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  1. #1
    Egg's Cracking... tizzle's Avatar
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    Raptor's story: a heartbreaking story, but still praying for a happy ending!

    so i got a cockatiel almost 2 years ago, from a man who never had time for him, never paid attention to him, always forgot to cover him at night, etc. he had a dog that he brought to work with him everyday, so he just felt it was unfair for the bird to be home alone all day, and decided to give him away. so he brought him over one day, and right out of the little cardboard box he popped out of, he was the sweetest thing!

    fast forward a few years and i am totally 100% in love with this little guy, we share mealtimes together, we watch csi together, he is out all the time, every minute that i'm home (unless i'm cooking or something like that).

    and fast forward again, i moved out of my mom's place and in with my boyfriend and a couple other roommates. one of the roommates has a cat. no big deal, we will lock the cat away for a few hours while raptor has playtime. it went well at first, but as time went on the roommate started to get really cranky about us locking her cat up (even though it has free run of the house 24/7). so i was a little miffed at that, because it was so unfair for my bird to have to stay locked away in his cage when he was so used to always being out with me. also, the cage had to stay up in our room because every second of everyday, if allowed, the cat would literally be hanging off of the cage bars. i was terrified that one day he would accidentally get the cage open and get to raptor, not to mention it cannot be good for a bird to be in such a stressful situation like that. so needless to say raptor did well for the first little bit here, but after awhile, he started to get really stressed and lonely. our house has 5 people in it, and he could always hear us out and about doing our daily activities, and suddenly he wasn't a part of them.

    one day, after raptor had taken a particularly vigorous shower with me, i noticed that he had a few wounds on his back. i thought "hmmm, that's not good, maybe he just had a few itchy feathers that didn't break through the skin correctly." so i started rinsing his back off with a syringe of warm sea salt mixture, and applying aloe vera gel from the health food store to soothe the skin. he was eating, drinking and pooping like normal, but as time went on, the wounds got bigger and redder, and he got less and less perky. i weighed him with the scale i use for my baby snakes, and he had lost a lot of weight. almost 10 grams. i could see his eyes werenít bright anymore, and he was just generally looking lowly and droopy. he began sitting on the bottom of his cage, and i knew something was very, very wrong. i was so confused and shocked at the wounds on his back, but now it all makes sense. i called around to every vet in town asking if they knew anything about birds, and none of them did, but they said he was probably fine as long as his eating and drinking habits were still the same. but i still knew in my heart that he needed medical attention asap. so, i called around, and found an avian vet *sort of* in my area. i took the day off work and had a friend take me and my bird down there. and thank god i got him there when i did, because the vet took one look at him, and told me that he had been self-mutilating, and nearly killed himself with it. this upset me to no end, as i thought maybe he had a case of mites or something (though i seriously doubted it, because i have had mites with my budgies before when i had a rescue). i thougt raptor was gonna get some special cream and weíd be on our way, but she told me that he needed intense medical care, blood tests, the whole works, and that he would need to stay with them for awhile. i immediately burst out crying, feeling like this was all my fault. also i burst out crying because i initially was expecting to pay about $200, but the bill was much, much higher than that. she showed me the estimateÖ$700 dollars. i knew i would do anything it took to help my poor little raptor. the $700 included his hospital care while he was there, blood panel, x-rays, wound culturing, wound cleansing, anti-biotics, omega 3-6-9 with aspirin, avisoother cream, applying a collar, liver testing, etc etc. i walked out of the vet clinic without my best friend, trying to hard not to cry my eyes out while walking down one of the main streets of vancouver.

    the next few days were phone call updates, me being absolutely worried sick, and crying my eyes out in my boyfriend arms, completely convinced that this was all my fault, and if i hadnít have moved, everything would have been perfect. though now i know that i could not possibly have foreseen any of this, but i still feel completely awful, because itís true, if i still lived with my mom, he would have been okay.

    almost a week after taking raptor there, i went down to get him from the vet clinic, and he did look a lot better. his eyes were happier, his wounds seemed to be healing well, and we were sent on our way with some amoxi-clav, fluconazole, and omegas. and oh boy, getting his medicine straight took a few days to get the hang of which ones to give at which time of day. but iím proud to say we never missed a dose! he most definitely perked up!! he was acting like my little rapty again! and the scabs had healed well, turned yellow, crusted over, and fell off leaving fleshy pink skin underneath. he wasnít allowed to fly for the first week and a half of being home, because the vet was concerned that he would tear open the wounds under his wings. he was in a hospital cage, and was not allowed out for almost a week  it drove me nuts to see him so anxious to get out, but i had to follow the vets advice. he was also put on an all-seed/millet/pasta diet to try and add some extra weight. a bit later, i took him in for another checkup, and she said his wounds were looking wonderful, and she was 100% pleased with his he was doing. i was allowed to take his collar off for supervised preening time, and his course of anti-biotics was done. let me tell you, those omegas made him stink to high heaven!! it also didnít help that he hadnít been able to preen his back for near 3 weeks, and the avisoother ointment had built up on his feathers. so he started getting regular showers, and regular preening time without his collar.

    he had started talking/masturbating/whistling and following feet (his ďgirlfriendsĒ) around again. but then again after about a week of stopping his anti-biotics, he seemed to go back downhill. so i called the vet back, made yet another appointment, and took him in for another round of anti-biotics, and another blood test. as it turned out he definitely had a blood infection when i first brought him in, and a staph infection to boot.

    so we were sent home with another 10-day course of amoxi, and another 14 day course of fluconazole. he is still wearing his collar, and i was told to make his collar about another 2mm around, and apply avisoother again, because there is still 1 or 2 teenie weenie little scabby bits on his back. iím not sure if heís picking again (as in self-mutilation) or if this is just a result of him preening after so long of not being able to. the vet said she thinks he is going at it again, but hopes he isnít. but better safe than sorry! he has since been off the omegas, and is now eating a high seed/millet diet, lots of noodles coated in probiotic/acidophallus powder, roudybush rice diet, and harrisonís pellets. he has went from 82 grams at his worst, back up to 90 grams. a very good sign! i got him a zoomed avisun uvb 5.0 light bulb (i believe thatís full spectrum) and itís supposed to help with feather picking/mutilation. now iím just waiting for the fixture that the bulb goes in to arrive. i had to clip his wings unfortunately, after almost 4 years of him being flighted, but it was utterly impossible to capture him and give him his medicine when he could fully fly. heís kind of miffed about that, but doesnít seem to mind too too much. the roommate with the cat has since moved out, and his cage has been moved into the front living room, which i also think is making a huge difference because thereís always someone around for him to chirp at.

    he is beside me right now, pushing my hand away from the keyboard, and demanding scratchies! his amoxi-clav stops today, and the fluconazole in 4 more days. my vet said to prepare myself for long-term use of the collar, and that his self-mutilating behaviour may be a permanent thing. but i really, really hope that she is wrong, i just want my little rapty back!!

    i am absolutely broke now, and my boyfriend thinks i am completely out of my mind for spending so much money on raptor (tallying over $1000 now, amazing how a free bird can turn into a very, very expensive bird), but he is a very young cockatiel (only about 4 years old) and i love him more than anything! he is my favourite birdie ever, and i just want whatís best for him, even if it means not being able to do many things that i want to do. i get to stay home and hang out with raptor instead of going out on weekends with my friends.

    iím sorry if i jump around a lot, and iím sorry that i subjected all of you to this grand novel, but i just know you guys will be the ones to empathize with me the most, as you know how deep love for our feathered friends can go!!

    so, can everyone pretty, pretty please cross their fingers for me, and hope that he makes a full recovery? also, if you have any comments or information about feather picking/self-mutiliation that you would like to share, please do! or anyone with similar experiences, iíd like to know how you got through it. also does anybody else use full-spectrum lighting with their birds, and do you notice a difference? thanks again everybody, this must be the longest post in the history of tailfeathers!!

  2. #2
    Egg's Cracking... tizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Raptor's story: a heartbreaking story, but still praying for a happy ending!

    also, to add to this, my Avian Vet has been MAGNIFICENT, always calling me back when i had questions or concerns, and helping me through this all. her name is Dr. Anne MacDonald, and she works at Night Owl BIrd Hospital in Vancouver, BC. if anyone is in the area, she is THE ONE to see, i can't be more pleased with her!!

  3. #3
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    Re: Raptor's story: a heartbreaking story, but still praying for a happy ending!

    You and Raptor sure have been through it. I'm sure hoping things will only be better for ya'll from here. I know just being in the living room will probably make a big difference. Keep us posted!!!!

    Cockatiels are like potatoe chips....it's hard to have just one!

  4. #4
    Foraging Mad Moulting Mythara's Avatar
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    Re: Raptor's story: a heartbreaking story, but still praying for a happy ending!

    Aww, poor Raptor's been through a lot. I hope you two have a long life together. =)

    Feathers and Forage - New Post - 08/02/10 - Cat balls and Corn Cobs

  5. #5
    Tailfeather boomer girl's Avatar
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    Re: Raptor's story: a heartbreaking story, but still praying for a happy ending!

    Your are amazing to do all of this for your Raptor and to me its not about the money but for the love that you pay such a high price when they get sick. My boomer was sick for a very long time and we spent so much money on him that I dont even want to say but no matter what we just did it because we loved them. I think that having you there for Raptor and helping him through all of this is so special because to me this is what we are suppose to do for our little birds. Raptor is one lucky little bird that he found his way to you and no matter what happens through all his up and downs you will never look back at the money you spent on him, instead you will just look at all that wonderfull love Raptor gave to you and he will know he was loved too. This is what life is about, to be loved and to give it right back to them. Kiss little Raptor for me and hugs to you for being there for him.
    Fly Free Boomer, we will forever love you.

  6. #6
    Egg's Cracking... tizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Raptor's story: a heartbreaking story, but still praying for a happy ending!

    thanks so much everyone! it means a lot to have all of you who really do understand what we're going through! *hugs!* i will definitely update with Raptor's progress. and here are some pictures of the little cutie pie:




  7. #7
    Queen of her Flock Parent Sun_angel00's Avatar
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    Re: Raptor's story: a heartbreaking story, but still praying for a happy ending!

    He looks so good!! I hope he recovers well. Staph infections are very serious.
    "I will lend to you, a Bird", God said, "and teach you all you have to do. And when I call him back to heaven, you will know he loved you too."

  8. #8
    Hatched! Blue Baby's Avatar
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    Re: Raptor's story: a heartbreaking story, but still praying for a happy ending!

    He does look so well !!!! They are such a huge part of our lives and only fellow bird lovers can understand us !!!!

    Cockatiels are like potatoe chips....it's hard to have just one!

  9. #9
    Egg's Cracking... tizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Raptor's story: a heartbreaking story, but still praying for a happy ending!

    well actually those are old pictures, i think he would be a little humiliated if i posted a picture of him in his collar on the internet! but thanks guys, he is definitely looking a million times better than he was!

  10. #10
    Chick srtiels's Avatar
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    Re: Raptor's story: a heartbreaking story, but still praying for a happy ending!

    Hi...he is quite the handsome fella

    One other thought, that you might want to ask your vet about is when she did all those tests did she also check for Giardia? From your description that may 'possibly' be the cause.

    Raptor is in my thoughts...

    Susanne

  11. #11
    Tailfeather boomer girl's Avatar
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    Re: Raptor's story: a heartbreaking story, but still praying for a happy ending!

    Or even Avian Gastric yeast (AGY) or as it was called before Megabacteria because sometimes this causes them to itch and pluck too. Boomer had AGY and it took the vet over a year to find it because it was hiding so well way down in his belly, so did another lovie and budgie. The fluconazole that you gave to him would have helped the yeast to stop growing in there but unless you treated him for it least a month on it I dont think it would kill the yeast in there, well it least it didnt Boomers yeast. Do you know why the vet gave you the fluconazole (diflucan)? Did they do this because they might of thought it was some kind of yeast in there but were not able to see it. It shows up in there poop and in there crop but not always because like I said boomers went for a year before his vet found it in boomer and if she wasnt also the avian lab specialist she may not have even saw it in his poop. Look it up AGY and see if some of Raptors symptoms and maybe see why they gave him the fluconazole, I think this is really for yeast but I am not positive.
    Fly Free Boomer, we will forever love you.

  12. #12
    Egg's Cracking... tizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Raptor's story: a heartbreaking story, but still praying for a happy ending!

    thanks guys for all the info, the vet is closed today except for emergencies, but i will call tomorrow and ask a few questions regarding giardia, as i have now read some of the symptoms and it seems possible that he may have it, though i really do think the whole being left alone all the time is what did it.

    i believe he is being treated with fluconazole (diflucan) as an anti-yeast, because he is also on amoxi-clav, another anti-biotic, and anti-biotics in general are known for giving yeast infections. i know that every time i have to go on an anti-biotic, i HAVE to have a dose of fluconazole, or i'm guaranteed to get a yeast infection. too much information? sorry. but thanks again guys, i will call the vet tomorrow and inquire about giardia.

  13. #13
    Egg's Cracking... HappyFlappy's Avatar
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    Re: Raptor's story: a heartbreaking story, but still praying for a happy ending!

    Good luck @ the vet, I hope you can continue to get him squared away and healthy!

    PS - He's a cutie

  14. #14
    Egg's Cracking... tizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Raptor's story: a heartbreaking story, but still praying for a happy ending!

    okay so today i parted his feathers again and...there is a red spot where he has clearly been picking

    i guess it's back to the avi-soothe ointment, and no "collar off" time. this is SO frustrating! i don't know WHY he's doing it! everytime i have to reapply cream it totally messes up his feathers, not to mention he has a teeny weenie sore on his neck from the collar, so i was hoping i was gonna be able to take it off soon. i'm so upset

  15. #15
    Tailfeather di_dee1's Avatar
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    Re: Raptor's story: a heartbreaking story, but still praying for a happy ending!

    I have cats too that are inside/outside. I used to hang Angel's cage from a hook in the roof so she was able to be with us even when the cats were inside and to my mind anyway a bit safer from them.
    I am soo sorry that you and raptor are going through these issues. Our birds are worth a million dollars to us but not to people who have no idea the joys of bird ownership.

  16. #16
    Birdlady Moulting Limpyduckling's Avatar
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    Re: Raptor's story: a heartbreaking story, but still praying for a happy ending!

    so is you little fella ok now

  17. #17
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    Re: Raptor's story: a heartbreaking story, but still praying for a happy ending!

    Have you tried foraging with him? My tiels forage for all their food and they love it, and it keeps them occupied all day. Maybe it would help with Raptor? If you look at my blog (link's in my sig) it has all the things I'm doing with my six birds. =)

    Feathers and Forage - New Post - 08/02/10 - Cat balls and Corn Cobs

  18. #18
    Birdlady Moulting Limpyduckling's Avatar
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    Re: Raptor's story: a heartbreaking story, but still praying for a happy ending!

    did he have a happy ending

  19. #19
    Egg's Cracking... tizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Raptor's story: a heartbreaking story, but still praying for a happy ending!

    well, he has been off his anti-biotics for about 9 days, and he still seems to be perky as normal!! also, i have been taking his collar off for 10 or so minute intervals daily, and no new raw spots have come up, his feathers are looking less greasy because he's been allowed to preen more, and he's been rubbing his rump on everything. his eyes are bright and it really seems like he's finally feeling healthy again. i am so happy! he's going in for one more checkup at the end of june. so yes, so far it does seem to be a happy ending, for now that is i will definitely keep updating!

  20. #20
    Egg's Cracking... tizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Raptor's story: a heartbreaking story, but still praying for a happy ending!

    a Raptor update:

    not a good one, unfortunately. a little while ago i made his cone about 1mm wider. he doesn't go for his back anymore, but now he's started chewing the top underside of his wings. they are bare of feathers, and there is a bit of blood caked around it. i found blood around the rim of his cone today

    i got some grizzly salmon oil for cats, and gave raptor a bit with a syringe. i'm going to keep doing this, hopefully it's good for his skin.

    i've also switched him from the Harrison's to 100% Roudybush Rice diet. don't think this will do anything, but it's worth a try. i will give him solely rice diet, and other table foods for about a week or two and see if anything's changed.

    i have put "bitter apple" on the bare, bleedy parts of his wings , hoping this will help deter him, and break his "habit" which i firmly believe is what it is.

    i think this is simply just a case of starting to self-mutilate due to lack of attention (explained in my first post), and once the problem was addressed and corrected, he continued. i think this is just a habit that he's going to have forever.

    i have ordered a full-spectrum bulb, as the other one got broken when i moved. i didn't use it long enough to see weather or not it had any benefit. i got this lite here:

    http://www.parrot-and-conure-world.c...-spectrum.html

    and am planning on using a dome clamp lamp designed for reptiles, and then probably just going to hang it from the roof.

    i also stumbled upon this:

    King's Pluck No More

    http://www.kingscages.com/pluck-no-more.aspx

    has anybody used this? i ordered it, because i think there's no harm in trying, right? i am going to post a separate thread asking for reviews of this product.

    i have also heard of some birds being treated with haloperidol, an anti-psychotic.

    if this "pluck no more" doesn't do anything, and the full-spectrum doesn't help, i will be visiting the vet once more. has anybody, or do any of you know of someone on the forum whose bird has been treated with haloperidol? i suppose i'll post a separate thread about that, too.

    i'm pretty much at my wits end, here. i feel so bad for my poor little Rapty. i have come to accept that he might be a coney-bird for the remainder of his life, but now the cone isn't even working anymore. i leave it on to prevent him from picking his back again, because who knows when he's going to go back to it.

    anyways, this is just a little update. wish me and my little guy some luck

  21. #21
    Cream of Cockatiel Tailfeather sammit's Avatar
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    Re: Raptor's story: a heartbreaking story, but still praying for a happy ending!

    i hope you figure it out.. that sounds so stressful for the both of you. im sorry i cant be of any help, ive never had a bird that plucks before..


    "im now under the impression that sarcasm is the body's natural defence against stupid" - sam

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  22. #22
    Egg's Cracking... tizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Raptor's story: a heartbreaking story, but still praying for a happy ending!

    thanks sammit!

  23. #23
    Egg's Cracking... tizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Raptor's story: a heartbreaking story, but still praying for a happy ending!

    would it be wise to just leave raptor's collar off? it's not really preventing him from mutilating himself anyways.

    well, it is, but only in one spot. now he's just moved onto something more accessible; his wings. i've sprayed him down with some aloe vera gel mixed with water, and he had a shower with me and then sat by the fireplace and dried off.

    it's nearly bedtime and i'm not sure if i should put the cone on, or leave it off. it seems to just create frustration and as soon as it comes off he picks even harder. but when it's been off for an hour or two he doesn't go at it as crazily.

    what do you think, stop collaring him? or keep up with it?

  24. #24
    Chick srtiels's Avatar
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    Re: Raptor's story: a heartbreaking story, but still praying for a happy ending!

    The antibiotics and antifungals would have just covered secondary problems. The primary cause has dtill not been addressed, and antibiotics are not going to get rid of the cause. He sounds like he has giardia. Did the vet check for that?
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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  25. #25
    Egg's Cracking... tizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Raptor's story: a heartbreaking story, but still praying for a happy ending!

    The primary cause was addressed long ago, and I think this is just a lingering habit from when he was feeling like he had a lack of attention. I'm not 100% sure about being tested for giardia but like I said a few posts ago, I'm calling the vet on tuesday. I know she did a whole blood panel, tested his liver, did an x-ray, and various other things, all totaling over $700 JUST in the first visit! So I imagine the giardia test was done.

    Also, I really don't think it's a "medical/physical" issue. This stems from when his cage was in mine and my boyfriends room, and he didn't get much chance to come out. I'm not sure if you read the whole post
    but it's all explained in the first post.

    Thanls

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