Author Topic: Parakeet serious health issue - need help!  (Read 6027 times)

Offline Joy

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Parakeet serious health issue - need help!
« on: May 06, 2011, 12:26:25 PM »
Normally I am only on the Rats forum, but lately I find myself in dire need of help concerning another of our pets.  I can't find anything on the 'net to fit our situation.

I have two parakeets - Bob & Bill.  Bill came to us in 2002, so from what I've read, he's considered a senior citizen.  The problem is his feet are all gnarly ... he let his claws grow out too long but I really think there's more to his problem than just long claws/toe nails.  If he were a person, I'd say he has arthritis. 

I noticed a couple days ago that he was thinner than usual & seemed to be having trouble getting around in the cage to get to the seed, feed & etc. - so I set up some feeders close to the main perch & hung some millet, too.  He went after the millet right away, so he does still have an appetite.  Later yesterday we found him on the bottom of his cage ... the sleepy eye thing (not good) ... seems to be sleeping a lot ... barely getting around.  I put a dish of water down there for him & some seed/feed but honestly I figured he'd be gone before the evening was through.  (I even made him a little 'coffin' & prepared a spot for him outside. :'()  But - surprise - he's still with us this morning!  His eyes look a bit better - more alert - but he's still on the bottom of the cage.  I replaced the water dish with something even lower to the ground & made sure there was seed & grit available on the floor.

An avian vet is not possible.  And I don't think taking him out to see any vet at this point would be good since he's not hand-trained & it would stress him even more than he already is.

I don't want this little guy to suffer, but I don't want to 'help him along' unless he's in pain ... but well ... not sure I could recognize that if I saw it.  I mean, he's obviously seriously ill.

Anyone have any advice, comments, suggestions?  I wanted to switch cages tonight - the other one we have has horizontal bars & the one he's in has mainly vertical.  The horizontal ones would be easier for him to navigate with his feet the way they are.  On the other hand, the stress of moving him into the other cage could be his last straw.  And then I thought maybe of making little platforms for him to sit on instead of the perches ... I just don't know what to do & could really use some help.

Offline SSTFLFPS

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Re: Parakeet serious health issue - need help!
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2011, 01:26:11 PM »
If he's at the bottom, it's very, very bad.  Birds are programmed to avoid "ground."  There is a bird supplement much like Nutrical it may boost him up.  PetSmart and PetCo should have it.  Changing the cage is a judgement call.  My mother had four budgies one died a couple of months ago.  She was the dominant female.  The newest addition had a dominant personality as well and took advantage of her sudden decline to try to oust her.  My mom did not  want her to die being bullied and put her in her own cage.  That night she was gone.  My mom feels better, but part of me thinks the move finished her off.  Being in a different cage and away from her flock was just too much.  At the very least   I would set up the cage exactly like the other one is, and move BOTH birds.  I'd also start looking for a similarly aged bird to your  other one to rescue.  Birds need to be in a flock.  An extreme amount of human interaction can replace another/other birds, but if they aren't hand tame chances are you won't fit the bill.  Just remember to QT and seriously disinfect the cage in case your bird had something contagious.  In terms of pain, the biggies are puffing up and shivers some will also say beak crusting and eye discharge, but both are caused by stress and there is really no telling if the stress is pain, the  illness itself, or something as mundane as new curtains.  I'm really sorry for what's happening.  With birds it's so easy to stress them out.  Sometimes I really doubt we should keep them.  Keep us updated.

Offline Joy

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Re: Parakeet serious health issue - need help!
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2011, 01:43:56 PM »
Welll ... I think if he's still with us when I get home from work, I'll just leave things as they are for now.  (I was planning to move both birds though.  Unfortunately Bob's even more skittish than Bill.)

RE pain ... dang it ... he has been shivering.  Would it be out of line to ask advice/methods of 'putting him down'?  I told my husband I'd just as well let the little guy die on his own without adding to his stress - It would be horrible to try to get him out of the cage, giving him even more pain/stress than he's already experiencing. (I just really thought he'd be gone by this morning...)

I was also planning on trying to find a new home for his 'brother' Bob with somebody who is more intelligent about keets than I am ... somebody that could give him a better home I mean.  If I can't find another home for him then I'll get him a companion.  We started out as untentional keet owners when a pretty little white parakeet showed up on our front porch literally out of the blue.  Then we decided he needed a friend (enter Bill).  Then Snow died & Bill needed a friend (enter Bob).  It's like this viscious parakeet circle!

I understand your 'doubts' about keeping them.  Sometimes it feels a little ... selfish.  They are such sweet delicate beautiful little things that we want to experience them on OUR time schedule ... not have to sit in the yard & wait for a song bird or two to grace us with their presence.  Since keets aren't native to Missouri, I'd have to move to Australia or wherever to share space with them.  :P

Thanks very much for your help.

Offline SSTFLFPS

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Re: Parakeet serious health issue - need help!
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2011, 02:42:39 PM »
I really wouldn't recommend home euthanasia.  Birds are tricky, delicate little creatures and it would be too easy to do it wrong and cause the animal more unneccessary pain and stress.  I would either do my best to keep him comfy and leave him alone while nature takes it's course or brave the stress of a vet visit.

As for my doubts, they are just so delicate.  You don't know how many birds I've seen featherless.  They are so stressed out that they have resorted to self mutilation and plucked out all those feathers.  Some even die from it as they open  up their own skin and succomb to massive infections.  You'd also be amazed how many larger birds end up in rescues   because A. The owner didn't realize it was a 15+ year commitment or B. The owner couldn't deal with the plucking, screeching, and/or biting anymore.  The way I see it most birds either require a large aviary and a true flock of birds or an owner who is prepared to he their mate/flock and dedicate their lives to them.  And it's not a knock, my mom has budgies like I said so it would be the pot calling the kettle black.  It's just an observation and a train of thought that has led me to abandon the thought of owning my own and trying to convince my mom to move to a smaller, less interactive bird at the very least.

Offline Joy

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Re: Parakeet serious health issue - need help!
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2011, 02:55:15 PM »
Yeah, letting nature take it's course is what we'll do.

My own mom never could tolerate the thought of 'owning' birds because putting them in a cage was too cruel for her.  Then Dad rescused this ring-neck dove from their back yard (& a hungry hawk).  Naturally she needed a friend ... then those two became 'more than just friends' & the proud parents of twin ring-neck doves. Like I said, it's this viscious birdy circle! :)

I'm afraid if I were home all the time, I'd be tempted to share my domain with more critters than we already have.  I'm trying to simplify my finances; why can't I do that with my pets!?!

I'll let ya know how Bill's doing tomorrow.  Thanks again for your advice.

Offline Joy

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Re: Parakeet serious health issue - need help!
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2011, 05:24:52 PM »
Well, my little buddy Bill is STILL alive!  He seems a bit better ... eyes brighter.  He's definitely eating & I suppose drinking since he wouldn't have survived this long if he wasn't.  I switched cages this morning.  Poor little fella couldn't fight me like he usually does. I gave him permission to bite me if it made him feel better - which he did a couple times but nothing serious.  Got him & Bob settled in ... arranged things on the floor of the cage to accommodate his 'disability'.  He has access to everything including a hiding place (aka remodeled tissue box).

I think his nails were too long & that contributed to his problems.  I'm not sure how or why his feet got this way ... we tried to always keep the perches 'correct' but I guess something somewhere along the line got messed up. 

So ... I've done all I can (short of taking him to that avian vet ~50 miles north of us.  I just really believe that would be too much stress for him at this point. 

Offline SSTFLFPS

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Re: Parakeet serious health issue - need help!
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2011, 05:27:57 PM »
I'm glad he made it.  Just keep your eyes on him for a few days to make sure he doesn't nose dive.  Has he left the bottom in  the new cage?  To me that was the most worrisome.  In the wild a bird on the ground is essentially lunch, so birds aren't fond of  being low.  If he's down there, Houston we have a problem.  If he's stressing in the new cage try covering it to calm him while he adjusts.

Offline Joy

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Re: Parakeet serious health issue - need help!
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2011, 08:56:47 AM »
Bill was actually trying to climb the sides of the new cage last night.  You can tell his feet still hurt him but he's definitely stronger.  I'm not sure he'll ever be the 'strappin young bird' he was  ;) but he's a lot better than last week.  I just wish he'd get a little more used to me, 'cause I'm gonna have to trim his beak & Bob's beak, too. 

I don't know what it is with these guys - they won't keep their beaks trimmed.  There are two cuttlebones, a chunk of that mineral stone stuff all available & easily accessible but they just keep letting their beaks grown out.  This has gone on for a couple years now.  I'm extremely careful about trimming them but it does stress them both.  If I wait too long Bill will have trouble eating - which won't be good.  If I do it before he's stronger, he'll get more stressed.   

Offline Joy

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Re: Parakeet serious health issue - need help!
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2011, 10:49:17 PM »
Bill finally 'flew away' sometime last night.  R.I.P. my fine little friend. Sorry to see him go but at least now I can be positive he's not in any pain anymore.  Thanks, SSTFLFPS, for all your help.

Offline Joy

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Re: Parakeet serious health issue - need help!
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2011, 10:52:01 AM »
...I'd also start looking for a similarly aged bird to your  other one to rescue.  Birds need to be in a flock.  An extreme amount of human interaction can replace another/other birds, but if they aren't hand tame chances are you won't fit the bill.  Just remember to QT and seriously disinfect the cage in case your bird had something contagious...

This might be a really silly question, but as a rule, do male keets have any problems getting along with other male keets?  I mean, I've seen hamsters really get aggressive when a 'newbie' is introduced.  That doesn't happen with keets? 

When we got Bob as a companion for Bill, they were both in separate cages & I put them right next to each other so that they could be introduced for a few days.  We never had any trouble whatsoever with the guys getting along.

I've been looking for a buddy for Bob ... he's 5 years old.  Seems quite content alone but I probably wouldn't know a lonely bird from a happy bird.  I trimmed his beak again last night & told him it would be a perfect time for him to start paying more attention to it himself. :thumbsup2:

Offline SSTFLFPS

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Re: Parakeet serious health issue - need help!
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2011, 01:58:28 PM »
Sorry about Bill.  Bob would probably appreciate a couple of lady friends.  Males are usually fine together but your chances are better with a higher female to male ratio.

Offline Joy

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Re: Parakeet serious health issue - need help!
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2011, 05:41:54 PM »
Yikes! But I'd rather not be a keet grandmother! :o 

I've been looking around for a 'rescue' ... no pet stores or etc.  If anyone hears of a 3-5 yr. old keet needing a home & within a few hours of St. Louis, please let me know.
On a side note, it's kinda sad to see all the ads for parakeets & they're in these little tiny cages.  Bill & Bob had it good if that's what the average bird has to live in.

Offline SSTFLFPS

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Re: Parakeet serious health issue - need help!
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2011, 10:59:30 PM »
Don't give them a nesting box and you should  avoid grandeggs.  Honestly, I'd hit up petfinder for a single female or possibly 2 the ratio isn't  as important unless you have multiple boys.  As to the cages, see what I mean, the majority of meet owners have no idea what they have  which is a very small but very demanding parrot.  Heck most people don't even realize a budgie is a meet, but a meet is not  a budgie which I've heard lead to horror stories.