Major health scare

SnoringPiglet

New member
Nov 17, 2016
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Hi Electus experts . I am having health issues with my 6 year old male. The issue I detail below has happened once before almost exactly 1 year ago to the date. I know because he is at the vet right now being monitored, and they have it on record. Everyone is baffled. For reference I feed a veggie chop that varies each time I make a new one. Romaine lettuce, squash, carrots, pepper, sweet potato, beats, cooked black bean, lentils, brown rice ect. all frozen then thawed and served for breakfast. I have then been using christine chop shop dry mixes and roudybush pellets for night time. I am immediately switching back to Tops after posting this. I thought roudybush was ok, but now I guess even a little bit of vitamin rich pellets might be an issue., and it just takes time to become visible?? I have fed tops before, and roudybush, mazuri all alternating trying to pinpoint issues on when things happen or stop but its hard to get a read. Yes he has been toe tappy, and yes he has been wing flippy but all while being on a veggie chop, and very little pellets. So maybe I just need to cut those out completely. All types?

Here is what has happened "second time mind you 1 full year after the first time." Vet says it is neurological....and the only option is to mess with diet again and again.

He was eating and immediately dropped his food. Got very quiet, and begins to droop his whole body going limp slowly almost like a balloon losing air. That’s how I knew it was happening again. He then calls very loud twice same as a warning call. Then eyes begin to close, and it looks like he stops breathing. I then hold him and palpate his throat thinking he was choking on something, but that not the case. I then blow into his nostrils incase he is indeed not breathing. This last for like 10 minutes. Him with droopy eyes weak, and half limp. I hold him the whole time and talk to him and rub him to keep him awake and alert as much as possible. Then he “reinflates” eyes open fully, and he seems to regain composure and motor function . Still quiet quieter than normal, and weak looking. I then took him to the vet. I assume this is a siezure of some kind, and I don't think his heart stopped, but it sure seems like he stops breathing and almost passes out like someone giving you a choke hold very slowly. Any thoughts? Its freaking me out, and the vet isnt sure.
 
Oh wow, that's scary! I'm so sorry you're going through this... twice. :(
I'm definitely not an expert on anything like that, but I've had a few go arounds with toe tapping. First time, aside from possible dietary triggers, my vet tested for ABV, as that can be a source of neurological issues. My guy tested positive for it, but no other symptoms besides the tapping. Sooooo, I looked at the diet. What did I do differently? Process of elimination, and I figured out a few items my boy is really sensitive to. In his case, blueberry, dark purple grapes, and corn will start him tapping within hours, and takes days to subside. I had another battle with it just recently, and this time the only thing new was mango. These things were never an issue with my first ekkie, and they were among his favorites. This one is waaaaay more sensitive, so I'm extra careful to only add new things one at a time so I can see if he reacts to it, and can eliminate it quickly if he does. Might be helpful to keep a log of what you're feeding him and when so you have documentation with dates of anything new or different.

Looks like you've got the vitamin A covered pretty well, but other things to consider that can cause tapping, lack of calcium, or overdoing protein. Again, I'm no expert, just my experience, and I've worked through it with my vet. Question... Is your vet an avian vet (hopefully certified) or a regular vet that sees birds? An avian vet may have more/better info regarding this, as well as the seizure like symptoms.

Please keep us updated on your guy! 🙏🙏🙏
 
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Oh wow, that's scary! I'm so sorry you're going through this... twice. :(
I'm definitely not an expert on anything like that, but I've had a few go arounds with toe tapping. First time, aside from possible dietary triggers, my vet tested for ABV, as that can be a source of neurological issues. My guy tested positive for it, but no other symptoms besides the tapping. Sooooo, I looked at the diet. What did I do differently? Process of elimination, and I figured out a few items my boy is really sensitive to. In his case, blueberry, dark purple grapes, and corn will start him tapping within hours, and takes days to subside. I had another battle with it just recently, and this time the only thing new was mango. These things were never an issue with my first ekkie, and they were among his favorites. This one is waaaaay more sensitive, so I'm extra careful to only add new things one at a time so I can see if he reacts to it, and can eliminate it quickly if he does. Might be helpful to keep a log of what you're feeding him and when so you have documentation with dates of anything new or different.

Looks like you've got the vitamin A covered pretty well, but other things to consider that can cause tapping, lack of calcium, or overdoing protein. Again, I'm no expert, just my experience, and I've worked through it with my vet. Question... Is your vet an avian vet (hopefully certified) or a regular vet that sees birds? An avian vet may have more/better info regarding this, as well as the seizure like symptoms.

Please keep us updated on your guy! 🙏🙏🙏
My vet is avian certified, but also looks at many exotic species and is in a small group that services my area. "not many options sadly" She goes to bird forums, and has even filled me in on Kansas state university vet studies that are ongoing involving Electus. Sadly there is just so many unknowns. I guess i'll take your advice, and start the process of elimination on the diet front. What is ABV?
 
That's good news about your vet, but sounds frustrating if they don't know what's going on. ABV, Avian Bornavirus, can lead to PDD, but not always as there are several different strains of it.

I hope you can figure something out ASAP! Does your boy like greens? Mine for the most part does not. Occasionally he'll eat some broccoli or green beans, but mostly he tosses anything green on the floor. He's finally decided Top's aren't too bad and will eat a small amount of them, and there's no added vitamins and such in them. I noticed you listed beets. I don't know much about them and haven't tried them with mine, mostly because I don't care for them myself. They have a pretty high sugar content though, correct? More than a tiny bit of sugary stuff (fruits) sends my guy into hormonal frenzy. Not aggressive, thank goodness, but gets, ummmmmm, shall we say, amorous. 🤣
 
W
Oh wow, that's scary! I'm so sorry you're going through this... twice. :(
I'm definitely not an expert on anything like that, but I've had a few go arounds with toe tapping. First time, aside from possible dietary triggers, my vet tested for ABV, as that can be a source of neurological issues. My guy tested positive for it, but no other symptoms besides the tapping. Sooooo, I looked at the diet. What did I do differently? Process of elimination, and I figured out a few items my boy is really sensitive to. In his case, blueberry, dark purple grapes, and corn will start him tapping within hours, and takes days to subside. I had another battle with it just recently, and this time the only thing new was mango. These things were never an issue with my first ekkie, and they were among his favorites. This one is waaaaay more sensitive, so I'm extra careful to only add new things one at a time so I can see if he reacts to it, and can eliminate it quickly if he does. Might be helpful to keep a log of what you're feeding him and when so you have documentation with dates of anything new or different.

Looks like you've got the vitamin A covered pretty well, but other things to consider that can cause tapping, lack of calcium, or overdoing protein. Again, I'm no expert, just my experience, and I've worked through it with my vet. Question... Is your vet an avian vet (hopefully certified) or a regular vet that sees birds? An avian vet may have more/better info regarding this, as well as the seizure like symptoms.

Please keep us updated on your guy! 🙏🙏🙏
What is "toe tapping"?. What is "ABV"? I hope I'm not the only reader unfamiliar with these terms and want to learn from more experienced parronts.
 
W

What is "toe tapping"?. What is "ABV"? I hope I'm not the only reader unfamiliar with these terms and want to learn from more experienced parronts.
Okay, toe tapping is just as it sounds. They literally tap their toes, and they can't control it. Think like a facial tick, or a tourette's type movement. It's a neurological thing generally brought on by levels of various nutrients being out of whack. I've never really heard about it in other species besides ekkies. It's assumed that ekkie digestive systems are more efficient at extracting nutrients from food, so it's easy for them to essentially overdose and cause these issues. AKA, too much of a good thing. Ekkies are also kind of prone to calcium deficiency, which will also cause it. Another symptom caused by this is "wing flipping." Same idea, different nerves and muscles affected. It's heartbreaking to see, because they can't stop it, and makes it difficult for them to do things like getting uninterrupted sleep, which we all know they need for their well being.

ABV, I mentioned in another post above. It's kind of known to be the precursor to PDD. (Proventricular dilatation disease) I don't remember the number, but I recall being 6 or so different strains of ABV, and two of them can lead to PDD. ABV is highly contagious, but fortunately is not necessarily a death sentence by itself. PDD however, doesn't have a happy ending. It's sometimes referred to as parrot wasting disease and it is as it sounds. There is no cure, only treatment for symptoms as they arise. I question the validity, but I've seen estimates that 50-60% or more of all domestic parrots in the US would test positive for ABV, so it's far more common than we know. Since many of the strains are asymptomatic, people don't test, so they don't know their bird has it.
 
I think only your vet is qualified to help you with this. I know how stressful it must be, though. For the first four years of my eclectus, Oscar's, life, he would have episodes which were like seizures. Each episode would last about four or five days. He would not sleep as his seizures continued through the night. I had many sleepless nights staying up with him and comforting him. I was worried sick about him. I took him to three different vets, to no avail. Eventually I reached out to an eclectus research centre, which told me to stop feeding him fortified and vitamised food. He's eight now, and has not had a seizure since then. I don't know whether they stopped because I stopped feeding him pellets or some other reason, but it was a very stressful period, so I can completely sympathise. All I can say is hang in there. Hopefully your vet will get to the bottom of it.
 
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Ok update. The vet monitored him all day while I was at work. And he was back to normal when I picked him up. I still have veggie chop, and fruits I have been feeding him so for now its just a waiting game on the diet to try to pick out what triggers anything. I think this is worth mentioning. I work at a zoo. I am not an animal keeper, but we do have a male, and female eclectus. I have been in contact with our vets and the team that works with the Australian parrots. Our zoo feeds Mazuri pellets to damn near all our parrots the Ekies included. Obviously fruits an vegetables as well. Our male does not seem to have any problems its the weirdest thing. The female on the other hand was/is a plucker and is naked. Not sure how long we have had her though. Her problems might not have originated at my zoo. My male Bentley is flighted, and is a health weight, and blood work always comes back normal so all this weird "passing out seizure" is 100% neurological. I have no way of knowing if this is happening on a regular basis while I'm at work, and he is recovering on his own, but this is only the second time I've seen it and funny this happened 1 year to the date as the first.
 
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In regard to Saxguy's question on beets, and Bentley's "my guys name" diet. Again the bird is very strange. He loves veggies, and eats all kinds, green beans frozen, raw, beets the whole thing, and the stems and leaves. Beets are high in many antioxidants, vitamin b, and calcium I think? The stems, and leaves are indeed edible, and one of the best parts. He holds them and eats them like a stick. Not sure about sugar. I think its fairly low. Loves carrots, peppers hot, and mild. Sweet potatoes you name it. Pasta cooked, raw, all of it.
Now the weird part. He won't eat fruit! Kiwi, and pomegranate thats it. But both of those its because of the seeds!! No apple, blueberries, mango ect. He just wants veggies, and pellets. I got him to try star fruit, but he didn't like it much, and went back to his bell pepper. I think I've seen him nibble on blackberry "again cause of the seeds" My sun conure on the other hand loves all the fruit, and hates veggies.
 
I think only your vet is qualified to help you with this. I know how stressful it must be, though. For the first four years of my eclectus, Oscar's, life, he would have episodes which were like seizures. Each episode would last about four or five days. He would not sleep as his seizures continued through the night. I had many sleepless nights staying up with him and comforting him. I was worried sick about him. I took him to three different vets, to no avail. Eventually I reached out to an eclectus research centre, which told me to stop feeding him fortified and vitamised food. He's eight now, and has not had a seizure since then. I don't know whether they stopped because I stopped feeding him pellets or some other reason, but it was a very stressful period, so I can completely sympathise. All I can say is hang in there. Hopefully your vet will get to the bottom of it.
I've been reading up on these neurological problems (tapping, wing flipping, etc) since this thread began (thank you saxguy64 for your explanation) and it must be very scary when these things happen! Though I knew that people can overdose on fat soluble vitamins (A, D etc) who'd have thought that too many vitamin and mineral rich foods and supplements could cause such problems in parrots, Eclectus in particular. But why Eclectus and not so much other parrots? What is so different about their nervous system and how they metabolize vitamins?
 
I've been reading up on these neurological problems (tapping, wing flipping, etc) since this thread began (thank you saxguy64 for your explanation) and it must be very scary when these things happen! Though I knew that people can overdose on fat soluble vitamins (A, D etc) who'd have thought that too many vitamin and mineral rich foods and supplements could cause such problems in parrots, Eclectus in particular. But why Eclectus and not so much other parrots? What is so different about their nervous system and how they metabolize vitamins?
Less an issue with their nervous system, and more about their digestive system. They're adapted for less nutrient dense foods in their natural habitat, so they're a lot more efficient at extracting those nutrients from what they do eat. So, add that to food that's fortified with lots of extra stuff, and they get overwhelmed (overdosed) with it easily. For whatever reason, they're also prone to problems with calcium and vitamin A deficiency, which can also cause the neurological symptoms. Interesting that I'm told African greys are also known for calcium deficiency, but I haven't heard about them having toe tapping or wing flipping because of it. 🤷‍♂️
 

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