Vets are at a loss on what is wrong with Macaw

by Homer's Mommy
(Melissa, TX, USA)

We have a 9-month-old Severe Macaw named Homer. About six weeks ago, Homer tore a whole in his body at his keel bone. He should not have survived the ordeal but he did thanks to the quick thinking of our vet, she literally glued him back together as it was the only option, he was too weak for surgery.

It took a little time but Homer seemed to be getting better. However, about a week ago, he started making begging sounds and became lethargic. Test result from a CBC indicate anemia and slightly elevated white blood cells. Testing for heavy metals is negative.

X-rays this week show what appears to be a possible inflammation in the sac surrounding his heart and overall, the heart and intestines do not form the typical figure 8 pattern the vet is expecting to see. That said, no one knows what is wrong with Homer, what could be causing this. He is also losing weight.

At our vets urging, we are taking Homer for a second opinion with another avian vet in our area. Has anyone heart of anything like this occurring before after a near death injury?

The x-rays are so hard to read, is something like a MRI or CAT scan an option for our feathered baby?

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Jan 16, 2010
Macaw injury
by: The Avian Vet

Was this caused by a bad wing clip? All too often birds fall after having a bad wing clip and the keel bone is usually the first thing that hits.

Any antibiotics given? Pain medications? Treatment for the anemia?

I have seen stress and injury precipitate a Bornavirus infection, causing symptoms of PDD ? Proventricular Dilatation Disease. Consider having that test done. He may be loosing weight because he is not eating, maybe in pain from the injury. If the pattern of the intestines is not normal then something could be wrong in there and a barium study may be needed to determine the cause. The inflammation around the heart would need further investigation too. Maybe an ultrasound would reveal something there.

I would recommend that you have digital x-rays done before seeking an MRI or CT scan. A good digital film will tell you a lot and cost much less. I do not know what is wrong with your bird. I need to see x-rays and give him an exam. I think you should get a second opinion, too. I recommend also that you find a Board Certified Avian Veterinarian.

You need to take him in to be seen. Fluffing is usually a sign that the bird is cold and/or does not feel well. You should put a heating pad on the cage and get the temp to 90-95┬║F, then seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.

Dr B

Jan 15, 2010
Vets are at a loss on what is wrong with Macaw
by: Linda

Your bird's anemia points to internal bleeding, and unless it is stopped, bird will die. If he is not taking antibiotics, have new vet get him on them immediately. Go ahead with the second opinion and yes, a Contrast CT scan will be much better for soft tissue. X-ray is ONLY for bone injuries and does not show any definition with the soft tissue.Forget the MRI as it is too invasive, too noisy and way EXPENSIVE! If they have to do surgery to stop the bleed, they may HAVE to do one, otherwise, go with the Contrast CT Scan.If your bird lost a lot of blood, why has the vet not already given him blood transfusions? A transfusion is the difference between life and death in a situation where a lot of blood loss occurred which can also cause anemia.

Your bird is dying, and it is imperative you move quickly, and I mean run don't walk to the new vet. Bring up internal bleeding, transfusion for blood loss and also the white blood cell count being high indicates a bad infection. You may end up having to handfeed your bird baby parrot formula with a syringe, so get the vet to show you how to do this. Once birds go off their feed, they die in a short while from dehydration and lack of calories to sustain them. Your bird needs to be hospitilized and has needed it all along. Without the proper round the clock care, he will not make it.

Tracie carries the handfeeding formula out here, but it would be best to get some there in a pet store or from the vet. Vet should have the 50-60CC syringes for you to use. Your bird is in critical condition, and you may lose your bird, BUT DO NOT LET GO WITHOUT FIGHTING FOR THIS BIRD'S LIFE WITH ALL YOU HAVE PHYSICALLY AND/OR FINANCIALLY. When birds go down like this, it takes a year or better to get them back to any kind of healthy condition, so be prepared for the long-haul here in attention and time. I hope your second opinion vet knows more about bird care than the one you just described. Your bird has needed to be hospitilized from the start, with IV fluids, transfusions, antibiotics--basically the whole nine yards. We wish you the best possible outcome to this very serious situation and our hearts go out to you and your little friend.


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