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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Background
We live at Naihati, 38 kms from Kolkata, India. For the last few years our balcony on the second floor has been serving as the “maternity ward” for feral pigeons and doves. They lay eggs and rear their babies here. We regularly clean their nests and sometimes bring the babies indoors, especially during inclement weather. Apart from these, we do not interfere in their lives, nor they in ours. Adults are too timid to approach us. Babies, once they grow up and learn how to fly, leave the nest for good. Absolutely no attachment between them and us. This is how it was all going on.

The case in hand
A baby pigeon was born here on July 25, 2020. There was another egg which never hatched. We candled it and saw there had been no baby inside. Still we waited for a number of days before discarding it. For the first month of her life the baby was growing up exactly as expected. She was quite healthy and very cute. The trouble began on August 25, 2020 when we found her in a state of illness and starvation. Her parents disappeared mysteriously. We understood that the baby needed our help to survive.

Symptoms
(1) The baby sits on the floor with her neck tilted on one side or drooping very low. But she is sometimes capable of keeping her neck in the usual upright position.
(2) She sleeps most of the time. When awake, her eyes are often expressionless and unfocused.
(3) She is losing weight rapidly. Her wings have become paper-thin.
(4) The temperature of her body fluctuates between very high, a bit on the higher side and normal.
(5) Sometimes she moves around herself in a circular motion. Once she also attempted to fly.
(6) She suffered from diarrhoea with leafy green excrement in the first two days. Now her digestion seems to have improved.
(7) She often scratches her body, sometimes rather violently, leading to loss of feathers. We noticed it on the second day of her illness. On that day, while cleaning her, a weird insect with a triangular shape escaped from under her wings. We searched but could not find any more of that insect in her.
(8) Today, since the afternoon, she looks even more fatigued and drowsy than before. In the evening we discovered her sleeping on her back, with both legs stretched upwards. We were panicked that it might be all over. But she responded to my pat when I lifted her.

Orally administered medicine
We took her to a general vet (we have no avian vets in this part of India) on the first day of her illness. He prescribed:
(1) Neurobion Forte (Vitamin B) – 1/6th tablet twice daily
(2) Betnesol (Betamethasone) – 1 drop twice daily
(3) Hostacycline (Tetracycline) – 1/10th tablet twice daily
However, no pharmacy in our locality had the third one in stock. So we talked to the vet over phone. He changed it to Amoxicillin. The dosage remained the same.
It was already late at night when we obtained the three items mentioned above. So we started giving them to her on the second day of her illness. On that day we crushed the tablets and dissolved them in water. These two solutions were given to her with the help of a syringe. Obviously she was in great pain. From the next day onwards we started giving the medicine mixed with her food. Now she swallows the entire thing without any hassles.

Ointment
We have been applying a mixture of turmeric powder and coconut oil on the entire body of the baby since the second day of her illness. It seems to soothe her and she reduces scratching for a considerable period of time.

Diet
(1) Seeds of Bengal gram soaked in water for five hours and chopped into fine pieces. Only given on the first day of her illness. She could not eat from a bottle, but managed to pick three or four pieces from my hand.
(2) A thin watery substance containing small particles of various seeds and a lot of water. Only given on the second day of her illness with the help of a syringe. She resisted and consumed very little.
(3) Various seeds ground into a thick paste and formed into little balls with the help of atta (a kind of flour which is rich in fibre). Given on the third day of her illness and continued till today. She seems to like it.
(4) Frozen green pea soaked in warm water until soft and at room temperature. Given on the fourth day of her illness and continued till today. She seems to like it.
(5) Water with a pinch of glucose and cooking salt. Poured down her throat with the help of a syringe.
On the first two days of her illness we struggled to find out what to feed her and how. On these two days she almost starved entirely. However, from the third day onwards we have been able to give her a proper diet. We feed her four times a day from 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at an interval of roughly four hours. Every time we give her 25-30 balls / green peas and 5-10 ml of water.

Resting place
In the day we keep her in the balcony if the weather is fine. Otherwise we keep her in a large bag with the zip half-open. Right now she is in our bed, wrapped in a sheet. We are panicked on seeing her upside down sleeping position and would like to give her the support of our hands.

Surprise visit of the parents
Yesterday, which was the fifth day of her illness, her parents came on a surprise visit while she was in the balcony. They observed her from a distance and flew away.

Images: then and now
This is her photograph on August 22.
This is her photograph on August 29.

Questions
(1) The baby, in all probability, is suffering from PMV. We came to know about this deadly disease from this forum. Can it be something other than PMV? Is there any hope that she will survive?
(2) What should we do next and what should we stop doing?
 

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Sounds to me like the baby is in good hands. There are other diseases out there that can also cause neurological symptoms in pigeons. Paratyphoid can affect the brain and the symptoms are very similar to PMV.

It's possible the parents abandoned him when he started getting sick. For now: don't take him outside. Rather keep him confined in a small cage on soft bedding. Keep stress to the minimum as this can aggravate the symptoms. Does he seem eager to be fed? Don't syringe water down his throat as he can easily aspirate. Unless you know how to do this proper and get the syringe past his breathing hole.

The food you are feeding him seems fine. Try to get him to start eating seeds by himself. The vitamins will also do him good. Keep him seperate from other pigeons for the next 6 to 8 weeks as PMV is highly contageous.
 

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Do you have a scale to weigh her? If so, start weighing her every second day. If she seems to be losing weight, then you can feed her more. You can also add apple cider vinegar to the drinking water: 5 ml acv to 1 litre of water. This will help with digestion and to restore the good gut bacteria.

Can you get hold of karbadust? If so, you can dust her with the powder to get rid of external insects, especially under the wings.

Let us know how she is doing.
 

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A good home remedy for treating birds with ectoparasites is most dandruff shampoo's with pyrethrins or permethrin
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thank you so much Marina B.

With the hope that the baby might be reunited with her family, we let her stay in the balcony from 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for the first six days of her illness. As we gathered more information about PMV, we realized it was wrong and stopped taking her outside / exposing her to bright light. Yesterday her dad came to our balcony looking for her but we did not allow them to meet. She will probably get separated from her family and never learn how to fly. But as her life is at stake right now, these are secondary considerations. Also, we cannot let the disease spread to other feral pigeons in the area. So complete isolation is the answer.

We do not have a cage and most shops around us are closed / having insufficient supply due to Covid - 19 lockdown. Same about weighing scale. We can order them online but they will take at least a week to arrive here. Apple cider vinegar is available. But I have no idea about Karbadust. It may be available here under another brand name. Is it not toxic for the baby? She has the habit of pecking her entire body. Will she not inhale some amount if we apply it all over her?

We have kept her on a bed wrapped up in a sheet, just like a human baby. She is always under observation and often supported by our hands, even during the night. All three of us are taking turns to do so. At times she gets too restless due to the itching sensation in her body. It disturbs her sleep which is a matter of great concern. We must address the issue without further delay. Are there any organic / non-toxic alternatives to Karbadust? We shall be thankful if you can suggest any.

The baby does not draw our attention to be fed. But when we feed her, she seems happy. Yesterday, during her fourth and last meal of the day, she threw up four green peas within moments of feeding them to her. So we stopped feeding immediately. In the next two hours she threw up even more. We talked to the vet over phone. He suggested Domstal (Domperidone) – 1/4th tablet. We crushed the tablet, divided it in four parts, added 8 ml of water to one part and fed her with a syringe (please do not worry, I can get it past her breathing hole). She did not resist and seemed to feel better. Last night she had a sound sleep too. At 5:30 a.m. we tried to feed her as usual but she kept falling asleep. So we decided to let her sleep for another two hours or so.

We are doing our best to give the baby the kind of supportive care she needs. But we are inexperienced and having to learn a lot of things through trial and error. We are afraid, very afraid.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you so much John B.

Yes, we have a dandruff shampoo at home but it is based on Ketoconazole. I do not think dandruff shampoos in India contain the ingredients you mentioned. However, Permethrin 5% w/v lotions (like Zeroscab) are available for online purchase. We may visit the local pharmacies and check if they have any.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The baby is more drowsy than ever before. Therefore, we are feeding her 3-4 green peas and less than 1 ml of water every 30 minutes. Should we feed her more?
 

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Can you take a flashlight and check inside her beak and the back of the throat for yellowish growths that might indicate canker? This disease is quite common amongst youngsters and it's possible she might have it. They don't always have the yellow growths in the throat, other symptoms will be excessive thirst, losing feathers on the breast, making rotating movements of the crop. What do the droppings look like? Can you post a photo? Is her crop emptying regularly?
 

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If you see visible bitemarks under the feathers, you can apply a bit of vaseline on her skin. That will smother the mites.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
We did not find the symptoms of canker. But, of course, we are no experts. Her droppings vary in colour and thickness from time to time. These are photographs taken on August 27, August 28, August 30 and Today. Her crop usually becomes empty by the time we feed her again. But today her crop is full for a very long time. We are feeding her 3-4 green peas and less than 1 ml of water every 30 minutes (rather than 25-30 green peas and 5-10 ml of water every four hours). She threw up a little after being fed. Not the entire quantity like yesterday, but approx. 5%-7%. We do not know why the poor baby is sleeping all the time and hardly responding to us. Should we wait until her crop becomes empty, she wakes up and shows signs of hunger?

I have just come to know that Carbaryl is banned in India. So Karbadust or any equivalent product is impossible to find here. Vaseline is easily available. We live at Naihati which is 38 kms (24 miles) from Kolkata and 2083 kms (1294 miles) from Mumbai.
 

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So what meds is she currently on and did the vet explained why it should be given? I would treat for canker anyway, the urates are yellow and should be white. Canker is such a common disease amongst youngsters. Can you get hold of metronidazole and Nystatin (anti-fungal) from a pharmacy?

The dosage of metro will be 40 mg once a day for 7 to 10 days, sometimes longer. The nystatin is to prevent a yeast infection while she is on antibiotics. This should be given twice a day on an empty crop. Give about 0.5 ml, wait an hour and then handfeed. You can give the metro after getting fed, but make sure she does not vomit. The metro tablets can be split into the correct size.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
We took the baby to a general vet (we have no avian vets in this part of India) on the first day of her illness. He prescribed:
(1) Neurobion Forte (Vitamin B) – 1/6th tablet twice daily
(2) Betnesol (Betamethasone) – 1 drop twice daily
(3) Hostacycline (Tetracycline) – 1/10th tablet twice daily

However, no pharmacy in our locality had the third one in stock. So we talked to the vet over phone. He changed it to Amoxicillin. The dosage remained the same.

Yesterday, which was the seventh day of her illness, we talked to the vet over phone again and reported that the baby was throwing up. He suggested Domstal (Domperidone) – 1/4th tablet. He said it was not to be repeated on a regular basis but only when required by symptoms.

These are all the medicine the baby has been taking / has taken. I too was thinking of treating her for canker. Thank you so much for your valuable advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Metronidazole tablets are easily available. But Nystatin is only available in the form of cream / ointment for topical application.
 

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I'm not familiar with all those meds, but I've googled the Domstal is to prevent vomiting. Unfortunately that won't treat the cause of the vomiting. Start giving her the metro tonight, 40 mg and then give the next dose tomorrow morning. From then on, only give in the morning. You can split the tablet into the correct size and put a piece deep inside the beak for her to swallow. Don't put the piece in a pea, that way it won't get absorbed so well. Usually there is an improvement within 3 days, sometimes it takes longer. You can keep her on the amoxycillin, both meds can be used together. What was the dose the vet prescribed? I give 12 mg amoxy per 100 gr birdweight twice a day, so if she weighs 200 gram then the dose will be about 24 mg.

Does the pharmacy have any other anti-fungal meds? We can always google to check if it is safe to use for pigeons. If you add the apple cider vinegar to the drinking water, this will also help prevent a yeast infection. Did I mention baby apple sauce? If the crop is slow or getting impacted, you can give her some warmed up applesauce and gently massage the crop afterwards. Do this regularly during the day until she starts producing droppings. This will also help with digestion.

I hope she will be ok. Please keep us updated and bless you for what you are doing for the little one.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Since yesterday the baby has been showing a reluctance to eat. We have managed to feed her around 35 green peas in the entire day, 2-6 at a time. She is sometimes being too much restless and then vomitting. Not the entire quantity like the day before yesterday, but approx. 5%-7% of what has been fed. Her droppings are now dark green in colour. She is probably starving. Should we force her to eat more even if she throws that up?

The vet only said 1/10th tablet of Amoxicilin twice daily. He did not mention whether it should be 250 mg or 500 mg. The pharmacy gave us 500 mg. So the poor little thing has been given 50 mg of Amoxicilin twice daily for the last seven days. I had no idea about the measurements of drugs. Due to my blunder the baby has been overdosed. What should we do now?

Also, how long should the Amoxicilin be continued? The vet seems clueless about most things concerning pigeons. Yesterday we were planning to take the baby to him again. But he said that would not be of much help.

We have started giving the baby Metronidazole. Here it is available as Metrogyl 200 mg. So we are giving 1/5th tablet once daily. I shall definitely look for an antifungal medicine which is safe for pigeons. I shall get hold of apple cider vinegar tomorrow but I doubt whether baby apple sauce is available in India, even for online purchase (I have checked amazon.in). Can we give her Zeroscab or any similar Permethrin-based lotion for the scrarching issue?

Thank you once again, Marina B.
 

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The overdosing on the amoxy might be the cause of the yellow urates in the droppings as the liver gets affected. However, canker can also affects the liver and might cause this. You can stop giving the amoxy. Now one must decide whether to continue with the metro or not, as this is also an antibiotic which can affect the liver.

It's difficult to advice! But I think you should stop all the meds and for now concentrate on getting some weight on him. You can make your own applesauce by boiling peeled apples till soft and blend them go a thick consistency. Skin the peas and also blend this till soft. Make a blend of 50 % peas and 50 % applesauce and feed this to him with the syringe for today. If he keeps this down, from tomorrow you can add a bit of cereal (can you find something that does not contain sugar and milkproducts?). Check if there is an improvement in the droppings, esp the urates.
 

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I'm not familiar with the Zeroscab. I know Aloe vera is a natural product for skin irritations. If you can get an aloe vera cream (as natural as possible) you can apply some.
 

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I know that milk thistle is a good product to support the liver. I don't know if you will be able to get some seeds over there. If you can, crush a few and add this to his food.

I've just read that neem oil and turmeric are good natural products to purify the blood and boost immunity. Add a pinch of turmeric and 1 drop of neem oil to his food. It also won't hurt to add a pinch of cinnamon to his food. These at least are all natural products. Let us know how he is doing.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
We are not sure whether the baby has PMV or Salmonellosis. There are no commercial labs in India for diagnosing the diseases of birds. If she has Salmonellosis, will it not be harmful if Amoxycillin is withdrawn right now? Rather, we can give her a lighter dose and track her progress. Similarly, the treatment of canker should also be continued. Your opinion please.

We can easily make the blend of apples and peas. Thank you so much for the recipe. We can get Kelloggs rolled oats. There will be no sugar or dairy products in it. Yes, aloe vera cream is also available here. But let us start with Vaseline, as you previously advised.
 
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