Budgie with fluid-filled crop
PHYSICAL PROBLEM and/or DIAGNOSIS:
Birds Name: Mango Species and/or color mutation: Budgie; normal green Age: 7-8 years Sex: Female Where was the bird obtained: Home grown and raised
1… Please describe fully the problem the bird is experiencing: (Additionally include whether the bird appears to be warm, cold and fluffed, energetic, lethargic, hyperactive, excitable, calm, comfortable, uncomfortable, crabby, happy, angry and any behavior changes like stopped talking, increased screaming, bobbing etc.)
Ok, for purposes of this story, here’s a definition of some words and how I’m using them:
regurgitating/regurgitation = Mango spitting seeds up into her mouth from her crop, but usually reswallowing them vomiting=spewing the entire contents of her crop out (completely) remission=no fluid in her crop; eating well, but still regurgitating relapse=fluid build-up in her crop, vomiting AND regurgitation; some weight loss due to vomiting
In a big nutshell, here’s Mango’s saga:
In late June/July of this year, she was attacked in her cage by another cage-mate who drilled a deep hole into her back, bit off a toe, and wounded her flesh in many other places. As she went into shock, I took her to the vet (my normal hospital, but my doc wasn’t in) who examined her and sent her home with me, telling me to clean out her wounds with water and give her antibiotics for 14 days. She gave me Cefa drops.
Her flesh wounds healed nicely, but she was forced to wear a collar to keep her from touching the deep wound on her back. During this time, I kept her in her own cage down in my pc room. Meanwhile, I was hand-raising some baby birds whose Momma had died from egg peritonitis. When the babies were big enough, I let Mango and them play together since they had no fear of the collar.
Mango was recuperating (at least six weeks had gone past by now) and her back wound was finally healing enough (I was putting calendula on it as my regular vet suggested when I mentioned that it was taking an extraordinarily long time to heal) that from time to time, I would remove her collar until I noticed her trying to pick at the scab. Anyway, this scenario went on until the end of August when I noticed that from time to time I’d see her regurgitating. I thought she was just doing it because of the annoyance of the weight of the collar around her neck–even though it was a very light piece of plastic (x-ray plastic, btw, that the vet’s office gave me), and the hole was actually big enough for her to escape from; she just didn’t know it 😉
I ignored the regurgitation stuff, since she wasn’t vomiting or anything, and her appetite remained good and constant. Then, sometime around that same period/week, I noticed that her crop seemed inexplicably full/large. When I felt it, it seemed to be poofy/puffy, as if it were filled with air or fluids. Concerned that the fluids might sour (like in a baby), I took her to my vet Terri.
Once at the vet’s, Terri immediately extracted some of the liquids from Mango’s crop. They were whitish/yellowy, gunky, and sticky. After telling Terri that the other doctor hadn’t given me any Nystatin to go with the Cefa meds, she immediately thought it might be a yeast infection. She said she’d have to keep Mango there until the crop was emptying normally, and she told me she was going to send the fluids out for culturing.
Two days later (Saturday), Mango was still at the hospital, and she had lost a little weight. The vet said she was removing fluids from her 2-3 times/day, flushing out the crop with saline, and then administering antibiotics/meds to fight off a probable yeast infection. Since it was the Labor Day Weekend and the hospital was going to be closed and no avian docs would be on duty, Terri took Mango home with her so she could continue with the above treatment. By Monday Terri was noticing an improvement–the crop was filling up less and less, and Mango’s spirit’s were good. I was to pick her up Thursday.
Thursday I found Mango very, very ill. Terri didn’t know what had happened, but Mango seemed to have a serious relapse the previous evening, because by Thursday morning, her crop was again full of fluids, she was vomiting, losing weight, etc. The cultures still hadn’t panned out to anything, but they decided to switch her meds to something else, and they added Reglan for her stomach/digestion/appetite. Another doc, while I was there Thursday, thought that Mango might have relapsed due to asphyxiating her own vomit. He thought she’d pull through.
Saturday when I went to visit her, she was so poor, sickly, vomiting, etc., that I took her home without any type of meds, to die. I didn’t want to leave her there over the weekend, so sure was I that she wouldn’t make the next two days.
Anyway, by Monday, she was perching and improving. She wasn’t getting any meds, and yet she was getting better. She was in “remission” as far as I could see. But I still kept her warm and in a heated aquarium. She was like this for 16 days. I spoke with my vet one or two times during that period to thank her for saving Mango’s life and to ask about the cultures. Even though they had cultured her from both ends ;-), nothing came back positive for anything. The vet just said there was a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I specifically asked (at Malcolm’s suggestion) if she had been cultured/tested for trichimoniasis, and they said yes they had suspected that and had checked for it several times. They even had the culturing labs check for it, but it never tested out as a positive diagnosis.
16 days of blissful health, even though she was still doing that little regurgitation thingy. But since she was gaining weight (from a low of 27g, I had gotten her up to 34g – her normal weight in June/July was 48g), I wasn’t too worried. Then suddenly one morning, I found her crop all blown up with fluids again. Frantic that the liquids in her would sour and kill her, I brought her back to the hospital (this was a Tuesday) and requested of the avian doc on duty to put her on the same regimen as before that Terri had been using.
Two days later on Thursday I visited her, and she looked like death warmed over. She had lost all the weight she had put on, and she was drinking/eating like crazy, but once full, would promptly vomit it *all* out, and then begin again. She was fluffy, but mostly from being thin. They were keeping her warm. Whenever her food did digested properly, her poops had some solidity to them, but for the most part, it was urates and liquid–almost no solids. The color was also dark–as they get when dying or eating less than they should.
With everyone’s consent at the hospital, since Mango clearly animated upon seeing her Mommy, they suggested I take her home with all her meds: oral Baytril, Nystatin, and Reglan. I took her home and didn’t give her any meds that day or the following, but on Saturday morning I attempted to give her the Baytril. As I thought she would, she promptly threw up the meds AND the contents of her stomach, so I discontinued them. I told her (gently) that she could die if she wanted and Mommy wouldn’t be mad), but I refused to torture her anymore by shoving things down her throat.
Although it took longer this time, about four to five days later, she was improving, perching, eating well, and the fluids in her crop went away. She was back in remission, but the regurgitation still continued. By then I had contacted this group, and at Gloria’s suggestions, I kept Mango’s diet simple: seeds and fresh greens. For a period of a week or so, she’d have some days in remission and some days relapsed (with fluids in her crop), but I wasn’t bringing her back to the hospital again. The cultures never panned out to anything, and they didn’t know what to do with her.
Early October I went away for four days. The morning I left Mango was in remission and in a cage. When I came home four days later, she was at death’s door. Seeing her relapse, my sister put her back into the heated aquarium and prayed that she’d live until I got home. During my absence, Mango’s diet was kept exactly the same; she stayed in the same room and had the same contact with people as always (my sister lives with me).
Even though I was home, this time my proximity didn’t seem to be helping Mango. By Wed/Thurs of that week (I came home on a Monday) she was pooping sticky black stuff (like they do right before they die), and she was emaciated. The last time I had weighed her, she was at 26g. I didn’t weigh her after that for fear the low number would make me sick. I cuddled her nightly for several hours in bed, just wanting to be there with her when she died. But no matter how sick she got (and she *was* sick–laying down most of the time; sleeping; eating only a smidge), she never died. About four days later, she rallied and went into remission again. By now I was stumped, but just figured that this is the way it would be from now on with Mango
Side note: while I was away, two birds took ill in the aviary. I brought both down to the pc room with Mango, but they had no physical contact. One recuperated on his own in a few days (probably chilled while I was away); the other (Prima) was regurgitating from time to time and she had a high-pitched squeak coming out of her nose). Anyway, I treated Prima allopathically without much success; I also put her back in the aviary (since I didn’t want to expose Mango to her any longer than necessary) while I continued on meds. When I finally went to a holistic way of treating her (garlic, Echinacea, probiotics, etc.), she got better and is fine to this day.
Mango, for the most part, was fine at this point. Slowly she was gaining weight, but the regurgitation continued. I mentioned this to Terri when I saw her with my cats at the end of October. Still thinking that *possibly* Mango could have trich or giardia, she suggested I try Flagyl (metronidazole) to see if it helped. If not, then at least I could say that I had tried everything I could from an allopathic doctor’s point of view.
Well, four days into treating her with the Flagyl, all signs of the regurgitation went away. I was ecstatic. I continued with that for another 4.5 days, since the vet had said 7-10 days. Then she was fine (no regurgitation whatsoever) for another five days. Then, she relapsed 😦 and went back to regurgitating–even more now. (She used to do it sometimes when her crop was relatively empty, but *always* did it when she was full.)
I called the vet at home and explained what had happened, and she felt that perhaps the protozoans in Mango’s crop lining were shedding at different time intervals, so she suggested I try the Flagyl again, and if it helped, to keep Mango on it for 14 days this time. But after seven days of treatment, Mango was still getting worse, so I discontinued it. THAT was about 10-12 days ago. So I figured that Mango could just live with the regurgitation and so be it. But instead of holding her own, she got progressively worse and even relapsed–keeping fluids in her crop again!
I was completely perplexed, frustrated, mad, and worried, so I made an appointment with Dr. McCluggage (whom I’ll be speaking with next Thursday 11/30). Meanwhile, I reached out to the group for help, and ended up putting Mango on garlic/ginger in her water and probiotics on her damp foods. Within just three days, she went back into remission and started putting on weight again. The change was almost over-night, and she quickly rebelled again staying in the heated aquarium. She kept flying around, so I relented and put her back into her cage–which I thoroughly washed beforehand since I didn’t know if any of her illness was carried in her poops, and there were some old ones on the cage’s bottom.
Now, up until about five to seven days ago, I would have said the one constant in ALL this was the regurgitation. Whether she was ill or not, in remission or relapsing, the regurgitation was always present. BUT, about six days ago, the regurgitation stopped completely (as far as I could see) except one time tonight I saw her do it while eating.
I’ve kept her diet simple throughout all this: seeds, water with herbs, greens, and quinoa (which caused no adverse reaction to her system when I reintroduced it to her in October). Today, on an empty stomach, she was just over 32g! Right now she’s sitting on her cage, completely relaxed and content, grinding her beak.
I’m completely perplexed!!!!
2… When did the problem start, was it sudden or gradual: August. A little of both (read above).
3…When is the problem worse, EX: morning, night, after handling, after eating etc: Worse after eating, on a full crop, but it’s generally all the time (the regurgitation that is).
4… When are the symptoms less noticeable: When she’s in remission.
5… Has the bird seen a vet: Yes–see above.
6…Have any OTC (over the counter) treatments been used prior to a vet visit: No.
7… What condition was the bird in (depressed, dehydrated, etc.) when seen: A little scared, but in good health at the first visit for her crop fluid retention. Normal weight, too, at that time.
8… Were tests, cultures, X-rays, etc. done: Yes–see above saga.
9… If so, the results and diagnosis of problem/disease: Nothing conclusive.
10.. Was treatment/medication prescribed: Please detail what was given, dosages, and duration of prescribed treatment. See above. In hospital, some meds were injectable, but for the most part, oral meds were used.
11.. Was there an improvement shown from treatment: Yes, and then relapse.
12.. If treatment failed, what other steps were taken to resolve the problem: Change in meds (see saga), but to no avail.
13.. Have dropping changed in color, frequency, consistency, and quantity: While in relapse, very watery and dark in color. When in remission, quite solid. Good dark green coloring. Pure whites (solid). Just a tad of moisture around where the poop drops, but only sometimes.
14..What is your level of skills as far as giving emergency supportive and medical care. EX: do you know how to tube/gavage feed, SubQ, etc: I *could* give an injection if taught. I can give oral medicines. Don’t know how to tube.
15..Whom do you have in your area (breeder, experienced friend) if the bird becomes critical, and you can not go to a vet. These people would be good to know during times when no one is available to help: Don’t have anyone except what’s available to me on the web.
16… How did you hear about HolisticBird List: Through a recommendation from another bird group.
CAGING AND PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT
1… How long have you had the bird: 7-8 years.
2… Do you have other birds, and how do the birds react to each other: They get along fine (for the most part). 22 others, btw–all budgies.
3… Is there other pets in the household, and how does the bird respond to each: Cats who are kept away from the birds.
4… What other *Human* members of the family interact with the bird, and does the bird have preferences: My sister. Birds clearly prefer me.
5… Are other pets or family members ill: No. Not at this time.
6… What is the cage size and location: In an aviary, which is a converted bedroom, 9’x13′ with three large windows. Cages are spacious, but are only used for sleeping purposes. Birds are free-flighted all day (except one day a week).
7…How much activity is there in this location: See #6.
8… How does the bird respond to activity: Happy. Chirping when she sees her friends. Recuperating now in the pc room, she’s quiet and rarely flies.
9… How does the bird respond to being alone: She just sits there quietly. We usually leave Mango’s cage door open during the day so she can come out and sit on top if she wants. She rarely flies or explores.
10… How often and how long is the bird alone: Everyday for *at least* three hours; sometimes up to eight, depending upon my and my sister’s schedule. 11.. How often is the bird out of the cage: If she’s healthy, her cage door is left open almost every day. She generally stays up until 10-11 pm with me, but is covered/asleep until 9-11a.m. each morning (per MY schedule).
12.. Is the cage covered at night. Does your bird sleep in a different cage: This isn’t her normal cage, but she doesn’t seem to mind. While sick, she’s been getting covered at night. In the aviary, no one is covered unless they’re egg-laying and I’m trying to stop it. btw, Mango has *never* laid an egg in her entire life.
13.. What type of exercise does the bird like, such as exploring, flying, etc: All of the above, but she’s a little sedentary, probably due to age.
14.. What type of perches are in the cage and positions: Right now, two wooden perches about 2-6″ apart, depending on which end of the cage you’re on. Both are at the same level, but Mango usually climbs onto the millet spray and sleeps up near the top of the cage, kind of hanging on the side. She doesn’t seem to want to use the swing I gave her. In her regular cage, she never slept hanging on the wall. She always slept on a perch or on the swing.
15.. What is used in the bottom of the cage (newspaper, corn cob, etc.) and does the bird have access to it: Regular white paper (like copy paper). She has access, but never goes down there.
16.. If toys are provided, what is the birds preferences: No toys. She doesn’t seemed interested in them either now or in the aviary.
17.. Is the bird passive or aggressive to the toys, EX: plays, or chews up: She’ll chew stuff in the aviary, but here she’s quiet and non-assuming.
18..Is the bird quiet or very vocal: Quiet unless she hears/see another bird (which she hasn’t seen in a while). But a few days ago, when she felt better, she suddenly started chirping and flying around. She was trying to tell me that she wanted her cage back and didn’t like sleeping in the aquarium any longer.
19..What type of lighting is used (such as incandescent or full spectrum): Regular light bulbs. There are also two windows in the pc room where Mango is now.
20..Is the photo period (of lighting source) natural and regulated, or random and irregular: Natural and regulated.
21..Does the bird have access to natural sunlight or is taken outdoors: Only through a window pane.
22..What is the water source and location, EX: bowl, dish, water bottle: Water bowl, in her cage. Same level as seed bowls.
23..Does the bird like to bath, and what is it’s favorite form of bath (mister, sink, bowl, etc) and how often: Not since she’s been sick, but in the past, she would roll around in the wet greens.
24.. Are night lights used: No.
25..Was anything changed at all prior to the first display of symptoms. This could be a change of food, cage location, new bird additions, interior decoration (such as new drapes, carpet, furniture), new people, loss of bird buddy or human friend, etc. No.
26.. Has your bird been showing signs of sexual maturity: She has a dark cere, but no promiscuous activity has been noted.
FOOD AND NUTRITION
1… *If this is a bird being handfed* list what is being fed, how many feedings, amount, temp of food and container/brooder: n/a
2…Is the bird emptying between feedings: When she’s in remission, yes.
3… What is the overall condition (both physical and mental, color of droppings, etc.) of the bird: Solid. Dark green in color. Pure whites. No yellow coloring. Some are perfectly formed, but others are misshapen in shape. Some are moister than others, but no diarrhea noted.
The following is for weaned and adult birds. *NOTE:* In each category list: the % from 0% – 100% offered and eaten, how often fed, birds likes and dislikes, etc.
1… What is your feeding schedule: Seeds all the time. Water changed 2x/day. Fresh leafy greens and a bowl of quinoa are put out approx. every four hours (so it’s fresh). She eats 50-60% seeds; 30-40% quinoa, and a little greens. She eats more greens when feeling poorly or in relapse (interestingly enough).
2… Seed Mix (mfg. brand or are you mixing your own) Bird store brand; just plain prose millet, but I add some thistle and canary seed to the mix. She also has millet spray available all the time.
3… Pellets (brand/s), and mixed with seed or separate dish: None.
4… Vegetables: fresh or frozen, cooked or raw, shredded or chunks: Cooked quinoa. Fresh greens (swiss chard mostly).
5… Fruits: types, and sizes, offered separately or with veggies: None since she’s been sick. Normal fair for the aviary includes: apples, plums, strawberries, along with LOTS of raw veggies.
6… Is the produce washed and rinsed first: Yes.
7… What type of supplements do you use, EX: vitamins, spirulina, etc: Probiotics, garlic, ginger, and some Flourish (from the BirdCareCo.com)
8…Is there a source of calcium such as mineral blocks, cuttlebone, etc: Not right now, but in the aviary, all cages have one in them.
9… Do you use herbs such as Echinacea, etc., how often and for what reasons: Just started. Currently Mango gets approx. 125mg of garlic (Solgar’s organic garlic) + a pinch of ginger in her water 2x/day.
10.. Do you add anything to the drinking water or treat it: Just the above.
11.. Does the water intake change with certain foods: No, but it changes when she’s relapsing or in remission. When in relapse, she drinks *all the time*, thereby consuming a lot of the herb. When she’s in remission, she only takes a few sips throughout the day.
12.. Does your bird eat table foods, and what is it’s preferences: Cooked grains, fresh veggies and fruits.
13.. What does your bird refuse to eat: Mango doesn’t refuse anything at this point, but her diet’s been very limited while she’s been sick.
14.. What does your bird appear to eat or crave over other foods: When relapsing, she craves the watery/stem portion of the leafy green veggies. But she also eats a lot of the quinoa, too.
ENVIRONMENT AROUND THE BIRD
1… What are the major products you use for general housecleaning. EX: Clorox, Windex, types of soaps, floor products/waxes etc: For cleaning their foods bowls: soap and water; bleach soak; Lysol on the floors.
2…Are there carpets in the house and what chemicals are used for cleaning them: n/a Aviary has linoleum. PC room is only vacuumed.
3.. What disinfectants are used to clean the birds cage, and how often: Clorox–a thorough soak weekly.
4… Are scented candles used: Never.
5… What type of aerosol sprays are used, EX: room deodorizers, hair sprays, pesticides, etc: None around the birds.
6… Are there any smokers in the household, and do they handle the birds: No.
7…Are strong perfumes used while around the birds: Never.
8… Are fabric softeners used in cage coverings: None used in the house.
9… What type of ventilation (such as windows, vents, fans, etc.) is used when questionable products are used, or painting or heavy cleaning is done: Fans and windows are open during cleaning or cooking.
10.. *IF* birds are housed outdoors what type of shelter is there from sun and bad weather: n/a
11.. Are any predators (cats, birds, mice, wild animals, insects) disturbing/distressing the birds during the night: No. Cats aren’t allowed in the same room(s) with the birds.
12.. Is the home heating electric or gas: Oil/forced-hot air in the pc room (which was only turned on in late October; Mango’s first symptoms appeared in the summer). The aviary is unheated.
13.. What is the temperature in the house, and is it constant or varied: For Mango: constantly warm. In the aviary: per the day–usually 55 degrees in winter.
14.. What houseplants does the bird have access to: A “safe” spider plant is in the room with Mango, but she doesn’t touch it and never has. It was obtained from my grandmother who never used any chemicals on it. As a baby, Mango and her sibs used to eat these plants whenever my grandmother gave me one. The current one is purely for air-cleaning benefits.
15.. Are exterminators used: No. Never.
16.. My biggest concern: The one constant in all this, as I said earlier, is the regurgitation (which has currently stopped)–maybe due to the herbs? I’d like some advice on what questions I should ask of Dr. McCluggage after I quickly explain the above saga to him. I’ve never talked with a holistic doctor of any sort, so I’m new to all this. I need to know how best to use my 30 minutes with him, what things I should mention; what things aren’t necessary to say; etc.
Any and ALL suggestions would be greatly appreciated. For now, Mango’ll stay on the same regimen I have her on until I can speak with the doctor. He should at least be able to tell me (I hope) the proper dosages of what I’m giving her, etc., since I’m clueless and it’s just a guess right now.
Thanks for all your help! 🙂
Bobbett & Mango (the fighter)
You’ve had lots of advice in a very short time. I think you have to make a very quick decision because your bird is very ill. I think you should talk to your vet about trichomoniasis. This disease is very common in budgies and fits your Mango’s symptoms. Your vet can take a crop swab and look at it down the microscope. If they can see trich then you have a positive diagnosis.
If they can’t see any trich unfortunately it is not guaranteed the disease is absent. The accurate test for trich is to grow the swab in a culture medium designed for specifically for it. After a couple of days the vet will have no problem seeing the little beggars. However I suspect you don’t have a couple of days.
So I think you have to make a horrible decision based on the balance of probabilities. If your vet hasn’t tested for trich I would assume that is what it has and take the drug route. Malcolm Green Hi Malcolm, Thanks for bringing up the possibility of parasites. I hadn’t thought of them but it is definintely a possibility. I’ve never heard of trichomonas being endemic with budgies here in the US, but maybe it’s something not mentioned among the breeders? The budgie problems I’ve heard of most commonly in the US have involved mites and psittacosis. Perhaps GB and US see different flock problems as they see different nutritional problems? Is that possible?
For what it is worth, the main budgie problems in Australia are (besides tumours and intestinal gram negative bacterial infections) megabacteria, Trichomoniasis, and coccidiosis – a herbal treatment for those three would sure be useful since so far I have only found mainstream veterinary medications work – when any of these diseases is identified you have very little time, so it has to be a rapid (a couple of days to take effect) cure.
Never see too many psittacosis problems – that is a Neophema and cockatiel disease here. Mike Owen Queensland
5 December 00
Just wanted to let you all know that I had my consult with Dr. McCluggage last Thursday about Mango. The cost, in case anyone is interested, ended up being $150 for the 30 min. consult + meds. Since I had mentioned that I had another bird with a “possible” sinus/respiratory infection, he sent me his aloe/saline solution (1:3) to use in her nostrils a few times a week.
Anyway, he didn’t say much about Mango. He just listened to her tale. He told me he was going to concentrate on cleaning out her liver and spleen using Chinese Medicine. He sent me a liquid that he labeled: DMG + Mycoforte + 6 Flavor Tea that I’m to give her 2x/day–one drop in the mouth. Upon her first dosage, she promptly puked out her brains, but this morning she took the drop okay. Hopefully the first time was just from nerves and then she realized that it really didn’t taste too bad. We’ll see 😉
Anyway, the doc told me that because of Mango’s age (7+), she’d probably be on supplementation for the rest of her life. So hopefully the powder he sent me (to be sprinkled on her soft food 2x/day) *is* the supplement she’ll be getting forever since that’s easy to apply. He called the powder Ultra Combo powder. Next time I speak to him, I’ll ask him what it is exactly. She’s eating it fine, though.
I’m still waiting for a call back from his office since I wanted to know whether I should discontinue the herbs (garlic/ginger) that I’ve been giving her for the last few weeks while she’s taking the new stuff. I really feel that the garlic is what put her into remission this past time and helped stop her constant regurgitations, so I really don’t want to stop that. Her weight, btw, is now up to 34.5g! 🙂
Well, that’s it for now. She’s acting a “little” differently, but not sick-like or anything. Just “different.” I guess it’s something to expect if these concoctions are cleaning/detoxifying her system. I’m going to start my own Chinese Herbal cleanse in a few days, and they tell me to expect headaches while I detoxify my system and eliminate sugar/sweets (I’m a chocoholic). So I guess Mango may be going through the same thing, just on a smaller scale since she doesn’t eat sugars.
I found the doctor very personable and very helpful. I also like how he’ll answer a broad number of questions and your appointment doesn’t have to be confined to just one animal.