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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Copy and pasting this from another forum - was hoping for any additional thoughts from parrotlet owners.

Woke up Monday and got Zoe from her cage to find her ear was exposed. Looks like there's a minor little cowlick situation going on, but did not see any discharge coming from the ear.

Got her checked up Tuesday, her plumage was covering the ear again but when we brushed it back, there was definitely some gunk. The vet says almost certainly an infection, and she's been clearing her crop a lot since the weekend and that is consistent as well as the neck connects to the ear canal up there.

She then listened to her breathing and said there was something irregular going on, a little scratching and not sure if it was related to the infection or something else, i.e something enlarged, etc. The only way to know is thru an xray, which will require anesthesia. I am very hesitant to put this little bird under anesthesia and give her an xray. Additionally, if something came back in the xrays showing she needed a biopsy or similar, I don't think I could put her through that either.

From her exam notes:

Ear - slight discharge present near left ear, feathers appear slightly abnormal, not moist or gooey. Little to no swelling of skin.
Lungs - right side slight rough to crackling sound on inhalation.

Assessments
DDX - pharyngitis, ear infection/eustacian tube issue, lung/airsac sounds

Recommend:
xray +/- iso - to assess cause of abnormal right side sounds (infectious, metabolic, other)
Culture or gram's stain - to assess cause of "neck stretching", best option is gram's stain since it is the best way to test for spirochetes.
Other testing (if any) based on xray results

Owner has to consult with wife, will take home unreconstituted clavamox - starting antibiotics tonight is not recommended unless other
testing will not be done.
After some discussion last night, my wife and I decided to start her on the Clavamox immediately, rationale is it seems that there is indeed an infection, wouldn't we want to take care of that regardless of the lung/airsac issue whether they're related or not as soon as possible? We wanted to try the least invasive procedure before anesthesia, etc.

After I left the vet yesterday I called back and asked if we could get the gram stain independent of the xray and was told they'd follow up - I'm not sure why that wasn't recommended during the appointment, and I'm frustrated I didn't ask for it specifically. They got back this morning and said yes. Well, now we've started the antibiotic as of last night and the test may not be valid because of the chemistry with the Clavamox.

I think our best option now is to see the Clavamox through for 7 days and see how she reacts. I just hope there's nothing more serious going on that we're not testing for now.

She has been mostly normal, eating, pooping, but sleeping a lot more than usual today. Can this be a side effect of the Clavamox? She's had 2 0.04cc doses so far.

Hand Finger Nail Insect Electric blue
 

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A gram stain should have been the first step. Doing it during or after antibiotics may or may not be useful but it could indicate a type of infection the Clavamox does not cover. I do not know much about Clavamox, my vet tends to use baytril for respiratory stuff. It is most likely a respiratory infection of some sort. Birds are effectively little flying lungs.

I would not do anything invasive to a parrotlet unless I really weighed the risks. They are small and fragile enough that anything too traumatic could kill them.
 

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Ozzie is correct. Be very careful about any procedure invasive to a p'lett, especially a young one. The crackling of the lung is something you should keep a very close eye on. Like Ozzie stated, Baytril is effective when treating lung issues.

Listen to your bird. Get in a very quiet place and put your ear close to her beak/nose. When you listen, for about a minute, listen for any sounds that you may hear regarding her breathing. If you hear a clicking sound when she breathes in and out, then she has respiratory issues. The click comes from a small clear ball of mucus located in the back of her throat. Sometimes you can open her beak and look back into her throat and see the mucus ball. This is an infection. This needs to be taken care of soon!

The vet you go to.....is she an avian vet, or a vet who has only had " experiences " with small birds? Avian vets are the best if you can find one. If you can't, then the vet will let you know.

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
A gram stain should have been the first step. Doing it during or after antibiotics may or may not be useful but it could indicate a type of infection the Clavamox does not cover. I do not much about Clavamox, my vet tends to use baytril for respiratory stuff. It is most likely a respiratory infection of some sort. Birds are effectively little flying lungs.

I would not do anything invasive to a parrotlet unless I really weighed the risks. They are small and fragile enough that anything too traumatic could kill them.
My gut said the same thing, I felt the risk was too great. She was very quick to suggest the X-ray, which put me off a bit. Unfortunately didn't get the gram stain and looks like Clavamox is a broad-spectrum antibiotic. Hoping it's strong enough to fight whatever Zoe has going on, but if not, I'm not sure what my next steps are? Stop the medication, get a gram stain and hope a stronger antibiotic is prescribed? I feel like I'm stuck with the Clavamox for now.

Ozzie is correct. Be very careful about any procedure invasive to a p'lett, especially a young one. The crackling of the lung is something you should keep a very close eye on. Like Ozzie stated, Baytril is effective when treating lung issues.

Listen to your bird. Get in a very quiet place and put your ear close to her beak/nose. When you listen, for about a minute, listen for any sounds that you may hear regarding her breathing. If you hear a clicking sound when she breathes in and out, then she has respiratory issues. The click comes from a small clear ball of mucus located in the back of her throat. Sometimes you can open her beak and look back into her throat and see the mucus ball. This is an infection. This needs to be taken care of soon!

The vet you go to.....is she an avian vet, or a vet who has only had " experiences " with small birds? Avian vets are the best if you can find one. If you can't, then the vet will let you know.

Dave
I'm not hearing any crackling or wheezing, so I guess that's a good sign for now. The vet had to very closely listen with her stethoscope to hear it.

The vet is an avian vet, and it's the first time I went to her. As I mentioned, was a little put off by her jumping straight to X-rays, and that she didn't even suggest doing a gram stain until I called in after the fact and asked.

I have an appointment with a different vet this Friday, but not sure what they can tell me considering she's already on the Clavamox. Hopefully, they'll say there is no crackling in the lungs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Took her into the 2nd vet for gram stain, fecal and blood test, the gram stain came back positive for Spirochetes - the ears appeared to be a secondary infection stemming from it. Happy they were able to detect it, not sure where she picked it up from though! According to the vet this is from direct contact with other birds, and she's my one and only. May have been living dormant in her as I adopted her from a house with another parrotlet 2.5 years ago.

Prescribed ciprofloxacin and stopping the clavamox at her suggestion, and no lung crackling according to this vet. Clavamox could have cleared it up a bit, or maybe just the way she was breathing that day, who knows?

2 weeks of the new meds, 2 weeks of nothing, and then back for another gram stain - this bacteria is known to be pretty resilient so hopefully it doesn't make a comeback!
 

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Spirochetes...I had to deal with that for two of my p'letts several years ago. They weren't sick but my vet at the time had tested for them. A lot of vets don't test for spirochetes as it's not considered one of the more serious infections. They are hard to get rid of and ideally your vet will see zero spirochete organisms when they do a stain. My pair had to go through two rounds of some heavy duty antibiotics to get rid of it...and again they weren't showing any symptoms. As far as where your bird contracted it from, it could have been from her parents or the other bird she was living with if they were sharing bowls and toys. It's not a highly contagious pathogen and requires close contact but if a breeder has a spirochete problem it will keep getting passed on to future generations and many birds can be asymptomatic for their whole lives.

My vet at the time had said anecdotally that some clients used apple cider vinegar periodically to keep the infection from coming back but you're going to want to wait until after treatment to do that.

One more thing...as you threat your bird for spirochetes do a really deep cleaning of the cage including food, water bowls and toys so as not to reinfect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Spirochetes...I had to deal with that for two of my p'letts several years ago. They weren't sick but my vet at the time had tested for them. A lot of vets don't test for spirochetes as it's not considered one of the more serious infections. They are hard to get rid of and ideally your vet will see zero spirochete organisms when they do a stain. My pair had to go through two rounds of some heavy duty antibiotics to get rid of it...and again they weren't showing any symptoms. As far as where your bird contracted it from, it could have been from her parents or the other bird she was living with if they were sharing bowls and toys. It's not a highly contagious pathogen and requires close contact but if a breeder has a spirochete problem it will keep getting passed on to future generations and many birds can be asymptomatic for their whole lives.

My vet at the time had said anecdotally that some clients used apple cider vinegar periodically to keep the infection from coming back but you're going to want to wait until after treatment to do that.

One more thing...as you threat your bird for spirochetes do a really deep cleaning of the cage including food, water bowls and toys so as not to reinfect.
Were your birds especially tired when they were going through the treatment? I feel like once I started Zoe on the antibiotics shes been sleeping a good amount. Maybe a combination of her body fighting the infection as well?
 

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This was years ago now, but I don't remember them being sleepy. They also weren't symptomatic and were otherwise doing fine. I imagine if your Zoe hasn't been feeling well, she would be sleepy. Also, not all antibiotics have the same side effects so maybe that's having an impact as well. I hope she's all better soon!!
 
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