14 yr. old African Grey ill

by Missy Mullally
(Cuba, MO)

My 14 yr. old African grey is ill. He has had large droppings. At first they were bright green with an odor. He was treated for a bacteria infection and Baytril cleared up the odor but the droppings were still not normal.

His gram stans showed slight bacterial shift towards the gram negative bacteria. His blood work has ruled out major organ diseases and his x-rays show no obvious problems. His blood cell count is normal.

He has been on Pretty bird pellets his whole life and the vet suggested that we go to a natural food. He has not taken to the natural so I have been mixing Zupreem colored food with the natural food.

His second meds were Nystatin and Clavamox and again the odor cleared up. He has been off both meds for over a week now and droppings are not green anymore, but have changed to a yellow/brownish red color, probably from the different food. And, I picked up a hint of the odor coming back. He has had a aspergillus panel and that has come back okay too. His droppings are still extremely messy and a large amount.

In addition to the "something is not right in his stool". He has become extremely aggressive. When I open the cage to clean it, he climbs down to the floor and lunges after me trying to bite me. He recently bit me so hard that I had to get a tetnis shot. He has never been aggressive as now.

He puffs up and trys to attack me all the time. I have been able to weigh him and (with a towel wrapped around my hand) and his weight is consistent at 560-579 grams.

Any advice? I have spent close to $600 at the vet trying to find out the problem. I cannot afford any more vet bills and I am at my wits end to the the behavior. I keep thinking that he isn't feeling well or he wouldn't be acting like this. My husband wants me to have him euthanized. My heart is breaking over this, but I don't want him to suffer if there is something going on that they haven't found yet. Thanks for your help.

Missy Mullally

Comments for 14 yr. old African Grey ill

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May 13, 2008
Sick AG aggressive
by: The Vet

I am sure that euthanasia is not warranted in this case. The aggression is probably because he does not feel well, but may also be related to having to handle him to medicate him.

In my experience, there are only few things that cause odor in droppings. First, feeding Pretty Bird or ZuPreem can be a causative factor. Neither of these foods are good and should be removed completely from their diet. The high levels of sugars in these foods are a potential cause for yeast infection, which will cause an odor in the droppings. Regardless of whether these are the cause, you need to switch his diet because these foods are awful. There is nothing healthy about either one. The best you can feed is Harrison's High Potency. Switch to this diet no matter what it takes. I have switching literature if you need it. (Tracie has it posted under her training articles.) My methods are fail-proof. Harrison's in just a few weeks or less will return the intestinal tract back to normal and cause normal bacteria to flourish. I am sure there is yeast in the droppings contributing to this. Harrison's will HELP to eliminate the yeast, too. The Nystatin was supposed to do that. But it is not effective in cases of overload and it must be given on an empty "stomach" and no food for a couple of hours after giving it. In addition, many yeast organisms are resistant to Nystatin. Harrison's alone is not going to cure this problem, but it will help A LOT. If there is yeast still present, then another drug is necessary, such as itraconazole or fluconazole.

The next common thing I see causing odor is Clostridium. This bacteria is easily seen on a Gram's stain, but does not appear in a normal culture. It must be specifically requested as part of lab testing. The treatments with the antibiotics used so far will not take care of Clostridium. They will help initially, but the problem returns when the drugs are stopped. IF this is clostridium, the drug of choice is Clindamycin.

This could also be Giarida, or Gram negative bacteria that was not susceptible to the antibiotics already given.

Finally, your bird may have been curer, but re-exposed and reinfected.

Unfortunately, you will need to see your veterinarian again for more diagnostics and medications. You can even expect that if this round does not work, that maybe barium x-rays could be necessary.

Dr B

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