What are these birds sick with?
March 22, 2011 10:31 AM Subscribe
Sick parakeets, low budgets, help!
A friend of mine owns two Bourke parakeets, a male/female pair. They were bought by her sister in early January in Baltimore and their age is unknown. She took them from her sister as she already had two birds of her own.
About two weeks ago the friend had to leave the Bourkes with her sister for a week, during which time they were kept in separate cages and taken out at different times from the sister's own bird, with the floor vacuumed between those times. The reason for such precaution was that one of her sister's birds had been throwing up and was constantly puffed up for a while; the vet couldn't say for sure after many visits but he had some sort of infection or ulcer in his throat, possibly chlamydia. While he seemed healthy at first, he eventually died the week before her sister had pet-sat the Bourkes, possibly of malnutrition; he could barely swallow his food and vomited what little he could up.
Since that stay, the male Bourke has begun to constantly close and rub one of his eyes for about two weeks, and both seem to be gagging now- opening their mouths and pushing their heads up, though nothing comes out. The male has also lost weight.
While they both still sing and eat fine, the friend is very worried they caught whatever her sister's bird had. We are all students without a lot of disposable income to pay for a bunch of vet visits, but if it's the same issue, if she were to receive a prescription for the same medicine (which is painful to administer to the birds as it requires forcing it into their mouths for 45 days) then that would be affordable. Also, the other of the sister's birds may have had a more mild form for as long as three years. A final factor is that the disease may be transmittable to humans. So here are our questions:
1. Any idea exactly what they are sick with?
2. Does the medicine have a reasonable chance to actually cure the disease? Would a vet prescribe a medicine without an appointment?
3. Is there a way to make this medicine easier for them to take? It's a powder that is supposed to be mixed with water and then fed directly to the birds, and if you put it in the water dish you can't be sure how much they have drank (the vet may be able to answer this)
4. If they are indeed sick with the same thing, and keeping in mind the threat to the owners, what's the ethically correct path to take as far as treatment vs. natural progression vs. (a last resort) euthanasia?
5. Currently their diet is solely of mixed seeds and millet (daily actually); would a diet change help? I personally feel this could be a big factor so this will be changed either way.