Help me help my lovebird (plucking, diarrhea, possible red suffusion)

kokothebirb

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Mar 3, 2021
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To preface there's no avian vets in my country. No vets do a blood test/x-ray or fecal test. They just prescribe you the same 3 antibiotics (chlortetracycline, sulfadimidine and enrocin) and send you off without a care.

My lovebird is 4 and a half years old.
Her diet for the past year has been a mix of seeds and oats (no sunflower/safflower) in the morning and mash of veggies for lunch: carrot, broccoli, corn, occasionally spinach. And she gets apples and bananas every couple of days. Before that she was on a seed diet.
Recently I have started giving her pellets but she hates them.

She's been hormonal for 3 and a half years and laid eggs 2 and a half years ago.
She has a really bad nesting problem where she has multiple spots in the house where she tries to nest. Even tho I've been keeping her away from them and letting her out in another room she hasn't grown out of the behaviour. As well as regurgitating on some of her toys (which I have removed).

She has an ongoing plucking problem for 6 months now. I found a blood feather on the ground and took a picture of it in October because I had no idea what it was but I didn't know she had plucked it herself. I noticed that she was when she started looking a little bald. (Mid february so almost 2 months ago) It's on the neck area behind her head.



yiPJLtq.jpg

t5n7jmZ


Some days she plucks a blood feather or two, some days none. There are days where she has plucked 15+. (I've been keeping a log for a month now and it's not on any particular day) On march 2nd probably around 15, days in between 3-4. Then on march 12th another fit of plucking out about 15 feathers. Then it decreased to 1-2 per day some days 3 until this weekend when it was probably around 15+ again.

Things I've tried/changes I've made:
Started adding vitamins to her water.
Adding in pellets to her diet (she hates them and only way she eats them is when I mix them into her mash and she ingests them by accident because it's so sticky)
Got her new toys/changed cage location.
Buying a new seed mix in case the old one was spoiled
Plucking collar which hated it and tore it to shreds as well as ingested a fiber
(I have a separate thread about this, the same day - March 14th she almost died due to aspiration and I had to give her CPR, she was put on sulfadimidine as an antibiotic but didn't take the whole course as I thought it was making things worse, her poop was really dark almost black and dry)
Electrolytes+probiotics
Acv in water

Other symptoms I've noticed recently:
Watery poops/diarrhea (sometimes it's just straight up urine)
Bubbly poops (even on days I don't give her veggies that can cause gas but I've read it can take up to a week for them to go back to normal and I haven't tried to go without them for that long)
Developing red feathers (back of her head above the neck, back/wings, feet, below chest)
They're not fully red but the base of the feather is starting to develop red pigment. Looks like the beginning of a red suffusion. I can't get good pictures of the feathers on her body but here's one of the back of her head:


xaZMAMm.jpg
y7MjIHa



This weekend (Saturday) I had to go on a trip and couldn't find a bird sitter so I brought her along. It was an almost 3h ride.
She plucked in the car and pretty much the whole day.

On Sunday we had an emergency vet visit. Vet gave us ivermectin to apply topically and chlortetracycline to put in water.
I applied a drop of the ivermectin to her neck area and gave her the antibiotic.

The next morning (monday) she was sleeping in late which worried me because she usually can't wait to be uncovered. As soon as I did she started vomiting. She vomited twice and didn't want to eat or drink.
I convinced her to drink a bit (of the water with the antibiotic) and to eat some banana (her favorite)
and a mix of seeds/oats. Before the car ride back home I gave her some shredded carrot/broccoli because she was refusing to drink water and figured high water content food would be good for her.
She hasn't vomited since but her poops have been very small. She also plucked on the car ride and when we got home.

Tuesday and Wednesday she was lethargic but eating. Refused to drink much of the antibiotic. I've been giving her veggies and fruit high in water content and normal water because I didn't want her to get dehydrated.

Thursday morning (today) she was sleeping in later than usual. When I uncovered her she started vomiting right away but she had nothing to vomit. And she had plucked 3 feathers overnight. Today would've been the 5th day of the antibiotic course but I'm going to stop giving it to her because I'm now convinced she's vomiting because of it.
I hate giving her antibiotics blindly when the veterinarians don't even know if they could help her because they don't even bother diagnosing her with anything.

At first I was thinking her plumage is turning red due to a high vitamin A veggie diet + the supplemental vitamins.
But because of the other symptoms (the diarrhea and bubbly poops) I've been doing a lot of reading and I'm thinking she might have polyuria and liver disease due to an underlying cause which we have no way of determining. I'm at a loss and I don't know what to do. :(
Diet wise I'm still trying to get her to eat pellets and will continue to make her chop.


If you've read all of this thank you and thank you for trying to help.
 
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kokothebirb

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I also want to add that she's been digging in a corner of the bottom of her cage. From what I've read this is a hormonal behavior. She doesn't have a paper lining anymore because she would shred it and try make a nest. This has been ongoing for a while. I don't even know when it really started. It's probably been months now :( and I just noticed that the paint from the cage bars in that corner is pretty much gone. Could it be heavy metal poisoning?

I'm so desperate I want to help her the best I can but vets here are useless unless it comes to taking your money and giving you antibiotic without even looking at your bird. :(
 

Laurasea

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Stop the ivermectin! She doesn't need it and it can be making her very very as an overdosed.

Ivermectin is to treat parasites. Its only given once as a very small dose. Plus you have behavior issues not parasites. Stop ivermectim . Clean cage wash everything to get rid of residue.

I want to say rinse her off. But if she is so weak and bad off that. An be hard on them , takes a lot of energy to warm up.

I would not give vitamin in the water. The vitamins in the water rot quickly sbd can make them sick. She eats veggies so that's great.

You can feed enough yogurt to cover your finger, a nice glob. Use Greek yogurt with Acidophilus listed as one of the live cultures. It can help the diarrhea. Since she has this loose stool I would feed it twice a day for 5 days. Then once a day, or twice a week or so.
 
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kokothebirb

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Stop the ivermectin! She doesn't need it and it can be making her very very as an overdosed.

Ivermectin is to treat parasites. Its only given once as a very small dose. Plus you have behavior issues not parasites. Stop ivermectim . Clean cage wash everything to get rid of residue.

I want to say rinse her off. But if she is so weak and bad off that. An be hard on them , takes a lot of energy to warm up.


I only applied it to her skin topically once on sunday. It's been washed off since then because she took a bath. Thanks for the the tip.
 

Laurasea

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noodles123

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Does your bird get 10-12 hours sleep nightly on a fairly set schedule? If not, make sure you start that because it can impact things like plucking. I am also not a fan of adding anything to water. It makes it too hard to know what is being consumed, can increase bacterial growth and sometimes discourages drinking (due to the flavor, color or both). I use powdered Benebac in Noodles' food even though the science behind a general probiotic for multiple species is questionable (Seems to have helped her some and vet said it won't hurt, even if it doesn't help).


I'm a little concerned about disease here (you said you have no way to test though?) Have you seen her plucking or are you assuming she is?
 
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kokothebirb

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You can't really do a lot about a plucking burd. Yiu just have to accept it.

Here is my sick bird link. Has good advice
https://www.littlecrittersvet.com/sick-birds.pml

Common conditions
https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/common-conditions-of-birds

Feather destruction article
https://blogpamelaclarkonline.com/2018/07/17/success-story-a-case-of-feather-damaging-behavior/


I've added electrolytes and probiotics in water. I've done it before but I don't know if it's helped. Would yogurt be more helpful?



And I know that some birds never stop plucking. I've read countless articles at this point. I can't be at home 24/7 and I'm just worried she might bleed to death when she barbers/plucks a blood feather.
 

noodles123

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Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
Also- how big is her cage and how often is she out?
 

noodles123

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You can generally add milk thistle (NON ALCOHOL/BIRD SAFE ONLY) to some food etc and that can really help the liver. Just be sure that what you get is intended for parrots.
 
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kokothebirb

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Does your bird get 10-12 hours sleep nightly on a fairly set schedule? If not, make sure you start that because it can impact things like plucking. I am also not a fan of adding anything to water. It makes it too hard to know what is being consumed, can increase bacterial growth and sometimes discourages drinking (due to the flavor, color or both). I use powdered Benebac in Noodles' food even though the science behind a general probiotic for multiple species is questionable (Seems to have helped her some and vet said it won't hurt, even if it doesn't help).


I'm a little concerned about disease here (you said you have no way to test though?) Have you seen her plucking or are you assuming she is?

I'm 100% she's plucking for almost 2 months now. She didn't use to do it in front of me but now she does. The first time I saw a blood feather was in October according to the picture I took but I had no idea back then because it was very few in between.



Yes she's been getting at least 12 hours of sleep for 2 years now, I cover her cage at night.

I change her water couple times a day because she likes making soup. And I wash her bowl every day and disinfect it with white vinegar at least once a week.

We don't have benebac here unfortunately. But I've been giving her small amounts (a pinch) of electrolytes+probiotic powder that's meant for children above the age of 1. I don't know if it's been doing anything and I don't know if I'm overdosing or underdosing. I also haven't been consistent with it.

There's no way to test for any infection or disease unfortunately at least not in my country which I'm really frustrated about and I'm doing my best to help her in any way possible. :( I live in North Macedonia for reference.


I think she's feeling tired and looks lethargic from the antibiotic (chlortetracycline) which I've stopped giving to her this morning because I suspect it's either that or the ivermectin that caused the vomiting.
I added a makeshift bed for her and a watter bottle wrapped in fabric so it keeps her warm (don't have a heating pad).



Her energy levels were fine last week before the trip. She flew lots and played lots with her toys. Always has a big appetite even now. I don't know why I even gave her antibiotic blindly, I was just so desperate. I feel like anything I try to do makes things worse, first the neck collar now this.
 
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kokothebirb

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Also- how big is her cage and how often is she out?


Her cage is 45x40x55. I know it's a bit on the smaller side, she's out for a couple hours a day. Unfortunately she's not free to roam in the whole apartment because she has consistently been trying to go in dark corners/spots that turn her very very aggressive and will lunge at you if you try to get her out with your hand. She's been like this for 2 years and no end in sight to outgrow this behavior.

The only milk thistle I can find available locally looks like dried herb in a jar.
 

Laurasea

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The first poop is pretty great and normal, yea a few more bubbles than is typical...
The second looks like mucus membranes on it, but hard to tell for sure.

Yes I'm a very very big believer in the help greek yogurt with live Acidophilus cutters and no artificial sweetners.

Avian probiotic aren't very regulated in USA, according go my vet. Plus powder vs live cultures in the yogurt.
 

noodles123

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I would not give any milk thistle that is suspended in alcohol or not intended for birds.
 
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kokothebirb

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The first poop is pretty great and normal, yea a few more bubbles than is typical...
The second looks like mucus membranes on it, but hard to tell for sure.

Yes I'm a very very big believer in the help greek yogurt with live Acidophilus cutters and no artificial sweetners.

Avian probiotic aren't very regulated in USA, according go my vet. Plus powder vs live cultures in the yogurt.


What does it mean if she has mucus membranes?
Here are 2 more pics. One is when it's occasionally liquidy and the other when she has black flecks? in it.



Sometimes her poop is liquidy just like this



d6NfiAM.jpg





Black flecks and more mucus??
saEVDql.jpg
 

Littleredbeak

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May 27, 2020
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I use organic milkthisle from a tea bag. I cut open the bag and mix it in with their food. I have an IRN whod mutilate her wing and tail feathers - started giving her this missing link supplement and she can fly again because she now let's her feathers grow.
Screenshot_20210915-160119_Amazon Shopping.jpg
I also gave her this supplement as well.
Screenshot_20210915-160557_Amazon Shopping.jpg
 

Farnoosh

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Aug 7, 2020
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Vancouver, BC
Parrots
Paisley, pineapple green cheek born February 12, 2021, and
Daisy the most beautiful Pineapple green cheek, currently flying in paradise RIP February 2, 2020 – August 14, 2021
To preface there's no avian vets in my country. No vets do a blood test/x-ray or fecal test. They just prescribe you the same 3 antibiotics (chlortetracycline, sulfadimidine and enrocin) and send you off without a care.

My lovebird is 4 and a half years old.
Her diet for the past year has been a mix of seeds and oats (no sunflower/safflower) in the morning and mash of veggies for lunch: carrot, broccoli, corn, occasionally spinach. And she gets apples and bananas every couple of days. Before that she was on a seed diet.
Recently I have started giving her pellets but she hates them.

She's been hormonal for 3 and a half years and laid eggs 2 and a half years ago.
She has a really bad nesting problem where she has multiple spots in the house where she tries to nest. Even tho I've been keeping her away from them and letting her out in another room she hasn't grown out of the behaviour. As well as regurgitating on some of her toys (which I have removed).

She has an ongoing plucking problem for 6 months now. I found a blood feather on the ground and took a picture of it in October because I had no idea what it was but I didn't know she had plucked it herself. I noticed that she was when she started looking a little bald. (Mid february so almost 2 months ago) It's on the neck area behind her head.



yiPJLtq.jpg

t5n7jmZ


Some days she plucks a blood feather or two, some days none. There are days where she has plucked 15+. (I've been keeping a log for a month now and it's not on any particular day) On march 2nd probably around 15, days in between 3-4. Then on march 12th another fit of plucking out about 15 feathers. Then it decreased to 1-2 per day some days 3 until this weekend when it was probably around 15+ again.

Things I've tried/changes I've made:
Started adding vitamins to her water.
Adding in pellets to her diet (she hates them and only way she eats them is when I mix them into her mash and she ingests them by accident because it's so sticky)
Got her new toys/changed cage location.
Buying a new seed mix in case the old one was spoiled
Plucking collar which hated it and tore it to shreds as well as ingested a fiber
(I have a separate thread about this, the same day - March 14th she almost died due to aspiration and I had to give her CPR, she was put on sulfadimidine as an antibiotic but didn't take the whole course as I thought it was making things worse, her poop was really dark almost black and dry)
Electrolytes+probiotics
Acv in water

Other symptoms I've noticed recently:
Watery poops/diarrhea (sometimes it's just straight up urine)
Bubbly poops (even on days I don't give her veggies that can cause gas but I've read it can take up to a week for them to go back to normal and I haven't tried to go without them for that long)
Developing red feathers (back of her head above the neck, back/wings, feet, below chest)
They're not fully red but the base of the feather is starting to develop red pigment. Looks like the beginning of a red suffusion. I can't get good pictures of the feathers on her body but here's one of the back of her head:


xaZMAMm.jpg
y7MjIHa



This weekend (Saturday) I had to go on a trip and couldn't find a bird sitter so I brought her along. It was an almost 3h ride.
She plucked in the car and pretty much the whole day.

On Sunday we had an emergency vet visit. Vet gave us ivermectin to apply topically and chlortetracycline to put in water.
I applied a drop of the ivermectin to her neck area and gave her the antibiotic.

The next morning (monday) she was sleeping in late which worried me because she usually can't wait to be uncovered. As soon as I did she started vomiting. She vomited twice and didn't want to eat or drink.
I convinced her to drink a bit (of the water with the antibiotic) and to eat some banana (her favorite)
and a mix of seeds/oats. Before the car ride back home I gave her some shredded carrot/broccoli because she was refusing to drink water and figured high water content food would be good for her.
She hasn't vomited since but her poops have been very small. She also plucked on the car ride and when we got home.

Tuesday and Wednesday she was lethargic but eating. Refused to drink much of the antibiotic. I've been giving her veggies and fruit high in water content and normal water because I didn't want her to get dehydrated.

Thursday morning (today) she was sleeping in later than usual. When I uncovered her she started vomiting right away but she had nothing to vomit. And she had plucked 3 feathers overnight. Today would've been the 5th day of the antibiotic course but I'm going to stop giving it to her because I'm now convinced she's vomiting because of it.
I hate giving her antibiotics blindly when the veterinarians don't even know if they could help her because they don't even bother diagnosing her with anything.

At first I was thinking her plumage is turning red due to a high vitamin A veggie diet + the supplemental vitamins.
But because of the other symptoms (the diarrhea and bubbly poops) I've been doing a lot of reading and I'm thinking she might have polyuria and liver disease due to an underlying cause which we have no way of determining. I'm at a loss and I don't know what to do. :(
Diet wise I'm still trying to get her to eat pellets and will continue to make her chop.


If you've read all of this thank you and thank you for trying to help.


please watch the video above. It will help with trying to understand what her droppings mean. The feces looks normal to me however the urine should not be white. It should be clear. I would be more concerned about the droppings than the feather plucking, personally. If she is healthy, perhaps you can consider getting her a mate? I also know a woman who has a channel on YouTube and she is very knowledgeable and has a bird rescue and much experience with parrots – her channel is called "parrot bliss". She sells a CBD oil for parrots to calm them down for parrot plucking and strengthen the immune system. You might want to look into that as well. Best of luck to you.
 

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