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Jeffrey Evans
Jeffrey Evans,
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 72
Experience:  Veterinarian at North Shore Animal Hospital
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Wow. I was just looking for similar symptoms in other tiels.

Customer Question

Wow. I was just looking for similar symptoms in other tiels. Kylie is 17 yo grey who has obsession with his rump gland and tail feathers. He no longer strips the sheath that grows with the feather and appears in pain during the growing process. My vet has him on Baytril periodically which works on the abrasions he causes with his constant attention to the area, and now I have him on Benadryl in hopes that calms his behavior (which so far isn't working). About 5 yo ago, another local vet thought he may be diabetic. The last few times after he's been examined by the vet, he literally seizes and they put him in an oxygen chamber for recovery. The very first time he seized, about 2 years ago, occurred about 15 minutes after a vet exam when I was on our way home. I returned immediately to the vet who treated him with diazepam and the oxygen. Now he seizes regularly after being physically examined, so I am leery of having him physically examined because he just can't tolerate the handling. I just read the hypoglycemia or hypocalcemia can cause seizures. He's been on Harrison's pellets since the first episode, so roughly about 1.5 years, which has dramatically improved his droppings. But I'm just at a loss what to do next.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Seizures always look scary. Let's get you talking to the Veterinarian. Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Kylie?
Customer: He lives in his own cage, with a separate companion, another pied male cockatiel, who seems fine. And I have a bunch of finches. They're all in a common room. I use UVB tropical lighting 4-6 hours a day. Both tiels eat Harrison's fine, and I no longer treat them with human food like I used to, mostly oatmeal, rice, sweet potatoe. He loves cucumbers and collard. Anything thing else I'm missing? What kind of fee is involved here?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  Jeffrey Evans replied 11 months ago.

Hi this is Dr. Evans, how are you today?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Hi Dr Evans, I'm doing fine. And you?
Expert:  Jeffrey Evans replied 11 months ago.

I'm good! please give me a moment to reply.

Expert:  Jeffrey Evans replied 11 months ago.

How has the appetite been? What is EVERYTHING he eats?

Expert:  Jeffrey Evans replied 11 months ago.

Are you still there? :)

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
His appetite is good. Main diet - Harrison pellets super fine. One organic raw almond usually in the am. 1/4 inch slice of cucumber which he eats the seeds and some flesh. Either broccoli crown which he'll pick at or collard green about a finger portion. Occasionally he'll share cooked oatmeal with me, and sometimes organic brown rice, and slice of sweet potato, but I've been limiting his intake of people food lately so he'll eat his pellets, which he eventually will do. His diet has been pretty grim lately, just the pellets.
Expert:  Jeffrey Evans replied 11 months ago.

I've seen a couple of cases with seizures and feather problems as you stated.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Seizures usually occur after he's been examined by my local vet. She really does a terrific job, he just isn't accustomed to being handled that way. I guess she thinks it might be the stress of the visits and all.
Expert:  Jeffrey Evans replied 11 months ago.

First, bloodwork and a physical exam will be incredible invaluable! Cardiorespiratory disease can cause seizures and dietary problems (like you said!) due to cholesterol, calcium, glucose can be a significant problem. Your vet may prescribe leviteracetam for seizures (my favorite!) which is really well tolerated.

Expert:  Jeffrey Evans replied 11 months ago.

I think cardiorespiratory disease should be ruled out, as this can happen as well. The feather issues is likely a dermatitis that needs to be treated with antibiotics.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Okay, we haven't done a blood test, just fecal was fine. I don't know how they can get the blood out of him because it's the physical exam that freaks him out. He starts blinking, then his head rolls back and he starts scarey squawking and is totally out-of-control. First time we did medicam and baytril and his skin cleared up totally. Second time we did baytril and it seemed better too. But he's already scritching his rump again, and refuses to clean the sheath off his new tail feather - it's the long cockatiel tail feather. He takes turn pulling them out. Then we go through the whole process again.
Expert:  Jeffrey Evans replied 11 months ago.

Yes, baytril helps tremendously with this. As for the feathers, I'd recommend only 70% being pellet, and the rest fresh fruit, veggies, and rarely seeds and never millet. This can help with calcium levels and feather health. Deficiencies can only be picked up on bloodwork. It would be a good idea to discuss with your vet if she saw anything on physical exam that could be dietary deficiency.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Okay, I can do that as I suspect he'll be going back to her soon. I like to think she would have already noticed if he had a dietary deficiency going on. She's examined him pretty thoroughly and watched him a number of times (especially in the oxygen chamber) and says he looks good. I guess that's why doing benadryl now which I give him .05 ml when he seems obsessed with his rump in case it's psychosomatic. But I don't understand why he doesn't clean that waxy sheath off the feather like he used to do. It literally wears out, or I try to pop it for him, but he doesn't like me to touch his tail feathers anymore, and he does tail wags in away that I know something is irritating him. Frustrating for the little guy. We haven't talked much about his diet since they suggested the pellets last year or so. I never got him started properly with fruits, except maybe kiwi. But he'll eat collard and kale and broccoli so we'll do more of that. Thank you for your thoughts and your time. I'll try the more veggies and less pellets and see what happens. Lisa
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
He doesn't get millet anymore either. Or sunflower seeds. although pumpkin seeds and pistachios once in while
Expert:  Jeffrey Evans replied 11 months ago.

Great! You're very welcome. Please leave a rating before you go! Good luck!