Lovebird seems worse after antibiotics

Birdy2020

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Hi,

I have a peach face lovebird that I got from a pet shop 3 months ago. After he had settled with me, I noticed that he is sneezing and shaking his head a lot. I had booked an appointment with a nearby avian vet and took him there. The doctor suggested that he might had a cold and that I should put him a warm room and let him rest as much as possible. He hadn't totally recovered in the next month. He was active and eat his food and drink his water normally. However, he still sneezed and kept shaking his head. Later on he started developing a difficulty in breathing specially before he sleeps. Thus, I had booked another appointment with a different avian vet, though this vet was far away from my home but had a very good reputation. The doctor suspected a fungal infection and took a swap from his mouth and a sample of his feces for test. Test results showed that he has a bacterial infection and he was put on antibiotics treatment.

He is untamed, I tried to give him the medicine using syringe in his mouth but that didn't work. After discussing this with the vet I was advised to give him the medicine in his water. I had followed the instructions and had put the medicine in his water dispenser but the medication mix water does split after sometime. I am trying to refresh it every now and then.

Two days of medication have passed, in which he is sleeping all the time, hardly sang during the day and seems much more tired than he was before starting the medication. I would like to ask please is this normal, does lovebirds seems so exhausted in the first days after getting antibiotics?

Your advise is much appreciated.
 
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Anansi

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Hello Birdy2020, and welcome to the Parrot Forums family!

I am so sorry to hear that your bird is going through this, but also relieved that you found a vet who was able to accurately assess what is going on. I know medicating an untamed bird is extremely difficult, but medicating through water tends to be very difficult as it is hard to determine how much of the antibiotic has been taken in.

I don't presume to gainsay your vet's approach in this, as he is the professional and the one who has actually seen your bird and assessed the situation in person, but given the inaccuracy of the water method it would be impossible to say whether the lethargy is a result of the medication making him drowsy or of his condition actually worsening. Do you know the name of the antibiotic? If it's one with which I'm familiar, I might be able to at least tell you what my experience was in giving it to my own birds. All birds are different, of course, but it would at least be a point of comparison.

Another thing to consider. If there is indeed a fungal infection that is going undetected as he is being treated for a bacterial infection, there would be increased lethargy as well. But hopefully a fungal cause has been completely ruled out.

All this said, if the medication you are currently using can also be applied without being mixed with water (I don't know if the current medication is the same as the one that was prescribed earlier), I'd suggest attempting to trick him into taking it. I have used foods my birds enjoy to entice them into taking their meds. Mixing the antibiotic with peanut butter, for instance, and putting it on the tip of a plastic spoon worked very well. As did putting the medication into the 'pores' of a corner of bread or toast. Sometimes even a combination of the two, putting the medication on the toast and then covering with peanut butter. Oatmeal is also great for this. Or mushing it in with a bit of banana.

If, however, none of that works, I'd personally hold him in my hand, gently use my thumb and forefinger to immobilize his head, and feed him the medication directly. This is the last resort, of course, because it would be stressful to both of you, but it is sometimes necessary.

I'll be keeping you and your bird in my prayers. Please keep us updated on his progress.
 

Laurasea

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9I'm so sorry your bird is sick. You did great to seek a second opinion, get tests and start new treatment. No it isn't good for them to get worse and start sleeping more. He may nit be getting the medicine in him, as sick burds eat snd drink less .

I think getting the medicine by mouth is the best way. Get a large fish net. Take your bird cage into the bathroom , so you have a small space to re capture if escape during treatment. Also why a net may come in hand. Close toilet, drape mirror if possible, put towels over sinkk and tub, and a rug or towels in floor. To help prevent any injuries if escape during treatment. Turn the lights out, wait a few minutes, birds get very quiet abd calmer in the dark. Then if you can see well enough , or use a low light. Reach in and catch him. Use a washcloth, or hand towel to wrap him, with head out, don't compress rge chest. Tgen slow give meds in front if beak a drip ar a tune, wait for them to swallow and give more if his dose. You might have to use syringe to gentle or open the from if the beak.
If you get bitten, we have to understand and take the pain. .

Offer high calories foods like millet spray, out food and water dishes right near where he is perching. Eating is very important. Tiu need to get a digital kitchen scale so you can track weight . Fir my budgies i use a long plastic spaghetti storage container, I zero it out on the scale then I put them in it to weigh. As they are not tame.

Keeping a sick bird warm is so important.
https://www.littlecrittersvet.com/sick-birds.pml

https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/chlamydophilosis-in-birds
 
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noodles123

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Birds don't get colds really....VERY glad you sought a different opinion.


I'd avoid ever mixing drugs or anything with water because it is impossible to monitor dosing and it can decrease the bird's desire to consume appropriate amounts of what if the flavor is bad.


The 2nd vet sounds better, but I am still concerned that they told you to give it in water. That is generally not something an avian vet says to do...Your bird could be drinking less because of it and your bird may be worse because it didn't get the proper doses and so the infection continued to grow.
 
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Birdy2020

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Hi,

Thank you Anansi, Lurasea and noodles123 for your help and advise.

The medication that has been prescribed for him is doxycycline 10mg with dosage of 0.13ml if given in the mouth or 1.3ml mixed with 100 ml of water.

I understand that it is best to give him the medication in the mouth. I had tried to do it on the first day. I had prepared the dosage in a 1ml syringe and got his cage into a dark room. When I tried to get him out of his cage using a towel, though it was dark, he kept flying in panic. I was really worried that I might hurt him while I am trying catch him. Once I got him he was struggling a lot. I tried to let him bite onto the syringe but he just didn’t do it and kept moving and shaking his head whenever I put the syringe near it. At the end I had to release him and he was breathing heavily for sometime.

Because he has already difficulty in breathing I didn’t want to stress him out every single day to give him the medication. I am not sure he can withstand it.

The other thing is that, after I got him , I came to understand that birds in pet shops where I live are fed seed only diet and depends on vitamins supplements mixed with their water. You might find it weird but he didn’t even recognise the shape of any vegetables or fruit, he was absolutely terrier of anything I put in his cage apart from seeds.
After many trials, I ended up doing a mixture of different grains and vegetables chopped very finely and I give it to him throughout the day. But he still gets the seed one hour in the morning and one hour before he sleeps. He eats the mixture in small quantities, and he is not a big fan of it.

I understand that fungal in bird is balanced by the good bacteria, and antibiotics can kill both good and bad bacteria, which can results in fungal infection getting worse (if it already exist). I am not sure if he has a fungal infection in his lungs that couldn’t be detected with the swap test.

The medicine has some sweetness in it, I don’t think he drank any less than he usually do, but I am concerned about him getting the proper amount of medication. I will get a digital kitchen scale to track his weight. In his last visit he was 42 gram.
 

noodles123

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I'd give him access to whatever foods he will eat right now. You are right that seeds aren't the best to have in there all the time, but if he is sick, eating anything (within reason/fairly safe) is better than under-eating.


Noodles is terrible with syringes too--- I don't think either of us could withstand it (def would need another person). I have hidden her meds in food-- I don't give the full dose at the same time. I do a little tiny bit on something small that I know she will eat. Then I do the rest like 15 min later on something else small that I know she will eat. The thing is, if you give partial doses, you still must make sure that your bird does ingest the full dose within a reasonable amount of time...So if you give 1/2 of the dose and 1/4 is thrown on the floor, you need to track all of that because you will likely need to order more meds if a lot is wasted.and that means that you need to replace/retry with anything that is dropped. I plain oatmeal with a mashed banana and some tangerine juice (not much tangerine---I cook probably 3 cups of oatmeal and only add the juice from one tangerine. Sweet potato is another good one--- they are super aware of colors, so if the medication has a color, try to see if you can match it to the color of a food your bird likes.
 
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Laurasea

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Yes sick bird get what ever they want to eat. Except sugary foods like a lot of fruit. As will cause yeast growth and bacterial imbalance.

Warmth is critical !!! Saves them lots of calories and helps with healing. Try to get in the 80s

Offer egg food sold for budgies, or molting food , that is a seed mix thst have extra vitamins. Nutri berries sold have seed pellets mix you can offer and break up the ball snd offers. Keep offering him all his normal foods but offer all this other stuff extra. Treat sticks are good too. Takes a lot of calories yo be sick.

Doxycycline in water usually works if they are drinking. In the mouth the best way of course tho.
If not good in the morning call your vet and tell them, ask if he can come in for a doxycycline injection.

We feel for you. Your nursing will be important. Warmth, good yummy food, and treats. Maybe a humidifier?? Or taking him in his cage to rge bathroom and run the shower to make the room steamy. Since he us having a lot if respiratory symptoms.

I'm treating my whole flock fir a chlamydia out break right now. All but one have recovered and are doing great. But it took time.
 
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Laurasea

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Doxycycline usually isn't so bad about causing secondary fungal infections. One thing is uts is Bactrostatic ( keeps bacteria from multiplying) so it takes time to work. It is a great choice if chlamydia is suspected, abd other bacteria that causes respiratory infections. But it is not bactrocidal ( kills bacteria out right) so takes a little time to kick in.
This is from my thread . Big take away birds can burn and need more than twice the calories they normally do when sick.

I will add this again as nutritional support is so important, you have seen that play out twice with 2 different sick birds in my flock

" Special nutritional requirements for debilitated birds

Extra nutritional support for debilitated and diseased birds is vital and plays an essential role in ensuring recovery of the avian patient after disease or debility. Enteral nutrition is currently the most usual method of supporting the debilitated patient, with parenteral (intravenous) nutrition still being in its infancy in avian therapeutics.

First, fluid requirements should be assessed, as any animal will succumb to dehydration long before starvation. The reader is referred to chapter 14 for a more detailed discussion of this topic.

Second, energy requirements should be estimated. These can be calculated roughly from the MER by multiplication as follows:

Starvation = 0.5 × MER

Trauma = 1.5 × MER

Sepsis = 2.5 × MER

Burns = 3–4 × MER

From these crude estimations, a rough idea of the levels of nutrition demanded and the energy concentration of the diet can be derived.

Third, protein requirements should be evaluated, as debilitation will increase amino acid and protein turnover. This may be through the increased use of proteins in the immune system response, or for repair of damaged tissue or simply after using tissue proteins as an energy source."
https://veteriankey.com/avian-nutrition/

About weight loss as early sign of illness .
What is Weight Change?
Evolution equipped birds with the habit of masking any illness as a survival tactic. A sick bird was an open invitation to predators who were attracted to target the weak and sick. Even today, your pet bird still retains that instinct to hide how it is feeling.

By regularly weighing your bird and teaching him to step up to the weight perch and hold, then step down, it will make your life easier to monitor his weight. Weight change is one of the best early indications that your friend is not feeling the best.

A weight change in your pet bird may be a sign of a serious health issue; it is often the first warning of disease.

Symptoms of Weight Change in Birds
You will need to weigh and record your bird's weight around three times per week to establish a normal weight.

Be observant for other signs that can indicate all is not right such as behavioral changes
Your bird may act bright and alert when being watched but lapse into a huddle and fluff up when it thinks it is not being observed
Wing droop, one wing may dip lower than the other
Sitting on the ground rather than on its perch
Tail bobbing
Open mouthed breathing
Changes in appetite and eating habits
Types



A weight loss of more than 3% of body weight from your bird over several days, indicates that your pet should be taken to your veterinarian soon. If your bird loses over 5%, then this is a very serious situation and needs immediate help. It may be life threatening for your pet so don’t linger.
https://wagwalking.com/bird/condition/weight-change
__________________
 
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Birdy2020

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Hi,

Thanks for the feedback.
I am keeping him in a warm environment. Before when I was trying to convert his diet I had tried to remove the seeds from his cage. But when he showed signs of illness I kept 2 food bowls in his cage, one with vegetables, egg and boiled grain mix (which is I change every 5 hours) and the other with seeds mix. BTW he doesn’t recognise any type of pellet as food, I had tried few brands and he just refuse to eat it, whether putting it alone or mix it with other types of food.
I am careful that he gets the nutrition he needs especially when he is sick. I might try to mix the med. dosage with sweet potato as he is used to eating it. However, the vet has warned me if I try to mix the medicine with his food then he must consume the whole dosage within 1 hour.
He was slightly more active before he slept, he did eat, preen his feathers and drink water but he didn’t sing as much as he is used to.
I will watch him carefully tomorrow morning, if he was inactive I will call the vet.
Laurasea I am sorry to hear that you had chlamydia breakout in your flock, I hope the last bird would recover soon.
 
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Birdy2020

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This is a quick update on my love bird situation for today. This morning he was generally better than yesterday, he had good appetite but he had a problem with his voice. That is when he chirp in low tone his voice is barely heard, however, he can perfectly chirp in high pitch. I had called the vet this afternoon and she suggested that I should keep giving him his medication and closely monitor him in the next couple of days. If his voice didn’t improve then I should stop the medication and contact her again.
I hope nothing bad will happen to him and that he recover soon.
 
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Birdy2020

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Hi,

This is my second update of my lovebird condition after finishing his treatment.
He had completed the antibiotic treatment and I have been in contact with the vet during this period. By the last day of the treatment he was back to normal and his health has improved a lot. His beautiful voice was back to normal, he had stopped shaking his head and sneezing and he could play actively without facing any problem with his breathing.
However, just two days later, I came to wake him up in the morning and he was in a very bad condition. His tail was bobbing while breathing and his voice was just like the voice of human who had a bad flu. He did sing but it was difficult for him to produce a sound. I monitored him closely through the morning after some hours his tail bobbing stopped but his voice was still bad. He ate and drink as usual. The next day he was better but still he his voice was still abnormal.
I don't understand what went wrong, he did improve a lot after taking the antibiotics for few days and towards the end of the treatment he had completely recovered. Just overnight his health condition changed so much.
I am keeping a close eye on him and I pray that he will get better.
 

Laurasea

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Get him back to the vet for more medication. Some diseases like chlamydia, hsve to be treated for 45 days. Or its not uncommon for a relapse to happen. Those are serious symptoms, so get in touch with your vet.
 
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noodles123

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Laurasea's- rightSome antibiotics work better for certain things than others too. He may need a longer course or a different drug but the fact that they seemed to help makes me think they probably just didn't knock it out 100%.
 

Laurasea

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also I has a tip you can try. A tiny amount of marshmallow fluff to hide the meds in. It's sticky so meds stay in, and burds.i seem to like it, just a fingernail size amount.

I hope your bird gets better, please keep us all updated. We all learn from each other.

And don't forget extra warmth is so beneficial to sick birds, raising the temp to 80-85 help them save calories and heal faster.

Birds burn through calories when sick, more than double the normal. So feed high calorie foods, like millet spray, even sunflower. Warm foods can be tempting like oatmeal, cooked mashed up sweet potatoes or butternut squash.
 
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Birdy2020

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Thank you for your replies.

Since the start of his symptoms, I did provide him with lots of food and he is always kept in a warm room. I had given him the medicine in according to the vet prescription.

The curve of his condition went from being in a slightly in a bad condition, with just a change of voice, then he was doing well after few days of antibiotics and the day after the end of the antibiotics treatment he was in a shape worse than when he was in before starting the treatment.

In the last two days I had noticed that his water dispenser is completely empty in the morning. I change his water several times a day and in the evening it is changed and filled. I didn't know he can drink in the dark but it seems that he is consuming a lot of water during the night. His day water consumption is normal.

Today, I took my bird to the vet. The vet told me that maybe he might had a fungus infection in his lungs that went undetected.
After taking the antibiotics treatment, the fungus infection might have become stronger, and now the vet will put him on a fungal treatment course.
The treatment is not found in where I live and that it needs to be imported, so it will take some time before we get the medicine.
The vet mentioned that some birds respond to the treatment but others might not survive the infection.
I am so worried about him and I don't want to lose him or see him suffering.
 

Laurasea

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First off offer water in a bowl. Check that your water bottle isn't leaking!

Try feeding a little plain Greek yogurt with live culture. Feed the amount that would cover a finger nail once a day or every other day. This can possibly help reset gastric system after antibiotics. And help him till antibiotics fungal gets to you. I use yogurt with success in my birds, and tgey get every other day while on antibiotics. Otherwise I give once a month.

Can you take a pic of poop and share?
Are you keeping track of his weight? Yiu can use a digital kitchen gram scale. Yiu can out him in a little Tupperware fish fir tge few seconds to weigh if need or a glass bowl and cloth in top , zero it out before Yiu put your bird in. For my parakeets I did this.

When we talk added warmth helps bird, we are talking beyond room temp, the aim is 80-85, or even 90f. This supports them and there us do much information on how heat helps them heal. Watching fir over heating, nit using heat lamps that can burn them .

Is he eating ok?
You can get him through this!!!
 
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Birdy2020

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Hi Laurasea,
Thanks for your help and support.
I am quite sure his water bottle is not leaking. I checked it several times. yesterday I had put water bowl in his cage as well. I will try to mix the yogurt with a small amount of his food. This is a picture for his dropping
. I had also sent a sample for testing along with the swap.
I didn't mange to weight him. He is untamed and he hate being held against his well. If there is an absolute emergency I will do it for his own sake, otherwise I avoid doing this as much as possible. He has been weighted twice, the last time was before he started his treatment and his weight didn't changed much by that time. He is still eating well.
I am keeping him in a room with temperature between 80 and 85. He is more active today than he was a couple of days ago. But it look like his illness comes and goes in episodes. One day he looks very ill and the next day he is much better. I can observe his condition especially in the morning.
His medicine should arrive during this week and I was told that he will be taking it for a long time.
 

Flboy

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Hi, a thought. You said water dispenser! Are you 10000% it is absolutely clean? Many styles are problematic and prone to building up nasties! Especially the plastic ones!
 

Laurasea

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I looked at poop pic , thanks. I need to see a fresh one. But those look pretty normal, im not seeing excess urine that would indicate that he is drinking excess water.... so where is all that water going????? Do other birds share?
A couple grams can be a real big deal in a little bird. You take grams lost divide by normal weight x 100 = % lost. More than 5% is very concerning. If yiu hsve to hold to give meds, then out him in a plastic food storage dish. First you 0 it out on scale then put burd in and get weight. It can be important in telling you how sick your burd is or how it is recovering. If you've read my thread on Penny and then my whole flock becoming sick. Yiu can see it was hugely important to weigh. Tadah was the only one not recovering as her weight didn't go up and dropped a couple of times. Tho her behavior was completely normal. Based in her weight we increased her dose, then because she was vomiting the meds up i had to start putting in food. This showed success in her starting to gain weight back. I know its hard, I had to weigh wild un tame budgies, but putting them in a container made it easy.
 
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Birdy2020

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I usually deep clean his water dispenser twice a day and he does not share his cage/food/water/toys with any bird. I had started offering a water bowl as well but he is more comfortable drinking from the dispenser.
Sometimes he poop only clear liquid and recently this happened more often. His water consumption is almost double what he used to drink before.
I will need to get another scale for more accurate reading to weight him. I try to do this next week.
Today I had a long journey to get his medicine but finally it was there. Now his new medication is vorikonazol 200 mg, which should be administered in his beak twice a day. The dosage is 0.05 ml. I am really worried about this as I find myself particularly bad at restraining him and giving him his medication. I don't know how should I manage to do this every day and night for 3 weeks.
Last time we both had a terrible experience when I tried to give him antibiotics. This happened despite that I had seen many videos and read a lot about bird restraining methods.
Any practical advice for restraining wild lovebirds is really appreciated.
Also I have one question, I have another bird that is kept in the same room as my lovebird but in a different cage. The distance between their cages is about 1 meter. Is there any risk of transmitting the infection. I asked the vet and she said that it shouldn't be a problem but she hesitated before answering my question. Does anyone know if this can a problem.
 

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