Changes in droppings

Twice now I've rushed my (3 yr old) lovebird to the avian vet because I've spotted small amounts of blood in his droppings. Given a few hours of observation by the vet, the droppings have returned to their normal color and consistency without any intervention, and the blood has been ruled the result of eating something scratchy. The incidences were months apart, for what it's worth.

Is it "normal" to occasionally have blood in the feces? I am hesitant to follow up with bloodwork and x-rays if it was just a false alarm, because I don't want to cause him undue stress (also, he has already had a cbc and xray within the year, and both were normal). Should I take my bird to the vet whenever I see blood in the droppings, or is it safe to wait a few hours and see if it resolves? I am wondering if the key to interpreting droppings is that there is a consistent change over, say, 24 hours. Relatedly, if the blood is no longer present and he's otherwise healthy, does that rule out a more serious problem? Thank you for your help.

Comments for Changes in droppings

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Dec 02, 2010
by: E

The work-up was conducted by the exotics department at a veterinary school. I asked about lead poisoning, and was told that he lacks the symptoms they would expect if that was the case). His feces have been checked for parasites several times over the course of a week, gram-stained, and cultured. Bloodwork indicates healthy organ function and no indications of infection. The fecal culture showed slightly elevated levels of staph (normal values in the lab considered 20 parts or lower, and he had 30), and he's been placed on Baytril (.68 mg/day, 49 gram bird) for a week. I've been asked to let them know how he's doing in a week, and follow-up with x-rays if I see more symptoms. He shows no lethargy or fluffing, and has a healthy appetite.

The vets have not been able to observe or detect the blood in the droppings (although I believe the occult was done on "normal" droppings, NOT the ones I suspected of containing blood). The attending says I have a healthy bird, and that he would not hesitate to sign a health certificate if I asked for one (just to make a point). I'm a biologist, and I felt certain I knew what bloody droppings looked like because I've noticed changes related to diet previously. Perhaps I am mistaken. Thank you so much for your time.

Nov 26, 2010
Changes in bird droppings
by: The Avian Vet

This is not a diagnosis that I can support. Nothing ?scratchy? can be eaten that will cause blood in the droppings. You need to go and see an avian veterinarian immediately.

Blood in the droppings is NEVER normal. It is not a false alarm. It is not safe to see if it resolves. And if it does ?resolve? it does not rule out serious problems, especially if it comes and goes. Some things to think about ? it could be diet related and not blood at all. Has someone done a fecal occult blood test to see if it is blood? The number one thing that can cause blood in the droppings is lead poisoning. Has anyone tested her for lead poisoning? How about an infection? Has she been cultured? I think you need to see a specialist for a more thorough work up and better advice on how to handle this potentially life-threatening situation.

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Dr B

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