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Hello all,

I brought in a little girl pigeon yesterday who is not well. She was eating with the other pidgies, but when everyone else took off, all she could do was skip down the driveway swinging her wings in circles. I quickly caught up to her, and grabbed her. The first few things I noticed holding her were that she was very young, VERY WARM to the touch, and her eyes were a washed-out orange/grey color (which sometimes indicates chronic coccidiosis).

I manipulated her arms and legs, and everything is physically okay. She also has good chest muscle, so loss off flight due to wasting is unlikely. My next thought was that she broke/fractured her coracoid (colar bone), and this is precluding flight. I placed her in a cage overnight. She ate and drank well, and her poops (and fecal wet mounts) were absolutely unremarkable. I let her have the run of my garage today to see if she wanted to attempt flight. She stayed on the ground and feasted on seed and water. Then she sat down on the concrete slab and went to sleep. And then she disappeared at some point! After looking everywhere, I finally found her nested in grass clipping on the deck of a lawnmower.

When I scooped her up, she was downright toasty -- too hot in fact. Her sinuses sounded congested (popping), and there was a small amount of clear uncolored liquid discharge from her nares. She is NOT puffed. I gave her Clavamox prophylactically. She is not currently making any sinus popping noises and I do not see any liquid coming from the nares. She is now nesting in a cage where part of the floor has a heating pad if she so desires.

Does the fever and sinus discharge sound like a viral illness? If this were pneumonia, I would expect a very puffed bird, as this I do not have.

Any thoughts or suggestions on how I should proceed with this little sweety?

Thank you! :)
 

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They often feel pretty warm to us because their normal temperature is very high: ~107 deg F. They don't get fevers like we do under the same circumstances (infections)--they actually tend to lose temperature and get colder. The exceptions to that are very rare like with a Plasmodium infection (a type of malaria). If you want to check the bird's temperature with a human thermometer, you can by holding the bulb of the thermometer under the wing as though you'd put it under your own armpit with your arm held down to your side to pinch it in. On them, you hold their wing in to their side and keep moving the thermometer until you find the spot where it goes up the hottest. It takes quite awhile to get it there doing it that way, though--a few minutes. Give that a try.

Pidgey
 

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Sinus infections in birds aren't something to trifle with--it's too easy for them to lose a beak if it's a canker. Is there any conjunctivitis? A clear nasal discharge (even if only on one side) is actually one of the symptoms of Chlamydophila, which is a difficult one to prove. Since you're a pipet monkey (joking), you might try getting an impression of the conjunctiva and running a Gimenez, Machiavello's or Diff-Quik to see if you can find any elemental body inclusions.

Pidgey
 

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If you want to check the coracoid, it's actually not that difficult to feel--far easier than you'd think: take your finger (any of 'em, just pick one) and follow the line of the keel (sternum) forward to the "carina", or forward rounded point of the bone. You can carefully (gently) follow that inward under the swell of the crop (ingluvies) if there's any food in there, and actually feel the separation where the two coracoids diverge to either shoulder. Run each one separately all the way up to each shoulder and you'll have that answer, at least.

Typically when they break a coracoid and it is comminuted or overruns, the wing will appear slightly downward on the front end and the wingtip elevated at the back end, by the way.

Pidgey
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Pidgey for your kind help.

First, she's a baby! When I reached in her cage to check her temperature, she peeped! It was adorable!

As goes her body temp, I used a non-contact IR thermometer from my lab to measure her "wingpit" and the highest reading i got was 86 F degrees. Her head was a little warmer -- about 92.

Is there any conjunctivitis? A clear nasal discharge (even if only on one side) is actually one of the symptoms of Chlamydophila, which is a difficult one to prove. Since you're a pipet monkey (joking), you might try getting an impression of the conjunctiva and running a Gimenez, Machiavello's or Diff-Quik to see if you can find any elemental body inclusions.
She does not have conjunctivitis. Would it suffice to sample the nasal discharge alone for elemental bodies? Or is a blood sample ideal?

I do not like to medicate without having a positive ID on the problem, but wonder if it might be worthwhile to start the youngster on doxycycline.

Thanks again. Will keep you updated.
 

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Frankly, we don't often see Chlamydophila in pigeons, thank goodness! You're probably unlikely to find elemental bodies in nasal discharges but I'd go ahead and wet-mount it to see if there's any Trichomonads as well as running a choanal swab.

You're not going to get any good readings on the temperature that way. Low Tech is usually better here.

Pidgey
 

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Sinus infections in birds aren't something to trifle with--it's too easy for them to lose a beak if it's a canker. Is there any conjunctivitis? A clear nasal discharge (even if only on one side) is actually one of the symptoms of Chlamydophila, which is a difficult one to prove. Since you're a pipet monkey (joking), you might try getting an impression of the conjunctiva and running a Gimenez, Machiavello's or Diff-Quik to see if you can find any elemental body inclusions.

Pidgey
can you tell us what the tests you mention are in "lab test for dummies"lanuage:p:D
 

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Practically speaking, those aren't lab tests that you're typically going to be able to persuade a vet to do. They are special stain tests that can occasionally (that's the operative word) demonstrate elemental body inclusions in some cells. An impression is where you literally push a sterile slide firmly against the tissue you're checking to pick up cells. It's then fixed and stained according to whichever special stain procedure you're using so that you can see things that normally wouldn't show up by the light of the scope. Elemental bodies are a specific form of Chlamydophila when they invade actual cells (they're tiny) and some stains will cause them to show up like having blue marbles inside a green transparent beach ball, for instance. The exact colors will depend on what stains and procedures are used, but that gives the general idea. Other things can show up in those same procedures, by the way, so it's not necessarily that you're looking for that specific disease. A vet will sometimes use Diff-Quik looking for other stuff, but in order to catch elemental body inclusions you almost have to be looking for them.

Pidgey
 

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Practically speaking, those aren't lab tests that you're typically going to be able to persuade a vet to do. They are special stain tests that can occasionally (that's the operative word) demonstrate elemental body inclusions in some cells. An impression is where you literally push a sterile slide firmly against the tissue you're checking to pick up cells. It's then fixed and stained according to whichever special stain procedure you're using so that you can see things that normally wouldn't show up by the light of the scope. Elemental bodies are a specific form of Chlamydophila when they invade actual cells (they're tiny) and some stains will cause them to show up like having blue marbles inside a green transparent beach ball, for instance. The exact colors will depend on what stains and procedures are used, but that gives the general idea. Other things can show up in those same procedures, by the way, so it's not necessarily that you're looking for that specific disease. A vet will sometimes use Diff-Quik looking for other stuff, but in order to catch elemental body inclusions you almost have to be looking for them.

Pidgey
I see....:)
 
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