30g weight loss, diarrhea, no appetite, refusing water, wheezing, weakness, African Grey, Probably about a week of minor

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Customer: 30g weight loss, diarrhea, no appetite, refusing water, wheezing, weakness
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What type of bird are we talking about?
Customer: African Grey
JA: When did you first notice this decrease in the African gray's appetite? Any changes in energy?
Customer: Probably about a week of minor decreased appetite. Change in energy maybe about 3 days ago
JA: Does the African gray seem to be in any pain?
Customer: I don’t think so
JA: And what's the African gray's name and age?
Customer: Kiko, 25, turns 26 in mid June
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: No, thanks for the help
Answered by DrNickiDVM in 14 hours 2 weeks ago
Pet Specialist

20,998 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Dog Veterinary, Cat Veterinary, Bird Veterinary, Large Animal Veterinary, Small Animal Veterinary

Hello, my name is***** and I'm an emergency veterinarian. I'm here to provide you with excellent service.

I appreciate you reaching out to us for assistance. I’m so sorry it looks like you've had a bit of a wait but I'd like to help you if I can. I understand Kiko is wheezing, weak, and not eating. I have some questions I will ask below that will help me to understand what could be going on with him.

Please be aware I am a licensed veterinarian, but I am not your pet’s veterinarian and cannot examine your pet, so I cannot legally provide you with any specific veterinary medical advice such as diagnosis or prescribing medication. However, I can generally speak to help you understand resources that may help you and advise you to seek medical attention.

Is Kiko your only bird, and what do you normally feed him?

Nice, thanks. The wait is ok, we're early on right now.
Kiko's an only bird
I usually feed him Zupreem naturals pellets, occasional safflower seed with the pellets and very occasional vegetables and fruit
I'm sorry about that. How long has he been sick? Is his breathing labored?
Currently he's not drinking well and only will eat oatmeal sweetened with honey, peanut butter, and apples. I'm really encouraging the apples because it's most of his hydration right now
He wasn't eating as much, but seemed fine. A couple weeks ago his keel seemed ultra sharp, I weighed him, he was his usual 529g.
He was first noticeably ill yesterday morning

Is he laboring to breathe?

Do you hear the wheezing with every single breath?

Breathing ok but sometimes I can hear his respiration, but it's not loud.
Not labored

I'm glad.

Is his keel less sharp now?

No but he weighed 498g yesterday and weighed 519g today after eating and drinking
He's weak and lethargic by comparison to normal.
The main thing is that I just realized this morning that he's having mild seizures I think

Oh goodness. What are you seeing that looks like a seizure? That's upsetting I'm sure.

They're mild..I didn't recognize it as a possible seizure until now.
His L eye will close voluntarily as his head lists to the right, the right eye is wide open. His legs will basically not work.
The last seize, the R foot almost worked and the L leg hung with the foot closed

How long do those last and how long does it take to get back to normal? This is very worrisome of this is happening especially repeatedly.

About 1-2 minutes, some have maybe been less than 5
Would you say there's any loss of consciousness?

Is he remaining perched?

He'll remain perched, he does seem like he's semi conscious. If you address him he'll snap out of it a little bit.
Nothing spastic yet, very mild

Do you have a way to tell if anything seems stiff or rigid like his limbs?

I could assess that if I see it again. He seems overall more floppy, but potentially his neck might be more rigid because his head always leans to the right

The leaning to the right is new?

If these are seizures, which they might be, then you will want some blood work pretty quickly. I'm also worried if he's not eating much. Do you think you're able to put some water in with his oatmeal mix?

it's pretty well hydrated too. He's eating an apple currently.
The leaning to the right with the L eye closing involuntarily is part of the routine
I'm glad for that, that he's eating.

In between these episodes he's still got his left eye closed and leaning to the right?

No not all the time. Sometimes I look over and it's happening, during the last one he was struggling to get onto the perch with one foot, I approached him, and he grabbed onto me and got on my shoulder but could barely hang on
That lasted about 90 seconds

Ah, ok. I'm worried about this behavior. Bird seizures look different then what we would expect in a dog or cat, but I think you might be right. Have you ever taken him to a vet? It would probably be a good idea for him to have blood work.

I used to, in this area we have no true avian vets. The guy retired a few years ago and I fell off when they had no one. Now they have one gal but she's not very available.
Around here we basically have small mammal vets who see birds to take the patient's money. I'm not even sure they'd do a blood draw here. No specialty anything for exotics
Have you ever heard of this website?


It's very helpful to find a vet for birds on this website and you can specify the distance you'd be willing to travel. If you would like I could put your ZIP code in and see what comes up, but I would need your ZIP code.

Thank you!
They're SO hard to find. I'm in the mountain rural part of WA state. I'll try that
Okay please let me know if you need help with that, it starts with a default of 5 mi so you can start at 20 mi and see what you can find.
I'm wondering if his feed is contaminated in some way, or if he has a serious nutritional deficiency. He used to be taken outside in his cage but we've had a few years where it was too cold, then too hot to leave him out like that, and then we get fires where the smoke is too much for being out
I would need to do about 100 mile radius
that's for board certified avian vets but perhaps calling the closest ones on Monday you could ask them if they know of any others that are not board certified but still practice that maybe you didn't know of.

He eats pellets and fresh food so I would doubt he has a nutritional deficiency.

Well, I buy the pellets in 40lb bags, they're stored in a galvanized trash can long term in the paper bag they come in. Potentially they're getting too hot, potentially the galvanized steel is leaching through the feed bag...

I'm not sure about any of that. Is that supposed to be safe for birds because we would worry about metal toxicity and birds but I'm not sure if that's a way to transmit it or not.

Agreed. Well thank you for the help! I appreciate your time very much

You're welcome. Is there anything else I can do in terms of helping you find a clinic? Or do you think you'll just get in line with the vet who's less available? I'm sorry you're in that situation.

Plenty of TLC and a nice warm environment is always the recommendation for a bird who's not feeling well but hopefully you'll be able to get medical attention for him. I am sure glad he's eating. I hope I was able to answer your question. I sure wish you all the best with Kiko. As I mentioned I am available if you have any follow-up questions for the next few days. If you would like to ask me another question in the future, you can add me as a favorite Expert. You'll have the option to do that on your "My Questions" page if you choose to rate our interaction or you can request me by name if you wish, again my name is*****

Thanks for reaching out to us here at Just Answer.

Dr. Nicki

Thanks Dr Nicki, you are my favorite expert! I agree that he needs to go in, so I'm going to see what testing these locals can do. If it's pretty inadequate I'll work on these people in Seattle area.
He's improved since yesterday and I will continue with the close monitoring and spoon feeding.
If anything gets worse I'll be in touch. Thank you so much!!
You're very welcome and that sounds good.
When he was in awesome health the guy here just looked at him, looked in his beak and said 'he looks great!' Hahaha
Well there's more to it than that of course.
Exactly, that's why I need to see what they can and can't do so it's a worthwhile appointment. Especially now that he actually has needs

Not all vets can do a thorough exam on a bird and draw blood which is I think what he needs.

Some vets have a comfort with minor things but not with true illness.

Well and if it's Chlamydia I'd rather he got injections than trying to oral administer anything for 45 days straight too

Usually that's not treated injectably for the whole course.

Oh, ok. Anything that reduces my force syringing would still make me very happy
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