Sick conure (long)

by Donna

My green cheeked conure has become really quiet(lethargic) around 2 weeks ago (19th nov). We also noticed he is chewing/possibly eating his faeces so we now clean him out twice a day, we used to use a grill but found that the faeces usually catch on the bars rather than falling through. He is still eating, drinking and preening. Sometimes he is quieter than others, he will seem perfectly ok one hour but revert back to being quiet the next. He also appeared to be losing weight.

His diet consists of Harrisons high potency fine, a mix of various different fruits and vegetables (never avocado, onions, garlic,leeks etc). Also tidymix sprout/soak mix a couple of times a week and tidymix high quality seed mix a couple of times a week in addition to his pellets. He doesn't get human food generally but very very occasionally he will get a tiny piece of cooked wholegrain pasta, rice or brown toast- always given plain and cooled down.
He has access to cuttlefish, mineral block and clay mineral blocks.

He has a minimum of 1 hour a day out of his cage if we are busy but otherwise is usually out at least 3 hours a day and is always supervised so I dont think he has eaten/chewed anything he shouldn't.

We saw an avian vet within 2 days of him starting to behave abnormally. He weighed in at 72g, the vet couldn't see anything physically wrong and performed an xray which came back ok and blood tests which showed a normal white blood cell count and that his organs were functioning normally. He was also given an antibiotic shot whilst he was under and we were sent away with some baytril to give him orally 2x a day for 5 days as a precaution.

The vet also noted his feet were quite pale but couldn't get enough blood to test for anything else. Our conure did seem to pick up for a few days but now the past 2 days he spends huge amounts of time in his happy hut, he only used to use that at night for sleeping. His vocalisations sound normal but are infrequent compared with usual.

We have kept the heating on constantly since he became ill and restricted bathing because we dont want him to become chilled, although he still seems to want one.

He has dropped 2g since he last saw the vet but has stayed at this weight over the past 2 weeks. He does have another appointment booked for tomorrow as the vet hasn't been there for a few days. Other than the weight loss his eyes, beak, vent, feathers etc are in good condition. He does seem to be preening himself quite aggressively round his wings at times though.

I was wondering if you had any thoughts on his symptoms although I know the few symptoms he is displaying could relate to pretty much anything. Are there any further tests I could suggest to the vet to see if he has considered them? Is it safe to take further blood from my bird in relation to his size and the time period since they last took his blood (21st november)

Any advice would be appreciated, just want to get my little man well again, he will be 2 years old in january.
Thank you

Comments for Sick conure (long)

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Dec 28, 2011
Sick conure
by: The Avian Vet

How can you tell he has lost weight? Do you have a weight chart where you have been monitoring his weight. When you think a bird is sick, you should be weighing him daily. Generally G-c conures weigh 75gms or less. 10% weight loss is significant. A 70gm bird would lose 7 grams. There is no way to detect that small amount of weight loss just by feel. If the keel is sharp with no muscle on the chest, then weight loss is noticeable, but that would mean that the weight loss is 15-20%, which is life threatening. I recommend that you get a gram scale and monitor his weight daily.

I would guess that he is not eating his poop, but is performing housecleaning by crumbling the dried poop to make it go away.

I also recommend that you leave the grate in the cage. By removing the grate, he will have access to his poop in the bottom of the cage mare easily and this will serve only to recycle the infection.

His diet is good. He should heat 80% pellets. Cuttlebone is not needed.

Did the antibiotics help?

The amount of blood that can be safely taken is 0.7cc. This amount can be taken about every 2 weeks. This amount of blood is plenty to run all of the necessary screening tests. I would recommend that you have more blood work done, including protein electrophoresis. DNA sex him if not already, and maybe to a cloacal culture.

The symptoms you describe are very subtle. The weight loss of 2 grams is very small and nearly insignificant. However, if your bird is loosing weight, even two grams, daily, then this is a problem. What do the droppings look like? The only symptom you have provided that I feel is significant is the lethargy. More diagnostics are needed. I am happy to discuss this with you on a consultation if your bird is not doing better.

Nov 30, 2011
just to add
by: Anonymous

Sorry meant to say his droppings are also normal, theres no diarrohea or strange colours.

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