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Thread: Help! Crippled feet / athritis , my vet says i should put her down (long text)

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    Brand New Egg Summer2's Avatar
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    Question Help! Crippled feet / athritis , my vet says i should put her down (long text)

    I really need your advice. My Cockatiel is a rescue bird. She's around 16 years old. I got her 6 years ago. She wasn't in a very good condition. And she was malnourished. So she's always been an extremely fussy eater. And I know how important it is for cockatiels to eat right. She had the parrot Fever 2 years ago but cured completely. A few months ago she got it again but she's ok then. Unfortunately this time she also had a problem with her kidney. She got antibiotics. The vet I used to go to didn't know too much about birds, but was very good otherwise. I live in the Highlands of Scotland where its very difficult to find a vet who knows about birds

    . The problem is she developed extremely bad arthritis (xray showed), and both feet are crippled. She's never been a very active bird, for example she never had interest in toys, she couldn't fly well either since part of her wing is missing. well ,she likes playing with zippers, and shredding up paper. anyway, she's obviously not able to perch anymore, almost at all

    . her perch is down on the bottom of the cage, with a towel underneath since one foot hangs always hangs off. and to give her back balance. she eats, she drinks, the vet said I should add abit of vinegar in her water and sprinkle cayenne pepper on top of her seeds. the vet also said she was obese & needs to lose weight.

    So yesterday I managed to get to a more specialised vet, who knows about birds. Unfortunately I somehow found him quite harsh. He said to me birds like that would have been dead in the wild already. He said this is not a bird that should keep on living since the quality of life isn't there anymore.
    She hadn't drank for 2 days and I mentioned that. And he said that's because she's giving up on life. (funnily enough , she's drinking again today!) I asked about the kidney. he said her organs don't matter because her feet are the main issue and that's just not worth living with anymore. I felt shocked..when I was paying he told my friend he didn't want me to spend more money on the bird anymore.


    sorry this text is so long. I need an opinion from people who also own a cockatiel. she's on metacam, she has bad days and Good days, I spend a lot of time with her, she eats, she drinks, but she can't clean herself anymore and no, she can't perch anymore , with one foot slightly.

    I feel sorry for her and I love her and don't want to lose her of course.I have fought a lot for and with her and I would like an opinion on what to do. and
    do you think the vet was too harsh?

    also, I have another question: Scotland is a damp country, and cockatiels are desert birds. would every cockatiel get ill here at one point or another? or is that just a question of a good immune system? (I have learned that a cockatiel needs to eat right otherwise they develop all sorts of issues. i have tried many ways to make her eat fresh things but not been successful)
    Last edited by Summer2; 02-27-2018 at 10:43 AM.

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    Tailfeather
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    Re: Help! Crippled feet / athritis , my vet says i should put her down (long text)

    Hi, and welcome to the community. First of all, I admire you completely for giving this bird great care and love for all the years, and if it were me, I would continue caring for her, and completely ignore that Vets recommendation. It is obvious to me, he should not be practicing medicine, and has absolutely no empathy or love for animals, has no heart at all to understand his clients that bring in their birds, and quite honestly, should be barred from practice, in my view.

    Special needs birds are very brave and courageous. Your little tiel seems to be able to live day by day, and your love is helping her to survive. I suggest you continue on with her as you always have.

    My suggestion is to not change her diet, and to not give her pellets. With her having kidney disease, pellets of any kind are going to be hard on her kidneys because they require lots and lots of drinking water. They also are known to cause neurological issues in birds. Your best diet to feed her will be seeds, and fresh veggies and raw apples or fruuts if she will eat them. Try making birdie bread for her. And also make a bird mash, or bird chop, with fresh veggies, raw ones, and raw fruits. Do a google search for .....birdy bread recipes, birdy mash recipes, and birdy chop recipes. Also, go to a website called Cockatiel Cottage. That website has a great volume of info about tiel care. And foods to feed her.

    Also, try feeding her some whole wheat toast topped with some bee honey, and a little cinnamon shaken over the honey. Both help human arthritis, and I have read here on the forum, of owners who feed them to their older birds who have arthritis.

    The dampness there will definitely play a role in her arthritis. I have it myself, and the cold, damp weather here sure does affect my bones.

    I also would suggest you go on line and search for....Avian vets....on line. There are qualified avian vets on line, that you may be able to find, to at least tell them about her.

    Personally, I do not think every cockatiel in Scotland would one day have this problem. More than likely, it is due to her history, and the care she had before you got her. The damage to her imnunity and health was done by previous owner or owners, and with her age of abiut 10, when you got her, in my view, that would not be able to be addressed, other than what you have done over the years. With no real history of her first 10 years of life, we just can not have the answer.


    You will never regret caring for her until the day she flies free to the Rainbow Bridge where all birds that have died gather. And when that does happen, you can have some special burial for her.

    I am sending you hugs, and scritches for your special tiel. We will welcome your posts and updates anytime.
    Last edited by maxollie; 02-27-2018 at 01:07 PM.

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    Tailfeather boomer girl's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Crippled feet / athritis , my vet says i should put her down (long text)

    I am really sorry to hear about your bird and also about how rude the vet was to you to say those things to you. My lovebird was a sick little boy before we finally had him put to sleep and his vet never spoke like that to me and she had to hand feed him for days when he got really sick. He had a strong will to live and it sounds so does your girl. My vet always told me I would know when the time was right to have Boomer put to sleep and as his family we were the only ones who would know when he was ready. The vet you went to has no heart or compassion and obviously does not love his birds or pets the way we do. If you look way down deep into your soul you will know when your girl is hurting too much and is losing her love for life and don't let this mean vet tell you anything different. There were times where I had to drip water drops onto Boomers beak so he could get water and hold his favorite foods in the palm of my hand so he could sit there and eat them. It is so very hard to see them sick like this and it really does mess with you mentally so take care of yourself along with taking care of her.

    I think having the perch way down is a great idea and keep the food dishes down there as well. At our vets office they actually put all the birds they take in for care and also for boarding in a 20 gallon fish tank. It has a nice soft towel on the bottom and a perch down there as well, really low so if they need to they can have one foot on the perch and one on the ground. They have the food and water dish down there as well and put a heating pad below it to keep them warm.

    I think genetics has a lot to do with how well they are and how old they get along with a good person to watch over them. I have known birds who lived a very long life eating just seeds and knew a few birds that died young and they were pellet eaters. I do not think pellets are the best thing in the world but do offer them to birds here because I think a variety of foods are best. Boomer loved to eat with us and he would try all of our good for him foods but he preferred his seed mix more then anything. My sister had a budgie who lived to be over 20 and he ate seed mixes all his life.

    My thoughts are with you and your sweet little girl.
    Fly Free Boomer, we will forever love you.

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    Brand New Egg Summer2's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Crippled feet / athritis , my vet says i should put her down (long text)

    Hello,

    This week has been quite draining so my response is a bit late. Sorry.

    first of all i am very thankful for your answers. It is nice to speak to knowledgeable people who own a bird as well and i read your answers many times.

    i just did a research on Birdie Mash and Bird Bread. I do not get Jiffy corn muffin mix in Scotland. I have to check what British substitue i can get.
    The Bird Bread sounds like a good idea because she loves bread (shes not allowed to but i know she does).
    2 days ago, she had a good day, she even ate a bit of boiled egg and cooked mashed vegetables. Something she would not normally so.
    I also showed her again how fun it is to play with the rainbow Bells she has in her cage. and she was interested.
    today i gave her feathers a little shower. she hasnt cleaned her tailfeathers in 2 weeks.

    it is true. i Noticed how strong her will is. Shes very tough, she surprises me again and again. she sits me with alot, on my jumper. i make sure she isnt bored. It makes me very sad when i see her just sitting on the perch, doing nothing.

    it is amazing how some birds got so old just with a one-sided Diet.

    I dont give her pellets. i dont know if you know the brand VITAKRAFT. I often buy things from them. I also bought XtraVital Vitamin Enriched Cockatiel Food.
    it costs 12 pounds for 1 kilo.

    How about vitamin drops in water? is that a good or bad thing?

    yeah. my cockatiel has usually one foot on the perch, one on the ground.

    i do not see a reason to have her put down at the moment. I know she is a bit frustrated she cannot clean herself the way she used to and cant move around much but maybe she gets used to it, as long as i provide her with intensive care.

    yes,indeed, it really drained me mentally this week. i feel bad the second i go out the house because then I cant watch her. But as you Say Boomer Girl, i have to make sure i am okay as well.

    i will later on do a research on Avian Vets online. I think i found a page once. i am sure you have to pay them?

    Boomergirl: Do you have another bird now after Boomer or isnt the time right yet?

    Maxollie: How about the Parrrot fever? We were told she got it it was because of our damp house in winter? (she had a fungus in her lungs and fought it twice! I had to administer her medicine twice a day with a syringe). We have a dehumidifier but her immune system has never been great.

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    Aperture Test Subject Teenager shiney mew's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Crippled feet / athritis , my vet says i should put her down (long text)

    If you need more encouragement regarding her ability to live with physical disabilities, well, look at this guy I had for over 10 years with his feet like this



    Your girl's a fighter too, and she's lucky to have you helping her along.

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    Tailfeather boomer girl's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Crippled feet / athritis , my vet says i should put her down (long text)

    Bless your sweet little Budgie Shiny Mew. Birds are such strong willed souls who just are able to adjust whatever they grow up with or get in life.

    I do not have a bird anymore but I do have friends and family with birds. I decided I wanted to enjoy my life without having any pets because since moving out of my parents house years ago I always had a pet and in a way they kept me from doing everything I want to do. I want to travel and see everything there is to see around here and since losing Boomer we have done that. I do have birds in my life though. My sister who is 20 minutes from my house has a Amazon and Cockatoo who I can visit with and dare hold them because I have been biten by both and they really hurt you. My daughter who lives almost next door to me has a Conure, Tikki who I see all the time. He has been staying at my house for over a week because our house is cozy warm and my daughters isn't and we have had cold storms here for weeks. He is sitting on my curtain rod cheeping and talking right now.

    I think your doing good for your bird and happy you are getting out and enjoying time alone. It is super hard but so needed to keep you sane. Walking in the door is always a little scary because there is always that dread that they might have died when you left them. I went through it for years and it is really so hard on us. You can make your own cornbread out of cornmeal and mix in the seeds and other things into it. I wouldn't add any sugar in it like some cornbread recipies say to use. I personally never used vitamin drops into the water because the vet said it was not necessary. Plus sometimes the birds will not drink the water because it has something in it.

    Was the fungus Aspergillus? There have been people here who's birds had it and thankfully you caught it in time and treated it and she got better. Some birds here were not so lucky and died from it. I havea heard of VITAKRAFT foods but not really sure how they are because we do not sell it here. If your bird eats it this is good because she needs food and most bird foods are good foods to feed them. I would look into bird safe herbs to add to her diet. We have something called herb salad here which I also found in the UK on this website, https://www.fabfinches.co.uk/product...ry-herb-salad/ It has all kinds of good for them herbs in it and by what people here said to me when I had Boomer the birds will eat what there bodies are lacking. It has all kinds of medicinal herbs in it so it is somewhat a self medicating thing to give them to eat.

    Sending you big hugs
    Fly Free Boomer, we will forever love you.

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    Brand New Egg Summer2's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Crippled feet / athritis , my vet says i should put her down (long text)

    Hey there
    Thank you for the picture with your budgie.
    Such a gorgeous budgie !✨
    Unfortunately, my cockatiel cannot stand anymore, one foot can half perch, the other can't.
    She can partially move them but not walk or sit on both feet anymore.

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    Brand New Egg Summer2's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Crippled feet / athritis , my vet says i should put her down (long text)

    Hello Boomer girl,
    Thanks for sharing your story and the tips.
    So you're surrounded by birds a lot. That's lovely!
    Where I live, we have lots of seagulls here in spring, and they nest on the roofs. Their babies fall out their nests a lot and are injured. I rescue a few seagulls every year. I call the scottish animal rescue. It takes them 1h to get here so in the meantime I stay with the seagull.
    They're not my favorite type of birds, I admit, nonetheless it's an injured and helpless animal which needs help.
    I can't understand how some people can ignore it.

    this fungus was called psittacosis, I think. She got it twice (just in winter, its so damp here, and despite the dehumidifier).

    She is doing alright at the moment.
    She plays with her toys when I show her, and
    She even eats a bit of cooked vegetables. She always surprises me. Also, she does not seem that much in pain at the moment. But I feel she drinks quite a bit. Like 6 times a day or so? Maybe more.

    One thing I haven't mentioned is that she lost the feathers around one earhole. The red "cheek" feathers . just one side.
    Its been like this for a few weeks now. She cannot pluck feathers out herself around her ear. I haven't found out why she lost them. Nevertheless, I saw one new feather is coming through at the moment.

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    Tailfeather boomer girl's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Crippled feet / athritis , my vet says i should put her down (long text)

    Your bird is a lucky girl to survive psittacosis and hopefully you did not get it from her. That is about the only thing that a bird can spread to us humans. You are doing a great with your bird and since your sweet girl has crippled feet I have to ask if you ever looked at the Birdhism web site or facebook page? If not take a look at it and see what she does to help her sweet cody to cope with not able to use his legs. Here is the website, https://birdhism.com/pages/about-cody and if you do facebook just put in Birdhism and check out her webpage. She puts Cody and other birds in this little round bed thing and takes him everywhere with her. Cody is one happy bird and maybe some of the things she does with Cody can help you out with your sweet girl.

    I too always help the sick and injured birds here and take them to the wildlife rescue down the road to heal. It gives me a good feeling helping them out and I would not forgive myself if I did try helping them.
    Fly Free Boomer, we will forever love you.

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    Brand New Egg Summer2's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Crippled feet / athritis , my vet says i should put her down (long text)

    Hey there!
    Thank you. I had a look at the page.
    Really cute how she takes the bird with her, especially
    At work! Little Cody is sitting on her desk. I also bought a soft nest for my bird this weekend. All in all, she's feeling better. Her feet aren't but she doesn't struggle as much as 2 weeks ago.

    Yeah, I agree. It feels good to help!.

  11. #11
    Tailfeather boomer girl's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Crippled feet / athritis , my vet says i should put her down (long text)

    I love how to she takes Cody everywhere and he is such a unique colored lovebird that I had to follow his facebook page as well. I am super happy you bought your bird a soft nest and hopefully it makes her feel lots more comfortable with something soft under her.
    Fly Free Boomer, we will forever love you.

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