Quaker with Liver Disease and Yeast

Here’s her condensed history: She is a Quaker, named Bocephus, 9.5 years old. Problems first started in 92 or 93, but I was uneducated & my vet never mentioned her symptoms (terrible vet). I fed seeds and low quality veggies and my vet would do gram stains & (without benefit of culture) give Baytril/Nizoral H2O, both of these probably caused her problem.

She wasn’t diagnosed with liver disease until she became VERY ill in late 96, but this same vet still didn’t do appropriate tests. I switched her to Harrisons 12/96, I gave very little other foods because she didn’t feel well if I did, & she did very well for 2 years, no gram neg, except for clotting problems (put her on Vit K supplement) & deformed feathers. CBC, Chemistries & Bile Acids came back normal late 97 & again late 98. 12/98 I saw Dr Sam Vaughn, Dipl ABVP & he switched her to Harrisons High Potency (no other foods allowed) & put her on Milk Thistle in Lactulose, said she was 10g overweight, weight had been stable at 143g for 2 years. By 6/99 she gained another 5g, but feathers were forming correctly. In 4/99, 6/99 & 7/99 we did gram stain, culture sensitivity each time we had to treat her (symptoms were nasal discharge & closing/scratching right eye, generally not feeling well). Treatment was according to Sensitivities (tetracycline in water first 2 times (125mg capsule dissolved in 8oz H20/fruit juice for 10-14 days), Nystatin .5cc orally BID both times. Repeat tests were clear except for yeast. Baytril injectable was given *orally* for last treatment, not sure of dosage as was mixed with Nystatin .5cc orally BID. No follow-up culture). She improves & my vet does consult with Dr Vaughn about weight.

He says give 6 Harrison High Potency pellets morning & evening & only fruits/veggies in between. I never restricted the pellets that much & she still felt awful. I increased pellets, she felt better & gained weight back.

So recently she has same symptoms above, gram stain shows +4 (the highest rating) of yeast. Vet suggested no culture, treat yeast & see if symptoms subside, Nystatin .5cc orally BID. week of treatment.

She’s about 13g overweight, eating 1/2 the pellets she used to (loves her pellets) & the rest High Vit A baby foods (loves this), some frozen/fresh veggies (doesn’t eat these well), & I offer sprouts but she won’t touch them. I was using ACV (the right kind) in her water for 3 months before her last round with yeast, vet said there’s arguments as to whether it works or not, but it won’t hurt, I quit once we put her on Nystatin. I have done very limited Aloe Detox. I have done a little Echinacea. Droppings are the same as have been for 1-2 years now: some diarrhea (not just polyuria), cream colored urates, light yellow or light green urine, of course some changes in feces due to foods she eats (ie sweet potato). For last 3 years she has been very inactive, but was never very active since she was a baby. No physical changes except weight loss & gain due to diet change. She’s one plump bird at 145g!

As you see, I’ve been fighting this liver disease for almost 3 years. I’m very concerned that her diet could be improved (especially after joining this list), although I’m somewhat hesitant to change because it causes her to not feel well, I’ll have to take it slow, and I’m very concerned that she’s started having these recurring gram negative infections & yeast. Vet said immunosuppression was a possibility.

Has anyone else used Dr. McCluggage? I read an article about him at Landofvos, where he did amazing things with a dying liver disease bird 10 years ago & now it’s healthy.

I welcome any & all suggestions/opinions regarding her history & current


From: Leanne Burton When I called Dr McC’s office because Bocephus showed slight sinus symptoms 1 week after being on treatment (and not showing ANY symptoms for that week) the receptionist called back & said, symptoms may come & go since we’re healing from the inside, but go to a local vet if I thought it was any more than this. Maybe if I have tests run locally, he will talk to me sooner so I can avoid antibiotics, but from the previous experience I feel he will say go to a vet if I call him. His answering machine gives #’s of 2 emergency clinics (in CO, of course).

She’s been on the Harrison’s Regular, like Dr. McC said, and I was supplementing with other protein sources (tofu, beans & rice, egg) plus veggies, once she started feeling bad, though, I backed off almost all that. Taking away too much of the Harrison’s has made her feel bad in the past & Dr McC said we’re balancing her body before we do a drastic diet change, I thought I had done too much.

Good & bad days have been since the beginning of this year and previously they were rare since I got her on Harrison’s in 12/95. Except for the Sinus symptoms she showed 1 week after beginning this treatment I am seeing almost no sinus symptoms. I think this treatment has the problem licked. Eyes are dull off & on since last Wednesday, before that they were very bright all the time. Can’t say about change in tongue color for sure, but may be a shade lighter.

Droppings are better than ever, urates are whiter than before & urine lighter yellow, sometimes even clear, but this varies throughout day & sometimes looks improved, but sometimes looks the same as before treatment.

This weekend she had some urine that was deeper yellow than it’s been since reatment. Sunday night, almost all urates were cream yellow colored. Today urates are whiter, but urine is same as before treatment (not lighter like it has been off & on). Except for the very last dropping she had before I sent this, urine was totally clear. Recently, she has some
droppings throughout the day that have little to no urine in them, compared to being on the verge of polyuria before treatment. Frequency hasn’t changed & she’s always strained to go potty (for 4 years now) because she is over weight. Weight held steady at 143g (in am before eating) until

Dr Vaughn put her on High Potency Harrison’s 12/98, then weight went to 148g, now she’s at about 150-151g. At 143g Dr Vaughn said she was approx 10 grams overweight. No drop in weight at all (I watch this very closely) & she is eating very well, too well. I not only have a scale, I can tell even the slightest change in her breast muscle / keel bone.I do watch her very closely & I’m very much in touch with her, so don’t feel like I’m ignoring the fact that she needs to go to the vet.

I won’t hesitate to take her when I feel she needs to go, money is no issue, she’s my #1 priority in life, above all else. We may go tomorrow anyway, but except for gram stain/culture or bloodwork, we can’t do much. I do hesitate to do bloodwork, she stresses & Dr. McC had me take her off her vit K supplement. Before she was put on it she had a greater than 2 hour clot time (didn’t wait to see how long to clot, but after 2 hours, no clotting, my vet gave up waiting – boy that was a scary broken blood feather day) & I don’t know that that wouldn’t happen again. After that incident, my regular vet didn’t want to take blood just for a checkup last December (he was scared she’d bleed out) so we went (6 hours) to Dr Vaughn & he had another client bring in a bird in case blood was needed. Bocephus was just doing marvelous on the meds from Dr McC until last Wednesday, that’s why I thought maybe detoxing. I was so hopeful (too hopeful, I guess) that our problems were over.


From: “Leanne Burton” I don’t think Bocephus’ bleeding problem is due to a food, it’s due to her
liver being unable to process vit K. It could also be a deficiency in a number of things needed for clotting, but since the vit K supplement fixed the problem, I tend to think it’s that. It is a very common side effect to liver disease, first evidencing itself by the blood hemorrhaging you can see in the beak (if it’s not a black beak). The extent of her bleeding problem was just not discovered until May of 98 with the broken blood feather. I have seen an increase in the beak hemorrhaging since beginning Dr. McC’s treatment & discontinuing her supplements.

If she does have an allergy to a food, how long would she have to be off it to recover? She hasn’t had much other than pellets since last Wed, so would this rule out the stuff she hasn’t had?

If anemic, what can I do naturally to help her? I checked my Avian Med,P&A, and it states for dietary management of anemia to give more protein,but then says you wouldn’t do that for a bird with liver problems, I’m further confused by the fact the Dr Harrison then puts his liver disease birds on High Potency which has more protein (that’s where Dr Vaughn got the idea). For anemia it suggests a diet high in energy, protein, supplements of B complex vitamins, iron, cobalt and copper (p 858). I have some high iron baby food, the vet had me give that after a bleeding problem before, and I have organic hulled millet which is a good source of high energy.

I guess I need to have a PCV done at the vet this afternoon, that would answer the anemia question.

From: “Leanne Burton” O.k. PCV was 44 which is o.k., he tried to get a Total Protein, but the serum was too cloudy (I’m sure that was the fat in her blood). He did say her skin/tongue might be little pale, but not much. Both the vet and I were hesitant to take more blood for more extensive tests due to her bleeding (we did the PCV from the nail) and about the only other thing we could do was a gram stain, I was there so I did it. Gram Stain results:
1+ positive rods
no cocci
yeast 3+ (some budding)

1+ positive rods
no cocci
1+ yeast

So, why am I not seeing all the yeast specific symptoms I’ve seen in the past if there are still so many of them around??? I am seeing the jerky head movements, but not the losing/scratching/rubbing of her eye. Now, she did regurgitate on the way there, so he felt some of the yeast could be out of the crop, because there was food on the smear. But she ALWAYS regurgitates, so I’m sure it has affected all of her gram stains. He said the homeopathic stuff must be supporting her enough to keep the yeast from bothering her more.

Also, what do you think about no cocci? The vet just shrugged & said it’s no big deal. I do give her yogurt a couple times a week, but I can’t remember if it promotes the rods or cocci. My regular vet likes to see 30% of one & 70% of the other (can’t remember which).

So, here’s my list of possibilities that’s making her feel bad: less protein than before or additional weight gain. These 2 could actually be related,if she’s not getting the protein she may over eat to compensate. Now she maintained well on Harrison’s regular pellets for 3 years before switching to High Potency last December. However, I’m afraid to supplement her
protein too much on my own, I don’t want to over do it. Should I go back to the High Potency? Dr McCluggage didn’t say I couldn’t give them, he just said he thought this other way was more beneficial.

The other possibility is food allergy.

If I don’t see improvement or can’t make any progress on my own, I will go back for xtensive blood tests (after getting her clotting time!!) in the next few days. I don’t know why I didn’t do that today, but I didn’t think about being able to test her clotting. <<kicking myself>>

I did find out we have a vet here in town that does acupuncture. Dr McCluggage uses that a lot with liver patients, so I’ll mention it to him next week & see if he wants me to do it. I will be juicing for the birdies tonight, but I can’t get her to drink juice with dandelion greens in it because they’re so bitter.

Thanks for all your support guys,

from gloria
I treat for yeast with garlic. If it is babies, I put garlic in the handfeeding formula. If it is adult birds I mix it into soft food that they love and will eat. The dosage I use is one opened capsule of garlic powder to 50cc of handfeeding formula for babies. In this way
they get the correct dose for their size. A baby small or young enough to only take 10cc will get 1/5 of a capsule of garlic. A baby large enough to take 50cc will get a whole capsule of garlic powder. They get dosed two out of three feedings for about three days. I watch the droppings for changes. Their breath should smell like garlic.

If adult birds won’t take garlic in the food then you will have to dose them orally. Try to estimate it based on the amount of handfeeding formula it would take to fill a crop. Of course, you are not going to fill their crop, but if it would take 25 cc to fill the bird’s crop, then give half of a capsule mixed with warm water and administer with eyedropper or syringe.

Usually yeast infections are also accompanied with bacterial infections. Garlic is also good for bacteria, but I like to add echinacea for a synergistic effect. I use the same amount of echinaca as I do garlic. I also add spirulina. People who do not care for spirulina could substitute another algae or even wheatgrass, which has similar heath benefits. All of these come in powdered capsule form.

Some people like to use garlic/pau d’arco combined for a particularly persistant yeast problem.


From Valerie

I did a study one time of two clutches of teils with yeast. One I used nystatin and the other garlic and caprilic acid (a dietary supplement). The nystatin babies took twice as long to cure of yeast than did the birds treated with garlic/caprilic acid. Please folks try the holistic way it really works and works better. The over all health of the babies
treated naturally was so ,much better than with the drugs. Drugs have side effects garlic/caprilic Acid have none, if administered in the proper dosage. See my treatment under Garlic on the Holistic Bird Website.


“Leanne Burton”
Subject: meds from Dr. McCluggage

O.k. I just received Bocephus’ medicines from Dr. McCluggage & since I haven’t gotten my first book order yet to be able to look this stuff up, I thought I’d write in for your opinions. This is all for a 145g bird with fatty liver syndrome & recurring yeast infections in the sinuses. He sent: Candicin by Metagenics -a pinch twice daily on food (the bottle says tablets, but it has a powder inside, I guess he ground it up for me)ingredients: Cellulose, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Black Walnut Green Hull 10:1 Extract, Slippery Elm Bark Powder, Goldenseal Root 4:1 Extract, Uva Ursi 3:1 Extract, Stearic Acid (vegetable), Cellulose Gum, Silicon Dioxide,Magnesium Stearate (vegetable).

Nose Drops (he mixed this)
-1 to 2 drops each nostril daily ingredients: PSS/Aloe (his receptionist said it was: Liquid Aloe with Grape Seed Extract and Saline)

Ultra Clear Sustain (a vanilla flavored detox powder he mixes up)-give 1/8 tsp in a little water orally or give a small amount on all types of food ingredients: Lactolhum, Milk Thistle, OPC, InFlavanoids (not sure of the spelling on that first ingredient, his handwriting is hard to read, his receptionist spelled it Lactoleumin)

I always double checked everything my previous vets have done by
researching my avian medicine books. However, I don’t yet have any way of double checking Dr. McCluggage, so I really appreciate being able to write into this list and tap into the knowledge that each of you possess. Feel free to respond to me privately if you like.


10/24 update Boy, do I have good news for you!!!

My Quaker suffers from FLD & conventional vets didn’t do anything for her for 4 years or so, she started going down hill pretty fast & I thought she may only survive a few more months. Then I joined this list (about 14 months ago) & consulted by phone with a holistic avian vet, Dr. McCluggage. He has a lot of experience with liver problems & treating them holistically. Now she’s a new bird!!! Dr. McCluggage is helping her body pull the fat and
cholesterol out of her liver with certain supplements, especially a certain thyroid supplement. Once the fat is gone, the liver has an amazing ability to regenerate & it is possible to get a full recovery! In the meantime, he is helping to support and maintain all her other bodily functions with other supplements. She had fatty liver, but was suffering with additional problems, like sinus yeast infections and wasn’t digesting her food well.
He has helped with all that.

Her progress has been so convincing, my entire family & all 10 of my pets are now fed and treated with only holistic medicine, unless it’s a really painful or life/death situation, then we treat with conventional meds & use holistic meds for follow up & to put the pieces back together again.

Please write in to let us know what, if any, holistic treatments you have tried, how long he’s had this & what his symptoms are. Then I’d like to know what tests the conventional vets have done. What was the previous diet and how old is the bird? Was is his weight? I can help you with several things, but the quickest way to get this guy on the road to recovery is to consult a holistic avian vet (and I recommend Dr. McCluggage). If you want
to know more about how Dr. McCluggage’s consults go, email me privately, otherwise we’ll share info with the list & those not interested can delete the posts.

Also, you may try doing a search @ egroups on FLD, or liver, to see previous posts. Also, the first part of my story is at the holistic bird website in the case histories section under quaker with fatty liver & yeast. I’ve been so busy learning since then, I’ve never sent in an update! Sorry, Gloria!

I’m so excited to be able to share the good news that FLD can be cured or greatly improved in almost all situations!!!

11/00 update

> >I am curious to know how Dr. McCluggage monitors his patients. Does a local vet take blood for the bile acid test?

I monitor Bocephus. If we needed a test done, yes, he would expect us to go to our local vet. However, Bocephus has not been to the vet since we started his treatment program. I am ever watchful & keep a journal. He expects me to constantly learn and use my own judgement. I have had to pull info out of Dr. McCluggage at times, but once he put me in total charge of deciding when and how much of each supplement to use, we’ve been doing better.

A bit of background: By the time I consulted him, Bocephus had had almost every test imaginable, except biopsy and endoscopy. Her bile acid test had been done 2-3 years previous and was normal, meaning the liver was compensating. She had first been diagnosed 4 years previous and the blood they drew looked like it had yellow Crisco on it. We were 100% sure she had FLD. She was 30 grams over weight, receiving beak trims every 2 weeks or so, eating Harrisons High Potentcy pellets & about 5% fresh foods, if I increased the fresh food, she felt worse. She had been having constant sinus yeast and some gram negative infections for about 9 months and was being treated with drugs and when you already have damage to the liver, all drugs should be avoided if possible. Her feathers also were not forming correctly, the end in the follicle would be swollen & bother her & when she pulled it out, she would bleed and her clot time at one point was in excess of 4 hours, first aid was performed. She would usually sit in one place all day long except to eat and would show obvious signs of not feeling well. There were times I thought she was very near death. For 4 years she had been my main priority and I spent at least 3 hours a day focused on her, I had learned to notice even the smallest changes, although most of them had been for the worst.

The first thing Dr. McCluggage did was put her on supplements to help her digest her food better (Ultra Clear Sustain with added supplements), food being the best medicine of all. He put her on Harrisons regular formula and told me to slowly increase the fresh food portion of her diet. She seemed to improve only the slightest amount, because I could feed more fresh food than before, but her sinus infections started to improve. In 30 days we added additional supps to change the formula a little. After another 30 days we started adding Ultra Clear Plus to support her liver with other supps like immune supporters and thyroid supplements. At this point she started losing a gram or more a day, yet was eating more than before, she lost a total of 22 grams in 15 days. I was extremely stressed about the weight loss and when I mentioned it to my local vet, he said to bring her in, but I chose not to because I knew conventional medicine had nothing to offer except diagnostics. She continued to improve and for 45 days was a totally new bird, better than she’d been in 6 or 7 years. The she took a turn for the worse when her supps were changed again, gaining weight and not feeling well. But I looked back in my journal and told Dr. McCluggage at exactly what point she started to improve, so he knew which supps she needed. Since then I have been in charge of determining when she needed which supplement and how to combine them. She is now totally off pellets and doing extremely well, although she could be doing a little better.

We’ve reached a plateau & it’s time to consult Dr. McCluggage again.

> >How often is the bird tested?

I “test” her everyday by being totally in tune with her. I’ve seen no reason to subject her to conventional tests, but won’t hesitate to use them if the situation warrants. Even when she was being treated conventionally we didn’t test her unless she was ill. I keep telling my conventional vet how much better she is, but I don’t want to take her in just for him to see her, she’s not crazy about going to the vet. Conventional medicine has it’s place, but holistic healing doesn’t require constant tests, you can see the healing happening right before your eyes.

> > Do you know what the longest a bird has lived after being diagnosed with FLD and how bad the condition of the bird was?

That question is really imposible to answer, Bocephus’ FLD was severe, but she lived with it for 4 years although may not have lived another year. Now that we’re under Dr Dave’s care she may live another 30, because it is possible to CURE FLD by pulling the fat out of the liver & supporting it
while it regenerates. I’m sure that a large percentage of birds kept in captivity suffer from FLD due to inadequate diet and inadequate exercise. There is an interview with Dr. McCluggage done by Carolyn Swicegood at http://www.landofvos.com. At the time of the interview, he had a FLD bird that had lived 10 years since it was found on the bottom of it’s cage dying. That bird was his first holistically treated patient. That interview is what made me decide to call him.

If you’re considering consulting Dr. McCluggage for FLD, I think you should! Holistic treatment, under the supervision of a holistic avian vet, has SO MUCH MORE to offer for FLD than conventional medicine does. It is possible to CURE FLD. Hopefully, my testimony will be encouraging to you.


05/2001 Update

I haven’t been reading the list mail, because my FLD bird went into liver failure last Wednesday. Her blood protein level started falling and she had some serious symptoms to accompany this. Anyway, she pulled through (after consulting 4 vets that could do nothing for me or gave me bad advice), with the help of a friend & her personal vet over the phone, several days off work and a lot of research. It was very touch and go for a few days there.
With as much as I’ve praised Dr. McCluggage on this list, I must say I was very disappointed with the advice he gave me in this situation and I did not follow it. I have consulted Dr. Alicia McWatters now &, after all of the research I’ve done on my own over the years, I am very pleased with the plan she gave me, because it makes very good sense. She pulled together several of the supplements and ideas that I had and added a few I had not thought
of. Even with my bird having gone this far, she gives her a good chance of turning around in a relatively short time.

In ordering the supplements Dr. McWatters prescribed, I found a good resource for upplements: http://www.vnfnutrition.com, they claim to have every supplement from every anufacturer and they did have everything I needed.

Dr. Bill Sager told me to use Boost (used to be called Sustecal) to get her blood protein levels back up. Boost is usually located next to the Ensure. HE said Boost was more appropriate for a mostly vegetarian animal than Ensure was. However, after reading the ingredient list, I knew I wasn’t putting either of those products into my bird, especially at a point when she was dying (too much sugar & artificial/synthetic stuff), so I went
to the health food store & found a product that was equivalent. The main thing I was trying to get into my bird was protein, so when I found a product (this one was a soy powder), I calculated the same amount of protein for it that Dr Sager had mentioned for the Boost and gave her that amount. You can usually find an equivalent of these products at the health food store, just buy a bottle of the one your vet suggests & take it with you to compare values. Of course, it also helps if you know what you are reading on the ingredient list. You can always call your vet and verify that the one you want to use is o.k. However, if I lived somewhere without access to a health food store, then I may have used the Boost if I couldn’t come up with something on my own.