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General Health Care Remember to use common sense and consult with an avian veterinarian.

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Old 02-10-2019, 07:21 AM
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Exclamation Severe Head Trauma - what would you do?

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I apologize up front because this may be long.

My 6 year old green cheek had a freak accident. He was taken to the vet (with an avian specialist on hand) and has been there for 6 days.
From what we've been told, xrays show no breaks, no spinal compression, airsac is fine. Bird is concussed. They are giving him anti-inflammatory meds and pain meds.
He cannot stand. Little motor control. From what we've been told, he only seems to react when we are their for our brief 15 minute visits twice a day. Then he will try to move around, use his beak to pull himself across the box to our hand and lay in it. Or if we pick him up he's content to lay on our chest, and nibble at our shirts and try to climb/pull himself up to our shoulder where he would normally perch.

He's had ups and downs in the almost week that he's been there. He's had really good days where we've seen plenty of lucidity from him, which has been followed by a day where his breathing was labored and he was on oxygen for for over 12 hours.

I've read that brain injuries could potentially take months for recovery.

My better half and I are at a disagreement. Do I bring my baby home, possibly a special needs Bird for the rest of his life, to see if he possibly needs several months to recover?

Or do we play God and make the decision to euthanize him?

Bringing him home means hand feeding and special accommodations (which we have no problem doing and have somewhat started in hopes he would be better) until he recovers, or quite possibly for the rest of his life.

My take is, if he is alive and there's a chance it could take several months for him to recover, then I owe it to my baby to try.
My husband says that he would basically be a feathered ornament in the house and that it isn't fair to him (the bird) to keep him in that state.

I'm not asking anyone to make my decision for me. I will make a decision based on what my vet advises is the best course of action after we discuss all of our options.

I'm curious what you think you would do in a situation like this? Or if you've ever been in this position yourself, i`d love to hear your story. Has anyone else had experience with severe head trauma and a long recovery time?

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Old 02-10-2019, 07:43 AM
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Re: Severe Head Trauma - what would you do?

I had a tramatic brain injury , from working with my Arabian horse. I was in highschool at the time. At first I could only speak as a toddler and couldn't remember my family. My family was told I was basically mind wiped and would have to relearn everything... A week later I "woke up'" as my normal self.
I also worked with a puppy that an abused three year old boy had bashed repeatedly in the head. It was alive, but had no reflexes, no gag reflex even. We had it on a ventilator. We were just basically keeping the puppy alive so the mom and the therapist could work with the little boy to connect his actions with the consequences.... I didn't think the puppy would live even with all our help. I can't remember the exact time line but that puppy started to recover!!! It was brain damaged, but was able to be a "special dog" I Know it took st least a couple of weeks before we saw the first slight improvement....
I'm so sorry this has happened to you and your baby. Just take your time making a decision on what's best for you, abd your baby.
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Old 02-10-2019, 07:57 AM
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Re: Severe Head Trauma - what would you do?

You said he perks up a bit during your visits, this may be the key! You are flock, and part of his life! At the clinic, alone, he has no reference to pull himself back! You and your home may be the key!
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Old 02-10-2019, 08:01 AM
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Re: Severe Head Trauma - what would you do?

I would bring him home, knowing that he might not make it. At least then he is with the people he loves.
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Old 02-10-2019, 08:16 AM
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Re: Severe Head Trauma - what would you do?

Hmmm, first this must be so difficult for you all,

I hope I am not adding to your pain...


this is a difficult subject (for me):

I have always been taught that if an animal cannot live the way it was supposed to live it is not fair to force it to keep struggling.

That is harsh (but also fair), and although I keep looking for " a middle way" I must say that even though I really, really appreciate the efforts (and the love) that f.e. makes people build tiny wheelchairs for their paralized dogs there is also still a huge part of me that is apalled and considers it borderline animal cruelty as well.
The animal (almost) never has a say in it- the chair is mainly there to make the dog-owners feel good/ better about the situation-, and of course any living being has this inbuild drive to stay breathing as long as possible (and some of those dogs perform beautifully and seem happy, but there are also owners that after a year or so decide that "it really did not help anyone at all").


Now we get to the more intuitive side of things:
just like you *know* when a bird chooses you (if you are lucky, there a enough cases of 'arranged marriages' -bought/found/donated birds- that work out beautifully without this moment) and in that same spirit:

I Really Believe there is a moment when your bird (or any other animal) will tell you "it is enough, no more".
Many people who had to euthanise a suffering pet will say the same thing.



(Yup- I had to decide to euthanise my second grey, D. because she has an incureable -but also non-lethal- type of cancer that made her life miserable and almost unbearable because of the pain and itchyness involved. After months trying every available medicine, alternative medicine etc.etc. there was a point where, almost out of the blue there was this "plze stop!".

I am crying while I type this -again- but I had to set her free from that misery-without-end; there was not going to be a cure only alternating pretty bad and worse, with maybe a short breather in between, maybe never. There just was no hope of her ever getting well again.

Of course I can never prove her telling me to end her pain was her wish and not some desperate wishfull thinking from my side --because I always second-guess *everything*-- but for me it was very real.)


Some animals will just soldier on, despite mutilations, old wounds, handicaps etc etc and some will just stop.
I think the only thing we can do is support them in *their* descission.
Thats means letting go when you (as a human) really do not want to, but also help an animal to hang in there if that is his/her wish.

And it is bloody difficult to seperate those wishes!
Especially if there are so many emotions going on.
(praying helps, meditating helps, taking a long shower and sleeping on it helps ... just take your time)


Oke...sorry to be so longwinded about it...


You know your bird- if he wants to hang in there and (even better) there is a chance that he can fight his way back to a birdable-existance and you can really be there for him... be there and help.
If you see your bird trying to say something else: you can also help him to let go.

I know most of us here are all about preservation of life, I am more for "is there quality of life" (the far harder question, because there are no right or wrong ansers to be found ... I think this is one of those situations where prayers start-- but those are also all about listening hard for answers )


So: talk to your bird and listen hard to what he has to say (it's his life...)

Last edited by ChristaNL; 02-10-2019 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 02-10-2019, 10:45 AM
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Re: Severe Head Trauma - what would you do?

Iím so very sorry. I pray heíll recover from this.

My son suffered a brain injury and acquired CP - Cerebral Palsy. And we brought him home. We will celebrate his 22nd birthday this Wednesday. Even though he has many disabilities, he is the happiest person I know and loves life.

He is my greatest teacher.
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Old 02-10-2019, 10:54 AM
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Re: Severe Head Trauma - what would you do?

I agree with noodles. bring him home, if things go bad he will go being held, warm, and snug, and loved....also there is a difference between a home and a vet.
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Old 02-10-2019, 11:20 AM
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Re: Severe Head Trauma - what would you do?

I am so sorry, and also pray that he recovers.
I do want to say that challenged birds can still have a wonderful quality of life. Different but still wonderful. We have a star gazing canary, and though he spends almost all of his time moving around the bottom of the cage, he still enjoys his life, and sings all the time.

It is obvious how much Loki is loved, and I have no doubt that you will make the decision that is best for him, no matter what that decision will be.
My heart goes out to you, and to Loki.
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Old 02-10-2019, 11:36 AM
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Re: Severe Head Trauma - what would you do?

I am so sorry to know Loki suffered traumatic injury, and applaud you for deeply contemplating his fate.

Have not experienced similar, but agree with the preponderance of advice. He deserves the chance to recover.
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Old 02-10-2019, 11:42 AM
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Re: Severe Head Trauma - what would you do?

Quote: Originally Posted by ChristaNL View Post

I Really Believe there is a moment when your bird (or any other animal) will tell you "it is enough, no more".
Many people who had to euthanise a suffering pet will say the same thing.




You know your bird- if he wants to hang in there and (even better) there is a chance that he can fight his way back to a birdable-existance and you can really be there for him... be there and help.
If you see your bird trying to say something else: you can also help him to let go.



So: talk to your bird and listen hard to what he has to say (it's his life...)
I agree with this. You know when they still have a zest for life and want to live and you also know when they say that's it, I'm done. You just know it.

My Newfoundland was 16 when I had the vet come to my house to euthanize him which is a long time for that breed of dog. Their life expectancy is only 10. For about a year he was having problems getting up on his back legs. The vet didn't think it wasn't painful for him, but all the muscle deteriorated back there and his legs just wouldn't hold him up anymore. But he still had that get up and go in him. He loved his walks, he didn't care if his legs worked or not. He'd drag himself down the road on his butt if I'd let him. Then one day he just wouldn't get up and looked at me like I don't want to do it anymore. Now I'm crying.

Last edited by Sandy19; 02-10-2019 at 11:54 AM.
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