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August Abbott, CAS
August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7532
Experience:  Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
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We just got back from the vet with our fletchling crow we

Customer Question

Hi there. We just got back from the vet with our fletchling crow we found 10ndays ago. He was absolutely fine until the vet came in, grabbed him,wrapped him in a towel and flipped him on his back. Started kind of poking his tummy and holding him tight as he was struggling. Then she gave him back to us about 1 minute later and he couldn't stand up, kept falling to the side or forward. And would spread his wings out and push himself back as if it was paiful to be on his stomach. She said she didn't do anything to him but he was fine when she picked him up and now he's been like this for over an hour and she trying to say that birds hide the fact that they are sick. I don't feel this is the case. Please help
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  August Abbott, CAS replied 2 months ago.

Help me understand a little more. Why did you bring your fledgling into the vet's office?

Once the vet said birds hide their weakness, which is true by the way, what was her opinion about what the problem was? After all, she examined him, I would hope she didn't just throw out that he's sick and leave it at that

It's been a few hours - how is your bird acting now?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Sorry for the delay. We took him to the vet for a second opinion. We took him to the first vet to re-locate his middle right toe and find out more about avian pox. When she walked into the room she looked at him (as he was bouncing around, happy and cheaky) wrapped him in a towel and brought him in close to her chest. He was kind of leaning back as her hand was wrapped around his body and neck was in the top part of her thumb and index finger. She checked his breathing and heart with the stethoscope, then felt his organs which took all of 30 seconds. And held him there for a few seconds while she looked up to talk to us. Which then he started to push on her chest with his little feet and so she gripped him tighter and squished him into her chest more, and he let out a bit of a scream, so she put him down and he fell forwards on his beek. Then he started flapping his wings extremely hard and fast, and kicked his legs out in front of him as if he was trying to get on his back. He has been like that ever since we took him there on Tuesday. Right after she put him down we asked her what she did to him and she said she didn't do anything, but that he was just a very sick bird and he was weak. She wasn't very gentle with him she was actually quite rough, for someone knowing full well that he was a wild, "very sick", baby crow. Said he was very weak ,stressed and just couldn't hold himself up. They sent us home after two hours of my partner and I trying our best to calm him down. His little heart was beating so fast and breathing was also rapid. He was shaking like crazy. When this all first happened we took him out to get fresh air. About 10 minutes later we brought him inside into the exam room for silence, turned the light off and sat with him laying on his back on our lap. A few moments later the vet came back into the room. Flicked the light on, was talking very loud and fast. She wasn't trying at all to be cautious of him if he was traumatized. We then had the other avian vet come in to give his oppinion as to what was happening. He said he just seemed very sick, weak, and stressed out, and that she (the other vet) did nothing to cause this. He sent us home and told us TLC. The female who did this to him told me he would most likely not make it through the night because he was very sick. We returned home, for the next 4 hours he would not eat, drink, make a noise, seemed to look right through us, lay on his back where he seemed perfectly comfortable(odd for a bird), and was picking at his feet, pulling them up and pushing them down as if his feet did not work or felt funny. We then called them back and told them we thought she didn't something to his legs because of his actions. The male vet then gave us 5 days of medicam .04 mgs once per day at no additional cost, however made us pay for a full examination even though she spent a total of 1.5 minutes looking at him. Onyx, nor my partner or I slept a wink that night. 8am we went back to see the male Dr. He didn't charge us for the exam, looked at onyx, injected him with fluids because he wasn't drinking, and showed us how to use a syringe down his throat for water so we didn't get it in the wrong tube. Sent us home said he needs TLC. Explained he doesn't seem to be neurological as per his actions. Just stress and very weak and sick. Before this last vet visit, Onyx was very happy, very active, very smart, learning very fast, had a very healthy appetite of chicken, fruits and veggies, liver and salmon, eggs and high potency mash, etc. and he drank tons of water. He was also very vocal and staring to make different noises he doesn't usually make (talking) . We found him a few weeks ago in an allyway, he was very week and limping from his one toe. Onyx still lays on his back 6 days later now and that vet has no answer but tlc. He a 24 hour care for bird.Megan
Expert:  August Abbott, CAS replied 1 month ago.

I'm sorry for the delay on my end too - for some reason I could not 'lock' onto this question all day!

I wish I could say I was shocked about the treatment you found at that awful vet's office but I'm afraid it's not the first time I've heard something like this. What matters is that you did the right thing for your bird and I hope you never stop, no matter what kind of buffoons you come across in practice. Never stop trying

The only thing I'm seeing here that might need addressing is the amount of protein in your bird's diet. Let's try cutting back on that and increasing better sources of vitamin E and beta carotene along with calcium. To focus on this aim for fruits and vegetables deep orange and dark green in color. Sweet potatoes, squash, carrots; try broccoli, kale, spinach (this increases calcium as well)

Even most all natural yogurts are good calcium sources, sticking with the fruit flavors of course (no chocolate, coffee or stuff like that)

With all of this said, let me be perfectly honest, it may not help - whatever is going on might be something too far gone and only determined by a necropsy upon death; however, I'm in your court trying anything whatsoever and giving this bird every hope

So to sum up - for the next couple of days focus on vegetables and some fruits together with more calcium. If you see an improvement we'll know we're on the right track and can go from there.

I'm counting on you to check back with me ok?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thank you for your reply. I'm a bit confused how protein would be affecting him like this. Am I able to send you a video of what he's doing now? We took him to another vet and she said that it seems like this is what happened....the way he was handled cause him to get really stressed to where his blood pressure shot up, and caused a blood vessel in his brain to burst and now he is an upside down bird. The new Dr said his equilibrium is backwards. He thinks right side up is upside down because all is reactions are normal. She felt his spine and neck and blew his feathers back and said there was no inflamation that she could see or feel. He doesn't seem to be in any pain. Has good range of motion with his neck, legs and wings. Everything works just fine. She also said that she has never seen it in birds before only older dogs. Which makes sense for the way he acts when we try and put him on his feet. But he now is constantly biting, or pulling in both his feet and legs, almost as though they aren't working properly. When we try and stand him on his feet he falls to his bum as if he can't get up or stay up on his legs.and if he falls forwards he rests the tip of his beek on the ground to hold himself up as he has a hard time even holding his head its a balance thing. Its very strange. My partner says she thinks maybe low blood pressure? He is most comfortable when his head is lower then the rest of his body (ie his heart). We are just so lost as to really what this could be however the last vet says he should return to normal but may take days or weeks. And also says to let him figure it out in his own. He also balls his feet up and sometimes grabs one foot with the other one. We will start introducing the food you recommended also.Look forward to hearing soon, Megan
Expert:  August Abbott, CAS replied 1 month ago.

I'm sorry Megan but any vet comparing a bird to what she's seen in dogs loses all credibility with me. Blood pressure? I'm speechless.

I'm going to opt out of this question and open it up so someone else can try.

I sincerely ***** ***** and your companion nothing but the best. My heart goes out to you both

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Okay well thank you for trying. Does this mean I should be waiting for a response from another Avian expert?

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