African Gray - stinky poop & sometimes diarrhea

by ML

My gray is 15, happy not stressed and on pretty bird pellets (Originally on Nupreem, which made me suspicious so I switched). Once a year over the last 2 years she gets smelly poop and occasional diarrhea. The first time after she started showing sign of illness in addition to these other symptoms, I took her to an avian vet. Blood and fecal tests came back normal. Still sickly I tried some over the counter liquid which claimed to have a mild antibiotic in it and she improved. I informed the vet and they gave me some antibotics which cleared everything up. The following year it started again, antibiotics cleared it up but she was not on it for as long.

Now it's happening again. I can't afford to spend $500 plus each time to take her to the vet just for antibiotics. Have you ever heard of this? What can I do? Please I need help.


Comments for African Gray - stinky poop & sometimes diarrhea

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Jul 11, 2010
Stinky poop
by: The Avian Vet

First let me say that you should NEVER use over-the-counter antibiotics. These only makes the problem worse and makes it impossible to diagnose when you do see the veterinarian. It can also cause resistant bacteria and when you use the real antibiotics, they are less likely to work.

There are a couple of things to think about. If the infection is recurring, then this means that your bird is constantly be exposed or re-exposed. You need to consider where this may be coming from. The most common source is the water. If your bird is not drinking from a water bottle
, then the water bowl is most likely the cause of the infection. Bacteria that grow in water often cause stinky droppings. Another source is wet foods. If you feed fresh foods and cooked foods and these foods are left in the cage for more than 3 hours, this could be your source. These foods need to be removed within in 2 hours to prevent exposing your bird to bacteria.

There are many species of bacteria, and only a few that will cause an abnormal odor. These bacteria are often missed if they are not looked for specifically using special stains or other techniques. One in particular that causes odor is Clostridium. These are easily treated, but they require a specific antibiotic.

The other organism that can cause odor is yeast. Yeast is usually an opportunistic invader. If the GI tract is not healthy, then the environment is suitable for pathogenic bacteria (like Clostridium) and yeast. Situations that lead to this are stress, viral infections, and poor diets. Stress can be as simple as a molt. You mention feeding ZuPreem but then switching to Pretty Bird. You were better off with ZuPreem, but both of these diets can contribute and even cause yeast infections because of the high levels of sugar in the food. You can improve the environment in the gut with a better diet and adding probiotics to the food. Talk to your avian vet about this, because it requires refrigeration.

Here is what I recommend. First, you need to get a diagnosis. Take your bird in to see an avian veterinarian who is familiar with these problems. Blood work and other diagnostics may not be needed, but you should have a Gram?s stain and a culture of the cloaca done. This will identify the bacteria and the antibiotic that will treat it. Second, you need to switch your bird to Harrison's pellets. This is an organic diet and it has been shown in trials to make the environment of the gut more suitable for good bacteria which reduces the bad flora. Third, you need to add this probiotic to your bird?s diet.

Dr B

Jul 10, 2010
African Gray - stinky poop & sometimes diarrhea
by: Linda

This is a chronic infection situation, and I suggest you have a NEW Avian Vet do a throat swab to find out what kind of infection it is so it can be properly treated. If the vet has NOT done a throat swab, then the bacteria has not been identified as the fecal swabs ALWAYS contain some bacteria, but not necessarily the type that is causing the infection.Throat swabs are accurate for bacterial infections.

Another problem with recurring/chronic infections is that the bird may be eating poop and re-infecting herself which will go on and on until the bird dies from all the damage to organs the infections are doing.

Take bird to a new Avian, get all her records and take to the new vet or have them faxed. Ask for a throat swab to pinpoint bacteria causing infection and also have tests run for various viral infections which are just as bad. They will not respond to antibiotics, and there are meds to treat them.

DO NOT GIVE YOUR BIRD ANYMORE OVER THE COUNTER MEDICINES BECAUSE YOU ARE MAKING THE PROBLEM WORSE. Change vets immediately because it sounds like the one you've been seeing is just charging you for nothing. All Avian Vets or any vets or doctors are NOT THE SAME. Some are in it solely for the money, while the majority are in it based on a deep committed love of the people, birds and animals.

Change vets and be sure and take the old records with you. The office can fax your bird's records to the new Avian Vet, so just call and get them to do that soon as you have appointment with another Avian Vet. You should not have had to spend so much money and your bird still be sick. This vet has not diagnosed her, and until she is diagnosed properly, no treatment is going to work.

Let us know what the new vet has to say and very sorry you are having to go through this because of either incompetence or greed on the part of your present Avian Vet.Be sure to give new vet her complete history including what kind of cage she lives in, perches, food (all foods), and any other pertinent information you can think of.


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