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Hi everyone. This is part 2 of Kiwi's vet visit today. Part 1 was an update in "Growth on Wing", but I had an interesting discussion today and wanted to share the rest of the story with you.

Kiwi is 18.5 years old and the vet put her age in a bit of a perspective for me - she is probably around 95 years old in human terms! There is no exact science on this, of course, but she is definitely an old girl. I know she is old but somehow, assigning a number to her age really helped me appreciate how old she actually is and this also helped me to accept where she is in her life span and to plan a little on what I can do to make the rest of her life as lovely as possible. The vet and I joked that if she makes it to 19 years old, we would call it 100 in people years. So precious!

With such a ripe age, she has some of those old age ailments we commonly see. She has a rather large cataract in her right eye which explains the vision loss I have been mentioning. The vet did a vision test on her - dropping cotton balls to her left and right and wiggling her fingers until she reacted. No real reaction on the right and some reaction on the left. While we could not see a cataract on the left, she expected there probably was one starting. She still hears, though, at least to some extent. That one is more difficult to test.

Kiwi's heart seemed fine but I learned something new. Apparently, in the last five years, there have been studies on the consumption of animal proteins by birds and its negative effect on their cardiovascular system and my vet anyway has moved away from saying it is ok to feed them fish, chicken and other animal proteins. I have often mentioned that I feed Kiwi small amounts of chicken and fish and will probably continue to do so given her age and the fact she is not eating like she used to but for those of you with younger birds, you may want to discuss animal proteins with your vet if you do feed it to them.

As far as eating goes, the challenge for me now is primarily to ensure she is eating enough. She weighed in at 29 grams and while that is lean but reasonable, the last weight they had on file for her was from 2018 when she was a whopping 37 grams (which I remember well). But even with her average weight of 34 grams, that is a big drop over 4 years. While her pellets and veggies are to be encouraged, she said even chia seeds are better than nothing. From a human perspective, she said it is like being happy a 95 year old will at least have tea and cookies rather than nothing at all. However, her fecal sample revealed a yeast infection so I have to be careful of fruit and carbs. Pasta, berries and kiwifruit are a few of the things that Kiwi will still eat so that presents a bit of a challenge with the yeast infection. But as of today, I will start adding apple cider vinegar to her water. Something I am doing right, though, is giving her pepper seeds. The capsaicin in particularly hot peppers is apparently good for arthritis which the vet suspects Kiwi is dealing with to some extent. So we can continue with that - and she does love it.

Kiwi's behaviour at the vet was very odd. She literally curled up in the terrarium that they put her in to weigh her and went to sleep. Like, beak in the wing sound asleep. It was her usual nap time and she had been in the car almost 3 hours before that, but it was a very odd thing to do in the circumstances. The vet was sufficiently concerned that she did not take a blood sample for fear she might actually die if she did! So that means we don't really know much about her organ function or other things. However, the vet decided to give her a general antibiotic in the event she had some sort of bacterial infection. Although antibiotics are not usually recommended when treating a yeast infection, the vet felt that the benefits of the antibiotic should there be an underlying infection outweighed the impacts on the yeast infection treatment. This is something I am profoundly familiar with - competing issues and medication interactions. As we all age, things get more complicated despite amazing treatments. Our bodies are certainly incredibly complex.

We also have a pain med for Kiwi now, as the vet said she could not imagine that Kiwi was not experiencing some discomfort at her age that she could not tell us about. She figured she probably has some arthritis but she could even have a low-grade headache and we would not know. She now has metacam that she will take twice a day. Between the antibiotic, treating the yeast infection and some pain medication, she thinks that Kiwi will be much more comfortable and perhaps even encourage her to resume her previous good eating habits. We will see.

As for my treatment at the vet, I can only describe it as the royal treatment. Some of you know that I was having issues getting an appointment and frankly, felt like they did not care about the issues I was having with my senior bird. It was shocking as I have always had such wonderful service from them. My in-person visit was the polar opposite of all of that. We were so warmly greeted, the vet tech spent a lot of time with us understanding what was going on with Kiwi and then the vet who helped us was not the relatively new person I had booked the appointment with, but rather a very experienced avian vet we had seen a number of years ago. I was with her for over an hour and had such a productive discussion. I did not feel rushed, I could feel her concern for Kiwi's situation, she answered all of my questions and gave me as much information as she could, she followed up by phone and email after the appointment, she did things to accommodate the distance we are now at (like suggesting mail-in fecal samples following a process they have) ... it was probably even better than the service I have had in the past, which was always excellent. It was very reassuring.

So that is it - a long post, but it was a full day. Thank you all for your support during an anxious time for me. I feel much better equipped moving forward with my old girl. Your continued prayers, healing vibes, good thoughts or whatever other positivity you can send our way will be greatly valued.
 

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Kiwi's behaviour at the vet was very odd. She literally curled up in the terrarium that they put her in to weigh her and went to sleep. Like, beak in the wing sound asleep. It was her usual nap time and she had been in the car almost 3 hours before that, but it was a very odd thing to do in the circumstances.
Not sure her action is all that strange given her eye sight. Once she settled down some place warm and knew you were around then all was well so might as well as take her normal nap. One thing I did notice with my guys. Once they know the wife and I are around all is much better with the world. Most people miss this. With birds safety is not as much a known place as it is the flock. As long as they are with the safety and comfort of the flock all is well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Not sure her action is all that strange given her eye sight. Once she settled down some place warm and knew you were around then all was well so might as well as take her normal nap. One thing I did notice with my guys. Once they know the wife and I are around all is much better with the world. Most people miss this. With birds safety is not as much a known place as it is the flock. As long as they are with the safety and comfort of the flock all is well.
That’s reassuring. Thanks Ozzie!
EDIT: I should add that she has always had a flare for the dramatic. I wouldn’t out it past her to have figured out fighting with the vet doesn’t work but laying down arms makes everyone back away. I could swear she was peeking out of her good eye and giggling about her victory.
 

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Little update, Kiwi ate a big piece of broccoli tonight! She has been eating quite a lot today actually. She has been much brighter too. I think that pain medication is helping her a lot. Poor birdie. Makes me sad to think she had pain or aching in her tiny bones. But it was a good day for her today.
 

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Thanks for the great report on the vet visit. It sounds like it went really well! So glad that you were able to finally get the meds needed to help make Kiwi feel better. Poor little baby. The meds will make her feel better. Seems they are kicking in already if her appetite has returned. You must be relieved about that. And she ate her broccoli tonight - I think that calls for extra scritches and cuddles, mom. 😄 So you are giving her ACV for the yeast infection. That should help. How much are you giving her and for how long? Just wondering, I have heard different amounts. It will be nice hearing what a vet has to say regarding it. Wow, Kiwi is 95 in bird years. That is amazing. If I was 95 and had a 3 hour car ride, I might want to take a nap too! lol We all will be celebrating her 100th on this forum when she makes it to 19! What an incredible little girl you have. We love you, Kiwi!!!💚
 

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Thanks Anya. I’m pretty proud of her. 2 doses of antibiotics and pain meds in her so we will see how she is tomorrow.

Yes, I have started her on the ACV in her water. The vet said 1 tsp per 2 cups of water. We will do it for 2-3 weeks and then do another fecal test. She will likely stay on it permanently. I started her at half strength to make sure she drinks it and will work my way up to full strength. I believe I saw her drinking but then madly wiping her beak on her perch. I didn’t see her drink after that but she may have. I will keep an eye on it.

Loads of cuddles for her - even more than usual. I just can’t get it out of my head that she’s like a 95 year old so I just keep cuddling her and telling her I love her and how proud I am of her. She’s loving it and so am I. 💚💚
 

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This is so interesting and I’m so glad kiwi is getting such expert care!

I’m not sure if it’s helpful, but my go-to food for fattening up a fussy bird is scrambled egg. Check with your vet but I’m assuming this doesn’t count as animal protein, as it’s literally designed to be the food for baby chicks. I usually mix in a little hand-feeding formula powder as I cook it, to give added essentials. Even sick birds will gobble it up!

Was the yeast infection “avian gastric yeast” (sometimes also called ‘megabac’)?
 

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This is so interesting and I’m so glad kiwi is getting such expert care!

I’m not sure if it’s helpful, but my go-to food for fattening up a fussy bird is scrambled egg. Check with your vet but I’m assuming this doesn’t count as animal protein, as it’s literally designed to be the food for baby chicks. I usually mix in a little hand-feeding formula powder as I cook it, to give added essentials. Even sick birds will gobble it up!

Was the yeast infection “avian gastric yeast” (sometimes also called ‘megabac’)?
I go with either scramble eggs or hard boiled eggs. We usually include some egg shell to add a bit of calcium to the meal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Kiwi adores eggs! I have not had them for awhile myself so today might be a scrambled egg day. Thanks for the suggestion!

This is a good time for me to also give a bit of an update. She has been on her pain med and antibiotic for a week now, as well as ACV and I have seen quite an improvement. She is back to eating all her old faves and has been more energetic overall. She still has her mid-morning and afternoon sleeps and generally sleeps about 13 hours at night, but she’s back to rattling her bells to get my attention and plays a little when she’s out of her cage rather than just riding around on me. Not a lot of play, but more than before. She seems brighter and has taken to chirping at the puppy, which is new. She seemed to really like our old dog, Paris, and I have wondered if she has missed her since she passed last December. It made me happy to see her take an interest in the pup. No worries though - she’s safely away from him and he will never have access to her

Her yeast infection is just a yeast infection, not a gastric yeast infection which I understand is really bacterial despite its name. She did have a gastric yeast infection several years ago but we were able to treat it successfully, thank goodness. I wrote quite a bit on that ordeal on this forum if you’re ever interested in reading about that saga. It was a scary time.

I will be getting her up shortly so I will weigh her and report back on any weight gain.

UPDATE: 30 grams! More good progress. 💚
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks Anya. Momma is feeling a bit guilty that she didn’t catch on earlier but I am trying not to beat myself up over that. It is what I would advise others to do - learn from it and move on - just always harder to apply to oneself. But I am getting there, particularly as she’s doing well. Last dose of antibiotic tonight so we will both be happy about that.
 
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