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Dr. Pat
Dr. Pat, Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 4244
Experience:  25+ years working primarily or exclusively with birds
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HelloI have a 8 year old finch I raised from 2 days old.

Customer Question

Hello I have a 8 year old finch I raised from 2 days old. I have had a fecal culture test done on her as she keeps having bouts of smelly diarrhea. She lives in the cage by herself but when she was 2 years old she laid eggs one which was a broken one which caused a seizure. She amazingly recovered from this, but every year she goes through this egging phase but does not actually lay any eggs. Her abdomen swells up and around her vent for approx 2 months and then the swelling will go back down. However she has been having what looks like pea soup poop since last october. It will turn into a brown watery substance and also for about 4 years she do not have many feathers underneath her. I need to know what the test result means it is as follows parasitology no worm eggs or coccidia demonstrated cryptosporidia not seen giardia not seen campylobacter not isolated salmonella not isolated culture escherichia coli isolated (I need to know what this means) fungal culture +candida spp isolated (what does this mean) Flagellated protozoa not seen. This was sent to Axiom laboratory . Clearly this states there is e coli and candida present but to what degree? would these levels cause the smelly diarrhea? The best way to describe this is it smells like a cooked fried egg white only stronger. She eats nyjer seeds and sunflower hearts and has some fresh egg yolk daily but not much. Also finch seed and some greens. She is eating and drinking as normal. I did buy her a antibiotic once from usa which stopped the smelly poop but it came back a few days after she finished it. Thank you Emma.

Is there anyone there?

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 2 years ago.
Greetings, I am Dr. Pat. I have worked with birds exclusively for many years.​I am sorry no other expert has taken your question. We all come online at different times, I have just logged in and saw that you have not been answered. I hope I can still be of assistance. Where are you located? Did the tests include antibiotic sensitivity testing on the E. coli? I cannot answer the "to what degree" because every lab has a different system, and if a quantitative test was done, the report would say something like "3+ E.coli" Smelly droppings are often due to anareobic bacteria, which are rarely tested for in birds and are often overlooked. They require both specific tests and specific antibiotics. Metabolic issues such as low calcium and low thyroid can also cause droppings to change. 1. Feed more salad greens. The fiber and the vitamins will be of immense help, and sometimes with anaerobes, the diarrhea can be changed just with diet. 2.IMPORTANT Check the website for the feed you give, there have been many recalls; or check this link (not knowing your location, this is the best I can do): 3. Discuss with your vet the course of action. E. coli can be very diverse and choice of antibiotic very specific. 4.If this were my patient, and money no object, I would start with complete fecal analysis and direct smear, stained with Sedi-stain and unstained for multiple parasites, fungi, spirals; direct smear stained with Sedi-stain and unstained of the oral cavity; bacterial culture and sensitivity of the feces and choana. Depending on the case I might do a fungal culture. Routine blood work is necessary to rule out other issues. There are MANY DNA/RNA tests for bird diseases. Ultrasound is often more informative than radiographs and does not require anesthesia (ask your vet about this option). Generally I start them out on medications as indicated by the tests. AAV recommended lab workYour bird may need injectable fluids, calcium, antibiotics and many other medications. Act quickly and good luck. ​great tips for egg-laying:​ are a few suggestions that I give everyone: important!The following guidelines help with basic issues such as nutrition, obesity, good immune status. Surprising how the following can make a bird healthy, and how infrequently birds are ill if they are on the following regimen. No amount of medicine is going to work if the birds' basic needs are not met. ​great resource link:​ GuidelinesBirds should be on a high-quality, preferably prescription, pelleted diet: I prefer High-potency Harrison'shttp://www.harrisonsbirdfoods. Wombaroo Vetafarm,in Europe, In addition, they should be offered dark leafy greens, cooked sweet potatoes, yams, squash, pumpkin; entire (tops and bottoms) fresh carrots and so forth. No seeds (and that means a mix, or millet, or sprays, etc. etc.) and only healthy, low-fat high fiber people food. A dietary change should be closely monitored and supervised by your avian vet.Daily MaintenanceBirds should get 12-14 hours dark, quiet, uninterrupted sleep at night. Any less and they can suffer from sleep deprivation and associated illnesses. They should be covered or their cage placed in a dark room that is not used after they go to bed. The cage material should be cleaned everyday, and twice a day if the bird is really messy. Paper towels, newspaper, bath towels are ok. Never use corn cob, sawdust, wood chips, or walnut shell.Food and water dishes should be cleaned and changed daily. Keep one set cleaned while the other is in use.Fresh, perishable food should be placed in separate food bowls. Remove fresh food from the cage after a couple of hours to avoid spoilage.Change cage papers daily, and clean the grate and tray weekly.Clean food debris or droppings from toys and perches as needed (which can be as often as once a day).Grit is not necessary for birds, and will cause digestive problems and death. The best sources of minerals (and vitamins) are leafy greens. Never give grit, gravel sandpaper or cement perches. A bird will eat those to excess when it is not feeling well or if there is a nutritional deficiency. They do not need it at all (an old myth from the poultry days, even poultry do not need it). It can cause an impaction and lead to serious or fatal consequences. Useful links: