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Bloodwork & Anesthesia Risks?

For a parrotlet having mild seizures

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Old 11-30-2018, 12:19 AM   #1
MnM
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Bloodwork & Anesthesia Risks?

Hello, I just joined this forum to ask if anyone has had experience having blood work and MRI scan done for their parrotlet? I am scared about the blood work because even one drop of blood is a lot for a tiny parrotlet. As for the MRI or any other screening they will have to give him anesthesia, and again since he's so small it is very worrisome.


My parrotlet is about ten years old. He's always been a very healthy bird, except sometime last year once when he was perched on my hand he became a little unresponsive - almost like he was falling asleep but very fast. He does fall asleep on my hand often, but he's quite alert throughout. If another bird flies around or I move his eyes open and he gives me this disapproving look. Anyway, last year this lasted for less than a minute. After that he was back to normal right away. Even though out the incidence he didn't lose grip of my fingers. So once he was back to normal I calmed down and decided I was overreacting, and he was just being a goofy little bird.


But this happened a few days ago again. It lasted a little longer (2-4 mins maybe) this time. He was on my hand, and moved his neck funny trying to look at my other bird. He had been napping before, so I didn't think much of it when he started falling asleep again on my hand. I decided I'll put him in his cozy birdie tent. He usually jumps on the perch, but he didn't even move. I pulled him back and noticed he was breathing a little funny, and wasn't very responsive. I had him switch hands, and he was able to grasp my other finger with one foot, but the other (left) foot sort of paused half way for a second. I even touched his favorite toy, which I'm not allowed to touch, but no response. I offered him seeds, which he doesn't get all the time - he barely acknowledged it, but didn't bother eating it. I was panicking the whole time. It was Sunday, so his vet wasn't going to be available. I'm new to my current area and don't know good 24/7 hospitals. But before i even had the chance to think of where to go he was back to normal. He flew from my hand right on top of a rope perch with perfect ease. I monitored him the rest of the day and he was totally back to normal.


Monday I took him to his regular avian vet, and they didn't find anything wrong. They said their facility isn't the best for small animal diagnostics, and advised I take him to a hospital an hour away for better understanding of what's happening. I'm going there this coming Monday, but our vet said they will need to anesthetize him for imaging. And then their machine can perform blood tests using one drop. But the more I read up on this the more scared I get with him weighing so little.


Please let me know if any of you have had these tests done safely for your little parrotlets. I definitely want to figure out whats happening to him, and help him before this every happens again. But don't want to put him at risk either.


Thanks!
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Old 11-30-2018, 05:18 AM   #2
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Hi there. I just went through all these tests with my Kiwi. Kiwi had blood panel done and had two x-rays under anesthesia. I was terrified to do all of this but the vet convinced me. All are quick tests and kiwi handled all of these just fine. You must use an experienced avian vet for this. Very important!! If you are in or near NJ I can recommend mine.

You are noticing changes in your bird that you should continue to follow-up on. Whatever he has may be treatable and these tests will provide that valuable information.

Good luck. I hope your bird is ok,

Last edited by Sbs111; 11-30-2018 at 12:53 PM..
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Old 11-30-2018, 05:10 PM   #3
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Thank you! Did you know how much your Kiwi weighs? That's a big factor too with these tests, so I am trying to fatten up my bird as much as possible in a few days. Just letting him eat more seed for now, and giving him some nuts and eggs. Also, how old is your bird? And why did you have to have those procedures done?



I did come across a few other old posts where members parrotlets were having similar issues as my bird, and I wonder if we can figure out if the birds are related, and it's a genetic issue?



I do go to a vet clinic that only sees reptiles and birds. Some small mammals. But they referred me to an exotic animal hospital for the tests. This is also where most vets in my area are trained. So they are supposed to be very good, and most importantly have the best machinery around here. I'll be going to see them on Monday.
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Old 11-30-2018, 09:39 PM   #4
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I don't recall Kiwi's weight. He was about 7 when he died. He was having neurological issues-head twitching, losing balance, sleeping a lot, etc. They thought he had metal toxicity poisoning.
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Old 12-01-2018, 03:32 PM   #5
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I'm really sorry to hear that! That's what I first suspected with my bird too. But the vet said with metal toxicity they progressively get worse, and their urates change color - mostly neon yellow.
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Old 12-01-2018, 09:38 PM   #6
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Question

Has a vet done a Gram Stain?( on the poo do) They send the sample to a lab and cultivate it. This will tell the vet if there are problems internally. It takes about 5 days to get results.


Dave and Ricco
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Old 08-10-2020, 09:37 PM   #7
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Hi, sorry for the super late response. My bird recovered from his liver issues, but he is having some other health issues now. So I’ve been scouring this forum for any information. He has now developed high glucose levels. Possible diabetes 😞

I just wanted to post an update if this helps anyone else in a similar situation. Fatty liver is so common for pet birds 😞 When he had liver issues I had the best avian vets available, but they couldn’t offer me a whole lot of options. He did great during all testing, and the only alarming thing from his tests was very high AST levels. Like 700+ whereas normal is 110-224. I had no clue going in that it could be liver related, but fearing bloodwork I had been giving him way more seeds than usual. He had been on a pelleted diet for 5+ months at this point already. The hospital vet wanted to do a liver biopsy before she offered me anything else, but his regular vet wasn’t sure if that was the best next step for such a tiny bird.

Local vet prescribed lactulose/milk thistle twice a day. I followed it for 6 months and from there weened him off and only used it if he looked like he needed it. The big changes were diet and exercise. Luckily he has toys he loves, so I was able to play fly-fetch with him. I’d throw his toy to the other end of the room and he’d fly to it. I would go back and forth several times gradually increasing his daily exercise. I switched him from lafeber pellets to low fat roudy bush pellets along with cooked brown rice, oats and veggies. I think all these three things in tandem helped a lot.

The thing I did most different from what the vet would normally see is exercising him everyday. I think it’s so important for birds to be able to fly and get regular exercise. Of course it comes with potential for injuries, so I always make sure to let all my birds scope out different rooms from within their cages for a week before letting them out. And ALWAYS have blinds or curtains on windows.

As for his diabetes we suspect he’s come in contact with something environmental that triggered this. He loves running on the carpet and his first owners always kept his wings clipped. He loves chewing carpet, which I’ve suspected is quite bad for so many different reasons, but it’s nearly impossible to stop him. We’ve had to be very strict with him about never going on the floor while he’s out. And with us working from home he is out 6-8 hours a day now - so it’s a lot of work keeping him off the floor. I’ve totally taken out brown rice from his diet. He does somehow force my husband into give him a few oats sometimes if I’m not around 🤦‍♀️

I’ve also added Ceylon cinnamon (!Don’t use regular cinnamon due to high coumarin!), a glucose support probiotic with banaba leaf and white mulberry leaf supplement to his food. This along with more seeds than before is helping keep his glucose levels somewhat in check. He still gets some pellets too, and I’m trying to get him to eat more Tops pellets. We (and the vet) are hoping we can get his levels in range with diet alone as medicating such small birds is always risky.

I feel like there’s very little research done on birds. Most data I can find online is regarding chicken due to poultry farm testing 😖 I was hoping we could all create a shared spreadsheet or something somewhere to log different metrics for our parrotlets. I really think this will help us all in better diagnosing our birds if they get sick. For my bird his glucose after diet change remains between 250 and 500. It’s usually 500 right after he eats, but he does eat every 30mins or something! Based on this avian book my vet has normal parrotlet glucose levels are 252-384. But I suspect their sample size is very small, so I’d love to know if anyone else has any glucose measurements

Thank you!
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Old 08-11-2020, 09:23 AM   #8
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Pellets are not recommended for parrotlets, and have been linked to kidney and liver issues in small bird species. They are a processed food made up of ground up seeds with fillers like corn, soy, wheat, and synthetic vitamins (chemicals). For those who do choose to feed pellets, it should make up a very small percentage of their diet. Tops is the only one that is suggested as it is produced through cold extrusion, unlike other pellet brands.
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Old 08-11-2020, 12:42 PM   #9
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All the vets I have seen recommended pellets to avoid fatty liver. They all recommend Harrison’s, but my birds don’t like those a lot. When my parrotlet had fatty liver the Roudy Bush pellets helped a lot along with all the other changes. I think overall the more varied their diets the better, which is why now I feed them tons of veggies, with some seeds and pellets. I’m now mixing lafeber pellets, which all my birds love eating. Even over seed at times. And Tops pellets, which like you said are healthier, but they are not a hit. I’ve even powdered some, and add the powdered Tops pellets to their veggie mash to dry it up a bit, as my birds don’t like sticky/wet veggies
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Old 08-11-2020, 04:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MnM View Post
All the vets I have seen recommended pellets to avoid fatty liver. They all recommend Harrison’s, but my birds don’t like those a lot. When my parrotlet had fatty liver the Roudy Bush pellets helped a lot along with all the other changes. I think overall the more varied their diets the better, which is why now I feed them tons of veggies, with some seeds and pellets. I’m now mixing lafeber pellets, which all my birds love eating. Even over seed at times. And Tops pellets, which like you said are healthier, but they are not a hit. I’ve even powdered some, and add the powdered Tops pellets to their veggie mash to dry it up a bit, as my birds don’t like sticky/wet veggies

Vet have little training in avian nutrition. Their training is focused on diseases and medical issues. The reason that vets push pellets is that they read "studies" in school on them that are funded by pellet manufacturers. A primarily seed diet, which is NOT recommended, can potentially contribute to fatty liver disease.

Parrotlets actually NEED quality seed as part of a diverse diet. Pellets have been found to cause liver and kidney issues in small bird species, which includes parrotlets. As mentioned, most pellets other than Tops contain cheap fillers such as corn, soy, or wheat with synthetic vitamins (chemicals) added. As a result, they are not recommended for parrotlets.
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