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What the heck is going on here?!!

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Weirsh Bird

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I've been noticing a definite trend in my young Zebra Finch that I've been handraising since she was 8 days old, and I'm getting seriously frustrated and upset about her health. My current major issue is the fact the cannot seem to drink water properly most of the time. She breathes a bit heavily normally, gets reeeally worn out and breathes really heavily after even a short flight, and scratches at her face and nose a lot, so I'm going to treat her for air sac mites as soon as the medicine comes in. She also spends most of her time hopping around the floor of her cage, but gets on her low perch occasionally. She eats like a PIG without any difficulty.

Drinking is another story, however. She was drinking ACV water out of a tiny little crock on the cage floor, and not every single time, but MOST of the time, when she drinks water out of it, if she does little tiny sips very carefully, she is ok. If she gets excited or tries to splash in it, or take a big gulp, she starts immediately coughing, choking, sneezing, blowing little bubbles of the water back out of her mouth, and then gets really stressed afterward, breathing really hard, making breathing sounds(gurgling, clicking) from either her chest or nose, I can;t tell. Depending on how bad the incident was, she continues to do this for a few mins to a few hours. Almost immediately after this happened today, I noticed a tiny bit of clear fluid welling up in her nostril, esp. the left one, so i took a tiny Kleenex, made it into a point, and wicked it out of there. It was not musousy, but clear, looked like water...and smelled like her vinegar water. I HATE seeing this happen, it breaks my heart, and she is getting visibly stressed when she knows she has to drink. I am switching her to a water bottle now, in hopes that will prevent such big gulps, but she drank from it tonight and still followed it with a breathing episode. :mad:

Has ANYONE seen ANYTHING like this before?? What does it sound like to you? Could she have a physical formation problem causing this?? I'm just so tired of seeing her go through these episodes, and the vet I took her to last week said there werent many tests he could do because of her size. It breaks my heart to see my poor baby dealing with this, and I have no idea how to fix it. I end up just having to comfort her through the bad times. Her body weight is back up, before doctor visit last week, she was down to 9grams, now she weighs 13! Her poops are back to normal after a course of Baytril, but she had wet vent.

Another thing to note, she actually started having this response after some hand feedings and some medicating sessions. Her crop during handfeeding, used to bloat with air. Please, somebody, give me a suggestion or advice. I love this bird and can't stand seeing this!
 

suncoast

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I wouldn't put too much ACV in her water. Just a couple drops, she shouldn't be able to taste it. Is it possible for you to get a video of what she's doing?

Ginger
 

Weirsh Bird

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^^Yes, I can take one when she's up tomorrow. It shouldn't be too hard considering the frequency of it. :/
 

rikkitikki

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:( I'm sorry this is happening. I hope someone comes up with an answer, or ideas :hug8:
 

waterfaller1

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Something definitely sounds off. I would suggest seeing a CAV. Sending healing energy.:hug8:
 

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can you possibly take her to an avian vet....and do ease up on the acv.
 

luvsgreys

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I hope she is feeling better soon! :hug8:
 

srtiels

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Another thing to note, she actually started having this response after some hand feedings and some medicating sessions. Her crop during handfeeding, used to bloat with air. Please, somebody, give me a suggestion or advice. I love this bird and can't stand seeing this!
----------------------------------------------

Why was she being medicated? Is it possible that you aspirated her? What was being used for handfeeding...syringe, gavage, and how far into the mouth/throat? The bloat to the crop if it was the side of the neck could also be a ruptured air sac.
 

Weirsh Bird

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Thanks for the responses. She actually seems a bit more chipper this morning, and not breathing nearly as hard, so that makes me feel good...but it's such a rollercoaster ride with her I'm very reserved about taking it as making progress.

She did see an avian emergency vet last Sunday, not yesterday but a week ago, because she woke up looking bad, breathing hard, and had continued to lose weight. He did a visual exam, but said he could not perform most standard diagnostic tests on her due to her size. Do you guys know if this is just bs and there are things that can be done for a Zebra Finch? He said the crop bloat/runny slightly smelly poo may be bacterial, or Candida. We wanted to do a follow up fecal exam, but then the blizzard hit and he is not in the office currently, I guess he's off this week. Anyway, after 5 days Baytril and then the ACV water which I'm tapering off now, her poop looks back to normal and doesn't smell although sometimes she wiggles her bottom after she poops and gets some of it on her feathers, which makes it look like she still has wet vent issues. The poop is generally quite firm, though, and does not contain excess moisture, although it is a little larger than the other finches' poops. And, she passes air when she poops,too, sometimes slightly audibly.

As far as the crop bloat/chance of aspiration goes, it definitely started occurring when I was handfeeding her. Not every time, but with increasing frequency, and it would bloat a lot and become uncomfortable for her. Thats when the weird breathing and sounds started, though she never showed ANY signs of aspirating when I was actually giving her the food. It all went smoothly. If she did aspirate, it would had to have been afterward when I wasn't there. I hope to god she didn't. She did, however, choke on her last dose of Baytril a little, because she tried to spit it out, and scared me so badly because she was doing the breathing thing for awhile after that too. The feeding utensil I have always used is a tiny flat tipped syringe designed for hand feeding little ones. I would've preferred to be able to use a curved one to get it in the back of throat farther, but she got attached to this one and had a REALLY good lock-on feeding response, so no forcing her to eat or risk of puncturing anything there. She did keep begging to be fed until well over 30 days, though, but that wasn't too far out of normal for hand-raised Zebras.

The crop does bloat on both sides of her neck, but in the exact same place that the food belongs, since Zebras have the crop on both sides of the neck. How could she have ruptured an air sac? I hope its nothing bad like that.

I only notice the clear fluid welling up in her nostrils(particularly left) after she has her difficulty drinking water. Not just randomly, but it seems to be associated with that event. She eats without any difficulty, and the crop looks pretty good when theres just food in there.

Her voice is also quiet. She used to be pretty loud as a baby when begging, but her mature voice is kind of dual-natured. She has a soft version of the traditional Zebra Finch "meep", and then she also produces a really high pitched sound only at me that sounds like a note out of a Society Finch's song. She was raised with them before I got her...she could even be a hybrid...but I'm not sure to what extent this would affect the voice. For a while, all her vocalization sounded raspy, but not anymore.
 

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Did the vet prescribe an antifungal with the Baytril? Antibiotics should not be given without an antifungal.
 

Weirsh Bird

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He didn't, which I wondered about. That's why he recommended the ACV but I know its not comparable to a legit anti-fungal.
 

waterfaller1

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Well think of it this way. What does an antibiotic do exactly? It kills not only bad, but good bacteria. And what happens after you use an antibiotic? You get a yeast infection. Fluconazole is what my CAV gave me. A good friend who has much experience and I were just talking about this and I ran all of it by her, and she was the one who asked if an antifungal had been given. She said she doesn't bother with Niastatin, the fluconazole is better. Not to scare you, but she said it could kill your bird, the one without the other.I might consider another CAV if I were you, for a second opinion.I am not a vet, and cannot really give a vet's advice, but this just seems like common sense, and I am surprised he did give the one without the other. Is there another good vet you can go to?
 
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Weirsh Bird

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I know, and that's why I was questioning the Baytril w/o it. He is definitely not my regular vet, he was just the only one in his office at 9a.m. on a Sunday, so I had to go to him. I have a really good avian vet south of here that I used when i first took in my U2, he had a sinus problem. I don't have much money right now, my hours have been severely cut at work this past month...they are "punishing" me for making sure the finches at work(pet shop) have fresh water when I come and before I leave, and not spending that time sweeping the floor...and he is pricey, but I just received my paycheck so I will try to get an appt. with him this week. I spent my last of my savings at the e-vet, but this little bird is worth it without question. I was just upstairs with her a minute ago cleaning the cage next to her and she was much more active and not making as many breathing sounds, sometimes none at all! :)

One thing I forgot to mention, her left nostril, which is the one I keep getting fluid out of after she chokes(which she has not yet done today!), is considerably smaller than the right one and formed a little differently.
 

Weirsh Bird

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Re: What the heck is going on here?!!**Update** Got a second opinion-Air Sac Mites

I'm posting an update on LittleBird's ongoing health saga. I just got back from an appointment with one of the best Avian vets in this area(doing almost exclusively birds), Dr. Burcham at Olathe Animal Hospital. I was lucky to get in today, but she was awesome with my baby. She watched her carefully, checked her breathing, listened to her nose and lungs, looked inside her mouth, weighed her, saw her poops, etc. I told her the entire medical history, and she was extremely attentive and thorough, I was really impressed. I had used the other Avian vet, Dr. Romain years ago when I got my Angelo, amd he was great too.

Anyway, she said that the way she clicks when she breathes is almost entirely diagnostic of what I have been leaning towards for a few weeks now...air sac mites. She couldn't see far enough down in her throat to see them for sure, but the clicking and breathing was very indicative of these little creepers. I told her I had already ordered some Scatt air sac mite medicine and it should be here this week. She said that was perfect, and that everything I'm doing is excellent. She also gave me a bottle for $10 of an Immune booster/supplement to mix into her food, and she LOVES it! When the mite meds come in, I will treat her, and she said that since I didn't see a bunch of improvement with the Baytril course(which still was a good thing to treat with), I should see marked improvement with the mite meds.She also said stay won the ACV water to the dilution I am using. She said it didn't look/sound at all like aspiration pneumonia, which is INCREDIBLY good. LittleBird did so well at the vet, she took a picture of her for the website! So, all around, I'm glad I went, and I have some renewed hope for LittleBird feeling better sometime soon. :)
 

Kathie

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Finches do not have crops. It absolutely sounds like something called air sac mites to me. There is a product called Iverlux that will clear it up right away.

Edited to say: Sorry - did not read the entire thread and I just saw your post.
 

waterfaller1

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Fabulous update! You must love her so. :hug8:
 

Leza

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so happy to read that. how is she today?
 

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what a great update..I do hope the air sac mite meds come in soon..
 

Weirsh Bird

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I totally love this little bird! ^_^

The mite meds came in yesterday, and I treated her right away. I'm going to treat the rest of her family tonight because they show very mild symptoms as well, so I want to eliminate it before it gets worse for them, too.

It may be wishful thinking, but it seems like the medicine is already having an effect. This morning she still has nasal discharge and a funny voice, but her open mouthed breathing seems a lot less intense, and she's not making much of the clicking/gurgling sounds so far. She still wants to snuggle and sleep when I hold her, but she seems brighter and a bit more active when she's out with me, and also in her cage, too. I really hope this lets her feel good for once in her life. :heart:

I leave town tomorrow for about 4-5 days, but she will be under the constant and expert care of my best friend, who is also an Ornithologist and bird photographer. He used to have a pet Diamond Dove, and he has worked with lots of very tiny birds, so I really trust him to watch her. He also has been visiting her throughout her entire life so far, and went with me to her vet visit he other day, so he will be updating me of any changes/improvements from her baseline of "normal". I have a feeling that if she continues to do well, she will be the subject of his photography, so I look forward to having beautiful photos of her to come back to. :) I REALLY don't want to leave my baby, but I can't get out of this trip(its for work), and she really couldn't be in better hands. :) I'm still stressed though. xD
 
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