Cricket the cockatiel passed away, and I think it was our fault.

ravvlet

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Jun 25, 2019
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Kirby - OWA, 33yrs old (2019-)
Sammy - YNA, 45 yrs old (2022-)
RIP Cricket - Cockatiel (2019-2022)
It is very hard to type this.

In October Cricket had his annual check up and they found signs of early liver disease. As a result, his vet asked us to cut all seed-inclusive foods from his diet (at the time, he was getting 1/2tsp of Goldenfeast and a small amount of millet in addition to his pellets and chop).

Out of an abundance of concern we threw out the millet and the Goldenfeast as instructed, and we also switched from Harrison’s High Potency to Harrison’s Lifetime Fine. I spoke to the staff extensively about this diet change and was feeling very confident that we’d nip the liver issue in the bud and that everything would be fine.

We continued to give him 1tsp of Harrison’s and 1tsp of TOPS (as the instructions on the bag of Harrison’s suggested for his species (it says 1 1/2 to 3tsp of pellet daily); he’s always been very small for a cockatiel) in addition to 2-3 tsp of very finely chopped veg mix, I believe it was peppers, broccoli, chard, cabbage, carrot, pomegranate, and a small amount of rolled oats. We elected to mix his pellet into his chop to encourage him to eat it, and he was eating all of his chop for the first time in his life. I seem to remember that at first he wasn’t finishing the bowl, but as time passed he did.

In the last month or so, he started trying to eat the crumbs from Kirby our Amazon’s bowl. It was actually beginning to concern me, but I also have known cockatiels who are free fed and yet seem to like foraging on the floor or in another birds bowl, so I thought I was being paranoid. He loathes the perch we used for weighing him, so I didn’t think to try it, as he was fully flighted and didn’t sit still.

I genuinely thought this was a species appropriate amount of food based on his weight & species, and we had gone over this feeding regimen with his vet. At the time of the appointment he was a normal weight and in good body condition.

He passed away this past Monday night in his sleep. We just got the call from the vet about the necropsy and she said it showed he was severely emaciated. I am beyond horrified. I told her we fed him the same amount of food as we did before but had significantly increased the amount of fresh food (veg mix) and incorporated his pellet so that he’d be encouraged to eat it, and that he was eating all of his food every day. She did say she found fluid in his abdomen and that she could send it for testing but that everything else seemed normal.

I feel like a monster. He was my best little buddy and I would never have knowingly not fed him enough. We had so many weight issues with our older parrot (who had a seed based diet before we got him) so I have always been very careful about measuring their food and making sure they have fresh chop and clean food and water bowls, etc. I don’t know how to deal with the fact that this might be my fault.

I am so sorry little buddy.
 

foxgloveparrot

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I'm so sorry for your loss. This must be so difficult, but know that we are here for you. And don't blame yourself, either. We all make mistakes and we all can learn from them. Virtual hugs xx ❤️
 

Laurasea

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I'm so sorry for your loss.

I agree burds on diet change should be weighing weekly. If the goal is weight loss they should not loose more than 1-2 % a week.

I personally don't restrict pellets I let them self regulate. Being said though, I don't have any health issues in mine that would require any correction.

Birds that are sick also loose weight....

Its very important and honorable of you to discuss and share your post could save lives.

But I don't think we could say that this was the cause. And if it was then shame on the veterinarian! They should have taken into account the loss if calories and fats..and how to make thst up, and talked about weight checks.

I myself have made numerous mistakes in try to care for my critters . I allowed the love of my life to escape ..

I have so much empathy for you. And I'm not trying to point any blames at you . Just its important to highlight diet changes.
 

LaManuka

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Ravvlet, I am so sorry for your loss - I feel so very much for you and am in tears for you over here. You and I are in a not dissimilar boat, I'm afraid, as I lost my sweet Lilly Pilly the lorikeet just last week. She was diagnosed with egg yolk peritonitis and, like Cricket, was under the constant care of her avian vet. For a while there we had several treatment options available to us but when her condition took a turn for the worse, her vet and I thought surgery was the best option for her. Tragically my girlie was lost while in recovery from that procedure, and I cannot now help but wonder what might have happened had we taken another route, or even if perhaps I might have been able to do something months ago to prevent her illness in the first place.

We love our little ones so much, ravvlet, and they know that. You are most certainly not a "monster", quite the contrary, you are a hugely loving and very dedicated parront. It's just so awful when, even with all the love and care and best intentions in world, and I know you had all of those things in your heart for Cricket, these tragic outcomes can still occur. You have my every sympathy in this, ravvlet, and my heart truly goes out to you.

Godspeed to the Rainbow Bridge, beloved Cricket, until we all meet again 🙏
 
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ravvlet

ravvlet

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Jun 25, 2019
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Kirby - OWA, 33yrs old (2019-)
Sammy - YNA, 45 yrs old (2022-)
RIP Cricket - Cockatiel (2019-2022)
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We opted to get the histology because we intend to pass on his things to his older brother that a friend of mine owns, and we want to be sure it’s safe to do so.

100% agree, always weigh a bird during a diet change. I have always kept up with Kirby’s weight because we had him on a diet, and I used to do it with Cricket when he was a baby and was clipped, but since he’s been free flighted (and honestly, we humans have been struggling with our kids’ school performance after the pandemic disruptions) it somehow didn’t even occur to me until it was too late.

I am so sorry to hear about Lilly Pilly; it’s so hard to make medical decisions for these guys because they’re so delicate, something I suspect I won’t soon forget.

Kirby is totally fine - I was so beside myself I took him to the emergency vet the day we found Cricket and he got a mostly clean bill of health - they took radiology images because he had a tiny bit of air sac noise, and have prescribed him meloxicam/Bactrim, but their vets (also board certified) felt that it was likely if anything a small sinus infection, similar to what he had last winter. His blood work should be back by the weekend to confirm this.
 

Scott

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RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
I'm so sorry to know Cricket has passed, my deepest condolences.

Has the vet absolutely ruled out a metabolic disease? It is possible to eat sufficient food yet become emaciated if the body cannot process nutrients.
 
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ravvlet

ravvlet

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Jun 25, 2019
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Seattle WA
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Kirby - OWA, 33yrs old (2019-)
Sammy - YNA, 45 yrs old (2022-)
RIP Cricket - Cockatiel (2019-2022)
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I'm so sorry to know Cricket has passed, my deepest condolences.

Has the vet absolutely ruled out a metabolic disease? It is possible to eat sufficient food yet become emaciated if the body cannot process nutrients.
I don’t think so, I think she mentioned this possibility over the phone too - they just did a physical exam- I imagine to rule out something metabolic they’d need to do blood work of some kind? He had a full panel in October that showed elevated liver stuff, and he’s had weird blood work showing random inflammation before.

We did request a histology of the fluid they found in his abdomen, and she also noted that he’s always been very small for a cockatiel.

Looking back at the thread I had posted in October about the result and the diet change (they were really insistent about just throwing the seed out) he wasn’t even eating all his pellet (he left all the TOPS in the bowl, and Kirby would eat it!) at that time and it was the same amount - the only difference was the 1/2 tsp of Goldenfeast… and recently he’d been eating all his chop, something he never used to do.

That doesn’t change the fact that if I had tracked his weight properly we would have never had this happen. I somehow forgot how much trouble he’d had with his weight in the past. Hindsight is the worst.
 
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ravvlet

ravvlet

Supporting Member
Jun 25, 2019
466
793
Seattle WA
Parrots
Kirby - OWA, 33yrs old (2019-)
Sammy - YNA, 45 yrs old (2022-)
RIP Cricket - Cockatiel (2019-2022)
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Thank you for all the kind comments. I don’t really feel like I deserve them but I appreciate it. Haven’t been able to sleep much since it happened. Can’t shake the feeling that if I had just been more observant, or had remembered the simple stuff (weight checks) this wouldn’t have happened. Really thought we were doing everything right, in spite of being really busy and overwhelmed in a lot of areas, and this has broadsided us.

Kirby has been very quiet since but was a bit perkier today. Still haven’t gotten his panel back yet, and the histology can take a week or two.
 

LaManuka

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My heart hurts so much for you, ravvlet. You and I seem to be living the same, agonised nightmare at the moment, I wish we weren’t but we are. We both did what we thought was best for our babies, and followed our vets’ advice in the quest to heal them, to save them, but we lost them anyway. I can’t go and tell you to not blame yourself when that’s all I do for me. I don’t understand why this happened to you and Cricket, any more than why it happened to me and Lilly, but I do know how much it hurts and that it just isn’t fair. Cricket was such a huge part of your life and your heart that I think, whatever the circumstances of his loss, you would have blamed yourself for it anyway, it seems like we all do when this happens to those in our care whom we love so very much. Maybe it’s a coping mechanism to blame ourselves, because somehow it’s often easier to do that than to blame anyone else, I don’t know.

One of our most beloved members, @GaleriaGila, often says this, and I believe that it’s true:

“I guess I'll share this thought again since it has helped me a lot over time. No matter how the end came, your darling left this life while deeply and uniquely loved, and that is a great treasure into Eternity.”

I honestly think that just being part of this community helps a lot too. Just knowing that there are other people who care and who love their birds as much as we love ours, many of whom have experienced similar loss and know how it feels when things like this happen and can empathise with us is powerful and enormously helpful in healing. You and I are forever changed by our losses but we will both learn from what has happened to us and our beloved babies and we will honour their memories long into the future. There will be hard days along the way but we will get through this.

Much love and feathered hugs to you and yours ravvlet, and I pray that both of our hearts will find peace. 🙏
 

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