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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 08-26-2018, 09:44 PM
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Re: Toe-Tapping, Need Support/Advice

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What I strongly recommend is an elimination diet. Feed bare minimum diet for a few days, maybe rice and one or two vegetables at most. After the tapping is gone, begin adding one new ingredient at a time back into the diet every couple of days. Often times the toe tapping starts within 24 hours of eating the offending food and you’ll ID it quickly.
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Old 08-29-2018, 04:44 PM
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Re: Toe-Tapping, Need Support/Advice

I'm so sorry to hear this! Can you get him in for blood work? Curious about his protein and calcium levels.
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Old 08-29-2018, 08:21 PM
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Re: Toe-Tapping, Need Support/Advice

Quote: Originally Posted by katie_fleming View Post
I'm so sorry to hear this! Can you get him in for blood work? Curious about his protein and calcium levels.
I do want to get his blood work done as soon as his digestive system is good - right now I'm emailing the vet because the meds aren't consistently working for him. So as soon as Cairo gets the all clear that he's healthy there, I'll ask for a blood test.

Right now, he's been on a diet of mostly broccoli and some butternut squash (rice is added in for dinner). His toe tapping has stopped for the past 2-3 days, so I'll be adding in another veggie for dinner tonight (still thinking of what to add). Hopefully it's just a kind of allergy rather than something like Jasper's calcium problem (initially I thought of that because it had only happened at night/early morning).
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Old 08-31-2018, 10:51 AM
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Re: Toe-Tapping, Need Support/Advice

Hoping it stays gone! Keep us updated
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Old 09-04-2018, 09:12 AM
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Re: Toe-Tapping, Need Support/Advice

Sorry I'm only seeing this thread now. Been a bit hectic, lately. But I've read it all through.

Okay, first let's start eliminating some things, as considered causes seem to be all over the place right now.

Two meals a day is NOT the cause. I've always fed two meals a day to my birds, and as long as you are giving them the right amounts at each feeding is perfectly fine. Their high metabolism is offset by the fact that they are not flying the 40+ (in the case of male ekkies) miles per day that they would be in the wild. So giving them 2 meals is a far cry from cruel, as it actually helps them avoid obesity which many ekkies tend toward. Want a check for this? Compare the average weight of an ekkie in the wild to one in captivity. Even on a two meal a day diet, the captive ekkies will tend to weigh more.

Now, this is completely different from people who withhold food for the purposes of training, which definitely is cruel. But two good-sized portions each day, rounded out with treats given during training sessions and such, is actually healthy for them. And for in between, there is nothing wrong with an added foraging activity, as they are working for their food which again both mimics what they would do in the wild AND keeps them away from the pesky trend of obesity.

Next. The temperature is likely not directly the culprit. Especially if you're keeping it consistent rather than creating savage 10 degree swings at a time. Even then, while it would not be good for him, I don't know if it would cause toe-tapping or wing-flipping, which are neurological in nature. Only temp related thing I could see as indirectly causing the issues is too low a humidity level, but even then it seems a bit of a long shot.

I cosign wholeheartedly with Chris' take on all of this. If it is indeed a food allergy or deficiency, the elimination method will be your best bet of getting to the bottom of things. Just be sure to keep a very detailed food diary and be very organized about the time allotted to each set of ingredients before adding something new. Some foods only cause a reaction after building up for a few days, and others only when combined with certain other foods.

Other food issues to be considered include high protein and, as previously mentioned, high sugar. Both have been known to trigger toe-tapping and wing-flipping in ekkies. (If I remember correctly, Suley was a member whose bird had a stubborn case of toe-tapping and wing-flipping, and it turned out to be the protein in his diet. Apparently he was just extra sensitive to it for some reason.)

And as Katie mentioned, getting blood tests taken is a priority. Low calcium or vitamin A would be an immediate red flag in this case. As would, as I said, high protein.

Other potential causes include a nerve discomfort with unknown triggers that need to be treated from time to time with nerve meds and anti-inflammatory drugs. Some CAV's speculate that the unknown trigger might be a variant of ABV which causes nerve pain/discomfort. Do not panic upon reading that, though. It's not the full-blown variant and all that's needed in that case is occasional treatment whenever there is a flare up. (And this call not to panic is coming from someone who has lost a bird to the full blown variant, so believe me... there is a difference.)

Another thing. you've mentioned a few times that he sometimes doesn't want to eat. Are there swings in his weight? What is his current weight? And what type of eclectus is he?

And lastly, how is he doing now? Is he feeling any better?
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  #26 (permalink)  
Old 09-04-2018, 12:44 PM
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Re: Toe-Tapping, Need Support/Advice

Cairo's a red-sided, though he's likely a mix (likely Aru or Vos somewhere in his genealogy) since breeders don't keep subspecies straight very well here. His weight varies from 380-395g; local ekkies owners say this is normal (some say overweight) for red-sided ekkies since they're a smaller subspecies. I'm wondering if this weight is also because he's only 16 months old and has more room to grow. But I thought ekkies were supposed to be 440-600g, so I'm a bit concerned.

His toe-tapping has stopped since we started eliminating stuff. He's currently on broccoli, butternut squash, red bell peppers, snow peas, and brown/red rice. I hope to reintroduce more greens into his diet, but I'm hesitant to since the bok choy variants here aren't cleaned well before they reach the store (I've come across some with blue pellets on the inside). When he used to eat bok choy (xiao bai cai and shanghai greens), I would soak them in plain water for a while before rinsing and chopping; now, I'm thinking that I might need to find more strict measures on the cleanliness of his food (still researching on this part).

We're having an issue though where he is reluctant to eat his chop if I don't add rice in. And when I add rice in, he'll sometimes try to pick out only the rice, but other times, he'll just gobble the chop down with it. So I have to make his rice soggy enough to coat his veggies to encourage him to eat more.

That being said, I'm concerned about how much he eats. Per meal, I offer him about 3/4 cup (sorry, my measurements go back and forth between Imperial and Metric), but he normally only finishes 2/3 of it. Based on the images I've seen on this forum, I'm sure he should be eating more each meal, but he doesn't want more when I try to give him more.


It's been terribly confusing for me recently, especially with his yeast problem. His bubbly, yellow pee is gone; it had switched to mostly urine and feces with alternatively mixed or no visible urates. Now, it's going back and forth between looking normal/healthy again and just urine with dark feces. I'm scheduling an appointment this week for him since his meds are finishing up, but just seeing the inconsistency worries me a lot.

I don't know what I'm doing wrong. My next step is to find stainless steel bowls for him instead the plastic ones his previous family gave us. I'm scrubbing his floor grill and tray every day with vinegar and water. His whole cage gets scrubbed down with vinegar and water twice a week. I cook a new batch of rice every evening for dinner, then refrigerate and reboil in the morning for breakfast. He's occasionally offered treats (coconut, banana, etc) during the day, but it doesn't make a noticeable difference either way. I work full-time, so I can't give his probiotics the 2-hour gap between his meds and the probiotics (per vet's request) except if I come home early or on the weekends; I'm almost to the point of asking my partner to take time to feed Cairo a probiotic-coated snack during the day (he already goes the extra mile of watching and training Cairo during the day).

He's been napping a bit throughout the day, but I don't know if that's because he's not getting good sleep (he sleeps with his cage covered, but sometimes my partner has to do work late in the evenings so there's some noise). Or maybe it's because we're in the rainy season, so the lighting is dimmer and us humans nap more on the weekends when it's raining. Yet when we do flight training, he's so active and eager and overall animated, so maybe it's just normal for him now that he's relaxed with us.

But between the sword of Damocles (in the form of toe-tapping) and his digestive problem, I'm bewildered and lost on how to keep him healthy (I mean, that should be at least the bare minimum, right?). I'm so worried - going back to pellets is becoming more and more tempting if it'll just make him healthy, especially since the two vets here keep talking about pellets. Toe-tapping won't kill him immediately, but his digestive problems might.. I really don't know. I just want him to be happy and healthy. And within a month of him coming home to us, he's been struggling, so the clear variable is something that I'm doing wrong, not him.
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  #27 (permalink)  
Old 09-04-2018, 04:43 PM
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Re: Toe-Tapping, Need Support/Advice

Please take a deep breath! You're NOT doing anything wrong. We all know that helpless feeling when something is wrong and you're desperately trying to find out why. You are doing everything you can to resolve this and make sure he's healthy.


Do you have a scale to weigh him? I'm absolutely terrible at weighing Jasper regularly (I really need to get back to this) but it's important. If you're worried he's not eating enough monitor his weight.


Do you sprout for him? I started this year for Jasper. It's so easy and he loves them. It's another food source that's super nutritional.
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Old 09-05-2018, 01:44 AM
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Re: Toe-Tapping, Need Support/Advice

Vos ekkies can range up to even 600g, though that's on the heavier side of things. My Bixby was a red-sided, but at his heaviest he was only around 425g. While there are guidelines set to give you an idea of where your bird might fall on the weight chart, remember that each bird is unique. Feeling his keel bone is a good way of determining whether or not he is underweight. If the keel bone feels sharp and like it's protruding, then yes, he's likely underweight. Also, you want to regularly check his weight for any swings or rapid weight loss.

Does his prior owner know how much he weighed before you got him?

Please don't beat yourself up over this. You're doing your best right now. A lot of what you need to know to properly tackle this depends on what his test results say. And also, when you do take him in for that appointment, remember to take fresh samples of his stool so that the vet can take a look and let you know whether or not his health has improved in that respect.
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 09-05-2018, 11:27 PM
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Re: Toe-Tapping, Need Support/Advice

Omg, thank you, you guys! It was late at night, and I was really upset (Cairo had had a bad day) when I posted, since his meds were finishing up and I still couldn't see any significant improvement. (Google didn't help either!)

Yesterday was a better day. A better appetite and better stools, a bird who was happy with his evening shower, and I managed to time it for him to take his probiotics before bedtime. I was so relieved that I didn't mind him pooping indiscriminate of location.

We've an appointment scheduled tomorrow (and I'm expecting his Birdie GoGo tomorrow as well!), so I'll ask the vet to show me how to feel his keel bone (he's not a touchy-feely bird, so I'll need help learning). I'm hoping he gets an all clear from the sample - based on yesterday, things are starting to go back to normal . Any recommendations on how to push for a blood test? People here seem very reluctant/hesitant (I think my vet will likely recommend against doing it unless Cairo shows significant issues), but how can I present it so that she's more open to the idea?

For his morning weighing sessions, the little guy is always either too sleepy or too hungry to be patient with weighing him. I'll see if I can just consistently weigh him every time I come home instead of before breakfast. His previous family doesn't have earlier numbers unfortunately, so we're flying blind there.

But thank you so much, everyone, for supporting us. My partner's not a bird person, so he's been a bit bewildered (but trying to be understanding) at my reaction to Cairo's digestive system being out of whack. It's been so helpful to have a place to express concerns and hear feedback and advice.
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  #30 (permalink)  
Old 09-06-2018, 06:32 PM
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Re: Toe-Tapping, Need Support/Advice

I'm so glad to hear that things are looking somewhat better! I'm hoping with you that Cairo gets the all-clear at the appointment.

As for convincing the vet to do a blood test, I'd point out that, even if all is well, you need a baseline to know what his levels should look like. Not to mention that a vet should know a bird can look perfectly healthy even as they harbor something potentially detrimental to their health.

That said, however, is the vet a certified avian vet? Because if not, and she is hesitant because she has no experience drawing blood from birds, I wouldn't push it. I'd just try and find a CAV to do it.

Weighing at a consistent time is good, though ideal would be before breakfast. How I got this to be routine was to purchase a scale with a removable perch on it. (And a tare function so that I don't have to do math every time I take a weight. Lol!) Then I just make it a practice every day that I take them out, walk them over to the kitchen and promptly put them on the scale perch (saying simply, "Scale" so they learned what was expected), then grab their food and walk back with them to the cages. Soon enough, they came to look forward to going on the scale, because they associated it with food. They recognize it as the precursor to mealtime.
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