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Old 09-09-2017, 12:11 AM
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Urgent - Picking at feet

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When I got home from work today Jasper was favouring a foot. He had it tucked up and when I picked him up I noticed it looked like he had skinned the back of his foot. There was remnants of a bit of blood and there was a skin flap visible. I immediately used saline solution to clean it. Wasn't sure how it happened b/c everything in his cage looked normal but figured he had just hurt it on a toy somehow.

A few minutes later he started picking at his other foot. It was like it was INCREDIBLY itchy. He kept nibbling at it over and over until there was a flesh wound. He wouldn't stop at it.

I immediately called my vet, it was 6:30. They said they close at 7 and they were already booked until close. I told them what was happening and asked if they could ask the vet to see him anyway and they refused.

They gave me a number for a local 24 hour emergency place. They had no one tonight that could see a parrot. They gave me the name of another place over an hour from here. They said they could see him. I had to wait until my boyfriend got here, thankfully he was willing to take him there.

But while I was waiting for him to get here, Jasper stopped the scratching/biting/whatever it's considered. So when he got here I said let's wait some more time and see how he is. He wasn't doing it at all. (I should note at this point he's been wing flipping and toe tapping severely tonight, that hasn't happened in a long time, but he was wing flipping a bit over the past couple of days)

Fast forward 5 hours and he's doing it again. I don't know what to do. I don't know what's causing it or how I can help. Now I can't get him to the emergency vet because it's too late, my boyfriend is home, and I have no way to get to this place that's so far.

Has anyone ever heard of this? Is there anything I can do in the meantime?

I will call my vet first thing in the morning but I know on the phone tonight they told me they're booked tomorrow and they're not open Sunday.

Any advice would be appreciated, I am so worried.

He ate his dinner/snacky time tonight and played, talked, etc.

So worried.
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Old 09-09-2017, 12:56 AM
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Re: Urgent - Picking at feet

Jasper is in his cage for the night. I can still hear him toe tapping/wing flipping but the few times I've checked on him he isn't at his foot.

I was doing some Googling and read aloe Vera might help. I don't have any but I do have the Ecotrition bird bath spray. One of the ingredients is aloe Vera gel. The bottle also says relieves minor skin irritations. Do you think it would he safe to try spraying on his feet? I don't see it making things worse but wanted to ask for an opinion first.
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Old 09-09-2017, 03:00 AM
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Re: Urgent - Picking at feet

Katie my gut is telling me that it is the wing flip/toe tapping you need to concentrate on and the foot thing is an outlet for the discomfort.

This is the cue I feel "but he was wing flipping a bit over the past couple of days" your red flag so to speak.

Go through his diet with a fine tooth comb as there is probably something there to relate to this? Make notes of how much and what you are feeding for a few weeks IMO.

I'd go as far as to say make his diet very bland at the moment and beware of what snacks/treats are being given. Am I right that you use Nutriberries? If so, drop those off the list for now?

The feet need watching but only to stop infection entering, if he stops this chewing they will heal quite quickly.

Poor little guy, hope you can sort this quickly.

http://www.eclectusparrots.net/toetapping.html
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Old 09-09-2017, 05:48 AM
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Re: Urgent - Picking at feet

could it be something just as simple as dry skin. Sammy our U2 goes through this feet picking thing, never to a point of drawing blood. I have also noticed Max gets the dry feet.
a couple of times a week I put a few drops of palm oil in their food and it seems to help.
sometimes I will also rub their feet down with a little if I notice excessive dryness.
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Old 09-09-2017, 03:27 PM
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Re: Urgent - Picking at feet

hope you can get him some relief soon! poor guy (and poor Katie!)
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Old 09-10-2017, 03:46 PM
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Re: Urgent - Picking at feet

How is Jasper today Katie?
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Old 09-11-2017, 06:31 PM
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Re: Urgent - Picking at feet

Such a long story, going to write in bullet points:

  • He picked at his feet Fri night, Sat, Sun
  • He would take breaks on Saturday which led me to believe he was over whatever it was so I didn't bring him to the emergency vet
  • Sunday he was still picking, and his worst yet
  • Thankfully my bf was able to drive me over an hour to the emergency vet
  • They didn't know what was wrong. Said the timing was suspicious with when he ended his antibiotics and when it started. Prescribed him 3 more weeks of antibiotics, ointment for his feet, pain meds, and anti-inflammatory. They also gave him a birdie cone which, while hilarious, ended up causing him MAJOR grief for hours. So much so that I had no choice but to take it off, because even several hours after it went on and with the lights all out he was going insane
Today, Monday, he was still picking at his feet but no new visible lesions. Not as much picking, definitely a *significant* decrease.


I brought him in to his normal vet and she also was at a loss as to what was happening. I told her I was very suspicious about him still having an infection b/c he was on antibiotics for 2 weeks, his abscess was gone, and this picking issue started on the same day when he had his final dose. So if there had been several days in-between him finishing his antibiotic and it starting then I would have agreed.



My vet did a crop wash to check for any infection including yeast. Came back clear. She said to discontinue the antibiotics. (Luckily the emerg vet said I could mail back the 2 boxes of un-used antibiotics and get a refund)


The next thing my vet suggested was doing xrays but she said it was more "fishing" to see if there was anything wrong. Due to the incredible fee I said no. Up until today I've spent over $800 in the last 2 weeks *not* including today's visit. I simply can't run random tests. My bank account doesn't allow for it.


We decided to put the cone back on and see how he goes. She told me I could send a video of his behaviour so she could see. When I got home he went straight back to the endless scratching at the cone/shaking his head furiously, BUT instead of it never-ending, he only did it for about 20 min and now he seems totally fine. So the cone will stay on. What a relief.


I cried for ages last night and didn't sleep at all. He was doomed if he kept the cone on and doomed if it came off. So seeing him now tolerating it is giving me an incredible amount of relief.

So as of right now, we still don't know what's causing it. But in the meantime he can't bite at his feet. The only problem is I can take the cone off if needed (and to see if he continues) but it's a 2-person job to put it back on and I live alone. But for when my bf can come over I'm stuck.

My vet said she's going to talk with the emerg vet as they collaborate all the time and see if they can brainstorm. She knows this is all costing me an incredible amount so she said they'll try to figure out the next best test.

If anyone has any info about what might be causing this it would be so greatly appreciated. I wish I understood why things keep happening to him. Last night I felt like I just couldn't cope anymore, like he's too much for me sometimes. I wish I knew what I was doing wrong. He's my everything

Here's some pictures, you can see on his foot the lesions. This is his worst spot. They're on both feet, mostly at the back and side so it's really hard to get other pictures.




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Old 09-11-2017, 07:13 PM
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Re: Urgent - Picking at feet

Poor Jasper and poor Jasper's momma. I commiserate. My Layla has had a mystery illness for almost a month now. Tons of weight loss, pin feather plucking, almost zero appetite, lethargy. 4 vet appointments, 3 medications and lots of diagnostics later and we still don't know what's wrong. I hope you and Jasper find relief soon. I know how awful it is to have the constant worry.
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Old 09-11-2017, 10:02 PM
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Re: Urgent - Picking at feet

Katie, I'm so sorry that I'm only seeing this today. But I'm fairly certain I know exactly what's happening with Jasper. The same thing happened to Maya. Here is the link to the thread where I discussed the situation, and the solution that has kept the issue at bay for over a year now, in massive detail: Okay, let's talk ABV, PDD and Toe-tapping...

In short, it is most likely a form of PDD. Not necessarily the form that enlarges the proventriculus (the one that killed my poor Bixby), but rather the form that attacks the peripheral nervous system. This form usually attacks when the immune system is somewhat compromised (which would explain Jasper's on again, off again toe-tapping and wing-flipping) and causes symptoms such as a tingling in the feet which prompts a gnawing to the point of abrasions and even bleeding lesions, and toe-tapping and wing-flipping.

Know this, Katie. This form of PDD, caught early enough, can be managed. Typically, an anti-inflammatory is prescribed in conjunction with nerve pain relief meds. Anti-inflammatories are also good, given the abrading of the feet. Cuts off infection if it has started, prevents it if it hasn't. The lessening of Jasper's gnawing is likely due to the fact that your vet did prescribe anti-inflammatories and pain meds. Takes a few days to really get things under control, though.

Anyhow, read that thread. It'll give you an idea of what to expect over the coming weeks. And you can also show it to your vets to help with their brainstorming session. Honestly, I'm 85-90% sure this is what is going on with Jasper. If they implement a similar plan for him as Maya's vet did for her, I'm confident he'll recover.

And Katie, you've done nothing wrong. He was likely born with it. PDD is mostly (if not always) transmitted vertically (parent to child).

As always, you can reach out to me by pm if you want to discuss this more in depth. I've got your back, my friend.
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Old 09-11-2017, 10:32 PM
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Re: Urgent - Picking at feet

So wishing I could do more to help than give you a cyber hug. Im not nearly as informed or experienced as Anansi but I recently read a thread where their ekkie was also having gnawing issues. It was suggested that they test for borna virus (sp) or metal toxicity. Might run those by your vet---just a thought, passing on something I read but may or may not be at all relevant. Hope you figure it out soon for you sanity and Jaspers comfort. We're here for you.
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