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  1. #1
    Egg's Cracking... Celamin's Avatar
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    Unhappy Help me pick the lesser of two evils here...

    To the Point:
    I have a young budgie named Benny with some manner of respiratory problem (he sounds congested and occasionally clicks). I did take him to a vet, but of course he wouldn't make all of those awful congested noises in front of the vet (and Benny isn't sick enough to exhibit the universal "sick bird" symptoms) so all the vet could really do was give me some practical advice; namely, to use a heat lamp.

    That was days ago. I've been using a lamp during the day (it's the kind we use to raise baby chickens) and wasn't sure if it was doing any good because, of course, the budgies are afraid of it. But today I turned off the lamp for a few hours, as a test I guess?... and he sounded noticeably worse. I turned it back on and within twenty minutes he's acting better.

    But now I'm afraid to turn it off for the night. Which is worse, to let him get cold, or to keep him (and probably all the other birds in the room) awake all night with the light on? I realize what would be best is probably special light bulb designed for this purpose (they make those, right??) but it might be several days before I have the opportunity to go out and find something like that.

    What should I do for now? How bad is 24-hour overhead fake sunshine? A lack of sleep has to be bad for the immune system.
    And, what about a humidifier? I was using one because it's winter and dry, but Benny's noises are very wet-sounding, so.. I dunno. (If it's Aspergillosis, wouldn't humidity be a bad thing?)

    ...
    Also,
    if there's anyone here who remembers me from, oh 5 years ago? (I'll be shocked if anyone actually does)... HI! I'll try and be more loyal/sociable this time.

  2. #2
    Administrator Tailfeather Community Administrator
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    Re: Help me pick the lesser of two evils here...

    You can make a hospital cage setup with a heat pad if you have one, would prevent the light keeping him up. If he has a respiratory infection the vet should be able to do a culture test and tell... was it an avian vet? Odd they wouldn't test him. Hope your baby gets better.

  3. #3
    Egg's Cracking... Celamin's Avatar
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    Re: Help me pick the lesser of two evils here...

    Heating pad is a good idea; we don't have one, but when I think about how many times we've taken a sick chicken into the house... yeah. Hmmm.
    Actually, though, I don't want to go all "hospital cage" just yet; he's still acting like a happy bird and I don't want to stress him out more than necessary.

    The vet did look in his mouth. He said usually when birds have respiratory problems their mouths are wet; Benny's apparently was dry. I don't think there was anything for them to test. Unless... do they test poop? I'm thinking they only do that for parasites... and I'm guessing they don't do blood tests on budgies because they're too tiny to spare enough blood for most tests.
    But those are just my wild speculations.
    I think he was an avian vet. I don't know how to really confirm that. The place is a clinic with several veterinarians. We went there because they're the only place within reasonable driving distance that was willing to treat one of our chickens a couple years back.

  4. #4
    Administrator Tailfeather Community Administrator
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    Re: Help me pick the lesser of two evils here...

    They can do swabs of the mouth, gram stains and any discharges that are presented. Before birds start showing clinical symptoms they are usually very sick, so early diagnosis is key so they can treat. Certain bacteria will show up in the droppings. I am not sure if they do blood work on budgies. But I find it odd the vet didn't discuss any possible tests and/or treatment given how serious respiratory infections are in birds.

    A certified avian vet has a certification in avian/exotics care, there is a list but I am on my tablet so don't have easy access Atm. A lot of regular gets will see birds but don't have training in avians. Certified avian vets are rare though, I use an exotics vet that knows about birds. If there is a bird club, rescue or breeders in the area they could recommend someone. A lot of times you need to travel a ways, mine is an hours drive.

  5. #5
    Egg's Cracking... Celamin's Avatar
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    Re: Help me pick the lesser of two evils here...

    Quote Originally Posted by Marrie View Post
    They can do swabs of the mouth, gram stains and any discharges that are presented. Before birds start showing clinical symptoms they are usually very sick, so early diagnosis is key so they can treat. Certain bacteria will show up in the droppings. I am not sure if they do blood work on budgies. But I find it odd the vet didn't discuss any possible tests and/or treatment given how serious respiratory infections are in birds.
    Y'know, that's what I had thought before seeing the vet...
    I figured he didn't offer tests because Benny wasn't showing ANY symptoms during the exam.
    But I know another place I can try; it's more expensive and in a city so I suspect they were a real avian vet or similar. I'll specifically ask what kinds of tests they can do on a budgie.
    And by chance, I'm going somewhere today where there's a lady who breeds Bourkes; I'll ask her about an avian vet too, though I suspect anything she suggests will be in Boston x_x

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    Administrator Tailfeather Community Administrator
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    Re: Help me pick the lesser of two evils here...

    How is he doing?

  7. #7
    Egg's Cracking... Celamin's Avatar
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    Re: Help me pick the lesser of two evils here...

    thanks for your concern
    Benny has been more lively, cheerful and vocal in the past few week or so, but I still hear those sounds every so often. I should clarify that he hasn't acted AT ALL like a sick bird through any of this, it's just the sounds make me cringe, like when you hear a little kid with a really nasty-sounding stuffy nose...

    and actually, it's weird but the symptoms seem to have a schedule: sounds worst early in the morning, then sounds totally normal for a couple of hours, then is sort of off-and-on throughout the afternoon. It kind of makes me think of my own seasonal allergies... Birds don't have those, do they??

    anyway, though, I did find an avian vet who makes house calls and I'm currently playing phone tag. Hoping to schedule an appointment. Probably will be expensive, but I'm going to try not to care, and just hope I don't have car trouble or need to replace my computer in the next few months

  8. #8
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    Re: Help me pick the lesser of two evils here...

    Birds can have allergies. What sort of bedding do you use in the cage? Some of the commercial beddings can cause issues and when they breath them in over night they will sound horrible in the morning. Corn cob and anything wood are two of the worst. Do you have any sort of chemical scents around? Candles, air freshener, perfume, cleaners? Those can also cause birds some respiratory issues.

    Hope you find someone who can take a look at him and run some tests. Birds hardly ever act sick until they are almost beyond help, it is a prey instinct to try to act normal as long as they can, so it's hard to tell when they are really sick or not.

  9. #9
    Egg's Cracking... Celamin's Avatar
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    Re: Help me pick the lesser of two evils here...

    I've been using newspaper, though I just ran out a few days ago so now it's waxed paper. I'm trying that because Drs.Foster & Smith sells cage liners that are apparently made from waxed paper. But is that a bad idea? It's certainly less absorbent than newspaper, but it's easier to monitor droppings.

    And we're pretty careful with scents here. My mom has very sensitive asthma and allergies; pretty much everything that bothers a bird will do the same to my mom. Smoke, chocolate, coffee, garlic, self-cleaning ovens, most types of wood, almost anything that's scented... and basically any household cleaners.

  10. #10
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    Re: Help me pick the lesser of two evils here...

    Waxed paper is fine, it is recommended if you think the droppings are off colored but can't be sure since it absorbs into newspaper. Only things that will absorb and grow bacteria are a problem, like corn cob, which is very bad about growing Aspergillosis when it gets wet from bird droppings. Sounds like his environment is safe then, I am the same way about fumes, they bother me a lot.

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