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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Guys!!

Been a while since I've needed to post on here but I have found a lil one in a bit of a pickle.

It is a young feral - fully fledged and independent but definitely one of this years. A gentleman brought it into the vets I work at yesterday evening just as I was leaving for home. I didn't get many details but it sounded like it had been in his garden most of the day and just sitting there unable to fly.

I checked it over for obvious injury and found nothing. It was however extremely warm and had rapid, laboured breathing with mouth breathing. It was also unable to bare weight on either leg, they seemed very floppy although there was a small amount of movement managed by the bird in both.

I hoped perhaps that this was possibly a case of sun-stroke with a youngster that hadn't been doing so well out on its own. It drank water straight away and I cooled it down slowly with a luke warm bath. It settled down and later in the evening the mouth-breathing had seeming eased so I risked pushing some oral baytril and meloxicam into it. Once I got it home I also started it on CCF (critical care formula) diluted in water to try and pep it up. Tbh I didn't think it would still be a live this am.

It has survived the night!! BUT it still feels very warm to me so I'm not sure if I am dealing with residue heat-stroke or a nasty infection. In itself it seems quite bright and responsive and is drinking the water and CCF well when offered - it is also mouth breathing slightly but mainly when stressed during handling. I am loath to offer it any food yet however as it has still passed absolutely NOTHING in regards to waste product. There is a watery discharge around the anus but there has been no faeces or urates seen at all. I have never seen this before - not even in the sickest birds I have attempted to help. Has anyone had this in their birds - could I just put it down to extreme dehydration?? The problem is its eyes aren't sunken and it doesn't have the normal signs of such a severe condition. I've felt around the crop and abdo and cannot feel anything abnormal (I am a vet nurse and have been doing this sort of thing for years buuuuut I really am NO expert!!).

Also, the legs are still floppy. I haven't seen any movement at all when handling the pidge this morning. I can not find any obvious signs of fractures and altho I cannot rule out dislocation, the hips do both feel in place - the legs do not feel like they are 'floating'. I hoped the paralysis may just be a symptom of weakness and collapse BUT I am wondering now if it has got into this state BECAUSE it has been grounded and not been able to move due to the condition with its limbs.

Any suggestion from previous experience with heat stroke birds would be great. As would any other suggestions for alternative diagnosis.

Thanks!
Leah
 

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Hi Leah

A quick look suggests to me that actual heatstroke is unlikely in a non-confined bird, plus it would probably not still be alive.

Obviously birds can get uncomfortable on hot days, and dehydration can occur. Sometimes I've seen pigeons throats (or something near the throat) vibrating rapidly which is their way of trying to lose heat.

It really seems like there is an underlying problem. Sounds like you've alleviated any dehydration, and I expect CCF (and Polyaid, if you have it) will keep him going temporarily.

If the pigeon was somewhere upwards of 6 to 8 months, one possibility could be egg laying paralysis in a hen, but from what you say that's out of the picture. A problem we have dealt with in collared doves, though not pigeons, is calcium deficiency. Yound doves who are unable to walk or hardly stand have responded well to a concentrated calcium + D3 supplement.

Another thing that can cause problems with standing is a severe kidney issue. A bird with kidney problems I'd expect to see drinking excessively and passing a lot of liquid.

Another possibility for a bird that isn't pooping could be failure of the crop to empty (Metoclopramide is good) or a serious obstruction like a canker nodule.

Not sure what else to suggest really.

If you are in the UK, can you give us a location? Obviously you have experience with birds, and a vet surgery at your disposal, but possibly one of the rehabbers may have an idea.
 

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Weakness and inablility to stand may also be caused by starvation and lack of nutrition, especially since it hasn't pooped. Once blockage has been ruled out pllease feed the bird since it already has been hydrated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi guys.

Thanks for the advice. Good news is that its digestive track has obviously started moving again - it has (only) toileted twice now since I posted (and since I have had it) the first was just opaque fluid but the second had some of the green 'starvation' goo with it. I have offered it a small amount of small seeds and egg food - easily digestible stuff, which it gobbled straight up. I am going to leave it a little while to make sure the food creates no ill effects. I am really careful with casualties like this, especially as I think (even with the fluid he/she has had) the bird is probably still dehydrated. Yesterday was VERY hot and it sounds as though it was found in an exposed area. I have lost WAY too many pidges through sour crop by feeding them too soon. Plus the CCF is a short-term nutritional support so that should be helping it out as well.

I would say that the bird is probably about 6-8 months old. So splay leg is out and it isn't presenting with those symptoms anyway. I have Avipro vitamin powder here so I will def start dusting the food with that (that has a fairly good calcium content). I also have oyster shell which, once I'm certain the food is going through, I can also add in.

Big thing that is concerning me really is the inability to stand. It can certainly flap its wings with enough power so I would almost rule out weakness due to starvation as it obviously has enough in it still to attempt flight. It also seems very hot still - and still with the mouth breathing. I thought this could be either down to either stress or pain but it seems relatively chilled and the NSAIDS I have it on should be keeping it comfortable - and SHOULD be helping to control the fever.

I guess it may just be a few days recovery but I can't help but think I'm missing something here :( I've brought forward its melox and baytril dose a few hours to try and give it a boost. I have tried the three places I normally take my birds - waiting for a reply back from 1 - but both the others have simply said they will need to examine it before they can speculate. I don't think I can get it anywhere until Friday.

If anyone has any other ideas please let me know!! :)

Leah
 

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Well, you have done well by him/her so far. If there was no pooping I was going to suggest 1cc Metamucil mixture, but it seems that the digestive tract is moving now.

I would continue the meds and food. The thing is, is his weight alarmingly low ? This would be obvious...and if it is not, then it wasn't starvation which was causing this...

He could have an impact injury which has temporarily (or perhaps more seriously) effected him neurologically, thus the temporary (we hope) paralysis of the legs.

The open mouth breathing and fever, you are correct, in a situation where supportive care and anti-inflammatories should have at least improved that....is pretty odd. But on the other hand you say he is alert and wants to eat..which is a big plus.

No other thoughts, really...keep it up.
 

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Hi SOLITUDE,

First remember that birds in general, have a much higher body temperature than humans, 108-112F. Which feels unduly warm to a human.

You should check the bird for obvious signs of malnutrition, lack of musculature around the keel and breast, legs, etc. It is not unusual to see a downed bird in the final stages of starvation, so be careful about feeding amounts for the first seven days. Overfeeding a starving bird will kill it. Lack of fecal and urate output may be tied to dehydration, which might well explain the open mouth panting.

Applesauce with KayTee, at 10% of body weight per day, along with moderate antibiotic often pulls them through the seven days.

Best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi Guys and thanks again.

Seeing some improvements. Passing the horrible green sludge with every toilet now and crop feels empty so guessing the small amount of food it had earlier has cleared. Have offered it some proper sized seed this evening, in a restricted amount, which it gobbled up nicely. This lil one is very underweight but most pidges I pick up, especially youngsters, are :( He does have a bit of muscle and overall he doesn't look in bad condition (I've seen much, much worse!!) so I'm hoping the crop is going to start doing its job properly and get some much needed nutrition into this lil mite.

Temp is more normal now - would even say a lil under (I have a house pidge that sometimes likes to sleep on my hand at night (yes - I may be crazy but hey-ho :D) so I'm using her usual temp as a measuring gauge at the mo). BUT the resp rate on this bird is still really high and laboured - although not quite as bad as before (still slight mouth-breathing). Not sure if this is related or whether is a red herring and this lil mite has multiple problems going on :(

Most positive sign I have seen though is some resistance in the legs... finally!!! No real change on the mobility front - still nowhere near to weight bearing but he is scuttling around on his abdomen now with his feet pushing him along. They're not floppy anymore - I'm actually getting some push back!! :D

I don't want to get too hopeful. I take these things to heart (I can remember pretty much EVERY animal casualty I have lost over the last 15 years - that's ALOT of animals - and it still gets to me every single time). But this lil one really seems like a fighter. I've just settled him for the night and I'll be off to bed soon so I'll be probably up at the crack of dawn to check hes still with me. Please keep your fingers and toes crossed for this poor lil guy - I thinks he needs it.....

Thanks
Leah
 

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I remember I had a rescue once with a high respiratory rate...confounded my avian vet as well as everyone on this Forum for weeks....I believe she also had lost a foot if I recall.

But eventually, after several weeks, the breathing became closer to normal.

I suppose one could start a med for respiratory infections, but maybe in her current weakened state I would hold off on that until she seems a bit more physically robust.

All in all, things are moving in the right direction, eh ? There is anotehr thread here by SaiMino where he rescued a Pigeon with a paralyzed and atrophying leg. He has managed, over time, with some physical manipulation and massaging, to return the leg to use, to a good degree.

Just something to keep in mind; maybe read his thread and consider trying it when your buddy is stronger.

Hard to say whether your friend's problems began with the leg injury, or whether another malady or three caused neurological difficulties down there...and as those maladies are now on the wane, the use is returning (?)
 

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Pidgey posted a note some time ago about downed birds that seemed only to be affected by leg paralysis. He noted that Staphylococcus bovis produces that
effect in pigeons and had been identified among European bird breeders as the culprit. S. bovis, like all of the other members of that species, usually makes its way in via the respiratory tract.

Whether that is the problem can only be resolved with a blood culture, but if the bird appears to me surviving, its own immune system should clear the infection in about 4-6 weeks. Meantime supportive care is probably the best approach.

Best to both of you.
 

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Please do wash your hands thoroughly after handling this rescue and before handling your pigeon.
It's impossible to tell you with certainty what the problem is with this rescue but it may be the green sludge is the result of lack of food or starvation, which causes the organs to break down to feed the bird. That could also have a lot to do with the mobility issues.

Personally, I would take the bird to a vet and in the least have a gram stain to check for bacteria over growth. it would also be a good idea to have the pigeon checked for worms. it's very likely the pigeon needs an antibiotic.
At this point, I would avoid a culture or blood work. They are expensive and often one can find out what's needed with a gram stain.
 
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