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Sick Lovebird -possible liver disease

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Compassion

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My lovebird Zeus has been pretty sick this month,it started on the 9th when I noticed he was picking at his wing joints and upon close inspection I realized the skin looked infected so I took him in to the vet here. We do not have an avian vet and this vet is the only vet in town qualified to treat birds even though her qualifications are questionable. When I asked what kind of experience she has had with birds she said ," I know I like them".

Anyways I went in armed with a list of meds I might need and their proper dosage given to me by a friend who is very savvy when it comes to Lovebirds. I asked the vet is she would do a gram stain and she looked at me like I was crazy and told me she would do one if the meds she gave me didn't work...

So off I went back home with my Metacam,Nystatin ointment and a 10 day supply of Baytril. I thought things would get better but instead they only got worse. On the 19th Zeus stopped eating and drinking and had lost alot of weight. I had a scale and had been weighing him and it had looked like he had only lost a couple of grams,however when I took him to the vet on the 20th she had reweighed him and it turns out he had lost 9 grams :omg:
I asked for a gram stain again and a culture and sensitivity to be done and finally the vet agreed to do them. The vet said the gram stain looked ok,but that's assuming she knows how to read it... C&S will be back Monday hopefully.

I ended up hand feeding him with finely ground Tops pellets and ordered some Harrisons handfeeding formula on Fedex overnight. The Harrisons took several days to get here...there is no overnight when you live in Alaska =(

I stayed up with Zeus the first few days feeding him 1 cc every hour around the clock and gradually increasing the amount of food and the time between feedings. I haven't had more than 4 hours of sleep since all this started. I have the heat cranked up all the way during the day and at night I put him in his travel kennel covered with blankets over a heating pad which I have to turn back on every hour throughout the night.

Zeus has gained weight back,but his keel bone still sticks out =( I forgot to weigh him when before he ate this morning,but he was at 55 grams when I put him in his cage just a little bit ago.

Yesterday when I was scratching Zeus's head I noticed he had several red feathers growing on his chest and I remember reading about it a bit ago and it had said it could be from liver disease so I Googled liver disease and found out that Zeus has just about every symptom they had listed. Tonight I noticed his abdomen looks swollen and bruised almost :(

I am wondering if anyone has any advice on liver disease? Things I should ask the vet,stuff he should or shouldn't be eating? I read milk thistle is good and aloe detox but how do you administer them? Has anyone here successfully treated liver disease in their bird before? Any tips and advice would be greatly appreciated.

I want to order one of the Avitech heat panels and I saw they sell 24" full spectrum fixtures Avitech Exotic Birds - Supplies, Equipment and Nutritional Supplements for Birds! and I was wondering if anyone has used these and if you like them.

My heart is breaking right now,this is my worst nightmare come true and I feel absolutely horrible not being able to take him to see a vet who knows what they are doing. Unfortunately,the closest avian vet is almost 900 miles away.
 

suncoast

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Angela,

Dr. Burkett in NC takes answers online. You can email him, or, if you want to pay a consulation fee, (I think it's $75.00) you can talk to him or have your other vet talk to him about what kind of treatment to get Zeus started on.

I order milk thistle seed from Mountain Rose. The Aloe detox you want is called Lily of the Dessert.

Prayers going up for little Zeus.

Veterinary Advice - Ask Dr. Burkett A Question Today!

Ginger
 

Juhi882

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I can't be on any help to you angela...
but i hope and pray for Zeus to get well real soon.
:hug8:
 

Feyoka

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Oh, poor, poor Zeus! Its great youre doing all this for him...for such a fragile creature to be sick must be a terrifying experience, for both of you. Keep us posted on Zeus's health, hope he gets better. :(
 

birdlady

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Praying for Zeus...is he in a hospital cage and warm...I think heat panel is a great idea...right now the avitech panels come with a free cage mount.
 

Anne & Gang

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I too read about milk thistle for liver disease...praying for your little Zeus..:hug8:
 

Compassion

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Yes he is in a hospital cage and staying warm,I'll look into Dr Burkett,but I might have to wait for my check to come in for that. I have already spent over $400.00 and I know I need to get a blood draw which will probably be another $300.00. I over spent my budget on Christmas presents and wasn't expecting this to happen so my funds are tight now.

I might see about getting a small loan from my Mom though if my check doesn't come in Monday. I am also thinking about taking him up with me when I go to Anchorage but I don't know if there are any component avian vets there either. If you look for avian vets here in Juneau it actually lists the place I took Zeus to,however they are not avian vets at all which is very frustrating!

I have a friend on another forum who recommended a treatment that consists of Lactobacillus, Prozyme and Lactulose.Is anyone else familiar with this treatment?
 

marian

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Praying for Zeus...I sure hope he gets better angela..Keep us updated.
 

suncoast

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I think it would definately be worth the cost to get a consult with a CVA. When Truely was sick as a baby, we took her to the local bird vet who was not certified and spent $$$$$$$ with no result. Then we took her across the state to a CVA and you could tell right away that this vet knew what he was doing. Your even in a worse situation because you don't have a vet that knows about birds at all. Dr. Burkett is a nice guy and he might talk to your vet for a reduced consulation fee if he knew your circumstances. I would phone him and leave a message today. I'm afraid for little Zeus if he doesn't get the proper diagnoses and treatment ASAP.

Ginger
 

Feyoka

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I made a little doodle of dear Zeus for you on photoshop. Its nothing much, just a reminder that we're here for you... I really hope the little guy turns out to be okay. ♥

I would make a better version, but its 6 in the morning (I stayed up all night, I feel pretty braindead) and I'm going on vacation starting today, so I only had time for a quick speedpaint. What a beautiful birdy he is! His beak is gorgeous. :)
 

Compassion

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:hug8: thank you for the doodle it's beautiful!
 

April

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Praying that little Zeus gets better.
 

Pumpkin

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Sending healing & prayers to Zeus! Man I know the fear this causes us bird moms. Hang in there & I hope you get the answers you need asap!!
 

Shadera

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I hope you are able to get hooked up with the exact person you'll need to help pull Zeus through this. Good vets are tough to find sometimes, and they're worth their weight in gold. You may be able to find one near you who isn't certified, but who is entirely competent in avian medicine. My own vet is one of these. She doesn't know it all but she works closely with me and actually looks over the information I bring in when we're researching something. Grab that phone and start calling. Hit the message boards and ask for vet references. Stay strong, for you and for him.

I'll be sending some Reiki (energy healing) tonight for him and will light a candle too. And I'm sending a big heap of prayers for both of you. :hug8:
 

srtiels

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Do you remeber if he had the swollen and bruised looking abdomen prior to being given the medications? Sometimes if the dose is too high on the meds this can cause liver damage.

Below is some info I have saved on supportive supplements for the liver that have worked for me.
----------------------------------
Under normal circumstances a bird mfg. and synthesizes vitamin C in the body. When it is sick the body’s ability to do this is hindered, thus supplementing is needed. This is especially so when you have suspected hepatic (liver) problems or damage. Vitamin C is a great supplement when sick and to aid the body when there are liver problems. A liver is regenerative, but it needs to be given the *tools* to help heal itself.

Some of the tools are: Vitamin C (while sick), lactulose, natural exposure to sunlight or full spectrum lighting close to the caging, and a changing of caging, such as a flight cage that encourages more movement and exercise, or some flight time daily. When there are liver problems the function of the liver is hindered. This also can effect vitamin A which is formed in the liver from beta‑carotene, thus supplementing of beta-carotene is needed. An increase of the water soluble nutrients to the body. Brewers Yeast is an excellent source for these.

Milk thistle can be given for liver problems. Dandelion can also be given to detoxify and act as a stimulant to the liver. 1 drop of each (in extract form) to each 1/2 ounce of lactulose (some info below) can be mixed up and the bird given a drop 2 times a day. These 2 herbal extracts can also be added to the drinking water at a ratio of 1 drop to 3 ounces of water, and changed 2 times a day.

I've found that everything has a cause and effect to other body functions in our feathered friends. To help them many times we have to get to the root of the problem. Such as why your bird does have liver problem. Also how does this effect the other organs, and go from there. Many times giving the body the needed supplements and nutritional support (tools) can do more healing than any medication.

Lactulose (Cephulac)

Lactulose acts as an osmosis "R" wordant to the absorption of potential toxins from the GI tract. Used as a treatment with liver disease to decrease the load of metabolites that must be processed through the liver. What this does is reduce toxic potential of the blood ammonia due to liver dysfunction.

It also acts as an appetite stimulant.

It acidifies the intestinal contents.

It is also be effective in establishing a gastrointestinal environment that favors the growth of intestinal flora. This eliminates the need for lactobacillus supplementing. Lactulose can be used daily for weeks. If diarrhea is noted reduce the dosage.

 

Compassion

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No,he didn't have a bruised abdomen before the meds or if he did I didn't notice it. The red feathers would take a while to form though wouldn't they? They were hard to see because they are tiny and were under his other feathers. I am really surprised I didn't notice them sooner though because I give him head scratches all the time. Here's a couple pics of the feathers which I removed because they seem to be bothering him and his abdomen ( I put a little water on his abdomen to move the feathers aside so I could get a better pic)











A friend of mine gave me the number for a really good avian vet who comes to town on occasion so I am going to call him and see if I can get his input. I wish I could search around for another vet,but I live in Juneau,Alaska and we do not have any other vets here who are licensed to see birds so I am stuck with this one.

Thanks for the advice and kind words,it's very much appreciated!
 

MBS

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I am feeling for you. We recently went through something similar less than 2 weeks ago. Financially and emotionally it takes a huge toll. I think you're doing your best for him with the only vet availalbe, and I really hope he pulls through. My thoughts will be on you and your lovie. I really hope you get all the help, medications, and treatments that you need for him.
 

suncoast

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Are you sure Zeus is a male and not egg bound?

Ginger
 
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