I've got a 13-year-old moustache parakeet. He was doing fine but picking feathers a lot; we've had tests etc. but nothing came up. I started giving him a flax-seed oil supplement for birds and it seems to help - his feathers are beautiful now. In the last couple of days, he's a bit more sleepy, puffed up, and his stool is very black. Not much appetite either. I can't think of anything else that's changed, so I wonder: can it be some sort of vitamin overdose, and if so, is there anything to be done about it? I'm trying to balance the potential benefit of a vet visit with taking him out in the cold (I'm in New England and the nearest bird vet is an hour drive away). Does anyone any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

Mike Levin
1 2
(I'm in New England and the nearest bird vet is an hour drive
away). Does anyone any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

Take the time and take it to the vet
Dave
I've got a 13-year-old moustache parakeet. He was doing fine but picking feathers a lot; we've had tests etc. but ... in New England and the nearest bird vet is an hour drive away). Does anyone any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

"Color and texture can tell you even more about your parrot. The color of the feces tells you what your parrot has been eating, but it is also an indicator of disease. I'm sure we are all aware of blood in the droppings. However, blood present may not be red, but a tar-like color." Parrot Poopology 101
Sleepy, puffed up and not eating??
Warm up the car, cover up his carrier, and take him to your avian vet immediatley.
Dave
(I'm in New England and the nearest bird vet is an hour drive

away). Does anyone any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

Take the time and take it to the vet

The problem wasn't the time - it was that it's pretty cold out and I didn't want to make things worse by dragging him out into the cold for a long car ride (even though I bundled up the travel cage in blankets, pre-warmed my car, etc.). I didn't want to stress him out more, if it wasn't a big deal. But after a phone call to the vet, it seemed best to do it, so I did. Turns out, there's some sort of liver problem. We'll get the blood tests back Monday.

Mike Levin
I've got a 13-year-old moustache parakeet. He was doing fine ... hour drive away). Does anyone any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

"Color and texture can tell you even more about your parrot. The color of the feces tells you what your ... of blood in the droppings. However, blood present may not be red, but a tar-like color." Parrot Poopology 101

Interesting. That's what the vet said; I did end up taking him in for a bunch of tests; they did a barium trace of the whole digestive tract and saw nothing weird; they are now suspecting an "abnormally small liver" of all things. Blood work will be back tomorrow...

Mike Levin
On 11/27/05 4:33 PM, in article
I've got a 13-year-old moustache parakeet. He was doing fine but picking feathers a lot; we've had tests etc. but ... in New England and the nearest bird vet is an hour drive away). Does anyone any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

Sleepy, puffed up and not eating?? Warm up the car, cover up his carrier, and take him to your avian vet immediatley.

yep - that seemed to be the thing to do. I called the vet right after I posted the article, and that's what she said, so I bundled him up and went to the 24*7 animal hospital in Boston. They had a bird specialist who did a bunch of tests. Suspecting a small liver now; found no infections, no digestive tract blockages. They're giving him some special liquid diet now (been there for 2 days now) and we'll see when the blood work comes back Monday. Very weird and sudden; he's been thriving at our house for the last
13 years (hand-raised baby) so I don't know why the liver would suddenlyshrink. I hope they can figure this out. Thanks everyone for the advice!

Mike

Mike Levin
I hope they can figure this out. Thanks everyone for the advice! Mike

Best wishes to the bird,
The vet(s) who care for it
And you, who has to battle the Boston traffic.
Keep us posted!!
~steve
Best wishes to the bird, The vet(s) who care for it And you, who has to battle the Boston traffic.

you're not kidding - I think he got really car-sick from all the driving back and forth!
Keep us posted!! ~steve[/nq]Thanks. The latest is this. After looking at him at the emergency visit Friday night, they wanted me to bring him back Saturday morning. Aside from the fact that I later found out they had checked him in as a hamster instead of a bird in their computer (they did get the color right - yes, a "green hamster" is how they had him in there), I think they were excellent. The whole place (Angell Animal Hospital) is superb, and so are the avian vets there.

They kept him from Sat. morning until Monday night, when I got him back. They ended up doing a set of X-rays with a barium tracer for the digestive tract, under anesthesia. Also took a bunch of blood, and analyzed crop contents, stool, etc. I was pretty nervous all weekend - that's a lot of stuff for a little bird... Anyway, blood work comes back this Friday so they may know more, but in the meantime, the digestive tract had no blockages, and no bacterial infection in the poop.

They think he has a "small liver". Not sure why yet. He was a bit anemic, probably from the blood loss through the black stool he had the day before I brought him in, and a bit thin (probably from trouble digesting, since the liver wasn't working well). They said he responded really well to the treatment, which was a liquid diet plus a medicine they call "laculose" (some sort of general liver supportive thing). So, they sent him home, telling me to give him this laculose twice a day for 21 days, and cut out all fats.

They said that provided he keeps eating ('cause he has to gain weight), I have to switch him to an all-pellet diet. Before, he was getting a mix of Lafeber avi-cakes (which they think he's just been picking the seeds out of, leaving the pellet component), Zupreem pellets, occasional seeds as a treat, and lots of fresh fruits and veggies (plus table-stuff occasionally, like bread, hard-boiled egg, etc.). He seems to be doing very well - eating, behaving normally etc.

He was pissed off about the whole hospital treatment thing, plus isn't thrilled about the new dietary restrictions, but I really hope that's the end of this episode and the liver just acted up because of something he ate. I'll know more when the blood tests come back; plus he's due for a check-up in 2 weeks. They said depending on what they show, it might be necessary to do a liver biopsy. What do people think - is it crazy to put a poor bird through a liver biopsy? I don't know.

Hopefully he'll keep doing better. Thanks for all the info; if anyone knows anything about bird livers and why they would be small, I'd love to hear about it!

Mike Levin
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