New member
Sep 6, 2021
2 African greys
I'm curious to know if anyone else has had smelly poops that vets have had a hard time diagnosing and what they did to get back to normal.

My African Grey (CAG) has been with us for about 6 years now and he is about 12. In June we had a full physical and wellness exam that he came out with flying colors. His radiograph looked excellent and he was tested for AGN (formerly known as PDD) and Bornavirus, and both returned negative.

We had been living in Cape Coral FL and Hurricane Ian hit at the end of September. Based on what officials had been telling us at the time we had decided to ride out the storm and unfortunately for us and all of our neighbors, we were hit with massive flooding and extensive damage. As a result, we were stuck in our home/neighborhood for 7 days without power, water, or cell service. Fortunately, it was warm and dry and we managed to clean the house as best we could. With some help from my work, we managed to get into a hotel in Clear Water where we stayed for 14 days while we tried to figure out what to do next and salvage what we could. Ultimately we began the move to Nashville which included 3 additional days in Macon, GA at another hotel and into a home. On the 2nd day in Macon, my CAG's poops began smelling, and as soon as we could we got to an avian-specific vet here in Nashville to figure out what was going on.

The Nashville vet did a physical examination and a fecal gram stain/parasite float and concluded that my CAG was vitamin A deficient and this had possibly resulted in a mild upper respiratory infection due to the change of climate. She prescribed enrofloxacin (in water) for 10 days (adding probiotics to his diet every other day) and added Red Palm oil to his pellets (Harrison's) to boost his Vitamin A levels again. While on the Enro Water, his poops returned to normal - although sometimes a little bulky - and stayed that way for about 2 days after the prescription ended before returning once more to being smelly. The vet suggested that it might not have been enough to knock out the infection so we did another 10 days which yielded exactly the same results.

At this point, we were getting a little frustrated so we headed out to Knoxville to get a second opinion about these poops. The vet in Knoxville did a physical examination and took poop samples that were used for gram stains, anaerobic and aerobic bacteria cultures, and parasite cultures. None of these tests came back with anything, even though the symptoms resembled clostridia. The Knoxville vet felt that he had no infection going on as he said there would be other symptoms. Our current course of action at this point is to try a daily dose of probiotics and to switch his water to add either apple cider vinegar or lemon to try and get his gut to be more acidic. So far the probiotics are fine, but getting him to do the water has been challenging, to say the least. If this doesn't yield any results we've been given the option to give him Metronidazole for 14 days, and if this proves ineffective the Knoxville vet has suggested a barium study.

Overall his weight has been pretty consistent (we weigh him daily), his appetite and thirst levels are normal, and generally, he's been his bright and trouble-making self - although he has been a little less active since this whole thing started.

Kind of losing our minds here trying to sort out a way to get these poops back to the way they used to be and would love to hear if anyone has ever experienced something similar and found results since I never seem to find out what happens to folks after they post on the forums.
honestly it could just be stress. a lot has happened in a short amount of time. If hes not expressing any other symptoms and all these tests have come back with minimal results I would probably just give him the chance to relax and get back into a normal schedule and see if his poops return to normal. It's not abnormal for stress to affect our guts. Just try to keep things as normal and easy for your birds as possible.
I wonder about something carried by dirty water.

Another person on forum had smelly poops and their bird had a protozoan infection. Which can be gotten from contaminated water.

I would wonder if all food isn’t getting digested properly so there’s more stuff in the poop to get smelly, or some dirty water organism. Those are the biggest worries for everyone after a natural disaster like hurricane.
Sorry that you have been faced with this reoccurring health problem. Parrot can hide their illness so well as to fool us that all is well. until it is not. Thank you for your efforts.

Food passing that has a odder to it implies that it has not been fully digested. The smell itself can tell much about what maybe causing this. Too that point, what kind of smell are you detecting? The combination of what is being eaten and what smell is resulting is important in understanding what is happening in the digestive system. Example: a Grain based diet will have a Grain based (bitter /sweet) odder when not well digested.

As commented on, Stress can cause serious problems that can result in serious problems identifying what is causing the issue.

In the background, could be a Fungus as the multi-day exposure to the conditions post-Hurricane would represent an excellent breeding ground for such.

As for individuals that come to Forums for information and never respond, let alone, advise whether the information was helpful or not, sadly it happens.
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After a bit more thought, excretion of fat in droppings is almost a signature of a protozoan infection. Thus the bird or animal has smelly or even oily droppings. This needs to be diagnosed by a vet and the infection treated.
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Just following up here on this thread. We eventually got the smelly poops to go away with a 14 day dose of metronidazole. This held for 10 months with no issue but the smelly poops came back. We are currently going through another round of metronidazole and will be doing a CT scan afterward with contrast to find out the source of what is causing our issues. I will follow up here with our findings, although it may take me a little while.
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