Pionus with Klebsiella bacteria

First wrote in a month or so ago about Aurora’s problem with Klebsiella. Not sure if I gave a complete history on him so here goes: He is a 4+ year old male dusky pionus. Purchased at three weeks of age by someone who had no business buying a bird that young, but didn’t know any better. (That would be me.)

I’d had him for about 10 days and all appeared to be going well when I found him wheezing in his carrier. (I did not realize, nor did the vet, that pionus are famous for their wheeze and can appear to be dying.) Vet put him on antibiotics. OK for another couple of weeks, then found him wheezing again. Back to the vet. X-rays taken.

There was something a little amiss in the picture, which I believe now was probably an artifact, but vet decided he must have aspirated some formula. More antibiotics and antifungals. This put him off of his formula, so I was scrambling trying to find anything he would eat. (Sure wish I’d had a computer then!)

Eventually, he was weaned onto Pretty Bird pellets and though on the small side, appeared to have licked his problems. Took him up to New England with me. Did very well on the drive. Was fine for about a week and then I discovered blood in his stools. This was on a Saturday.

Looked in the yellow pages for a bird vet. (Hah!) Found a purported avian vet who happened to live in my home town and was on his way home, so made a house call. He decided to give him Amikacin injections for the weekend, which I had to administer. Then he did a fecal and decided he had coccidia, so he was put on Flagyl. Then blood work was done and they found both e coli and klebsiella, so he was put on Baytril.

At this point, the poor bird was under 5 months old! When I returned to FL, he was continued on the Baytril for another week or so. Then, over the next six months, underwent just about every test you can do to a bird – all involving blood work. Poor baby. All negative. Appeared to be ok for the next year or so, though he had polydipsea/polyurea that none of the tests could explain. In ’98 I changed vets. Had him checked when I had the vet do Pandora’s new bird check.

This time he had Pseudomonas. Back on Baytril again. This was when it was also discovered that he had a lethally high uric acid count, so he underwent a drastic diet change and was put on allopurinol for six months. All appeared ok until this summer, when I noticed a change in his droppings, had vet do a culture and found Klebsiella again. Back on Baytril, but I only did it for about four days as he was really stressing out being toweled.

Tried a combo of Kyolic liquid garlic extract, a few drops of echinacea, probiotics and Prozyme for about 10 days. Saw no change. So, called the vet again and he gave me a doxycyclene suspension that he uses for birds with clamydia. Can be put on food. kept him on this for 10 days.

Last night, I took him to a new vet that I found on the AltVetMed site. She agrees with me that we need to be working up something to help build up his immune system so he doesn’t keep coming down with these infections. I was very impressed with her demeanor and the way she handled the birds. We talked for a good 15 minutes while she just quietly observed. She had a hard time believing his history because he looks so well. I also took Pandora in for a bacterial check just to be on the safe side.

They both get the same diet – sprouts, veggies and fruit in the morning, pellets (Harrison’s) and some seed in the afternoon, birdie bread for a snack, some people food. At any rate, she took both choanal and cloacal smears, fecal smear and float. Got a call from the vet tech this afternoon, and Pandora is as clean as a whislte. Aurora still has something going on in his GI tract. (choanal smear was o.k.) I guess she wants to wait for the results of the culture before we get into discussing treatment options. But, in the meantime, I’m open to suggestions.

Do I put him back on the doxy? Just keep trying with the various herbs – if so, how much for a 200 gm bird? Through all of this, his appetite has remained good and his weight hasn’t changed, which is at least one thing to be thankful for.

Got Dr. McCluggage’s book last week and have been reading portions. One of the things that hit me was at the end, talking about treating the co-author’s bird who had recurrent Klebsiella infections that the antibiotics couldn’t seem to wipe out. So, I’m very hopeful that this will work with my guy. TIA Pat Aurora (dusky pi)

Pat wrote:

Then blood work was done and they found both e >coli and klebsiella, so he was put on Baytril.

The Chinese herb Qing Hao (Chinese wormwood – Artemisia annua) is specific against klebsiella, e. coli, staph, strep and a few other nasties. It’s a fairly safe herb, so used in conjunction with immune enhancing herbs such as astragalus and/or echinacea (to improve your guy’s resistance) it could be helpful in keeping the nasties at bay until his immune system is strong enough to do its job. Vitamin C and probiotics would also be helpful I think.

Carole Bryant