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Discussion Starter #1
Hi folks --

I have a question regarding Freebird, a young homing pigeon who belongs to another board member (Squeaker).

Freebird suffered a hawk attack a few months ago -- his injury was fairly extensive, and he was not treated with antibiotics (except topically) following the attack. He recently became visibly ill, and is now in my care temporarily.

He had visible canker in the mouth and throat, is emaciated, had signs of enteritis (swelling, very watery and foul smelling droppings), and labored breathing. He was very weak. The area around the hawk wound is swollen.

The bird is on Baytril, Metronidazole, and Medistatin, and his overall condition has improved in the past few days ...

My current question has to do with crop stasis -- he was receiving tube fed formula and some supplemental feeding of seed peas, and his crop is not passing the peas.

Squeaker brought him back to my house last night, after noticing that the crop was not emptying of the seeds.

I used a catheter tube and syringe to remove any excess liquid from the crop, and found yeast -- also a strong smell of canker in the crop fluid. I have been flushing with water/acv last night and today, and administered a bit of warm applesauce this morning ... massaging the crop, etc., but to no avail ...the seeds remain undigested.

I was hoping to avoid 'milking' the seeds out, but I'm thinking that may have to happen.

The laceration from the hawk wound extended into the crop area -- it appears to be healed externally, but it still makes me nervous. I'm almost certain there was localized infection in the wing joint, and it looks as if there is some under the skin, as well.

Suggestions?
 

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Pls help us! Freebird is a super special bird <3

Ps-please dont think is a horrible owner, just new to injuries and illnesses... well... actually im new to pigeon keeping in general!
 

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How many seeds are remaining in the crop...a few... a lot? Is he on a heating pad?
You said you gave him some applesauce this morning...how much? Have you flushed the crop since then?
What color is the healed over wound/wounds? Does it feel hard or hot?
 

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Another question...he he pooping at all?
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Hey, Squeaker! So glad you are here too :) Not a terrible owner at ALL! Just a tricky situation, and you're new at all this -- thanks for getting him here last night!!!

Charis -- thank you!

I'm guessing about 15 to 20 seeds in total, remaining -- they're quite solid and can be moved around easily (not in a clump at all).

He's passing liquid well, but very little solid waste. The blockage doesn't appear to be in the intestine, but rather the crop.

He's on a heating pad, with water available, but no food.

I gave about 10 cc of slightly diluted and warmed applesauce this morning -- I haven't flushed it again since then, but I have massaged the crop. I do think a bit has digested since last night. I'm giving him fluid in the crop.

The laceration scar is reddish -- not warm to the touch at this point, and doesn't seem to cause him pain when touched. There was an area under the wing (on the joint) that was swollen, but the swelling is decreasing since on the Baytril.

The visible canker has decreased a great deal since starting the metronidazole.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I did illuminate the crop with a flashlight, and couldn't see any signs of necrotic tissue or masses (except peas) -- there are areas of the crop wall that feel a bit thickened, but that's decreasing every day since beginning the metro.

He's getting Medistatin in the crop.

He's passing a lot of clear urine, and his urates are still yellowish. When he was being fed the formula, he was passing mostly solid droppings that were looking increasingly good - the foul smell from his droppings has disappeared almost completely.
 

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Some times it takes about 24 hours to get things moving and it can be very frustrating when you just want to see improvement.
If the pigeon were here and based upon what you have told me, I wouldn't flush the crop again but I would give the pigeon another 5-8 ccs of warmed applesauce and very gently massage the crop every hour or so until you go to bed. If the liquid passes, give more applesauce/water mixture. Hopefully in the morning the crop will be empty. If it's down even half from what it is now, I would give him 8ccs of thin mixture, half formula, half applesauce.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Perfect, Charis - that is just what I wanted to know. I didn't want to manipulate the seeds out forcibly unless I couldn't avoid it.

I'm worried about withholding food, though, since he is emaciated as it is (very sharp keel bone). He has put on a bit in the last few days. Last night he weighed in at 320 grams -- I'm guessing his healthy weight is over 400.

I have to be gone for a few hours for work, but my partner is here and can take over monitoring and basic care stuff until I get back (he doesn't do feeding tubes though!)

Freebird is hydrated right now, and had a little more diluted applesauce. He is definitely a lot more stable than he has been, and is breathing increasingly easily.

I dissolved a little bit of nutrical into the hydrating solution, too, since he's passing fluids well -- I wanted to get some calories into him at least.
 

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Ive been reading all the replies, but i figure i cant offer you any advice on my own bird, so im just reading and learning lol :D quick question though, once the seed is out, now that its happened once, is this likely to be a problem in the future? If it does become a problem and it happens more than a couple times, would he need to be on a liquid diet indefinately?
 

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Ive been reading all the replies, but i figure i cant offer you any advice on my own bird, so im just reading and learning lol :D quick question though, once the seed is out, now that its happened once, is this likely to be a problem in the future? If it does become a problem and it happens more than a couple times, would he need to be on a liquid diet indefinately?

Pigeons are prone to canker infections and everyone that keeps pigoens should have two different kinds of canker medicine on hand as it's a good idea to rotate them so the canker does not become resistant to the medications.

He will not need to be on a liquid diet. While I'm not sure, I suspect he had canker and you started hand feeding him, as we suggested. I suspect when you added food to his crop and he already had food in the crop. The canker infection combined with adding new food old food caused the sour crop. Maybe he wasn't warm enough ... sick birds need consistent, direct heat and so the crop kind of shut down. That is a dangerous, life threatening situation for the pigeon.
 

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Pigeons are prone to canker infections and everyone that keeps pigoens should have two different kinds of canker medicine on hand as it's a good idea to rotate them so the canker does not become resistant to the medications.

He will not need to be on a liquid diet. While I'm not sure, I suspect he had canker and you started hand feeding him, as we suggested. I suspect when you added food to his crop and he already had food in the crop. The canker infection combined with adding new food old food caused the sour crop. Maybe he wasn't warm enough ... sick birds need consistent, direct heat and so the crop kind of shut down. That is a dangerous, life threatening situation for the pigeon.
Charis- judging by minimonkeys update, would you say hes still in a life threatening situation? And once the canker is gone, will the sour crop be over with too or could it come back even if theres no canker? He has been on a heating pad continuously since friday, so he is staying toasty. On saturday and sunday, the metrodizanol made him throw up, so we cut the dose in half and gave him 3 smaller feedings instead of 2 larger ones, i wonder if thats when it started. Maybe he needed extra time for it to empty?

Minimonkey- if you only feel 15-20 seeds, he must be digesting some. When he was at my house, i would guess he had at least 50 or so. I could have probably counted at least 15-20 just against his skin, then theres the ones behind those ones (hope that made sense, hard to explain). Oh, and the hawk attack happened in august, ive been trying to remember how many months ago it was. I joined the forum a couple days before the attack, so it had to be august. God i cant immagine having a probably very painful infection for like 4 months :( could that have anything to do with the bacteria infection or are the 2 completely unrelated?
 

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Squeaker, you are going to have to be patient and give him time. It's going to take a while. He's pretty sick right now. Getting him over this will take time. He probably had canker for a bit. That can cause blockages in the crop. It's easier to cure if caught early. But pigeons are made of pretty tough stock and have amazing healing powers. So try to be patient and give them time. In the meantime, try and read as much as you can about the care and feeding of a pigeon. Learn what to do in times like this, and how to best take care of him. What illnesses are common and what meds and supplies to have on hand just in case. That way you will be prepared, and can use this as a learning experience. Right now he's a sick little bird, and it will take time.
 

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Charis- judging by minimonkeys update, would you say hes still in a life threatening situation? And once the canker is gone, will the sour crop be over with too or could it come back even if theres no canker? He has been on a heating pad continuously since friday, so he is staying toasty. On saturday and sunday, the metrodizanol made him throw up, so we cut the dose in half and gave him 3 smaller feedings instead of 2 larger ones, i wonder if thats when it started. Maybe he needed extra time for it to empty?

The sour crop is created by having canker and having food added to the crop when the crop isn't empty.
Metronidazole can make a pigeon vomit ,but so can sour crop and canker and yeast. Even if you gave him smaller feedings and the crop hadn't emptied, that certainly did contribute to his condition now.It's important for you to learn to feel the crop...feel what it's like full and when it's empty so you will know when to feed or not feed.
I really hope he will make a full recovery but only time will tell. I hope his crop will be empty by morning.

Minimonkey- if you only feel 15-20 seeds, he must be digesting some. When he was at my house, i would guess he had at least 50 or so. I could have probably counted at least 15-20 just against his skin, then theres the ones behind those ones (hope that made sense, hard to explain). Oh, and the hawk attack happened in august, ive been trying to remember how many months ago it was. I joined the forum a couple days before the attack, so it had to be august. God i cant immagine having a probably very painful infection for like 4 months :( could that have anything to do with the bacteria infection or are the 2 completely unrelated?
If he does have an infection from the hawk attack, the stress of that could have brought on a canker infection. The hawk attack itself could have brought on a canker infection.
I'm concerned about the lump ...if it's pus. Bird pus is different from the kind of pus we have if we get an infection. Bird pus doesn't ooze. It's hard and lumpy, more the consistency of cottage cheese. If he does have a pus filled lump, he will need to have veterinary care.
I know pigeons don't come with instructions but as you have them, take Jay's advise and learn everything you can about them. I would encourage all new folks to pigeons to do the same.
 

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Im definately doing a crash corse in bird care/medical/injury/feeding/medicine ect. Thats why im bombarding you guys with questions ;) ... ive learned so much in a short ammount of time. Obviously ive barely scratched the surface, but the things i have learned so far from minimonkey and other members has been super important stuff. Ive definately learned where the crop is now. Aparently, i was feeling just a little too high, but theres no mistaking i know were it is now. And ive been comparing my other birds before and after feeding so i know what its supposed to feel like in a healthy bird. the flock is being treated though just in case. I believe we are treating for cocciodis and canker with rodizinol... i think im wrong on that name but it starts with an "r" and is powder and after that, we will treat them with sulmet.

The wound has gone down in size quite a bit since we started baytril. The wound is right under his wing where it meets the neck/chest area. When comparing the 2 sides, they are getting more and more symmetrical every day, so its definately going down. Minimonkey says the swelling in his abdomen is going down too.

I do understand itll take a while and im up for it. Thats why i was asking if he would have to be on liquid food indefinately.... ive been working on convincing my boyfriend to let him be an indoor only bird, especially when hes thin and sick. Dont let that freak you out, i usually get my way when it comes to our house. He doesnt care what i put in the house, as long as he has his man cave, garage, and workshop... hes happy :) hes already sort of accepted that freebird will be indoors, im sure he will squak about it a little when freebird comes back home but 10 minutes later he'll be asking whats for dinner :D

These birds came from a horrendously disgusting loft where the owner was feeding babies to his falcon and the poo was no less than 1" and in some places, 2-3". One might think i should have saved myself the trouble and just walked away, but i just couldnt. So im assuming they probably have lots of diseases floating around in their little bodies that just havent flared up yet (well theres freebird, but im talking about the others)

Edit: when hes a bit healthier, should we treat for worms? How common are they and how often should they be treated for it?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hi everyone!

Squeaker, I am very glad you are following and learning, and asking excellent questions :)

I have good news ... the pea count is down to about 8 now, and the poop count was way up. I tubed in some dilute applesauce, and some very, very, very thin formula. I am very much hoping for an empty crop in the morning.

I'm still pretty concerned about his breathing, which is pretty labored. No open beak, but noisy (whistly) and he's tail bobbing a bit.

I'm thinking the primary problem is the canker -- the visible canker in the mouth and throat have decreased, but I think there's quite a bit in the crop still. The walls of the crop felt very thick when I first saw the bird a few days ago -- they are feeling quite a bit better now.

He's standing more, though, and even got a bit cranky with me tonight (that stopped when we moved from poking and prodding to cuddles.) He wasn't happy about me working with the crop any more -- I think it is a bit sore. I'm being very gentle with it.

He's fairly alert, on the whole.

The lump under the wing is definitely decreasing in size -- I suspect it might be synovial fluid (joint fluid) -- more like an arthritic swelling than pus. I hope so, actually -- that often resolves with antibiotics.

I've got her flock on Ronidazole. We may not need to do the sulmet with them-- this is looking less and less like coccidiosis to me.

So that's the 2 am update -- I appreciate everyone's input and support!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
To answer the worm question -- yes, I think worming them once everything else is resolved is a good idea. They came from pretty lousy conditions, so worms are a real possibility. The newer wormers are actually pretty safe.

And yes, the abdominal swelling is all but gone now -- so that's a real improvement :)
 

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I'm no expert.... but a suggestion (or a question?)... if the pigeon cannot be fed due to sour crop, can you just give him vitamin water (with alternate ACV flush?). The vitamin water will at least, give him the basic nutrients without compromising his bloated crop (and there is no need to digest and work the stomach)

Would that be better than feeding him liquid food? Just a thought...

Here's hoping a speedy recovery for the little fella. Good luck and thank you for all your efforts in helping him!
 

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He really does need to get food into him, and calories, as with the crop problems, he hasn't been getting much. Liquid food would be pretty easy on his system, and won't tax him very much. Mixed with the applesauce will help.
 

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Has the crop cleared, minimonkey?
 

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I'm no expert.... but a suggestion (or a question?)... if the pigeon cannot be fed due to sour crop, can you just give him vitamin water (with alternate ACV flush?). The vitamin water will at least, give him the basic nutrients without compromising his bloated crop (and there is no need to digest and work the stomach)

Would that be better than feeding him liquid food? Just a thought...

Here's hoping a speedy recovery for the little fella. Good luck and thank you for all your efforts in helping him!
What the applesauce does, is change the ph balance in the crop so that the crop starts to empty. The gentle massage helps break things up too and help with the process. It can take a day or a few hours more than that and be very nerve racking for the care giver. I've never had to remove the contents of the crop after implementing this method.
Once the crop has emptied, I feed very small meals e very time the crop empties starting with a thin applesauce/formula mixture.
 
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