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I have a weird problem with one of my "permanent guest" pigeons, and would appreciate feedback with suggestions.

This bird came in about four years ago after colliding with a vehicle. He had right brain injury, so his left eye and left wing do not function, but he can walk and exercise-flap his right wing. He is caged to avoid injury.

Just over a week ago, he regurgitated some seeds in his cage and a large quantity of liquid. Also, the volume of his droppings was much less than it typically is. I felt his crop and found that he was as full as a water balloon. I used a ball-tip cannula and withdrew over 50 mL of highly viscous clear fluid from his crop, together with some small seeds he had eaten. I gave him a crop wash with warm saline & vinegar solution (approximately 1/8 teaspoon each of salt and vinegar in 8 ounces of warm water). I gave him a Spartrix tablet, and put out Ronidazole water for him to drink.

The next day, he regurgitated a large amount of seed he had eaten, likely due to the Spartrix. But that was okay -- the seeds were large and not easily passed, so it was good that he eliminated them. I had forgotten about Spartrix having this side-effect. Not knowing how much drug had actually gotten through, I decided to keep him on the Ronidazole water, and to give him a Medipet RonSec tablet (combination Ronidazole + Secnidazole). His condition really began to improve that day!

On day three, I kept him on the Ronidazole water, and he ate and drank as usual, with normal volume of droppings.

On day four, things were going so well, I decided to switch him back to unmedicated water. He should have received his second RonSec tablet, but I mis-read the label instructions to give on the "third day"
(meaning skip a day rather than wait three days) and did not administer the drug.

On day five, I gave him the second RonSec tablet. The volume of droppings was down and he was not eating as much. I resumed giving him Ronidazole water.

On day six, he remained on the Ronidazole water. On day seven, it was obvious that his crop was not draining again. It was full and round again like a water balloon. Notice in this photo how his crop is bulged out on the right (his left)...



I gave him another crop wash. Since then, I have had to pull out 60-75 mL of thick crop liquid each day. He acts polydipsic -- as soon as I pull out the thick crop fluid, he is back at his water dish within minutes slurping up water until he is bulging again and can barely fit any seed in his crop! D'oh! He is making a huge amount of urine mixed with fecal "noodles" that are fully formed, but the overall stool volume remains low because this bird has no room for seed in his crop when it is so full of water.

Birdy is back on Ronidazole water, and I resumed the alternate day RonSec tablet which seemed to help previously.

Okay, so how the heck do I get my birdy to stop drinking so much water that he has a hard time bending over to eat? Any suggestions for what more I can do to get his proventriculus flowing again?

I looked back at some older forum posts on the subject, and have been thinking about a comment Phil made to add an antibiotic when Trichomonas treatment alone fails to improve crop stasis. I need to examine the crop fluid the next time I aspirate the bird, and will look for trichomonads as well as bacteria.

Any thoughts though for right now about how I may improve his crop motility?

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Follow-up question...
Does Ronidazole and/or Secnidazole cause polydipsia/poluria, where the bird is very thristy so it drinks a lot and then urinates a lot?
 

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I would switch him to metronidazole, add baytril and also treat him for yeast. Do you have nystatin?
Rather than offering him seed, maybe try warmed applesauce, for human babies mixed with exact formula. I would start with a small amount...such as 7-10 ccs and increase the amount with each feeding if he can tolerate it.
The excessive water drinking is one of the canker infection symptoms.
 

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I would do what Charis is advising, also, when I have a sick bird filling up with water like that, I remove the water, and just offer it to him, and don't let him fill up on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Metronidazole dosage

Thanks for the suggestions!

Yes I have Nystatin. I have withdrawn the Ronidazole water and will likely add a little apple cider vinegar to his fresh water to help control yeast.

Metronidazole:
What dosage do you recommend? By body weight? And for how long?

I have 100 mg Metronidazole tablets from Medpet, and can crush them and compound them in a pharmaceutical suspension for precise dosing.
 

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Hi Columbidae,

Your bird is definitely on the verge of kidney failure if it is drinking excess water and putting out volumes of urine. The fact that some of the waste contains solid droppings suggests that the GI tract has not shut down yet and the volume of liquid in the crop points to probable yeast infection, as Charis suggests. Giving antibiotics, such as Ridozole will have some effect on yeast, but not enough to do much good. Nystatin is your best bet, mix as much as you can with some peanut butter into pills and shove them down, Don't worry about dose as Nystatin is not taken up into the circulatory system. By the way, don't give antibiotic in drinking water, there is no way to determine dose. Also as Charis suggests apple sauce with some KayTee Baby Bird Food mixed in, about a teaspoon full at a time with provide adequate nutrition and keep him out the water. In fact it would be a good idea to take the water away or limit its availablity to 100 cc or less before he blows out his kidneys.

Best of luck!
 

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The metronidazole dose I use is 50mg per 450 gram.
Nystatin dose I use is 0.001 cc per gram.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Jay... I agree with you about the water. I will withdraw his water dish for now. I have never had this frenzied drinking happen before. It's almost absurd... I aspirate the liquid out and within an hour, he has plumped himself up again like a ButterBall turkey. :eek:

Any thoughts on doing crop washes in addition to just aspirating the crop? How often? I generally have found that crop washes really help, but they can be exhausting for the bird too.

Thanks!
 

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I had a bird that sick with canker recently. It caused crop stasis and yeast. I treated him as Charis has told you. Metronidazole, Baytril, and Nystatin. Thank God, he is now healthy again. You need to get on this fast, as he will go down fast.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Microbiology of crop aspirate

I examined the bird's crop aspirate this afternoon and found:
NO trichomonads;
NO yeast or fungal cells;
Many gram positive bacterial rods (two distinct morphologies);
Many epithelial cells sloughed off from the lining of the crop;
Some undigested starch grains.

I plated the crop aspirate to identify the bacteria and will know more tomorrow.

In the absence of trichomonads and yeast, I am beginning to wonder if this is actually more of a bacterial problems rather than a protozoal one...
 

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I examined the bird's crop aspirate this afternoon and found:
NO trichomonads;
NO yeast or fungal cells;


Good!
You may have already taken care of protozoa with the treatment just concluded.


Many gram positive bacterial rods (two distinct morphologies);
Many epithelial cells sloughed off from the lining of the crop;
Some undigested starch grains.

I plated the crop aspirate to identify the bacteria and will know more tomorrow.
I'll be very interested to find out what you learn.

In the absence of trichomonads and yeast, I am beginning to wonder if this is actually more of a bacterial problems rather than a protozoal one...
Often protozoa and bacteria go hand in hand.

 

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You probably know about the culture dish paradox, that observed microbiota often never show up on the culture plate. The converse is also true, that fungus cells may not show up on the slide but they sure do on the Sabouraud agar.

The upper GI tract will have almost nothing but Gram positives and in any event they usually only pose a systemic threat outside of the GI tract not an obstruction threat.
 
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