 

Sam R

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The extended proventriculus made me quite suspicious that your bird may have ABV or even PDD. There are other diseases that can cause the extended proventruculus, but they are quite rare. The avian bornavirus stays with them for life whether it develops into PDD or not. There are some treatments for PDD that will give a bird a longer life, but there is no cure for the disease. The only test for the likelihood of PDD on the market today is the avia antiganlioside assay test. It only gives a high likelihood of PDD when the antiganglioside reading is very high.

Please read this about ABV and PDD;

It is possible that since your bird had a cage that incorporated "chicken wire" that she has developed chronic heavy metal toxicity. If this is the case it will take a long regimen of medication to cure (like 10times longer than 9 days). Chicken wire is galvanized.

Her swollen liver could be caused by a bad diet that is high in fats causing fatty liver disease, or it could be the result of another disease of the liver.
So, some thoughts just based on your writeup.
Bird needs to be on a better diet, so many liver issues are caused by poor diets and she definitely needs a good quality pellet as well as some fresh fruits and veggies.
I'm worried about her cage and possible metal toxicity.
It's great that you've ruled out ABV but you really need that barium x-ray to check for PDD. The two don't always go together.
If your vet even remotely suspects PDD, which they might because of the barium x-ray rec, you really need to isolate this bird away from your others. Antibiotics will not help with this particular condition, so unless you're prescribed them specifically by your vet please don't try to administer them yourself.
also, lets say it is NOT PDD, would it still be metal buildup or what are other possibilities???
 

Destiny

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Although it is a less common cause, chronic heavy metal toxicity can lead to dilatation of the proventriculus by damaging the nerves of the GI tract. Since she was housed in a vintage cage and tested negative for ABV, I would lean toward thinking the heavy metal exposure could be responsible for both symptoms, rather than assuming it is infectious PDD caused by ABV.

That being said, there are many possible causes of difficult breathing. She might still have heavy metals stuck inside causing long-term problems. Or it could be completely unrelated to the early issues and just look similar.

Can you describe her current symptoms in more detail? What is abnormal about her breathing? Other than the x-ray findings, is she having any other issues right now?
 

Trogdora

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also, lets say it is NOT PDD, would it still be metal buildup or what are other possibilities???
It's possible, even if you've moved her to a new cage. It would take more bloodwork to diagnose, which I know is tough with little birds. If you can get samples from the cage she was in, there are laboratories that can do testing to determine what's in them, which could narrow down what to look for. Treatment can take months for metal toxicity, so it's very possible the 30 days weren't enough. Metals like lead can affect liver function, as well.
 

Sam R

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Although it is a less common cause, chronic heavy metal toxicity can lead to dilatation of the proventriculus by damaging the nerves of the GI tract. Since she was housed in a vintage cage and tested negative for ABV, I would lean toward thinking the heavy metal exposure could be responsible for both symptoms, rather than assuming it is infectious PDD caused by ABV.

That being said, there are many possible causes of difficult breathing. She might still have heavy metals stuck inside causing long-term problems. Or it could be completely unrelated to the early issues and just look similar.

Can you describe her current symptoms in more detail? What is abnormal about her breathing? Other than the x-ray findings, is she having any other issues right now?
Thank you for the reply. I am so upset over this. When I say heavy breathing, it is intermittent panting, tail bobbing. She acts and looks pretty healthy otherwise. She was in her toxic vintage cage for over a year. How long should organs go down after detox treatment normally??? I wonder if I should continue treating for metals. She did gain weight after her detox treatments.
 

Sam R

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It's possible, even if you've moved her to a new cage. It would take more bloodwork to diagnose, which I know is tough with little birds. If you can get samples from the cage she was in, there are laboratories that can do testing to determine what's in them, which could narrow down what to look for. Treatment can take months for metal toxicity, so it's very possible the 30 days weren't enough. Metals like lead can affect liver function, as well.
do you know how to find labs to test the cage, I still have the cage. A magnet sticks to it and there is also chicken wire on parts of it, so definitely iron and probably zinc, not sure what else. Would the chelation meds she was on cover those 2 metals at least since she tested negative for lead? Thank you very much for your reply!
 

Sam R

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Thank you for the reply. I am so upset over this. When I say heavy breathing, it is intermittent panting, tail bobbing. She acts and looks pretty healthy otherwise. She was in her toxic vintage cage for over a year. How long should organs go down after detox treatment normally??? I wonder if I should continue treating for metals. She did gain weight after her detox treatments.
The extended proventriculus made me quite suspicious that your bird may have ABV or even PDD. There are other diseases that can cause the extended proventruculus, but they are quite rare. The avian bornavirus stays with them for life whether it develops into PDD or not. There are some treatments for PDD that will give a bird a longer life, but there is no cure for the disease. The only test for the likelihood of PDD on the market today is the avia antiganlioside assay test. It only gives a high likelihood of PDD when the antiganglioside reading is very high.

Please read this about ABV and PDD;

It is possible that since your bird had a cage that incorporated "chicken wire" that she has developed chronic heavy metal toxicity. If this is the case it will take a long regimen of medication to cure (like 10times longer than 9 days). Chicken wire is galvanized.

Her swollen liver could be caused by a bad diet that is high in fats causing fatty liver disease, or it could be the result of another disease of the liver.
My understanding is with the Metal issue they lose weight and waste away, but after her chelating drugs she has gained weight. So, would metal still be an issue causing her organs to still be enlarged even though she has now gained back weight? The weight gain has confused me because I would think she would have continued to loose or maybe just stayed at the same weight??? Do you know how to find labs to test the cage, I still have the cage. A magnet sticks to it and there is also chicken wire on parts of it, so definitely iron and probably zinc, not sure what else. Would the chelation meds she was on cover those 2 metals at least since she tested negative for lead? Thank you very much for your reply!
 

Sam R

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do you know how to find labs to test the cage, I still have the cage. A magnet sticks to it and there is also chicken wire on parts of it, so definitely iron and probably zinc, not sure what else. Would the chelation meds she was on cover those 2 metals at least since she tested negative for lead? Thank you very much for your reply!
My understanding is with the Metal issue they lose weight and waste away, but after her chelating drugs she has gained weight. So, would metal still be an issue causing her organs to still be enlarged even though she has now gained back weight? The weight gain has confused me because I would think she would have continued to loose or maybe just stayed at the same weight???
 

Trogdora

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Jen G.
do you know how to find labs to test the cage, I still have the cage. A magnet sticks to it and there is also chicken wire on parts of it, so definitely iron and probably zinc, not sure what else. Would the chelation meds she was on cover those 2 metals at least since she tested negative for lead? Thank you very much for your reply!
I can't find the name of the lab I heard about, it was connected to a university though. I'm not sure where you're located or if you have access to a vet school, which would be my first stop personally, but I would think that your vet would be able to direct you to resources as well.
Truthfully I'm not sure about the chelation medications, my own experience with metal toxicity in birds has been with waterfowl and loons. I do know that treatment is often a lengthy process, especially with small birds as you have to be very careful with dosages. Little birds are fighters though, my parrotlet went through 6 months of antibiotics, anti-fungals, and anticonvulsant medications and came out on the other side just as feisty as ever.
 

LovePico

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Hi Sam!
First, I want to applaud you for your dedication to unraveling the health issue with your lady Budgie. I am new to the forum but have had birds my whole life. In fact I used to raise English Budgies many years ago. Here is my perspective for what it’s worth.
Lets focus on the positives thus far-
She’s been moved to a new modern cage.
You took her to a vet and had a thorough exam with diagnostics run.
A diagnosis of heavy metals was determined and treatment was given.
She has improved and has gained back weight.
I‘d say you are doing your best to do right by the girl. Honestly, there is only so much you can do before the intervention becomes more of a liability than a help with the added stress it puts on these small birds. I would also point out that there are congenital issues that can pop up from time to time, so even with the most ideal conditions we can’t always control the outcome.
She’s not the first bird that’s become a picky eater (stress and meds can do that) and if she’s been given a clean bill of health by the vet, quarantine is over with both her and the other group (you didn’t mention if the other birds are Budgies too?), I would start integrating her with the other birds. The flock can do a world of good for picky eaters. The breathing thing you describe is not uncommon in English Budgies. Unless you notice loose stools, wet feathers around the cere/nostrils, excessive wet sneezing, puffed up and sleeping, she sounds fine. I would suggest a calcium supplement to assist her body when egg laying starts. And I also suggest feeding fresh Dandelion greens as they have lots of good vitamins and minerals plus most Budgies have a hard time resisting fresh greens in the cage. As for pellets, I’m not a fan of soy protein, so I use TOPPS brand mini pellets. If you can’t find them local you can order from their website direct. Some birds never take to the pellets. Just make sure to offer fresh foods along with a good quality seed.
I wish you the very best with her and the rest of the flock!
Susan
 

Sam R

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Hi Sam!
First, I want to applaud you for your dedication to unraveling the health issue with your lady Budgie. I am new to the forum but have had birds my whole life. In fact I used to raise English Budgies many years ago. Here is my perspective for what it’s worth.
Lets focus on the positives thus far-
She’s been moved to a new modern cage.
You took her to a vet and had a thorough exam with diagnostics run.
A diagnosis of heavy metals was determined and treatment was given.
She has improved and has gained back weight.
I‘d say you are doing your best to do right by the girl. Honestly, there is only so much you can do before the intervention becomes more of a liability than a help with the added stress it puts on these small birds. I would also point out that there are congenital issues that can pop up from time to time, so even with the most ideal conditions we can’t always control the outcome.
She’s not the first bird that’s become a picky eater (stress and meds can do that) and if she’s been given a clean bill of health by the vet, quarantine is over with both her and the other group (you didn’t mention if the other birds are Budgies too?), I would start integrating her with the other birds. The flock can do a world of good for picky eaters. The breathing thing you describe is not uncommon in English Budgies. Unless you notice loose stools, wet feathers around the cere/nostrils, excessive wet sneezing, puffed up and sleeping, she sounds fine. I would suggest a calcium supplement to assist her body when egg laying starts. And I also suggest feeding fresh Dandelion greens as they have lots of good vitamins and minerals plus most Budgies have a hard time resisting fresh greens in the cage. As for pellets, I’m not a fan of soy protein, so I use TOPPS brand mini pellets. If you can’t find them local you can order from their website direct. Some birds never take to the pellets. Just make sure to offer fresh foods along with a good quality seed.
I wish you the very best with her and the rest of the flock!
Susan
I believe there may have been an issue with the cage, a magnet sticks to it, it has chicken wire and also probably has steel and/or iron, some of it is now rusting since it has been outside. I am thinking the chelating therapy was good only because she did gain weight after doing the chelating treatments. I thought that since her weight improved and her lethargy improved I assumed the Dr was accurate and we were given 2 more EB and a Tiel in November 2022. After 30 days of quarantining she has had contact mostly with the 2 new EB although she has been housed separately but in the same room as the other birds. She has had minimal direct contact with the Tiel since he doesn't care for the other birds. I am also now worried that she is going to infect the other birds since she has been in the same room.

She continues to eat, drink, and generally act fairly normal except maybe a little more tired. When she is tail bobbing or panting sometimes there is a little click or a squeak she makes, but that is inconsistent. She also inconsistently pants with the tail bobbing. She has maintained her weight recently. I have started weighing my other birds and one of the EB is 40 grams, so that has me concerned.

She is still a young chicken so I am surprised to have this issue still.

I really, really appreciate your feedback very much and any help your offering.
 

Sam R

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I can't find the name of the lab I heard about, it was connected to a university though. I'm not sure where you're located or if you have access to a vet school, which would be my first stop personally, but I would think that your vet would be able to direct you to resources as well.
Truthfully I'm not sure about the chelation medications, my own experience with metal toxicity in birds has been with waterfowl and loons. I do know that treatment is often a lengthy process, especially with small birds as you have to be very careful with dosages. Little birds are fighters though, my parrotlet went through 6 months of antibiotics, anti-fungals, and anticonvulsant medications and came out on the other side just as feisty as ever.
I am in a suburb of Philadelphia PA
Why did you have to go through so much with your bird, what was wrong? Very happy for you that it was a positive outcome.
I really, really appreciate your feedback very much and any help your offering.
 

Trogdora

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Jen G.
I am in a suburb of Philadelphia PA
Why did you have to go through so much with your bird, what was wrong? Very happy for you that it was a positive outcome.
I really, really appreciate your feedback very much and any help your offering.
It's a long and complicated story! He was having seizures, which were actually secondary to an upper respiratory infection but since his sinus cavity and brain were so very close together in his little head it seemed like the neuro symptoms were the real problem. Fortunately my vet did a ton of testing and sent me home with three different medications (vets will often prescribe antifungals with antibiotics since fungal infections can occur easily in the absence of bacteria during treatment) and after half a year of meds and testing and re-testing and more re-testing he was declared healthy, although I did wind up buying a new air filter and humidifier so he could coexist with my dusty old cockatiels.
 
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