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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Barbara J: Feral pigeon with spasms

I found a feral pigeon huddling in the rain under my aluminum siding on Thursday NIGHT, 12/11/08. (I live in Queens, New York City.) My husband and I thought it just needed an overnight recovery, but we were wrong. He wouldn't eat for about 2 days until we brought him outside to eat with the other pigeons. He's been eating inside ever since. After a week, I contacted the Wild Bird Fund to tell them that we found him and that he couldn't walk too well or fly. My late father-in-law used to fly pigeons a long time ago so my husband knows something about them. He saw that his wings are good and that he's about 6 weeks old (he looks like an adult to me, just smaller). Anyway, he was fine and we were trying to bring him to a rehabilitator since he wasn't improving. Then, out of nowhere, he started having these spasms. He would roll his head 180 degrees to his right as if he was standing on his head and then his body would roll over to his right as well. He has to use his wings to prop himself up. In addition, he started pecking and biting us everytime we put our hands in his box; and he growled, too. After reading some of the questions on your forum, I realized that it might be stress. It just so happens that the day before he started having these spasms, he was outside and another pigeon flew down and landed right on top of him, almost intentionally. So, I'm hoping it is stress and not PMV. I've read conflicting information on different websites as to the nutritional feeding of young feral pigeons. Such as: sugar in his water, unsweetened cheerios, no whole grain bread, no milk, bread soaked in milk, human calcium pills & B complex, B12 shots, grit but not the pet bird black/white sandy grit. I'm so confused and I don't want to hurt him; I just want him to get better so that we can release him. We've been snowed/iced in over here, so travelling is not so easy. And NYC vets don't particularly work on or take in feral pigeons. The Wild Bird Fund gave me the name of ONE, but it's not that close. Maybe I can get him something in a pet store or give him something I have in the house. Can you help me, please?

Barbara J
 

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Hi Barbara,

I'm in Queens also. It sounds like this little one has PMV. He should be kept indoors and isolated from other pigeons.

If you'd like to take her to a vet, I've worked with two who are good with pigeons and typically give a rehab discount. First is Dr. Anthony Pilny; he works out of Veterinary Internal Medicine and Allergy on the UES Thursdays and Saturdays. The second is Dr. Linda Pesek, who works at East Islip Animal Hospital Tuesday afternoons-evenings and Westbury Animal Hospital Friday afternoons-evenings.

Jennifer
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Barbara J: Feral pigeon with spasms

Thank you all for responding. I'm very disappointed that you think it's PMV. I was sure it would be stress since this behavior started after that other pigeon attacked(?) him (a week after we rescued him). I've sent out a few e-mails to find a trustworthy and local rehabber. I'm hesitant to bring him to a vet -- I'm afraid they won't help him; they might kill him, intentionally. I can't have that at all.

Barbara J
 

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Barbara,

I know you don't know me, but I would not have recommended those two vets if they would kill a pigeon. Dr. Pesek in particular is extremely devoted to pigeons--she has an aviary full of unreleaseables herself. Besides that, if you bring him in as a patient, you'd be in control of his care, unless you are looking for someone to relinquish him to? Please let me know if the latter is the case.

WBF is staffed by rehabbers, but they do not take in PMV pigeons and typically recommend euthanasia.

Jennifer
 

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Dear Jennifer,

Thank you so much for understanding. I really don't know what I want. I would love to take care of him but I don't know how. I guess I would like to give him to someone who knows what they're doing. If he doesn't need any special medicine, but only needs time, I can do that. All I need is a diagnosis and special care instructions. Your first reply mentioned Dr. Anthony Pilny on the "UES" on Thursdays and Saturdays. What and where is that (UES, that is)? I would really like someone more local, although Westbury isn't that far. My husband would have to take us there, and he'd rather not drive too far (not my fault). I'm kind of stuck. By the way, about how much $ could it be to bring him to one of these vets? That's another "husband" issue! But that's MY problem, not yours. I don't know what I'm going to do, but I have to decide real soon -- for the pigeon's sake, not mine.

Thank you for your concern and help.

Barbara J.
 

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Thank you for rescuing this little pigeon.
If he suffers from PMV only then he won't need any meds, but most ferals have some issues going on, like coccidia or worms and those need to be treated. A simple fecal test will diagnose those. I don't know what the fees in NYC are, but just for a fecal it shouldn't be too much.
PMV is caused by a virus, so there is no treatment but supportive care.

Reti
 

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hi befede,

There is no reason you can not care for the little bird you rescued. It is very simple and straightforward work. First, you can buy bird seed at any pet or department store and your guest will do just fine.

Unfortunately, since PMV is something of a problem currently, there are some things you should know. First it usually makes its appearance in the spring, not midwinter; second with supportive care most birds do survive; third it is a viral infection, diagnosis is expensive and usually hit or miss; fourth there are many other diseases and injuries that induce the same kind of symptoms you are looking at.

The pecking and biting is a pigeon's way of trying to tell you you are trespassing on its turf. They can be very protective of their space, but if you speak softly and move very slowly, picking him up from the from the front by sliding you hand under the belly, in time he will accept it. Right now he is probably just frightened. Don't feed bread, cat food, milk or vitamins. Just keep him warm and with food. Unshelled corn, unsalted peanuts once in a while, and bird seed will do everything necessary.

Be warned however, the bird can become attached to you and you may find yourself having to carry him around on your shoulder while he squeaks into your ear.

Good Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Dear Grimaldy,

Thank you for the info. I'm printing your reply as I write. I think you told me exactly what I wanted to hear. You've given me hope!!! I do so appreciate it. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Barbara J.
 

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Dear Reti,

I'm sorry that I neglected to acknowledge and thank you for your reply. You also helped me in dealing with my "crisis." I'm just happy to know that my little guy might not be in as much danger as I first thought. I guess the more he pecks, bites and growls, the more normal he is. And he is eating, drinking and pooping! Hooray!!!

Thanks again,

Barbara J.
 

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Hi Barbara,

Sorry--UES is Upper East Side. I would say probably what you'd get out of a vet visit is he/she can tell you if they think it is PMV based on symptoms, or if it might be something else (inner ear infection; neurological damage from a trauma; whatever else it could be). The vet could also do fecal testing for bacteria, yeast, and parasites, although right now, this may not be strictly necessary.

In terms of cost, your best bet would probably be Dr. Pesek in Westbury Friday afternoons. When I've brought wildlife there, the exam was free of charge; anything beyond that (meds, testing) carries a cost. The Westbury clinic is convenient in terms of public transportation: the Westbury LIRR station is literally right across the street.

If the bird is eating and drinking well on his own and seems stable, I think you can continue what you're doing and keep an eye on his symptoms. Most rehabbers consider PMV birds unreleaseable because even after they're no longer symptomatic, they can relapse, and it's pretty near impossible to survive in the wild in that condition.

If you decide to keep him long-term, I think it might be a good idea to eventually get him a friend for company. In this city, there's no shortage of possible candidates! If you decide you want someone to take over his care, we can figure that out.

Jennifer
 

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Now I got a question...

Is PMV will eventually goes away eventhough it's not treated by a medicine? I mean I'm just glad that I don't have PMV in my birds but for curiosity, does it fades away or just heal itself?
 

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Now I got a question...

Is PMV will eventually goes away even though it's not treated by a medicine? I mean I'm just glad that I don't have PMV in my birds but for curiosity, does it fades away or just heal itself?
PMV is a virus, so no antibiotics will help. Within about a month PMV should have cycled through the system and the bird will be fine. Depending on how severe the case was, some birds are left with neurological problems which causes frequent 'spaz attacks', especially under stress. The virus is gone and the bird is healthy, it just may have some relapses for a while afterwards.
It's like our colds. We don't have cures, so all we can do is sit back and wait to get better. We can take medicine for the side effects but the cold itself has to pass on its own.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hi, everybody.

Thanks for all your help. I've found someone who will take him. I'm sure you've heard of Dr. Marc Maronne -- he has/had the TV show with his parrots and small mammals. Well, I e-mailed him and he said he would take my guy even though he might have PMV. I was really surprised that he would since he has so many birds. Anyway, do any of you know if there's any reason I SHOULDN'T bring him there? (He's the only one my husband will gladfully take him to!)

Hoping for good news.

Barbara J.
 

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I can tell that you really care for this bird, only if you can keep him/her...

Since you ask; my opinion is this...

I was told by a member here that she can not track every bird that she gives away to another fancier so its just the matter of trust/instinct and the way you speak to the person and know how he/she will care for your bird...I think it's all about the trust on the person, I'm not going to give you anything to think about or to discourage your instinct... if I were you, I will ask "how many feral birds are you currently rehabbing now and where are they located"...I think those 2 Q's is strong enough for me to let me trust or my bird go to him...Then I will ask if I can visit once in awhile to see how's the progress if he don't mind...I don't think I'm invading his privacy if he allow me to come by and see the adopted bird...iI hope I didn't come out too strong about this...
 

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Hi Barbara,

My short answer is that I would not go that route. I've sent you a PM.

Jennifer
 

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Marc Maronne runs a business selling upscale sophisticated pets. What would he do with a feral pigeon? Much less one than may be diseased? He certainly is not going to let it anywhere near his other birds, whatever he has in mind.
 

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Anyway, do any of you know if there's any reason I SHOULDN'T bring him there? (He's the only one my husband will gladfully take him to!)

Hoping for good news.

Barbara J.
I'm not trying to argue just stating my thoughts and opinion on this matter...

Jenfer, I'm only answering a question, I think she wanted to know if anyone here knows anything good or bad remarks about the person, I'm not saying that he is one of those person that we can't trust, I only suggest if it was me then that's what I'm going to do...If he say "no I can't" then no is no"...Also, I'm givng an example on how things goes terribly wrong once you hand over a bird to someone else...Like one of our member told me, she have no way of keeping track of the birds she gives away or some doubts that's running into her head but it's her instinct will tell her who she trust her birds to...If you personally knows the vet then I agree with you...


The way I feel it is this, if and only if I will take a bird and the person who trusted me wants to visit and devote her/him self to see the bird and offer some assistance to know and want to come by and see the bird he/she want me to rehab then YES I will do it...I adopted a bird before that I was told, okay listen to this, the person said the bird is not able to fly anymore due to the broken wing so I went and took the bird (she might read this post, when?, I don't know) I rehab the bird, breed and make sure she has proper exercise not just flying inside my loft but also by me holding her and let her flap her wings, that hen bred about 5 babies, now here's the story about her, of course I let my birds out mostly everyday and her mate is one of those flying for me, remember; for what I know she can not able to fly, maybe not too long, due to her injured wing, one day I will let my birds out, I separate all my stocks/prisoners in one section of my loft with door closed, you can see the video in my youtube if you don't mind looking how my loft looks like and the door I'm talking about, anyway, once my birds are all out and flying, I will closed the 1st door and open the door where I locked my stocks/prisoners in so they can have more room to fly back and forth, you can also see how my trap door before I modify it, how it looks like, then the impossible thing happen, I was looking at my bedroom window where I can see my loft, with a quick impossible moment there she is flew up on the trap door by pushing the bobs and get out of it, when I get down there, she is flying over my head, make it short the person thinks I let her go because she was TOLD by a so called expert that the bird can not able to fly anymore...What a ____...

Some expert might know some but until you have the bird and know or see what a bird is capable of doing you can not say well "I'm the expert I know she can not fly anymore"...Sometimes you have to be there to know and spend time with them, not because you are licensed to have some expertise that doesn't mean you know every little thing about your expertise...Breeding and rasing a bird don't come with manuals...Domestic birds are way different from exotic birds...
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Barbara J., Feral pigeon with spasms

Happy New Year, everybody:

Update: Marc Morrone took my little guy. (I tried to post this last week, but somehow I got logged off while I was writing it?) After I e-mailed Marc that he might have PMV, he wrote back "all are welcome." He's supposed to be in a coop with other disabled/injured pigeons. If he's able to fly, Marc will let him go.

We wanted to bring him to one of you who offered to take him, but when I tried to get online to make that contact, my computer crashed. Hubby was inpatient and away we went. That was last Tuesday (before Christmas).

Anyway, I just wanted to thank all of you for your invaluable help. I just hope we didn't make a mistake. (What good is asking for advice if you're not going to take it!) Someon'e quote was that they could take a stupid question but not a stupid move. I kind of feel that we did, but like one of you PM'd me, some things are meant to be and happen for a reason. We have certainly learned from this experience. And I've learned how valuable forums are -- I've never been to one before. There's just so much help out there if you look for it.

Thanks again for everything.

Barbara J.
:)
 
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