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Parrotlet ear infection, other issues?

pp123

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Cross posting this from the 911 forum, as it's hopefully less of an emergency, and maybe some of you can help out with similar experiences.

Woke up Monday and got Zoe from her cage to find her ear was exposed. Looks like there's a minor little cowlick situation going on, but did not see any discharge coming from the ear.

Got her checked up today, her plumage was covering the ear again but when we brushed it back, there was definitely some gunk. The vet says almost certainly an infection, and she's been clearing her crop a lot since the weekend and that is consistent as well as the neck connects to the ear canal up there.

She then listened to her breathing and said there was something irregular going on, a little scratching and not sure if it was related to the infection or something else, i.e something enlarged, etc. The only way to know is thru an xray, which will require anesthesia. I am very hesitant to put this little bird under anesthesia and give her an xray. Additionally, if something came back in the xrays showing she needed a biopsy or similar, I don't think I could put her through that either.

From her exam notes:

Ear - slight discharge present near left ear, feathers appear slightly abnormal, not moist or gooey. Little to no swelling of skin.
Lungs - right side slight rough to crackling sound on inhalation.

Assessments
DDX - pharyngitis, ear infection/eustacian tube issue, lung/airsac sounds

Recommend:
xray +/- iso - to assess cause of abnormal right side sounds (infectious, metabolic, other)
Culture or gram's stain - to assess cause of "neck stretching", best option is gram's stain since it is the best way to test for spirochetes.
Other testing (if any) based on xray results

Owner has to consult with wife, will take home unreconstituted clavamox - starting antibiotics tonight is not recommended unless other
testing will not be done.
After some discussion, my wife and I decided to start her on the Clavamox immediately, rationale is it seems that there is indeed an infection, wouldn't we want to take care of that regardless of the lung/airsac issue whether they're related or not as soon as possible? We wanted to try the least invasive procedure before anesthesia, etc. Anybody have any perspective or experience similar? I called some other vets for 2nd opinions and can't get in to see them until Friday.
 

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Blueberry

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I've always done the culture and sensitivity test and the prescribed antibiotics while I waited. Only onces was there a better antibiotic and we had to switch. I do not have experience in ear infections but I'd would think the lung noise probably has to do with the ear infection because the ears can drain into the lungs.
 

CrazyBirdChick

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My bird recently just went through a rough time with an ear infection. When I was trying to find info on it, it seemed like ear infections were not that common in parrots.

For some reason my vet did not do a culture during our first visit and just prescribed a general antibiotic. If I would have known then what I know now I would have insisted on the culture/sensitivity before starting antibiotics. Just because still to this day I don't know what caused the ear infection and we blindly treated it with 2 different antibiotics and an antifungal and also a pain med. It went on for 3 months. Hopefully your bird will respond better to the clavamox. We did not use clavamox. We used 2 other antibiotics.

Now my bird has a little skin tag looking thing in his ear that seems to annoy him sometimes, and we need to have a ct scan soon, and possibly a surgery to remove the skin/growth because the vet said it may cause recurring ear infections in the future.
We're not sure just from looking at it if it's just granulation or a polyp or some other kind of growth. Hopefully your bird won't get the same thing on it's ear.

My bird never had any breathing or clicking issues though. Is it possible your bird may have crashed into something maybe? I hope it all heals up quickly and easily!

*I wanted to add that my bird did/still does the yawning thing and the vet said he does that to try to open up the ear canal.
 
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pp123

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I've always done the culture and sensitivity test and the prescribed antibiotics while I waited. Only onces was there a better antibiotic and we had to switch. I do not have experience in ear infections but I'd would think the lung noise probably has to do with the ear infection because the ears can drain into the lungs.
My bird recently just went through a rough time with an ear infection. When I was trying to find info on it, it seemed like ear infections were not that common in parrots.

For some reason my vet did not do a culture during our first visit and just prescribed a general antibiotic. If I would have known then what I know now I would have insisted on the culture/sensitivity before starting antibiotics. Just because still to this day I don't know what caused the ear infection and we blindly treated it with 2 different antibiotics and an antifungal and also a pain med. It went on for 3 months. Hopefully your bird will respond better to the clavamox. We did not use clavamox. We used 2 other antibiotics.

Now my bird has a little skin tag looking thing in his ear that seems to annoy him sometimes, and we need to have a ct scan soon, and possibly a surgery to remove the skin/growth because the vet said it may cause recurring ear infections in the future.
We're not sure just from looking at it if it's just granulation or a polyp or some other kind of growth. Hopefully your bird won't get the same thing on it's ear.

My bird never had any breathing or clicking issues though. Is it possible your bird may have crashed into something maybe? I hope it all heals up quickly and easily!

*I wanted to add that my bird did/still does the yawning thing and the vet said he does that to try to open up the ear canal.
I'm not sure why I didn't insist on a culture immediately. I was just kind of in shock when they told me the irregular breathing stuff, I thought I was simply going in for some antibiotics. I called back on the way home and asked about a culture test before we even thought about an xray but I won't hear back from the vet until tomorrow, and now that I've started the antibiotics it may be a moot point. I just didn't want to waste any time.

I too have not found much about ear infections as they seem pretty rare. Fortunately, her ear was not that swollen. No recent crashes or anything, so hopefully all just connected to the infection she may be fighting. She is acting totally normal aside from the yawning thing that she has been doing more frequently than usual.
 

CrazyBirdChick

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I'm not sure why I didn't insist on a culture immediately. I was just kind of in shock when they told me the irregular breathing stuff, I thought I was simply going in for some antibiotics. I called back on the way home and asked about a culture test before we even thought about an xray but I won't hear back from the vet until tomorrow, and now that I've started the antibiotics it may be a moot point. I just didn't want to waste any time.

I too have not found much about ear infections as they seem pretty rare. Fortunately, her ear was not that swollen. No recent crashes or anything, so hopefully all just connected to the infection she may be fighting. She is acting totally normal aside from the yawning thing that she has been doing more frequently than usual.

Hopefully your bird's ear infection will be simple to treat so that the culture thing isn't even an issue. I think most of the time antibiotics work, & relatively quickly, so hopefully you'll see some improvement in a few days. I hope the breathing thing also resolves with the meds you already have.
 

Blueberry

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A culture and sensitivity test will grow the bacteria to see what type it is and what antibiotics works best in treating it. My birds have had respiratory infections - one of them was pretty bad and we needed a potent antibiotic (she came from a pet store and had I think 3 different types of staph infections if I'm remembering correctly- It's been a while.)
 

pp123

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Just frustrated. After I left the vet yesterday I asked if we could get the gram stain independent of the xray and was told they'd follow up - I'm not sure why that wasn't recommended during the appointment. They got back this morning and said yes. Well, now we've started the antibiotic as of last night and the test may not be valid because of the chemistry with the Clavamox.

I think our best option now is to see the Clavamox through for 7 days and see how she reacts. I just hope there's nothing more serious going on that we're not testing for now.
 

pp123

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Does anyone have experience with Clavamox or other antibiotics making their birds more tired? She's been mostly normal, but sleeping alot more today, 2 doses of .04cc into the medication.
 

CrazyBirdChick

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Does anyone have experience with Clavamox or other antibiotics making their birds more tired? She's been mostly normal, but sleeping alot more today, 2 doses of .04cc into the medication.
I can't remember the exact details of everything because it went on so long but I think my bird was pretty tired atleast a day or two into the meds. But he perked up pretty quickly once on them. I wanna say two or three days into it he seemed pretty much back to his mischievous ways. I think the best thing to do would be for you to call the vet and ask if it's normal to be sleepy after the clavamox.
 

CrazyBirdChick

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Here is my thread about my bird's ear infection. It's a bit long but if you feel like scrolling through there's pictures and our progress with it through the weeks/months

 

pp123

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Here is my thread about my bird's ear infection. It's a bit long but if you feel like scrolling through there's pictures and our progress with it through the weeks/months

Thank you! I did read through that whole thread previously, as there really aren't a lot of threads on ear infections floating around. Blu's looked very inflamed! Glad to see he's doing better.

I talked to the vet and they said tiredness isn't a side effect but that we can chalk it up to Zoe having a pretty stressful day yesterday, common for most birds to be tired after the vet. Will keep a close eye on her.
 

CrazyBirdChick

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I hope Zoe is acting more like herself today. Please do stay at avian avenue and continue to update us when you can.
 

pp123

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Thank you! She is totally acting like herself, which is making me feel a little guilty about taking her to another vet this morning. She's been through a lot this week! But her ears still are a little crusty and I've seen her doing some more neck stretching which leads me to believe she's still a little uncomofortable.

But I wanted a second opinion, and have wanted to try this vet. She's currently getting a gram stain, fecal, and blood test... going to be a rough day for her. Even though the clavamox may suppress the culture a bit, the vet thinks it may still be worth it to pick up on whatever is going on. She also is recommending a different broad-spectrum antibiotic that covers more than the clavamox, so will switch her over to that tonight.
 

CrazyBirdChick

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Thank you! She is totally acting like herself, which is making me feel a little guilty about taking her to another vet this morning. She's been through a lot this week! But her ears still are a little crusty and I've seen her doing some more neck stretching which leads me to believe she's still a little uncomofortable.

But I wanted a second opinion, and have wanted to try this vet. She's currently getting a gram stain, fecal, and blood test... going to be a rough day for her. Even though the clavamox may suppress the culture a bit, the vet thinks it may still be worth it to pick up on whatever is going on. She also is recommending a different broad-spectrum antibiotic that covers more than the clavamox, so will switch her over to that tonight.

I hope that the second opinion helps alot and that she continues to heal quickly and fully! Thank you for the update!
 

pp123

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Took her into the 2nd vet for gram stain, fecal and blood test, the gram stain came back positive for Spirochetes - the ears appeared to be a secondary infection stemming from it. Happy they were able to detect it, not sure where she picked it up from though! According to the vet this is from direct contact with other birds, and she's my one and only. May have been living dormant in her as I adopted her from a house with another parrotlet 2.5 years ago.

Prescribed ciprofloxacin and stopping the clavamox at her suggestion, and no lung crackling according to this vet. Clavamox could have cleared it up a bit, or maybe just the way she was breathing that day, who knows?

2 weeks of the new meds, 2 weeks of nothing, and then back for another gram stain - this bacteria is known to be pretty resilient so hopefully it doesn't make a comeback!
 

CrazyBirdChick

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Took her into the 2nd vet for gram stain, fecal and blood test, the gram stain came back positive for Spirochetes - the ears appeared to be a secondary infection stemming from it. Happy they were able to detect it, not sure where she picked it up from though! According to the vet this is from direct contact with other birds, and she's my one and only. May have been living dormant in her as I adopted her from a house with another parrotlet 2.5 years ago.

Prescribed ciprofloxacin and stopping the clavamox at her suggestion, and no lung crackling according to this vet. Clavamox could have cleared it up a bit, or maybe just the way she was breathing that day, who knows?

2 weeks of the new meds, 2 weeks of nothing, and then back for another gram stain - this bacteria is known to be pretty resilient so hopefully it doesn't make a comeback!
Sounds like the new vet did a very thorough job and I'm glad you got some answers. Good news that there were no lung crackling noises today too, that's a relief! Hopefully the new meds clear everything up quickly!
 
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