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S. August Abbott, CAS
S. August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7777
Experience:  Work w/Avian Vet; published bird care nutrition& behavior articles; consults, research
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Hi we recently got a mealy amazon (10 weeks ago) called peepo,

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Hi we recently got a mealy amazon (10 weeks ago) called peepo, he's 13 months old. His feathers were in bad condition and it looks like he has chewed his tail. We noticed after 4 days he was drinking excessively and weeing lots. A trip to the vet showed a rise in his uric acid and a low white blood count of 0.9. He was tested for chamydia, wasting disease and pbfd(only feathers due to low white count which could give a false neg) -all negative and he has since grown some normal feathers. He had a 6 day course of bbaytril and it the drinking did ease off but started again a day after finishing course. He had more bloods which showed a rise in the uric acid, a decreased white cells 0.4 and a toxic change in cells which looked like he was trying to fight off something. He had another course of antibiotics and again stopped his drinking but 2 weeks after stopping he was again drinking lots and did appear quieter and more nervous of new toys and started making a hiccuping/ baaing noise when anyone spoke to him but he would stop the noise as soon as they went out of the room. My vet thought perhaps it was a neurological virus but we definitely think it behavioural. He was scoped and nothing abnormal showed. Bloods again show his uric acid getting higher (not sure of values) and a increased white count now 1.9. Everything else within normal range. Urine was tested for specific gravity and scored a 10 (pure water). My avian vet seems to think he is in kidney failure and holds little hope for him. The only thing she can suggest is to put him back on antibiotics. She initially wanted to do biopsy but thinks it will do more harm than good. I can't bear the thought of losing him. He appears back to his normal self following the last vet visit. Playing (he loves demolishing his toys) and eating well. I converted him from seed to harrisons and he eats broccoli, sprouts, sugar snaps and pomegranate. His appetite has never been a problem and he loves his harrisons. His weight did initially go up but he lost on the last visit but continues slightly heavier than when we got him.
Any advise would be much appreciated.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
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Hi, I'm here to help in any way I can. I understand how concerned you are and I've been through it. In fact, I'm going through it again right now with a rescue in foster care
I'll be honest with you all the way with regard to what's happening, so even if I can't help you change anything, I will stand by you and Peepo and keep trying.
How about going over whatever you know about his history, environment and nutrition prior to converting him to a better food.
Was he ever around other birds? If so, please give details.
Environment? Cage material, what shape it's in (any scrapes, rust)?
Anything you can think of. And of course, how is he right now?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi thanks for getting back to me.
We know nothing about his history only that the breeder took him back supposedly because the couple had a baby. So don't know what his diet would have been. The breeder gave us seed and coloured pellets but peepo only ate the seed. And he quickly converted to adult harrisons (absolutely loves them). As I said his feathers were a mess and the vets were unsure if I been wing clipped and his tail looked like it had been chewed but we ave never seen him chewing.
His cage is new with no rust and powder coated. He lives in the lounge away from from any ordours.
He couldn't really fly due to his feathers which now believe are clipped as equal gap on both sides.
He was initially very playful and constantly whistling but now he is quieter and will sit still for a time although not observed to be sleeping.
He has had 4 visits to the vets (insurance is invalid due to the 30 day cooling off period) which stresses him. He appears to have become much more nervous and hence that funny noise started. Initially I thought it was respiratory but he can turn it on and off. It seems to have lessened now with him only doing it when people visit. We recorded it for the vet and she said she has never heard an amazon make that noise. She then began to thinking it was neurological and ? Due to some virus. I don't know if his anxiety if vet visit related or viral.
His drinking started days after getting him and did respond to antibiotics (baytril). Kidneys looked ok when scoped but liver slightly rounded. His liver enzymes did initially rise a little and he started milk thistle and after 4 weeks they had come down.
Due to his low white count she believes it was virus but he not showing typical symptoms of anything.
We sent sample of urine which was concentration of water and it was then that she said he dying of kidney failure (high uric acid) but I refuse to believe he is dying and hope there is more to be done for him (10 days ago). Surely he would be ill er in himself.
He's been back on baytril for a week and his drinking has lessened although some polyuria but newspaper much drier. Before there were puddles. Urine does appear green yellow but urates white. Faeces well formed. Heis eating well (too well if you let him). I measure is harrisons 24g and he has Brussels sprouts pomegranate and broccoli. He does have his baytril on a human biscuit as it doesn't sink into pellets and doesn't taste nice. He has odd days where he will go into cage and sit for long periods but don't know if this is illness or nerves but for the most part he is demolishing his toys. I'm am a bit concerned that he may be digesting plastic from some these as he is a big chewer with a strong beak. He doesn't look ill and is growing new feathers and climbs around with no problems from cage to stand to floor.
He did lose a bit of weight but feel this could be due to cutting the pellets down as he had first gained and was weighing 700g.
I have just bought him some black juice juice to try.
Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for the more detailed info. It's very clear that you're heart is already invested in this little guy and there are a couple of concerns I note right away: 1st, Baytril is not the 'go to' antibiotic for birds anymore. Hasn't been for some time now. So I'm wondering about the vet's knowledge of current data with regard to avians and once there's doubt, it's time to reach out for a second opinion.
2nd, I believe the diagnosis of 'dying' is premature. Many birds with dietary circumstances of liver and kidney involvement can recover with a proper diet and flock support (that's you). I'd like to see more dark colored vegetables in his nutrition, such as carrots, squash and the nearly perfect sweet potato.
If he hesitates at all, try a spoon of human baby food made from these vegetables. Be sure it's organic and nothing undergredients save for the vegetable and 'watter for processing'.
When it comes to the toys, if you have a bad feeling about something (ANYTHING), get rid of it and remember to always trust your instincts.
So, for now, choose only chewable 'toys' such as wood, hemp, basket weave and even paper towel inner rolls with a bit of paper towel still on it for him to shred.
No seeds or millet or anything like that for him at this time. These foods aggravate his condition. Focus on the fresh fruits, the dark vegetables and abundance of love for him.
Ask your vet to explain why 'Baytril' (I'm quite curious about this decision) and find out if the vet is avian-only or they see mammals as well.
Stay strong. Keep in mind that birds among nature's best 'maskers'. They ca convince all authorities on them that theyre fine, healthy and strong when they clearly are not. It's part of the reasons why they've been here for a billion years more than we have.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi the practice is for exoctic pets but know they do see dogs and cats.
There is a shortage of avian specialists in the north west uk.
You said baytril is not go to antibiotic. What would you suggest. He is definitely responding well to it. Today is the best he has been for a while- had not stop whistling and more energetic play. Why is the baytril helping if no infection is showing in his bloods?
Regards julie
Julie, you asked (and answered) a very astute question about the Baytril.
It actually is NOT working. Not just because it's become ineffective over the years, but also because (as you said) there is "no infection" showing in the bloodwork.
Birds are expert at what's called "masking" and they've been fooling not just humans, but countless predators they've encountered in the billions of years they've been here, evolving more efficient, flexible and specific ways to out live and out smart those things that want to make them lunch!
The vet is likely prescribing based on mammal knowledge with a little birdy expertise picked up here and there.
The Baytril is a very common mistake that often makes more bird experienced physicians realize the inexperience of the treater.
When doing labs on a bird, chances are an inexperienced vet will apply mammal 'normal' values to the lab work rather than consider that an avian is no more like a hamster than a human is like a goldfish
What matters right now is that Peepo is improving. Birds are lightening fast healers when their strength and immune system are working together full force.
I have a feeling you are more responsible for his recovery than you're giving yourself credit for. The good food, the support and attention, you're keeping his attitude fortified and his will to survive strong.
Here's my biggest dilemma when it comes to scenarios like yours & Peepo's : I want to say 'discontinue the antibiotic' because it's only knocking out GOOD bacteria (since there are no baddies) and it can still make Peepo's immune system resistent to future antibiotic needs since bacteria mutate in order to stay alive
HOWEVER: It would be highly irresponsible for me to make any recommendation like that without your vet's knowledge and approval.
Let make this clear -- it isn't that Baytril is 'toxic' or dangerous, it's more that it's a waste of time and money. Peepo would likely show the same improvement if given doses of applesauce. Again, he's shown no real infection, just acting 'funny'.
Continue on your course with the healthier eating - and unless the vet says so, don't abruptly stop the Baytril.
Spend some time looking for an actual avian vet. Someone who does not see fur patients. Even if it's a considerable drive, the peace of mind is so worthwhile. I've driven 2 hours to consult with a specialist at UC Davis here in California. One of the best and brightest avian veterinary educational facilities in the world! Some news isn't so good (a blind rescue will never see again) and other times it's so good I can't explain my feelings (kidney disease isn't necessarily a death sentence anymore). The birds I get are very sad stories and to date, all of them had a happy ending waiting to be found.
Even the blind guy - he wakes up happy every day, knowing he'll never be abused or neglected again.
I have a feeling Peepo is among the lucky ones. If you didn't care, you wouldn't worry so much
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you so much for the info. I have found an avian vet who just treats birds and have got an appointment for this afternoon. Also I have bought sweet potatoes squash and carrot and will be trying different ways to persuade him to eat it.
Thanks again for all your help
Kind regards julie
Don't forget to stay in touch though! I'm here to support you all the way through this. Also, please don't forget to give a rating here. Lets my bosses know we're getting on just fine. I appreciate it
You are doing right by Peepo - he's very lucky to have you
S. August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7777
Experience: Work w/Avian Vet; published bird care nutrition& behavior articles; consults, research
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