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Feather plucking/health issues - general comments please

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Author Topic: Feather plucking/health issues - general comments please  (Read 1120 times)

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poochini

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Feather plucking/health issues - general comments please
« on: November 15, 2015, 06:21:40 PM »

Hi - I've been a member for a while but just lurked in the shadows reading away until now as I'm rather worried about my grey. I'm not after veterinary advice per se - I have already taken Misty to an avian vet twice (Great Western Exotics in Swindon) and she has had the best possible care I could ask for, I'm just putting this out there to any parrot owners who may have had a similar experience for support really. Warning: long post!

Background: 2 years old hand reared bought from a breeder in Devon. Weaned onto Tropican Lifetime parrot granules. Otherwise only eats fresh fruit and veg and only treat she has is walnut couple times a week. "Crystal sexed female" and goes by the name of Misty. She's our first parrot and spoiled and loved to bits!

About two months ago, she started plucking around her neck/crop area. At first it was quite sporadic but over the past week or so it had become markedly worse. She's never done this before and although I initially put it down to boredom/stress/hormones (even though nothing has changed in our routine, cage, house etc, she has more toys than a parrot store has, has free access to come and go from her cage as she pleases etc.) I knew I had to have her seen to rule out any underlying organic causes.

Otherwise - completely well in herself - talking, singing, shouting, whistling, playing, climbing, pooping, eating and drinking all normal.

So a week ago she went to Swindon where they did a whole barrage of investigations. And instead of being told the plucking is behavioural - we find she has a whole list of things wrong with her?!

- Low white cell count
- Crop infection
- Impacted preen gland
- Borderline total calcium levels (didn't do ionized)
- Enlarged spleen on xray

They also sent of tests for pssitacosis and pssitaci beak/feather disease both came back negative.

She was started on baytril and metacam for the crop infection and impacted preen gland and went back for review yesterday. Yesterday it was found her crop infection had cleared, but her preen gland still looked impacted. They couldn't drain anything from it and sent off cells to pathology lab. We're waiting those results.

What worries me from yesterday  besides the fact that they mentioned her preen gland could have a tumour(!) is that after the anaesthesia she was really really shaky / twitchy / jerky, hanging her head and half closing her eyes. I panicked as she was definitely not herself and so the vet admitted her overnight for observation and gave her calcium/vit d and midazolam and today she is much improved. We brought her home and she's I would say 70% back to normal - rather quiet but eating and drinking and sitting outside her cage watching us and preening. I suspect that's because we abandoned her for the night and she had a long car journey home.

The long and short of it is that the vet gave us 2 possibilities for this reaction - low calcium and the stress of the procedure causing a reaction, OR, proventricular dilatation disease - the neurological version. This would also go with her having a low white cell count apparently. On her xray her proventirculus was normal in size.

I've been doing some reading and from what the vet said there's no way of determining 100% if a bird has PDD as there are a lot of false negatives ie testing negative but actually having the disease.

I'm really shocked by this whole turn of events - apart from the episode at the vet yesterday....she's been completely fine and if she hadn't been plucking...I would never have expected anything to be wrong?? I know birds hide their illnesses from predators - but would a 'sick' bird really talk and play and do 'higher functioning'? I'm so shocked this could be PDD ie essentially fatal, as she seems so well in herself.

Also - I'm worried that she may have a tumour in her preen gland, which would require surgery, and after yesterday I don't think I could put her through another anaesthetic!

Has anyone any experience of either condition - low white cells, PDD or preen gland impaction? All I read about with PDD is weight loss, seed in poop, regurgitation, listness etc and she fits none of that. She doesn't display any 'twitching'  at home besides occasional wing flicking before she settles to sleep which I assumed was normal.

Thanks for reading to the end and I'd welcome any feedback. I just can't believe that so much has been found 'wrong' with Misty when she is fine in herself - and no explanation for the plucking has been given although I am sure being 'unwell' could explain it for sure.
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FeatherMonkey

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Re: Feather plucking/health issues - general comments please
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2015, 06:58:57 PM »

Not really sure what your after but absolutely yes they will do everything to hide illness. It's a prey response. As flock animals similar to tuna being bundled into the group means a predator can't pick the individual out. Being sick means you're weak, slow etc basically a predator target so you hide illness so the group doesn't push you out no one wants to be next to the target.

As for diagnosis unless I'm mistaken pretty sure you couldn't be with a better avian authority than you already are. I dont think you'll find anyone on a forum to better the advice or diagnosis given.

I'm a great believer in weight monitoring is assistance to health. Also feather condition is another good cue. Being young assessing normal could of been easily missed. Also yearly checks with physical and blood work.

Not really sure but as alluded to earlier pretty sure you've got one of the top avian vets at that surgery. Have you been given/asked for changes/advice in husbandry. My initial thoughts are an avian bulb for vit d/calcium. I also know nothing about that brand of pellets, but sometimes we don't quite own how much table food we give. I'm also a great believer in exercise. Personally like a couch potato I find fitness allows for other weaknesses in husbandry(just IMO).
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Re: Feather plucking/health issues - general comments please
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2015, 06:59:55 PM »

Ps best wishes and thoughts and that all becomes good for you and Misty.
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poochini

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Re: Feather plucking/health issues - general comments please
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2015, 07:36:47 PM »

Thanks for taking time to reply. I'm just posting in case any of the ? tens ?hundreds of regular forum users have had experience with their birds having low white cell counts / impacted preen glands / possible PDD diagnosis and what the outcome was. They've recommended a parrot light which I will admit I thought wasn't as necessary as one would appear - I assumed because she was on her complete diet she would get all the nutrients from that. I've placed an order with scarletts for palm nuts and a lamp so hoping that might help.

Yes I'm glad I went to swindon - completely bypassed our local vet and just went straight for what I hoped would be the best and seems it was the right thing to do.
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FeatherMonkey

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Re: Feather plucking/health issues - general comments please
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2015, 10:04:34 PM »

Not really sure I can add more keep with the vets advice honestly his advice is the one you want.

Now honestly this is what you get with a good vet he's not ruling anything out. Think of that as a positive, this is another reason for yearly check up the vet gets to know the norms. The low wbc is pointing to a viral problem, I suspect the head shaking led to the possible pdd. Once again you have one of the best in the country work with them.

What I'm alluding to is my boy had slightly funny blood work, if I remember correctly I have slightly low calcium and elevated monocytes on Willow but it's his norm as far as we can tell but this is due to the vet and our relationship.

As for pellet my instinct says it's low for Greys but then what do I know even the manufacturers don't agree. I know some forum members mention lower protein, yet I've read and mine cope with higher also fat but I suspect the calcium aspect hasn't been covered which is vit D - calcium - phosphorus balancing.

Had you asked the vet for a recommendation I suspect Harrisons would of been given. Yet many a healthy parrot is on a supplemented seed diet so what's right is determined by assistance from a vet not guess work on a forum.

In regards to preening gland this will have an impact on vit D/calcium dynamic with uv lighting. I do wonder on a humidity factor though, regular misting/bathing if low.

My general message is you have the best advice and help on hand trust them you'd be hard pushed to find better.
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Re: Feather plucking/health issues - general comments please
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2015, 08:25:33 AM »

Hi from me
Just wanted you to know I'm thinkin of you and misty
Apart from the lamp which stef has already mentioned above there's no advice I could give that would better your avian vet
Best wishes Mandy xx
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Re: Feather plucking/health issues - general comments please
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2015, 09:19:57 AM »

What a shock for you, i hope the results turn out to be less worrying, fingers crossed she is ok.
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jules

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Re: Feather plucking/health issues - general comments please
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2015, 05:26:02 PM »

Really sorry how things have turned out, but its not all gloom as parrots can live without a preen gland, I think they just need extra showers, and maybe meds but don't quote me on that one. Maybe she was already weak, before the anaesthetic, which is why she seemed more sleepy? I'm sure with meds, and the right care, extra vitamins she can get through this x

My Amazon had apergillosis, along with all the signs of PDD, seed in poop, weight loss, twitching (which can also be a sign of vitamin/calcium defiency) sadly he passed away x

If your greys proventricular is normal I'm hoping it isn't PDD. Her crop being impacted would prove irritating, which would explain plucking around that area. All of these things wrong have built up over the two years of her life, I know it was a shock to you, but you've done right and are going in the right direction to improve things now. It could take time but soon you should see some improvement :)

Misty is under the best care, hope all will be well soon x

Can't stress enough how important extra calcium, vitamins and an avian lamp is :)
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LynnP

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Re: Feather plucking/health issues - general comments please
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2015, 05:33:29 PM »

Oh god that must have been quite a shock for you, I've noting to add except I hope things turn out OK for Misty. Please let us know how you get on though x

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poochini

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Re: Feather plucking/health issues - general comments please
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2015, 06:31:13 PM »

Thank you for all the replies and positive thoughts. Yes I still can't believe she could be 'suffering' and I just had no idea until the plucking as she just acts 'normal' or as normal as I've grown used to in the short 2 years we've been together. I will ask the vet about switching her pellets, don't want to upset her with a change in diet if there's lots of other things going on. Avian lamp should be here tomorrow if the postal service behaves itself!
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poochini

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Re: Feather plucking/health issues - general comments please
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2015, 08:29:01 PM »

Good news from the vet - her preen gland cells just show inflammation. No cancer or tumour or abscess or infection. So relieved. Gave us a few options for treatment but I'm just going to see how she goes before rushing in to make a decision. And wow, the bird lamp is a miracle worker. I'm almost in tears at how....content? Misty looks. She's been actively basking underneath it non stop since we set it up and although I know it should be turned off so she can rest I almost don't want to it's working wonders! I only regret not buying one from the start. It's wonderful to see her under it. No plucking, just one happy Grey.
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kazky

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Re: Feather plucking/health issues - general comments please
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2015, 08:32:01 PM »

Its amazing what a lamp does isn't it? They should be sold as essentials. Great news about Misty too :)


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LynnP

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Re: Feather plucking/health issues - general comments please
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2015, 09:20:04 PM »

Oh that's good news, you must be so relieved. Yeah its amazing the difference the UV light makes, not only for their health but also their general well being, we all feel better when it's sunny and they need that daily fix. It also helps their vision and I agree with Kaz they should be sold as an essential item for caged birds.



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greenfield10@karoo

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Re: Feather plucking/health issues - general comments please
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2015, 08:25:49 AM »

I've followed this post but not joined in but I'm really pleased that your birds making progress and yes we wouldn't be without our uv light .


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jules

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Re: Feather plucking/health issues - general comments please
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2015, 10:38:45 PM »

Good to hear Misty is doing well, and loving her lamp. Thanks for letting us know  :yahoo:
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