My male lovebird has just recently had no use of either legs... He tries to get around and can only support himself by beak... I have modified his cage to give him easier access to food and water.. Is this something that he can come back from or should I do the humane thing and put him down... Heartbroken
Type of Animal: Lovebird
Name of Animal: Nelson
Modified his cage and levels of food dishes...
Greetings, I am Dr. Pat. I have worked with birds for many years. I will do my best to help you.Lovebirds can suffer from stokes. What you describe, however could have also been the result of spinal trauma.Lovebirds are incredibly tough and courageous. One of my patients, that I knew very well before, suffered a stroke so severe that she was comatose. For one reason and another, we decided to administer "hospice" care, but she slowly started improving in motor function. This bird was truly a "vegetable". And a year later she was almost normal, physically and mentally. Amazing, and taught me that if the bird is not suffering and the owner and clinic staff are willing, rehab can result in very good news. She is still with us 3 years later, by the way.Birds have amazing ability to regain nerves around a damaged area. If he is mentally OK, and the damage seems to be spinal, he will have a better chance of regaining at least some functionality. He should have a very careful neurological analysis by an experienced and kind vet with LOTS of bird experience. Fractures, calcium deficiency, malnutrition, infections, toxins, heart disease all need to be ruled out and/or treated.Right now you need to make his life as easy as possible. If he is deemed to have no fractures, physical therapy with wings and legs may be very helpful.If you feel comfortable with it, examine the bird thoroughly, using gentle restraint via washcloth or hand towel: do not restrict the chest or hold around the body. Check the mouth and beak if possible, having a good look in there for mucus, redness, masses or anything else unusual. Palpate the tummy for pain, fluid, lumps or anything else. Check all the joints for swelling, pain, and mobility. Move the bird to an aquarium, box or carrier with soft towels in the bottom, no perch, and food and water in low bowls that can be reached easily. Put the whole thing on a heating pad on low or medium. Check it frequently, no overheating allowed! Keep the unit partially covered, warm and quiet. White paper towels or white cloth towels will show the true color of the droppings.You can offer warm cooked rice, pancakes, cornbread, grapes, melon, greens in addition to normal food. You need to take your bird to see an avian-experienced veterinarian ASAP for complete examination, diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Check http://www.aav.org/association/index.php?content=activeMembersList for members of AAV in your area or call your regular vet and see who they recommend; ask if they really have worked with birds a lot. If this were my patient, I would start with complete fecal analysis and direct smear, for multiple parasites; 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. Generally I start them out on antibiotics as indicated by the tests. If the nutrition has been questionable, calcium injections. If he is frightened, valium is very helpful. And non-steroidal antiimflamatories will help with pain and inflammation if there is a spinal or other fractures.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. Birds should be on a high-quality, preferably prescription, pelleted diet: I prefer High-potency Harrison'shttp://www.harrisonsbirdfoods.http://www.harrisonsbirdfoods.com/products/harrisons.html TOPhttp://totallyorganics.com/t-pellets.php In my lovebirds, they have a high preference for the TOP.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 Maintenance Birds 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.
Hi Amy,I'm just following up on our conversation about Nelson. How is everything going?Dr. Pat
Hi Dr. Pat,I took him to vet and they believe he had a minor stroke... I have modified his cage and he seems to be adjusting well...I have placed some cardboard on half of cage floor as he seems to get along better on something solid as opposed to grate.. Still no real use of his feet although I have noticed a change in his feet as they are not as tightly closed as they were in the beginning. I hope this is a sign of improvement. He likes to hold himself up by his beak on side of cage for short periods of time.. .. When I take him out to clean cage he like to fly around but obviously he has trouble landing so I am sure to be careful with that..His mate is by his side almost at all times. She feeds him and is very protective.. I do have a question though, I have seen him on more than one occasion lying on his back.. Is this because it feels better to have pressure off of feet??? I look forward to all the little progress that I see every day and hope that he has a full recovery.. Thank you for all your help.. It really helped me a lot Amy
He could hurt himself in a cage. Here are some caging ideas:
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