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happygirl happygirl is offline
Posted 10th January 2007, 09:03 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: SoCal
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Pancreatitis?


Hi All,
I recently lost a beloved female pigeon to cancer of the oviduct. I brought her in last July and she was diagnosed with egg yolk peritonitis. We began twice daily injections of Claforan. She seemed to get better but she would swell up. The fluid wasn't being absorbed internally so the doctor had to drain her each time we went in. After a couple of months, we switched to Pip injections twice daily but the time in between the drainings became shorter and shorter. Every time she was drained, she looked like a brand new bird. Happy, flying everywhere, eating, drinking, etc. The last time we took her in, we had drained her and she looked really good. We decided to have the doctor do surgery to see what was continuing to make this fluid. The surgery lasted about 14 minutes and he said that when he was stitching her up, her little heart stopped. My heart was broken. I can't believe she's gone.

Fast forward about a month. We have another rescued pigeon and she suddenly slowed down her eating and has been "resting on her belly" more often. My thought was that she probably needed another hormone injection. I dropped her off at the doctor's office to have him check her and he did a blood panel and gram stain, gave her a Doxy injection and another hormone injection (last one was a month ago). He was worried it was egg yolk peritonitis. Anyway, I went home with Claforan and we've been injecting her twice daily since last Friday and waiting for the results of the bloodwork.

Just listened to my messages from today and the animal hospital called to say that her amylase was sky high and the thought is that she has pancreatitis. He wants to repeat the amylase test in a week.

Has anyone had this happen to their pigeon? What is the usual outcome? I looked on the internet and everything scares me - possible pancreatic cancer or gallbladder cancer, etc. I just can't go through losing my other beautiful pigeon and friend.

She's certainly eating again - which is great - but she's still doing a lot of laying on her belly...not all the time, just now and then.

Thanks.


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Pidgey Pidgey is offline
Posted 10th January 2007, 09:08 PM
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This is a thread regarding some oviduct problems:

http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/showthread.php?t=10686

Pidgey

Last edited by Pidgey; 10th January 2007 at 09:12 PM.
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Pidgey Pidgey is offline
Posted 10th January 2007, 09:24 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Tulsa, OK
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In AVIAN MEDICINE: PRINCIPLES AND APPLICATION, by Ritchie, Harrison & Harrison, Published by Wingers, 1994 and available at www.harrisonsbirdfoods.com
...it says that pancreatitis isn't usually found when they're still alive, it's usually found in a necropsy. It may be caused by infections from other organs that spread to the pancreas. It can be acute (fast and mean) and may occur due to a high-fat diet and being overfed.

The symptoms are lack of appetite, lethargy, weight loss, excessive thirst and urine output, abdominal fullness and pain. You might get bulky and pale poop. It would show up on a CBC with a biochemical profile, including the pancreatic panel. An X-Ray might show a hazy, fluid filled abdominal area. Treatments include fluids given by needle and broad spectrum antibiotics. Sometimes a corticosteroid is useful. Enzymes (from plants) can be added to food to help with digestion. Vitamin E and selenium can be helpful. Zinc toxicosis may be the cause so it's good to check that, too, like if the bird ate a staple.

Pidgey

Last edited by Pidgey; 23rd February 2007 at 02:04 PM.
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Pidgey Pidgey is offline
Posted 10th January 2007, 09:38 PM
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For you to have two such similar incidents makes me think that either you've got some bacterial or other pathogen running around there that's your ultimate cause; there's a deficiency (what's the timeline on the second bird); or there's something about the hormone shots that's a problem.

Pidgey
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happygirl happygirl is offline
Posted 10th January 2007, 09:47 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: SoCal
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Thank you for pointing me to that information Pidgey. I also found something online that I printed "Acute Pancreatitis in Parrots". It all makes me so nervous and scared.

Her stool is more mucous like but still the same dark green and white color...except it has color in it now and then from the ZuPreem fruit pellets.

I am praying that we will have caught this early. I just glanced over at her and she's on her perch - standing! Her weight is fine but I do notice that the crop area seems a little enlarged to me.

I just hope the doctor can narrow it down. It was so hard treating our other female pigeon for months and months and even that was only helping briefly.

I just reread your last note Pidgey. I didn't think the two illnesses were similar but perhaps I'm wrong? Tommy's initial diagnosis was egg yolk peritonitis but after the surgery, he sent the tumors in for diagnosis and they indicated it was oviduct cancer which caused the egg yolk peritonitis.

Scooter's initial diagnosis is pancreatitis. Both of the birds are female and they've been laying eggs. Tommy (the one that passed away) had been treated a few times with the hormone injection and Scooter's first injection was at the beginning of December. Have you heard of this causing problems?

I'm going to sign off and get to bed. I'm so nervous about this. I hope I can sleep and get through the next 4 days. Scooter's appointment is on Monday.

Thanks again.

Last edited by happygirl; 10th January 2007 at 09:55 PM.
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pigeonperson
Posted 11th January 2007, 12:42 AM
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Happygirl,

I don't want to delve too deeply into what is going on right now. You have enough to worry about but I would like to ask you a couple of things. Basically, why are you using what I assume to be Lupron injections?

The thought occurred to me that if your two hens were laying eggs and you immediately took them away, they would lay replacement eggs thereby depleting their calcium among other possible problems and giving your vet the impression that the birds were doing excessive egg laying. I don't claim to know if this is what is happening but just in case, I wanted to ask you if you're removing the eggs as soon as they laid them? Again, I'm making assumptions that perhaps should not be made but if I could take this one step further and suppose that if your current bird were laying too many eggs and an infection developed in the oviduct, it's conceivable that it might spread to the pancreas.

Lupron is not known to cause pancreatitis so this is probably two different and non-related situations.
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pigeonperson
Posted 11th January 2007, 12:46 AM
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Happygirl,
Did the blood panel include a test for diabetes which is directly related to the pancreas? Do you know if the white cell blood count was high?

Last edited by pigeonperson; 11th January 2007 at 12:00 PM.
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Feefo Feefo is offline
Posted 11th January 2007, 04:37 AM
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Hi Happygirl,

I am so sorry about your loss of the first pigeon. I lost one that I had only had for a day to anaesthetic and that was bad enough, losing a well loved pigeon must have been devastating.

I am also concerened about the use of Lupron, unless there is chronic egg-laying that is causing a problem. I found this article on the internet:

D03ZO-150, White Oak Conservation Center,
Dr. Linda M. Penfold
“Effect of the GnRH Agonist Leuprolide Acetate on Reproductive Hormones in Racing Pigeons”

Description:
Reproductive diseases, such as chronic egg laying, are common disorders encountered in companion birds. Some disorders can be managed by changing the light cycle length, lessening the bond between owner and bird, or changing diet. However, when these modifications fail to resolve the problem, medical intervention is warranted. Lupron is becoming the most commonly prescribed drug for treating avian reproductive disorders, but it appears to have variable results. The drug reduces hormones associated with the disorder, but the physiological effect of the treatment is poorly understood. The investigators are measuring Lupron’s effects on reproductive hormones in pigeons.

Accomplishment:
The investigators determined that Lupron did not have a suppressive effect on hormone levels in male or female pigeons, and the birds continued to breed and lay eggs. These findings were consistent with the variable results of Lupron that have been observed in avian practices and may indicate that this popular drug cannot sufficiently suppress reproduction in a bird when it is administered during the breeding season. Future studies will investigate whether Lupron may be more successful in preventing, rather than treating, reproductive disorders when given before the onset of egg laying.

I have 80 rescue pigeons, mostly paired so roughly 40 must be hens and replace the eggs. Only one of my hens has had oviduct problems, she was treated with Baytril and two years later she is fine but barren. Could you consider seeking a second opinion?

According to my book (Problem Droppings Explained by E.D.W. Harper M.R.C.V.) the droppings of a pigeon with disease of the pancreas a would be large, pale and and resemble coils of biscuit meal. This would happen when the pancreas fails to produce the enzymes to digest carbohydrate starches. The bird would eat voraciously, specially maize, but would lose weight. He says that where pancreatic disease is suspected it can be recognised by adding a drop of iodine to the droppings , which turns the starch back and that short term support can be provided by adding powdered panreas enzymes ( I don't know what they are called in the US, here in the UK they are called Panzyme) to the water.

I hope your pigeon is recovers soon.

Cynthia
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Last edited by Feefo; 11th January 2007 at 04:42 AM.
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Skyeking Skyeking is offline
Posted 11th January 2007, 06:08 AM
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I'm so sorry to hear about your beloved pigeon.

I have had issues of egg problems with my hens, they seemed to occur only when the hens are laying too frequent and elderly. We replaced their eggs, but they would fall to the floor and they would start the cycle all over again.

We have re-designed the cubbies and added barriers to the front, as we realized the importance of protecting our hens by allowing them to sit dummy eggs to full term, at least 18 days before they start again. Even though our couples sit on dummy eggs, and we know there are not going to hatch, we do know that this not only prevents a population explosion, but protects the hens in the long term from egg related issues. It is also important to maintain their weight, and make sure they get plenty of calcium/magnesium and other minerals.

If pancreatitis has been diagnosed, I would add for my birds to include, in all minerals and trace minerals (calcium/magnesium) ( I give some of my hens a 1/4 of an alflalfa tablet once every few days), but make sure your bird gets some digestive enzymes, proteolytic, and including pancreatin. These will aid in the absorption of fat, and aids in reducing inflammation. Vitamin B complex with pantothenic acid and niacin, is needed for anti-stress and fat and carbohydrate metabolism.

I would also include an antioxident (cancer prevention, DHLA- with Resveraltrol) as well as natural antibiotics such as echinacea to aid in case of infection, as well as a drop of coilloidal silver down the throat. If the bird goes on any heavy duty antibiotic when infection is part of the problem, like Baytril, make sure to include kefir or other type of probiotics, once course of Baytril is done.

A garlic capsule a day would be very beneficial, unless there is a tummy upset. It is a wonderful natural antibiotic, with some added beneficial side-effects.

If diabetes is suspected, follow dietary guidelines, as well.
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Pidgey Pidgey is offline
Posted 11th January 2007, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happygirl View Post
Thank you for pointing me to that information Pidgey. I also found something online that I printed "Acute Pancreatitis in Parrots". It all makes me so nervous and scared.

Her stool is more mucous like but still the same dark green and white color...except it has color in it now and then from the ZuPreem fruit pellets.

I am praying that we will have caught this early. I just glanced over at her and she's on her perch - standing! Her weight is fine but I do notice that the crop area seems a little enlarged to me.

I just hope the doctor can narrow it down. It was so hard treating our other female pigeon for months and months and even that was only helping briefly.

I just reread your last note Pidgey. I didn't think the two illnesses were similar but perhaps I'm wrong? Tommy's initial diagnosis was egg yolk peritonitis but after the surgery, he sent the tumors in for diagnosis and they indicated it was oviduct cancer which caused the egg yolk peritonitis.
Scooter's initial diagnosis is pancreatitis. Both of the birds are female and they've been laying eggs. Tommy (the one that passed away) had been treated a few times with the hormone injection and Scooter's first injection was at the beginning of December. Have you heard of this causing problems?

I'm going to sign off and get to bed. I'm so nervous about this. I hope I can sleep and get through the next 4 days. Scooter's appointment is on Monday.

Thanks again.
Mucous in the stool of a female bird is not something that you want to see. They can certainly get an enteritis and discharge it from the intestines but it can come from the oviduct as well. I wouldn't personally bother with Lupron (or similar hormones) shots just like has been mentioned above in others' posts. I vaguely remember somewhere that it didn't work too well on pigeons but that's so fuzzy that you'd need to run it down.

Anyhow, in Tommy's case, it's probably a lot harder than you think to run down the primary cause and which came first between the cancer or the peritonitis. Many cancers are caused by chronic inflammation, especially around epithelial tissues. Many are also caused by chronic hypovitaminosis and mineral deficiencies, too. That particular pathology isn't an action that we can easily directly watch, though... and it's always an "alleged" kind of deal, when cited after the fact in a specific case. We do believe, though that many cancers begin this way and our belief is somewhat derived from statistical lab analysis.

My vet for this kind of thing would seem more sloppy during the surgery itself than, I think, many would. However, there is definitely a method to his madness that is probably pure genius. He operates the gases (we're using Forane, here) during the surgery to alter the anaesthetic plane... well.. "in flight" actually. He wants to see the bird responding very faintly to various things (ligation, cutting) in order to know that she's not too far under and to vary that plane depending on what he's going to be doing next--he's always adjusting the knob.

Think of an "anaesthetic plane" as a level of consciousness--get that plane too low and your heart stops beating because you're just too sleepy to care anymore; get it too high and you're going to care (and kick) too much. Most people's impression of general anaesthetics are that they're used for the patient's comfort. That's not the real reason--it's for restraint and to keep the body from going into a fatal case of shock, which is more a function of the mind than the body per se. In the books, it gives numbers to adjust the gases to and, I suppose, many might do just that. It's an art, though, to tailor the general to the patient especially with a non-human patient without all the monitoring hookups. No one can know, by the way, why little Tommy's heart stopped on that table but my personal feeling would be that he'd slipped too low for his condition. I understand your sense of loss all too well as we all do, here.

But there are other causes for oviduct problems like infections that sneak up and in like E. coli and whatnot. What I was more worried about was that you've got some other primary cause and that these two occurrences have the same ultimate, undiscovered beginning.

Pidgey

Last edited by Pidgey; 22nd January 2007 at 08:26 PM.
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happygirl happygirl is offline
Posted 11th January 2007, 08:43 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: SoCal
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Thank you everyone for your kind words and information. I'm just so nervous and sad right now.

She's on the chair back next to me - belly down - with her eyes closed. She'll fly around the house and peck at dust or the carpeting but when she stops, she's usually laying down.

Tommy was laying too many eggs and we'd try and leave one in but most of time the shell would break. She got to the point where she had internal scar tissue that showed up as a bump where the tail feathers start. Our vet did an xray and saw that her body cavity was so full that her lungs were sort of pushed out of the way. It was just terrible but she sure acted normally except when the fluid began to build up. As soon as it was released, she was fine again but it kept continuing and more frequently. I can't believe she's gone.

Scooter was laying egg after egg as well and we tried a fake egg and that worked for a while but she got disinterested which we though was good but a couple weeks went by and another egg appeared. The vet thought the December Lupron injection would hopefully last a while but he also mentioned what you said - that it doesn't seem to work as well on pigeons.

The only thing I know - as of now - is that the blood work showed a sky high level of amylase. I'll find out more information on Monday when we bring her in. I just can't lose her.

I feel like I've caused both my beautiful birds to have all these problems because they've bonded so much with me. They follow me here and there (unless they're intent on picking at the rug). Scooter is almost like a cat in that she'll sit in my lap while I'm working on the computer and if I stop petting her, she'll tap my hand with her beak. With the egg laying issue, I asked the vet where it's safe to touch her as I usually kiss her beak or head and pet her back. He said all those places are where the male touches the female. He said the chest was probably ok. It's hard to be aloof with her.

With the Claforan injections, will that normally make the stool loose? My husband noticed that she has some undigested seeds in her stool and the green stool I see, looks stringy as well.

All this stuff seems so frightening to me. I want her to get better. If it's really pancreatitis and not something else, how long does it take before the bird starts to feel better? I'm glad she's eating, but I would be much more happy to see her not laying down so much.

We do use a mineral powder that I sprinkle over her food and we also use liquid calcium in the water along with vitamins. We use ZuPreem pellets as well.

Now I'm anxious again. I hate taking Xanax but I have a tendency to get panic attacks and I usually wait too long until my palms are sweaty and my heart's racing. I'm going to try and get my mind on something else now.

I do VERY MUCH appreciate everyone's comments. Pidgey - I understand what you're saying about the anesthesia. I hope Scooter won't have to get to that point. I hope she will start getting better soon. We were planning on going out of town (had tickets for about 6 months) on the 24th of this month to visit my folks but now I think we'll have to cancel.

Take care everyone.
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Pidgey Pidgey is offline
Posted 11th January 2007, 09:14 PM
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The Claforan is just a parenteral (by shot, either IV, Intramuscular or Subcutaneous) cephalosporin, like Keflex. It's actually Cefotaxime, I think. Anyhow, it's not likely to mess with the intestines much being given parenterally. It would be more likely that the stools are loose due to the pancreas not working properly. Essentially, it means that digestive enzymes aren't getting into the intestines to help with digestion. That usually renders digetions quite incomplete.

One of the things that it said to do for pancreatitis in the pages that I gave you the link for was to not let them have any food for three days. That way, the enzyme output of the pancreas backs off. That's important because the amylase is capable of digesting and otherwise ruining the pancreas. There are a few different ways that the pancreas can be compromised but shutting down it's activity is one of the ways to help. When feeding resumes, you can feed stuff that will reduce the burden on the pancreas like special enzymes to do the job.

If the pancreatitis is of bacterial origin, then you need a bacteria that's going to get it although you're shooting in the dark most times so the widest possible spectrum or combo to effect same is a good idea. Obviously, the vet felt that the Claforan was up to the task. I really do like Keflex.

So, you ought to ask your vet about taking the bird off food for the 72 hours and also contain her so that she's not flying around burning energy that she may need right now to fight this thing. If you need to keep her in low light to help keep her calm then so be it.

Pidgey
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Feefo Feefo is offline
Posted 12th January 2007, 04:34 AM
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Quote:
I feel like I've caused both my beautiful birds to have all these problems because they've bonded so much with me.
You certainly haven't caused this. Whether they are tame or wild, bonded to a human being or mated to another pigeon the whole focus of a pigeon's life is to lay eggs and perpetuate their species.

CYnthia
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happygirl happygirl is offline
Posted 17th January 2007, 07:53 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: SoCal
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Hi All,

We had another Amaylase test done this past Monday and it went from 2,413 down to 60! The doctor was amazed at how well she's done with Claforan. Last Friday, I picked up Metacam as I thought she might have an upset tummy and we began giving that to her but yesterday when they called to report the good news, they said we could stop the Metacam but continue with the Claf until it's finished (probably another 10 to 12 days).

The one thing that still bothers me (and I'll be calling tomorrow) is that she still spends a good deal of time resting on her belly. When Tommy was still alive, Scooter was always moving - she could never stand still. They didn't get along too well - especially when I'd first let them out. Scooter would go after Tommy and I'd have to separate them but when they flew into the living room, they were fine being out together investigated different things.

Now, with Tommy gone and having gone through this bout of pancreatitis, she seems different to us in that she rests now and then - belly down. I just put her back in her cage with the heat lamp on and right now she's acting like her usual self - pecking at her seed, drinking water and playing with newspaper but when she's out with us, I'll find her resting belly down or standing on one foot. I know her Amylase level is great but I'm still concerned about this and I'm not sure if it's a delayed reaction to Tommy or if it's something else.

One other note about the original blood test - the doctor said her white blood cells were fine and so was the liver so he said he didn't believe it was cancer - and I remember him saying something like if it had been cancer, usually they don't last more than a couple of days.

As far as her stool goes, it's still a bit mushy but the doctor thinks the Claf could also be causing this - and I'm not seeing any undigested seed in the droppings so that's also good.

We have plans to go out of town soon and my husband thinks I'm too nervous to leave her at the vet's facility. I just need to understand about this new behavior. If I get an answer for that, I'll be fine. If not, I'll be worried about her while we're gone.

Just looked at her now and she's standing on her perch with one foot up and her eyes are closed. Of course the heat lamp is on so maybe she's really just relaxing? Sigh. I wish she could talk to me.

Nancy
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Pidgey Pidgey is offline
Posted 17th January 2007, 08:19 PM
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I've got a lot of birds that lounge--we call it "hunkering down". Some of them out in the loft will even hunker down to one side up on the rafters of the loft and oh-so-casually survey their kingdom. I couldn't tell you how to tell the difference but both those behaviors (standing on one foot and hunkering down) are what I'd consider to be normal.

Pidgey
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