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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello. My ringneck dove, El, seems to be sick and I'd love some advice from anyone who may be familiar with this kind of thing, as the vets I've been taking her to have largely been guessing.

Living conditions:
El is roughly 7 years old and female. I got her about 5 years ago as a rescue.
She lives indoors, in a fairly large double cage with a divider separating her and my other dove (they don't get along enough to cohabitate).
Her diet is usually mostly Hagen Pigeon & Dove mix, but due to recent shortages she has been on Kaytee Supreme dove food since December. When available, I will usually mix in some Roudybush pellet crumble as well, though it has been just the dove mix for ~6 months or so.
I offer grit in a separate dish, usually Living World Clay-Cal with charcoal and oystershell mixed in, though recently it's been a mix of the Clay-Cal and Kaytee High-Calcium Grit (again due to stock issues).
She does lay eggs from time to time, usually seeing some inanimate object as her mate (the target changes frequently), and sometimes laying only one egg instead of a pair (the vets don't know why), or continuing to lay more eggs even if I don't take the first two away.
She is usually a sort of light/picky eater, but she tends to weigh in a little heavy anyway, coming in at 160g in December. Her feathers have always looked good and well-taken care of with no picking. She's generally alert and somewhat nervous/excitable (she will sometimes vibrate when approached by novelty but quickly calms down).

Current events:
18th: I noticed she hadn't really been touching her food and the walls of her cage had signs of recent vomiting (dried up chunks of food). I moved her into a smaller enclosure in my bathroom to keep her in a warm (27-30C) and humid space, hoping this would help her like it has in the past (previous scares wrt eggs not coming out or regurgitation). While she's in there I generally spend all my free time keeping her company so she can get some exercise and not be too bored. Checking her over, she feels like she's got an egg about ready to go but it's unusual for her to stop eating entirely just because of an egg. I tried to check in her mouth, but I could spot no differences between her and my other bird. She was still preening, alert, bright-eyed and drinking fine, but she gagged a few times (regurgitating motion but nothing coming out). When I brought her to the vet a month ago for the unusual regurgitation, they found nothing wrong and chalked it up to hormones, but recommended I do a fecal analysis if she took ill again. I went to the vet to get a sample cup.
Droppings: Very little feces, watery, somewhat yellowish urates.

19th: Still energetic, I had her perched on my person for most of the day so I could collect her very watery droppings since it was impossible to scrape liquid up from the bedding. I put a spray of millet in her enclosure and she actually ate some of that for a while. I dropped off the sample for analysis in the evening and nothing eventful really happened after that.
Droppings: Very little feces, watery, somewhat yellowish urates.

20th: She started looking more lethargic in the morning. She was closing her eyes about a third of the time I was with her, and I could see her bobbing as she breathed. I took her to an emergency vet where she was examined by a vet who does not usually treat birds, but keeps parrots at home. He indicated that he was not familiar with doves (asked if she was wild, guessed it might be old age despite her only being 7) and that the facility didn't have the right equipment to really care for birds. He said she looked fine, but noted her urates were sort of green and said it might be fatty liver. I was sold a packet of formula (Emerald Sustain HDN, for dogs) and told to force feed her until the fecal analysis returned. I tried various ways to feed her this formula, but she didn't ingest much of it, if any. Online friends who gave me tips for feeding have expressed doubts at the vet's ideas, stating that doves are essentially obligate granivores and generally have no issues with a seed diet. They gave me a recipe for an electrolyte solution to add to her water, to try and at least give her some energy since she was still drinking. Her crop kind of sticks out at rest more than I feel it should if she's not eating.
Droppings: Very little feces, watery, greenish urates. Fecal volume increased in the evening and got really dark.

21st: She was looking kind of normal again in terms of energy and breathing, though she gagged in the morning (nothing came out). I was told by some friends to check her keel, and she feels quite thin compared to my other bird. I went to the vet to get a syringe and catheter to try and tube feed the formula to her. I made some stops on my way home to pick up some Roudybush pellet crumble, Morning Bird Tetratex broad-spectrum antibiotic in case I might need it, and a food scale to weigh her. Nervous about the risks of aspiration in tube feeding a bird without any training, I decided to try and hand feed her some regular food first, hearing that peas are generally good for avoiding aspiration. I managed to get her to swallow a little pea, and immediately she showed an interest in her food dish for the first time all week. She ate mostly the pellet crumble throughout the evening. After eating, she did the "yawning" crop adjustment motions a lot, roughly 10 times in a span of a few minutes.
Droppings: Small and somewhat watery, feces dark and tarry, urates more pale yellowish again.
Weight before going to sleep: 140-143g (she wasn't quite standing on the right spot of the scale)

22nd: She vomited her food onto the bedding and walls of her enclosure overnight. Still alert and drinking the electrolyte solution, still somewhat interested in food but I've yet to confirm if she's actually eating it. I'm wondering if she has a problem with her crop. It still looks more prominent than usual (see photo). I tried to feel it to check for sour crop but it doesn't feel that different from my other bird's crop. I really wish I knew how to check this stuff properly.
Droppings so far: Somewhat pale yellow urates, feces are starting to reach a more normal volume and consistency but still sort of dark.
EDIT: Her droppings now contain undigested seeds.
Weight in the morning: 135g
Results of the fecal: Negative for parasites, which is apparently all they checked
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I do have some more photos and short videos (gagging motion, visible breathing) I can add if it helps. I didn't want to clutter up this already super long post.

If anyone has any ideas or advice I'd love to hear it.
I'm thinking about trying the antibiotics for a few days but I worry about 1. it making her even more food averse when I still don't know how to tube feed and 2. it says to avoid calcium supplements while on it so that might mean taking away her grit, which worries me a bit.
I'm in the process of booking another vet visit with an avian vet a few hours drive from here but I won't know what their availability is like until at least Monday. I'm also scouring the internet for ideas.
 

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They usually do those rotating crop movements when there is a blockage in the crop. This can be from canker or a yeast infection. Can you get meds from a pharmacy? If so, get Nystatin for a yeast infection. If she has yeast and you give antibiotics, then the yeast will just gets worse. Nystatin is safe to use, does not get absorbed into the body but needs to come into contact with the yeast to kill it. Works best on an empty crop. She will need 30 000 units per 100 gr birdweight twice a day.

Hopefully this will make a difference. Even better if you can take her to an avian vet to have her tested for canker and yeast.

Please keep us updated.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
They usually do those rotating crop movements when there is a blockage in the crop. This can be from canker or a yeast infection. Can you get meds from a pharmacy? If so, get Nystatin for a yeast infection. If she has yeast and you give antibiotics, then the yeast will just gets worse. Nystatin is safe to use, does not get absorbed into the body but needs to come into contact with the yeast to kill it. Works best on an empty crop. She will need 30 000 units per 100 gr birdweight twice a day.

Hopefully this will make a difference. Even better if you can take her to an avian vet to have her tested for canker and yeast.

Please keep us updated.
Thank you for the recommendation!

It looks like I need a prescription to get Nystatin from a pharmacy. I asked the emergency vet if they had any and they said no, and they won't write a prescription since the vet who saw her last doesn't work on weekends. In the meantime I'm checking if I can buy some from a bird shop nearby. If that doesn't work out, is there anything else I should try in the meantime? I'm seeing some stuff online about apple cider vinegar... I'm open to ideas.

Thankfully she is eating again, at least a little bit, and her droppings are getting a little more normal, so it seems like she's more stable right now than she was a few days ago at least.
 

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Medistatin is powdered Nystatin for pigeons. Hopefully the petshop will have some. You can add apple cider vinegar to her drinking water. 5 ml acv to 1 litre of water. This will help with digestion. If her crop becomes hard and impacted, human baby applesauce will help to get it going again. Feed her warmed up baby applesauce and gently massage the crop afterwards till she starts producing droppings.
 

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Apple cider vinegar should always be part of their diet. Put in the drinking water 2 times a week. This will also keep the good gut bacteria in place.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks! I had asked about both names (medistatin and nystatin) but so far no luck.
I'll definitely start doing ACV long-term and try it for this situation. I'll go out and get some baby applesauce on hand just in case.
I spoke with an online vet service and they suggested I try some 1-2% miconazole vaginal cream mixed with water and given by syringe if I can't get my hands on nystatin. This stuff seems to be available over-the-counter. I might give that a go if it doesn't sound like a bad idea.

Edit: she's still eating okay but now her droppings have undigested food in them. 🤔 There are whole seeds in there.
Edit2: I gave her miconazole according to the vet's recommendations. She vomited 20 mins later but I'm hoping some stayed in there. She had some water and food after that and is holding it down so far. She seems alright with the ACV solution, readily drinking from it and all. Still some loose feces with seed coming out but hopefully all this will help.
 

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Garlic and cinnamon are natural anti-fungal products. You can feed her some small pieces of garlic, but not too much and only for today. The cinnamon you can either put on her food or mix with a small amount of water to form a ball and pop this in her beak 3 times a day.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I'm still trying to do the miconazole treatment (0.3cc of 1/2 miconazole 2% cream 1/2 water twice a day). The catheter I was sold is 20 gauge so I am really afraid of piercing something by accident. I'm trying to find one that's like 10-14 gauge instead
Her evening weight last night was 129g and this morning was 124g. She hasn't vomited yet and is still interested in her food. Droppings are regaining a normal shape but I still see a few seeds in there. Still fairly dark feces and sort of yellowish urates.

Edit: Got a better tube which helped a lot for the medication but she ended up vomiting it all up shortly after and doing the little crop adjustments for a while after vomiting. Guess I'll have to try the cinnamon and garlic. At least she seems to be improving on everything else save for her weight not going up and her droppings still being suspicious.
Edit2: She has started making this sound from time to time
 

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Why don't you rather feed her defrosted green peas? Might be easier for her to digest than seeds. Try giving the meds again, but smaller doses at a time and see if she keeps it down.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I gave her 0.15 mL or so of the meds, slightly more watered down than before and she seems to have kept it down. I let her eat an hour later. No interest in the peas so I'll start force feeding those if her next round of droppings don't improve.

Seemed like all was well for 30 mins or so after the eating until I approached her with the peas again and she started moving her throat side to side in a way I've never seen. I managed to catch about half of it on video before she stopped. She had some water and then went back to hanging out normally.

As I am typing this she just dropped the biggest, most beautiful poop I've seen all week: well formed, medium brown feces, pale urates with a slight yellow tint, liquid seems a little milkier than it could be. If there's undigested food in there it would have to be pellets because I'm not seeing any seeds after smearing it. :)

Anyway here's the video
I've been trying to google the behavior but this is really a new one for me. Crop discomfort and adjustment? Or something worse?

Edit: Evening weight is 138g and her droppings continue to look good!
 

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I'm glad to hear her droppjngs are good. I also have a young pigeon that's making those crop movements when the crop is very full. Something is wrong with him and I can't figure it out. I've also googled the movements, but not a lot of info available. Apparently worms can also cause this, but you did have the droppings tested for parasites?

You did mention an avian vet. Keep going with the meds and if there's no improvement, then rather try the vet. Let us know how things are going.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
That's too bad about your young pigeon. Hopefully both our birds will get through their issues without incident.
They had checked for parasites and found nothing. She doesn't go outside (and neither do I these days, really) so it seems unlikely to be worms.

El hasn't done the crop movement thing again as far as I know. Sometimes after the meds or just on rare occasion she adjusts with a few yawning motions but nothing worse than that. I am now working on a laptop in the same room as her so I can really keep an eye on things as much as possible.
Her droppings are now a normal volume and frequency. The feces are looking pretty normal now apart from having a slightly uneven consistency to them. Her digestion is definitely improving but not perfect yet.
Morning weight before she got to eat anything is 130 g which is more than yesterday! I gave her some meds and she seems to have kept it down too. She's feeling well enough that she's trying to bathe in her small water dish! 😄 I'll have to give her a bath later.

I should be getting a call from the vets today (I left messages with both her usual vet in town and the avian vet out of town) so hopefully we will get a crop swab done soon to figure this out.
 

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I'm glad to hear she is doing well. I was going to suggest getting some Grapefruit seed extract. I've been reading about the benefits of this product and you will be able to get it from a pharmacy or health store. I've put my pigeon on this today and things already looking better. At least it's a natural product and not an antibiotic that kills all the good gut bacteria.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Evening weight: 136 g.
I'm doing 0.15 to 0.2 mL (hard to measure with the syringes I've got) of miconazole three times a day now. I try to take her food away for about an hour before and after just so she doesn't end up vomiting it up after, which seems to help to some degree. I feel like this disruption is getting in the way of her wanting to eat, which I hope is not causing any issues. As well as the fact I'm giving her a bit less of the medication overall than what the vet online suggested, I'm hoping this won't make the infection stronger.

She is in very high spirits, though. Good droppings comparable to my other bird. She's starting to want to explore the room a fair bit at times which is awkward because it is such a tiny space with barely anywhere to perch, haha. She ended up having a bath after all and I held her in a light towel for a bit after just to make sure she wouldn't be too cold while drying off. She's even starting to tolerate the crop medicating procedure pretty well, and hasn't really been doing much of the crop adjustment motions.
Although her evening weigh-in isn't as high as it was yesterday, it seemed like she really gorged herself at that time, and today she didn't get to eat quite as much due to me taking the food away seemingly just as she was getting hungry, so maybe that explains it. Tomorrow morning's weigh-in will certainly be revealing.
I think overall she is getting better at least. :)

I've got an appointment on Wednesday to get a swab done. Unfortunately they couldn't get me in earlier, but she seems stable enough to wait.

I know we're not out of the woods yet but I really appreciate you replying to this thread. Your advice has been extremely helpful in all this.
 

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Let us know when you've been to the vet. Ask him to check for canker and yeast. Canker does not always show up in the throat.
 

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If there are any wildlife rehabs in your area they would have the meds you need. I work with an outfit that does birds and small animals. I also do the doves and pigeons for our group. Test for coccidia, canker and obvious things like sour crop. Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #17
We just got back from the vet not long ago. El is doing well and was really happy to eat once we got home. I asked them to check for canker, bacterial and fungal infections. Unfortunately with the current social distancing restrictions I wasn't in the room to see exactly what they did but they said they would send off a crop swab to do a culture (and charged me accordingly haha). The results should be back in a few days. In the meantime I think the antifungals are helping as El is doing less and less of the gagging and crop adjustment behaviors, and she is slowly regaining some weight. I'll be continuing like this until I hear back.

I wonder if there are any good meds that keep well long-term which I should stock up on just in case? Either for likely causes of this situation or just for any common illnesses that might crop up as my birds get older. I'll definitely be trying to incorporate more preventative measures such as the ACV and possibly cinnamon or garlic tea in their water going forward but it's nice to be prepared in an emergency considering the combination of their widespread online availability and how slow it can be to get stuff in the mail.

I'll definitely look into wildlife rehabs if I have trouble finding the right meds now or in the future. I believe there is one in my province I could try to contact. Thanks for the tip. :)
 

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Glad to hear she is doing well. If you want to stock up on meds, try searching online for pigeon meds. Medistatin (powdered Nystatin for yeast in pigeons), Meditrich (metronidazole for canker) are good meds to have in case of an emergency.

The parasite that causes canker does not survive long outside the body, so I doubt this will show up in a crop smear that needs to be send away. They should actually do the test immediately at the vets office.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Good point. I'll have to keep that in mind when the results come in. I'll have to figure out how to get them to test for canker if she doesn't make a full recovery. Unfortunately they deal almost exclusively in cat and dog stuff, so it can be sort of difficult to do anything specific unless I either do a lot of the research ahead of time or I pay them for a series of visits to give them time to research. Thankfully from how much El is improving on the antifungals it might not end up being anything more than yeast. Fingers crossed, anyway!
 

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I have a lot of experience specifically with ringnecks. The weight you mentioned is dangerously low.
The weight will drop about 5g per day if he is not eating sufficiently. But more importantly than the weight, check the keel bone to see how the muscle is. It is very hard to get recover once it gets too thin.

If the bird is improving on the antifungal then see how it goes, but just as a guess, bacterial infections are more common.

Lab tests usually take longer to come back than the bird can wait so usually the best course of action (without doing any lab test to confirm specifically what it is) would be the following 3 steps done together:

1) try a broad spectrum antibiotic such as Baytril (enrofloxacin) for 14 days.
2) tube feeding about 3cc twice per day until the weight gets back to a safe level, best formula to use is "EmerAid Intensive Care Omnivore" or if you can not get that you can use Harrisons Juvenile Hand Feeding formula
3) get a fluid (lactated ringers solution) injection in the inguinal web about 1cc per day for the first few days.

If you are not familiar with tube feeding or injections do not try it yourself, see if the vet or vet tech or a bird expert can do it for you

If your vet doesn't have experience with birds they may not know what to do, but with this there usually is improvement within a few days and within 1-2 weeks the bird is back to normal.
 
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