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  • This forum is for advice about initial treatment given to your injured/sick bird until a qualified avian veterinarian is available.
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Urgent Sick African Grey

ppogor

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Hi, my African Grey, Kiwi, appears to be sick for the past few days. I’ve noticed that she has been sleeping a lot and not eating as much as usual. Yesterday I noticed that she is off balance and unable to walk. I took her to an avian vet who took some X-rays and did blood work. I was told that her GI tract is dilated and her liver enzymes are high. The vet did an additional liver panel and a test for PDD, but I will not know the results until next week. Kiwi was also given fluids and an anti inflammatory shot. Today, she still appears sick and is leaning forward on her perch almost as if she can’t hold on. I feel like the vet hasn’t told me much. Does anyone have any idea what could be wrong with her? We were out of town for about 4 days and a trusted family member took care of her. She said the bird was fine and acting normal throughout the time we were gone. She did notice a slight diarrhea. The only thing I have done differently in the past few weeks was cut her nails with a car nail clipper (first time this was done at home) and I used an essential oil diffuser a few times. I once used it close to the cage, the other times in another room.
Please help. I am afraid she is dying and don’t feel like the vet was any help. :(
 

Shezbug

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What oil did you diffuse?
 

ppogor

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What oil did you diffuse?
young living oils - frankincense and another blend but I will have to check in the morning what was in it. The first time I diffused was around 3 weeks ago and it was their stress away blend. I really hope this is unrelated. I got this kit as a Christmas present and had no idea that diffusing, especially in other rooms, can be harmful.
 

ppogor

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Additional information - I don’t know how old Kiwi is but she has been with my family the past ten years. We think she is around 12 years old, but again not sure. She’s been with me for the past two years. She use to have a diet consisting of a lot of peanuts and sunflower seeds, which was changed since she’s lived with me. She now eats a blend of Higgins california blend seeds, zupreem pellets, nuts such as almonds and walnuts, as well as fresh veggies and fruits. She likes spinach, parsley, bananas, carrots and celery the most. She hasn’t been eating fresh food as much lately. I sometimes give her eggs as well. She has always been a feather picker on her neck / upper chest. She is not a very friendly bird to me (prefers men), but my heart is breaking as I’m laying down next to her “hospital box” I created for her. She wasn’t doing good in the cage and started banging on the cage with her beak even though she was covered. I spent so much money at the vet and received no further instructions and it’s so frustrating.
 

Shezbug

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Diffusing any oils is not safe around your bird, burning candles, wax melts, certain essential oils are definitely not safe regardless of how they’re used... here’s just one of many threads with some information about EO’s


There are so many other things we hear of people using around their birds without realising how damaging and in some cases deadly they are to birds.

You mention a fairly unhealthy diet that was fed to your bird for some time- has there been any indication from the vet that the past diet may be causing some issues? I’m wondering if fatty liver may be part of the problem given the sunflower seeds and peanuts

Do your friends use aerosol sprays, candles, Teflon, scented things for their house- did they give your bird any special treats not supplied by you- did they have your bird out of the cage to fly or play?

I’m hoping Mizzely or Hankmacaw will be along soon to read your information and maybe offer some help, they’re both awesome with health and diet information.
 

Mizzely

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It sounds like you are still waiting on lab results, yes? If the liver values are high, your vet may recommend an xray; it's possible she's got a liver related ailment.

If it is essential oil related there are two possibilities that I think of. One is that her air sacs have been compromised and she's having a hard time with oxygen exchange. The other is the essential oils were absorbed into the blood stream, passed through the liver, and triggered a response that may be related to her past diet.

I would wait to hear back from the vet. In the meantime, perhaps see about making an oxygen chamber to see if that helps.
 

Hankmacaw

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@Mizzely and @Shezbug pretty much covered it. I can re-emphasize to never feed peanuts and never use anything (including essential oils ) around a bird. Here are a couple of things that may help you understand.



If VOCs effect humans that much just imagine what it does to birds with their very complex and delicate respiratory system.

Oxygen therapy is the best treatment for VOC poisoning.
 

ppogor

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Thank you all for the responses. The vet did an X-ray and only mentioned that the GI tract is dilated. She said she thinks it may be bornavirus. Other than that she said that the liver enzymes are high.
My mom was watching the bird at my house and she did not feed her anything out of the ordinary. She did not use any products or burn any candles around her. I asked just to make sure.
Regarding essential oils - they were only used directly around her about 3 weeks ago. However, I see that they can travel to another room just like anything else. Wish I never used them.

Would fatty liver diseases cause neurological like problems, such as trouble with walking and balance?
 

ppogor

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Is there anything I can do in the meantime to support Kiwi? If she does have liver problems - should I give her aloe Vera and if so what kind and what amount?
Also, I am thinking to go to the pet store and get her an UVB lamp and maybe a vitamin supplement of some sort.
I have no idea how to create an oxygen chamber like Mizzely mentioned.
Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!
 

Mizzely

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Aloe will do nothing for the liver.

If she's eating pellets, please don't add a multivitamin without discussing with your vet. Too much vitamins is toxic and hard on the liver which would only make the problem worse if it is related.

Has your vet considered heavy metal poisoning? That can show up as neurological symptoms and the fact that there is GI inflammation makes me wonder.

This might help:

 

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Hypocalcemia ( lack of sufficient calcium in the blood) is far more likely to result in neurological issues. This is especially true in African Grey birds, who are noted for hypocalcemia.

Aloe Ver will do nothing to help liver issues. Milk Thistle is the go to medication and you should be able to acquire it easily. Be sure you get a liquid extract of Milk Thistle that is alcohol free. I don't know where you live, but it is easily obtainable from Amazon or any of the pharmaceutical sites, such as Lucky Vitamins.

Uvb lamps can be dangerous and do very little good. Can you take her into unfiltered (no glass in between ) sunlight for 15 min three times a week. @Mizzely is absolutely correct about supplementing her with vitamins.

Can you call your vet and discuss treatments with him? Yes, heavy metal toxicity can cause neurological issues.
 

ppogor

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Thank you. I live in Chicago and getting milk thistle will not be a problem. I can call the vet tomorrow and discuss the things you mentioned. Can I start milk thistle right away? Also, what would the correct dosage be for a bird?
I unfortunately can’t take her outside with the temperatures being freezing here.
Forgive my ignorant question - but could essential oils cause heavy metal toxicity?
I am trying to learn as much as I can and hoping she gets better.
 

Hankmacaw

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I don't know enough about essential oils to answer that question. I have no idea what is put in them by the manufacturers. I do know that there seems to be i million sources of heavy metal poisoning for birds. My Hank got HMT by hiding behind the sofa and chewing on the lead weights in the drapes.

Start feeding her foods high i calcium and give her a Tums twice a week -won't hurt her and could help her a lot. Cut out the Higgins california blend seeds and replace with a good pellet. A good pellet has no sugar or dyes and provides Vitamin D3. If she is eating a pellet with D# in it you don't have to worry about direct sunshine. Here is a list of pellets developed by @Mizzely. The first thing you want to look for is does it include sugar (Bad) and them if it contains dyes (bad) then if it has D3 (good) in it. If Mizzely does not say it's a complete food, don't consider it. Pellets for Parrots

Yes, you can start with the milk thistle immediately - I'd recommend about 0.20 ml twice a day.
 

ppogor

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Thanks a bunch! I will get her good pellets and start the milk thistle supplement.
 

Lady Jane

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@Hankmacaw Tums come in different strengths for calcium content. Low to high.

TUMS Regular Strength: Contains 500 mg calcium carbonate per tablet (200 mg of elemental calcium). TUMS Extra Strength: Contains 750 mg calcium carbonate per tablet (300 mg of elemental calcium). TUMS Ultra Strength: Contains 1,000 mg calcium carbonate per tablet (400 mg of elemental calcium)
 

ppogor

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@Hankmacaw Tums come in different strengths for calcium content. Low to high.

TUMS Regular Strength: Contains 500 mg calcium carbonate per tablet (200 mg of elemental calcium). TUMS Extra Strength: Contains 750 mg calcium carbonate per tablet (300 mg of elemental calcium). TUMS Ultra Strength: Contains 1,000 mg calcium carbonate per tablet (400 mg of elemental calcium)
I have the extra strength ones at home. Was thinking to give her half a tablet twice a week. Thoughts?
 

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Sounds good - better to use too little than too much when she's on a good pellet. Don't forget calcium rich food.
 

Mizzely

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No essential oils will not cause heavy metal poisoning. It is something that slowly ramps up until one day it's a problem from what I have seen on the forum. It can be from playing with unsafe metals, chewing on cage bars, chewing painted woods, etc. It can sit in the GI tract or fatty tissues slowly releasing into the body.
 

ppogor

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Hi everyone. I spoke to the vet today and she said they can’t make a diagnosis. She said Kiwis liver is fine, she does not appear to have an infection or any sort, and her gram stain was fine. We are still waiting for the PDD blood test results, but the vet thinks this is not the case here. I asked about heavy metal toxicity and she said she didn’t see anything metal on the X-ray and she doesn’t think diffusing essential oils could’ve caused this. She also said that lack of calcium would produce different symptoms.
Now they want to do a cardiac ultrasound saying that maybe Kiwi has heart disease. I don’t know if that would suddenly cause such big problems and I’m at a loss of what to do. Especially since these things aren’t cheap and I already spent a lot of money. :(
 
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