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My male society finch Tucker is about 6-7 years old. About a…

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My male society finch Tucker...
My male society finch Tucker is about 6-7 years old. About a month ago I was away I'm Phoenix because my Dad died and my husband noticed he had stopped singing. When I got back he was quiet and not perching well. His poops were runny with green stools and frothy yellow urine. I started him on Cocci-Care, which is a amprolium 80 g/L and ethopobate 20g/L for a week and he really perked up. I gave it in water because I have only given antibiotics to large parrots. Of course I kept him in a hospital cage. After a week he really improved, sang, and hopped around, but I treated him for another week before putting him back in the cage with his mate Sophie. However, I keep the wire divider between them. Within two weeks he got very large (not just puffed up), stopped singing, seems to have trouble breathing, and just wants to sit and make yellow poops. Oddly, he has never lost his appetite! Is there any hope? Does he have an infection or a disease liver or lipoma? I live in Amish coubtry, PA, and there are no bird vets within a 200-mile radius. I have other antibiotics. Please help! He used to be so active and vocal and a horny little thing. His feathers are still beautiful. His perching is still good and he can still hop to other perches but doesn't want to move from the heat lamp.
Submitted: 4 months ago.Category: Bird
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Answered in 16 hours by:
12/6/2017
Bird Specialist: August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist replied 4 months ago
August Abbott, CAS
August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7,777
Experience: Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
Verified

I'm August Abbott, cert. avian specialist; owner of N.CA Parrot Rescue. Give me just a few minutes to review your question & respond. I do need to know what you typically feed them and whether or not the other bird's droppings are also different. Thanks,

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Bird Specialist: August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist replied 4 months ago

I'm very concerned about the symptoms you're seeing with this little guy and even more concerned that you've started him on a course of antibiotics without knowing if the issue is bacterial based. Here's why: Antibiotics that can be purchased over the counter are generally for strains of bacteria that have long since become immune to them. What these products DO do is diminish the 'good bacteria', the immune system and in turn makes the animal weaker and more prone to other complications. Unfortunately, pet product sales people don't care much for the life as they do the bot***** *****ne (profit) and there are virtually no 'truth in advertising' laws for products for our dear animal companions.

Another threat the bird suffers when given an antibiotic without a bacterial basis for need is a diminishing of their immune system in the face of a viral or fungal component. While there is no cure for any virus, there are other pretty effective support options depending on the type of virus which can only be discerned by lab work. As for fungal infections - well, whenever we treat a bird with antibiotics they have a tendency to actually develop fungal infections as a result. So if the bird already has a fungal infection and you're giving it antibiotics you're only making things much worse.

With all this said, as I'm sure you can tell, the only true option is get the bird professionally diagnosed. We need those labs in order to know which med to go to. And we need current meds specific to the causation.

So here's some good news: I'm from your area of the country myself and though now in California (thus the delay in seeing your post here) - there are a surprising number of avian knowledgeable vets closer than you think. In fact, most Pet Smart's have Banfield Clinics inside and they have small bird vets on staff. Your local Pet Co's have a policy of giving names and phone numbers of the vets they use themselves for small birds. Also, any local vet in your area will usually have a list of 'go to' vets they refer their bird loving clients to (if they don't see them themselves).

To address what you witnessed with Tucker seemingly getting better and then worsening (even worse than before) is the magic of how birds evolved from dinosaurs some 65 million years ago to one of only two surviving families of dinosaurs: Birds and crocodilians. It's called 'masking'. They use every last bit of strength they have to pretend to be perfectly fine. Birds are perhaps the best 'maskers' in the entire animal kingdom

It's also why no one should ever believe a bird's recovery without appropriate labs and/or examinations indicating the original cause of concern has been cured.

So, for now, keep him separated from others and keep in mind that there's a possibility that whatever this is might be zoonotic (meaning that other species of animal, such as yourself, could catch it). Maintain meticulous hand washing, wash out his dishes with hot, soapy water every day; same with perches and toys.

Increasing the acidity of his water won't hurt no matter what the problem so add a teaspoon of either apple cider vinegar or natural lemon juice to each 1/2 cup of water to give him throughout the day

If his eating seems to diminish, try human baby foods such as rice cereal/pablum, jars of natural sweet potato, squash, carrots.

Keep in mind that any seeming recovery probably isn't. And each time he stops 'masking' he'll be worse than before and it become too serious to be able to fix. It's gone on quite a while now and he needs quick intervention

A vet will swab his mouth and sample a fresh dropping at the very least. Chances are this will be all they need for a diagnosis so it's not really something that will cost an outrageous sum. In some cases you might have a diagnosis right away, others may take time for culturing

Finally, increase the heat and humidity in his immediate area. Clip a heating pad to the side of his cage, set on low and keep the rest of the cage covered except for about 1/4 of the front so he can see out and have some air circulation.

Please let me know how Tucker makes out ok? And be sure to mention to the vet that there's another bird. She may need to be treated as well.

Good luck and keep up the good work with these little ones,

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thank you for your response. Actually, I did try contacting Petco, and they had nobody on staff. The local vets only do dogs, cats and farm animals. I called everywhere, believe me. I literally live in Amish country. I have had a heating pad clipped to Tucker's cage, so at least I did something right. I stopped the antibiotics five days ago. I feel so helpless. All I can do is make him as comfortable as I can till he passe, or find a vet who will euthanize him.
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Good news!!! I called around again, and was able to locate a new avian specialust who comes to State College (40 miles away) every Thursday. That's a 48-hour wait, but it's better than nothing. I put apple cider vinegar in Tucker's water today and he drank it twice. He's masking again. His feathers are so beautiful and his eyes are so shiny it's hard to believe he's sick. He eats like a lumberjack. The only giveaway is being puffed up and just sitting, pooping those ugly poops and not singing and doing that silly kabuki mating dance in the mirror that male society finches love to do.I'm remaining hopeful. His mate Sophie continues to thrive.
Bird Specialist: August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist replied 4 months ago

I'm so very glad to hear this! I was about to make some calls for you myself so this is very good news. Let me know how this goes and I'm still here to work with you at keeping Tucker and his mate happy and healthy going forward from this event

Write down the history of what you've seen in order to give the vet. Make sure he/she does the oral swab and fecal test just to be as sure as it gets.

Good job!!!!!

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Satisfied Customers: 7,777
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