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Thread: Sick Cockatiel - Please, Any Help/Advice Would Be Very Much Appreciated.

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    Exclamation Sick Cockatiel - Please, Any Help/Advice Would Be Very Much Appreciated.

    Hi, i'm new to the forum - i've been searching for Cockatiel information etc online for a while now, had no idea there was a dedicated forum here. Just so unfortunate I have only found it now, under such unhappy circumstances with my bird so sick...

    Apologies for the long post - Any help/advice anyone can offer would be very much appreciated, and, well... I guess just some support from others who know what its like to care so much for a little grey bundle of feathers...

    I have a 21yr old house Cockatiel (Mackie), who is a very much loved family pet, though most bonded with me as his primary carer. He's 'silly tame', and loves to be stroked and played with, though has never particularly enjoyed being picked up or sat on the hand for some reason. I noticed a couple of weeks ago that his normal screeching call sounded a little different than usual, slightly 'restricted' and more abrupt, but I thought little of it. I then started to notice over the next couple of days, that his breathing appeared to have become a little laboured and at a slightly faster rate than before - this was particularly apparent when he flew around the room and then landed, when he appeared to be far more out of breath than he ever did before, with his breathing almost becoming kind of a rapid 'wheezing'.

    He seemed generally fine in himself at first apart from that, but he then started to quickly deterioate toward the end of last week. He started to become a little more lethargic than usual, and his breathing issue was becoming worse - it sounded almost like he had some kind of 'congestion' in his chest, as if with a human cough or something. Listening very closely to his breathing, I could hear a very faint kind of 'crackling' sound. He was also letting out an occasional soft cough/sneeze kind of sound.

    I was reluctant to disturb him unneccesarily, but obviously wanted an expert intervention. I was mainly loath to have to transport him anywhere, as he hates to be moved - he's only actually left the room he lives in on a handful of occasions since i've had him (he lives in the living room, and only goes in his cage to eat/sleep). I eventually managed to find an Avian Vet in the vicinity (he'd never had cause to see a Vet before, always been very healthy), and I managed to get him there to get examined.

    The Vet handled him and checked him out manually (didn't do any blood/droppings tests), and said he thought it to be some kind of respiratory issue. He injected him with a dose of Baytril, and gave me a course of the drug to take away and put in his water. I was concerned that he wouldn't drink enough to get it into his system (he can always tell when there is something other than 'pure' water in his bowl), and I think that was definitely the case. He got steadily worse in condition, until Monday afternoon when I came home from work to find him huddled in the corner breathing very heavily. I rang the Vet obviously concerned, and he then conceded it may be better to administer the Baytril directly to the beak as a last resort, if he wasn't getting it in.

    I slept on the sofa down in the living room where he stays that night, and have stayed in the room with him ever since (i've not left the house since Monday, nor even left him alone longer than for a toilet break). His condition got really bad Tuesday, so much so that I eventually sat him on a pillow and huddled him up close to my face for him to sleep with some warmth. He stayed like this pretty much all day Tuesday, and I really did think that was it... I would never 'give up' on him, but things just looked so bleak. I'd even said my Goodbyes... I was an absolute emotional wreck - a fully grown man, works in a Gym, teaches KickBoxing... and there I was crying like a child. Despite my atheist leanings, I even said a prayer for the first time since I was 10yrs old...

    By some miracle, his condition stabilised Wednesday... I really don't want to get my hopes up, but he has got ever so slightly better since that dark Tuesday afternoon. He has started moving around a little again now, eating and drinking a little more, coming to get his head scratched, and even coming down onto the table to share dinner as he always loved to do - though he was too week to fly back to his cage, and had to be carried back.

    I don't really know what to expect now. As I say, i'm loath to get my hopes up as I hear birds can be prone to sudden relapses, but he certainly seems a little better... His appetite has dropped off a little again though, and his breathing is still at a much faster rate than usual - though without so much of the coughing/sneezing he was doing before. He's sat up in his cage now (I think waiting for me to finish typing so he can go to bed!), and he's making that little grinding noise with his beak he always used to do when he was sleepy/content, so that must be a good sign, right...?

    I guess i'm just asking if anyone can give some indication of the timeframe if he might start to recover... Do Cockatiels tend to have 'long-term' illnesses?
    Is the fact his breathing is still so rapid a key sign, or should I take some reassurance from the fact other symptoms have eased?
    The Vet has suggested taking Baytril for a further 3 weeks - is this a normal medication duration?
    Is one drop of Baytril in the beak twice daily sufficient? The Vet has been a little bit vague with the dosage (as he originally had me putting it in the drinking water), I will ring him again to get further clarification anyway, just interested in other peoples experience.

    Please; any help, advice, or just words of support anyone can offer would be very gratefully received.

    Thank You for reading, apologies again for the length.

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    Re: Sick Cockatiel - Please, Any Help/Advice Would Be Very Much Appreciated.

    I am so sorry Mackie is this sick but I do think he may be getting better. I never dealt with any kind of respiratory troubles but have read lots of posts here all about them and it does sound like the right medicine for the right thing to me but I do not know the dosage at all to give him but others here will and I think you do need to give him the meds for 3 weeks because it does take that long for medicines to fight it and kill the thing inside him. Baytril made my bird sick and he threw up so the medicine could be making Mackie not feel good enough to make him not want to eat much. Spray Millet is easy to digest and since most birds really love it most will eat it even if they are feeling sick inside, if you dont have any I suggest getting some for him. If Mackie seems better and is acting better I think he is getting better, beak grinding is a GREAT sign too.

    Boomer was sick for over 2 years and emotionally I cant think of a worse thing then having a very much loved bird be sick. It broke my heart to see boomer sick just like it is breaking yours and it is OK to cry, pray and sometimes even scream because whatever helps you get through it is always good. I am happy your found this site because all of us love our birds and we do feel your pain. Birds are so special and to see them sick would bring anyone to tears, I truly am sorry for your pain and hope Mackie will keep on getting better.
    Fly Free Boomer, we will forever love you.

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    Re: Sick Cockatiel - Please, Any Help/Advice Would Be Very Much Appreciated.

    Get your bird to a vet asap. I used to try to figure out what my birds problems were, and I never really did cure them, just was hoping could find an answer. I know vets are pricey, but they are able to prescribe drugs to help your bird that you can't get without them.Also, the bird is getting up in age. Yes, is possible to help it enough to get a few more years from your pet bird. Goog Luck,

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    Re: Sick Cockatiel - Please, Any Help/Advice Would Be Very Much Appreciated.

    Bill, he already took him to a vet.

    I am glad he seems to be feeling a little better. Birds can have long term illnesses, but usually are pretty quick to heal (like most "wild" things), they also hide illness very well. I hope he makes a full recovery and you two have more years together, don't feel bad about asking your vet a million questions about how to give him the meds, how much etc. It sounds like you want the best for your bird and the vet should understand that.

    Keep us updated please, we all love our birds here so no one will ever think it silly that you would cry over your baby being sick. They are our children in many ways.

    3 weeks doesn't sound wrong, the medicine needs time to work to flush out the infection or whatever is causing the problem. And it could be his weakness is due to the medicine more than the illness, I know when I am on antibiotics I don't do anything but lay in bed wanting to throw up any food I look at, so I can imagine how a bird feels trying to fly while on medicine that makes them sick.

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    Re: Sick Cockatiel - Please, Any Help/Advice Would Be Very Much Appreciated.

    Thanks everyone for the replies. It really does mean a lot to know i'm not the only one that is/has experienced the emotions that go with a sick bird... This really has been one of the hardest weeks of my life.

    Went to the Vet this morning to pick up some more Baytril, and confirmed the dosage with him - turns out I've been giving him way too much. Have reverted to the approriate dosage now, so hopefully that will go some way to easing any residual symptoms possibly linked to the meds.

    He's still very weak today, sleeping mainly, and still not really eating. He's actually also just come out of his cage to sit on his exterior perch which he hasn't done for a while, so hopefully thats a positive. I'm making sure i'm in the room with him all day to keep an eye on him, and then getting my mum to 'cover' when I have to pop out for Vets/Food/WC!

    Still hoping, still praying. Ultimately, I just want him to be comfortable and at ease. Couldn't bear to see him in any pain. Your kind thoughts and wishes are very much appreciated.

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    Re: Sick Cockatiel - Please, Any Help/Advice Would Be Very Much Appreciated.

    Oh, and he certainly seems to be getting some strength back in his beak... I've been quite able to hold him and manipulate his beak open for his meds last few days where he's been so weak. Got him set for todays dose though, put my finger into his beak to coax it open, and *snap* - he sunk into me like a piranha! Was all I could do to not yelp in shock! Took a few seconds to work my finger free, he was really hanging on... First time he's ever drawn blood with a bite. As painful as my finger is now, i'm taking this as a good sign! :-)

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    Re: Sick Cockatiel - Please, Any Help/Advice Would Be Very Much Appreciated.

    Baytril is some nasty tasting stuff and if I were a bird I would bite hard as well to try not to get that stuff in my beak! Yes, I tasted it just like I did with all of boomers medicines because I wanted to know exactly what I was forcing him to drink. Baytril is one of the worse tasting ones he took. I used to give boomer his medicine and then drop a tiny bit of water in his beak to help wash it down and it did seem to keep him from shaking his head all around trying to get the nasty taste out of there.

    I am happy you talked to the vet and got the right dose now, this may help him get his appetite back and eat more. Hopefully he will be getting better with each day now. Mackie is a lucky bird to have a parront like you taking care of him all his years. Give him some lovings from all of us here and know we are here for you now so you dont have to alone anymore with your worry and pain.
    Fly Free Boomer, we will forever love you.

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    Re: Sick Cockatiel - Please, Any Help/Advice Would Be Very Much Appreciated.

    I'm very sorry to hear about Mackie and no you're not alone in crying over a little feathered creature. I've done my share of crying and I think the hardest thing is that all of us would do anything on the face of the earth to spare our birds any pain, discomfort or illness. I'll say a little prayer for both of you and keep you in my thoughts.

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    Re: Sick Cockatiel - Please, Any Help/Advice Would Be Very Much Appreciated.

    Thanks again to everyone that has taken the time to read/reply. Mackie is still very sick, still very quiet and sleepy the whole time. His appetite and fluid intake have dropped right off, i'm considering syringing some food into his beak - has anyone got any suggesions as to nutritious, semi-soluble foods suitable for this?

    Most of his more obvious symptoms (coughing, sneezing, staying at the bottom of his cage etc) have receded now, which is the strange thing... I kind of started to hope he was getting better, but the fading of the symptoms has been replaced only with lethargy and sleep. One thing he is doing a lot is holding his beak wide open, and almost 'panting', like a dog on a hot day. Has anyone seen this in Cockatiels before? Any idea what it might mean?

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    Re: Sick Cockatiel - Please, Any Help/Advice Would Be Very Much Appreciated.

    Sorry it has been days since your last post... I think he needs to see a vet again because he may have something else going on in him. Boomer couldn't orally take Baytril because his stomach couldn't handle it after a couple of days on it so he needed to go to the vets to get shots of it when he needed it. Mackie hopefully is still OK and doing better because your post above just dont sound good at all.

    Sending you and him lots of get wells and so very sorry he is going through this.
    Fly Free Boomer, we will forever love you.

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    Re: Sick Cockatiel - Please, Any Help/Advice Would Be Very Much Appreciated.

    Thank you everyone again, for the kind thoughts. It means a lot to know that other people have felt this pain, and gone through this suffering.

    Mackie passed away in the night last night. I've barely left his side for the past week, and I even thought he was getting better... He was huddled into me so close, but starting to eat, starting to drink again... I dared to hope for a miracle. His body just wasn't strong enough though, and he's peaceful now... I need to take solace from that.
    I'm in absolute pieces, hurting like i've never hurt before. Any thoughts, any prayers, from anybody out there that knows this pain, would be so gratefully received right now. I have no idea how i'm going to cope, i'm broken inside. He's been my companion since a small child, he's grown up with me. He was everything to me.

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    Re: Sick Cockatiel - Please, Any Help/Advice Would Be Very Much Appreciated.

    Hi Gary - I know that pain well, having lost several old males and a couple of females over the last 30 or so years. I imagine it's similar to the grief one feels when losing a child. If you own your home, find a nice place in the yard to lay Mackie to rest. If you don't have a place, find a secluded spot in a nearby park. Two of mine are in a park nearby in a very "birdy" area, and I planted special native wildflowers, and I go visit often. For my apartment, photos of the birds and flowers commemorate them.

    It helps to remember that you gave him a very long and good life. He departed while close to you, and that's good. It takes time to come to terms with Mackie's passing - be good to yourself. My heart goes out to you.

    You might consider getting another tiel after awhile. They're like snowflakes, in that they're all alike, but no two are the same. Wishing you the best.

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    Re: Sick Cockatiel - Please, Any Help/Advice Would Be Very Much Appreciated.

    I am so sorry for your loss and was really hoping and praying he would make it through his illness. I agree with Linda, losing a very much loved bird is like losing a child almost. Birds are just so amazing and give us nothing but love and they are also just so devoted that when you lose them it breaks your heart and almost makes you feel like you will go insane because the pain of the loss is so raw and so painful. I still cry for boomer who died almost 2 years ago but I promise you the pain you feel now will be replaced with smiles and good thoughts, maybe not tomorrow and maybe not even in a month but someday thoughts of him will make you smile. There is a poem on this site that I have on my wall and it for some reason was my comfort after I lost boomer, one of the members here (thanks Cheryl!) sent it to me and it truly is my favorite poem about losing a loved bird, http://www.tailfeathersnetwork.com/c...Lend-Me-a-Bird I still get tears in my eyes when I read it and even if you dont want to know God or be comforted by God you can be comforted knowing that Mackie knew he was loved by you.

    I also found comfort in the days after boomer died in looking at his pictures, thru the tears of looking at them I did smile and so did the rest of my family. We had Boomer cremated and he is still here with me, in his bed box with his favorite toys inside next to his tiny urn. Some people might not like the idea of him sitting on a shelf but in hard times both me and my daughter will hold his urn and give him a great big hug and squeeze and for some reason we can feel his love right when we need it.

    I am sorry Gary and wished you didnt feel the pain your feeling now, it will get better but for now it is OK to cry and feel pain because you just lost someone very special to you.

    Fly free and high Mackie...
    Fly Free Boomer, we will forever love you.

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    Re: Sick Cockatiel - Please, Any Help/Advice Would Be Very Much Appreciated.

    I'm sorry Mackie didn't make it, we were all hoping he would pull through. He had the comfort of his best friend in the end and that is really the last gift we can give them. Keep your memories of how he was when he was healthy and remember you did everything you could.

    ((((hugs))))

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    Re: Sick Cockatiel - Please, Any Help/Advice Would Be Very Much Appreciated.

    I'm sorry I didn't see this post until just now. I'm so sorry that you lost Mackie, I was so hoping he'd make it. As hard as it is for you, you know that he knows he was loved and you cared for him more than anything on the face of the earth. I'm sending you a big hug and all my thoughts are with you.

    My Quaker, Kiwi, is buried in a sunny spot in the back garden under the bird bath where she'll always have the company of other birds.

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