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Hi guys, I've been trawling the forum for any similar cases but to no avail.. Hoping someone can offer me some insights and what to do..

I have a pair of bonded pacific parrotlets (about a year plus old).. The female laid about 7 eggs about 5 months ago, but due to aggression from the male parrotlet, she got injured. We could not let her incubate the eggs in the end as she was too weak and we had to nurse her back to health. We have since been placing them in separate cages and things were going good; she was starting to regain some weight and soon was back to her usual bubbly self.

A couple of months ago, I started to notice some twitching in her wings, and occasionally she seems to be making this soft clicking sound when she breathes. She also has this habit of walking up our arms to sit on our shoulder, and she does this biting action on our sleeves (somewhat like she's clamping her beak and cleaning her tongue on our sleeves but I'm not sure if that is abnormal or anything because she has been doing that ever since she started flying). I never doubted the twitching much as she was eating fine, moving around like her usual self. She likes to pace up and down/left and right constantly at random periods, but we soon got used to it thinking she was just hyperactive. Even though she eats a lot, she burns it off so quickly that she has never gotten back to the same weight range like her partner.

About 3-4 days ago, her water dish started becoming quite murky and dirty, because she has tossed her food in (we feed her a variety of seeds/fresh vegs/brocoli/corn/carrots etc, and recently plain cooked white rice because she loves it). Unfortunately, about 2 nights ago, we were stun-shocked to realise that she had become almost fully blind! Perhaps still has partial sight in her right eye, but definitely not expected because she flew straight into a wall in her panic and our hearts just broke.. :(

The vet would only be available tomorrow and we are desperately waiting so we could quickly get her looked at. We have been giving her our utmost care, and making sure she is comfortable. She still gives a nasty bite when I tried to change her water bowl immediately after she pooped in it, for fear she might drink it. She does have a tendency to bite everything so we figured she could have gotten a virus/bacteria infection, or maybe possible heavy metal poisoning because I had just spotted some tiny spots on parts of her cage, which revealed some torn metal or maybe it could be rust but I'm not sure. I have checked with the seller but they have insisted not having issues like this before, and I could not verify any lead/zinc content in her cage..

At times she is fine and also still able to eat quite abit, but we could see her occasionally stretching her wings somewhat oddly and still the occasional twitching/spasms.. It is so heartbreaking to see her poking her beak everywhere just to hit something so she could figure out where to go, and we could tell she is definitely unwell from her sleepy lethargic mood.. :'( A few hours ago, I witnessed her doing a really extreme jiggly regurgitation movement; quite unlike her usual jiggle dance because she shook so violently that I was so afraid she would fall off her perch. Is it considered vomiting? She expelled some gooey chunks of clear enzyme + millet seeds which she had just eaten right after her fresh veg meal (corn, brocoli, hard-boiled egg whites). There are also no specialised avian vets around town, just a general veterinarian for pets, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Possible if anyone knows? Could it be heavy metal poisoning? Any chance that this "blindness" could be temporary? We tried moving our fingers around, and she is clearly fully blind in her left eye.. :'( Tried observing her pupils but nothing strange like cataracts or anything, except that her eyelids looked slightly dry, and she was half-closing and sleepy most of the time.. When she does have the energy, she would still ambitiously fly after her partner, and that would send us in a frenzy to catch her before she hits something. Now we just keep her in her cage, and prevent them from any physical interaction just in case.

I really hope someone can give me some answers because we are just worried sick, and praying that she will get better and hopefully regain her sight.. It is so so sad seeing her losing her strength and looking so miserable.. :(

**Sorry I'm so wordy, just desperate for answers and hoping to give more clarity to the situation.**
 

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I'm sorry so much seems to be happening. An avian vet is really necessary to treat anything that is so complicated, so I would check again to see if there is one you can possibly go see. The only help I can think of is to tell you the things that do and don't worry be from your description.
First, poking holes in your clothing is normal and healthy. Biting your neck as well is normal for a parrotlet (many parrotlets don't have shoulder priviledges because of this). Pretty much any biting or aggression is in the nature of a parrotlet.
Secondly, I am not worried about her food dunking behavior. Yes, it makes it a PAIN to keep the water dish clean, but many parrots make "soup" in their water dish. This is normal.
Things that worry me - definitely the blindness is concerning! Also being sleepy and lethargic is bad.
Things that could be bad or could be harmless - are you certain the occasional sound when she breathes isn't beak grinding, a sound of contentment? I would also like to know if she is molting, as pin feathers can make a VERY twitchy bird.
If you aren't certain about the safety of the cage, I would honestly just get rid of it and get a new one. Remember that there is almost no oversight in the manufacture of pet supplies, so they have no incentive to tell you the truth. If it isn't made by a major brand, then get a new one just in case. If it is made by a major brand, it should be safe, because all birds bite their cage bars and no cage maker could stay in business if they made unsafe case.
Hopefully the vet is helpful. For now, keep her warm and comfy, with plenty of millet to eat.
 

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I'm with everything Dana said. Melody twitches her wings sometimes when new feathers are coming in, they can get stuck up on eachother. Chewing and pecking at you is pretty normal behaviour. The things that concern me most are your suspicions regarding her sight, and the possible vomiting if it dosen't look like normal regurgitation to you. I can't offer much help but to say that it sounds like you have been doing everything you can and that she's in good hands. The vet is your best bet, hopefully an avian vet will surface for you. I'm very sorry for your little girl, keep us posted.
 

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a trip to the avian vet is in order for peace of mind.
Some of what you describe sounds like it could be normal parrotlet stuff.
The eyesight stuff is alarming. What kind of lighting does she have in her area? Some home lighting is dim by parrotlet standards. We changed all our bulbs to natural lights for this reason.
I wish you luck.
 

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Hello!

I am worried about her sight. Lack of Vitamin " A " can be the culprit, but both eyes would be affected.( maybe).
What kind of water do you give your birds? Some of the symptoms sound like lead or arsenic poisoning. ( her sight, her being lethargic, and her acting uncoordinated). Arsenic and lead can be found naturally in tap water. Also, male birds will sometimes attack the back of the neck of another bird. If this is one of the areas that have been injured, maybe her spinal column was injured.

These are some of the suggestions to check out. Ask the vet about poisoning or injuries. Ask the vet if he/she knows anyone who specializes in the avian field. Good luck and keep us posted.;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
hi all! thank you so much for all your tips! they really mean so much. :))

So anyway, Lilo (totally forgot to mention her name! partner's Stitch hehe) was so weak that we thought she couldn't make it. Her eyes were closed and she was so so skinny, it was so heartwrenching to watch. :( We decided to force feed some Kaytee formulation into her to give her some energy, followed by some water with multivitamins added (got it from the pet store). Thank God she started to regain her energy and was quite puffy (in a good way, at least!) when we put her back into her cage before the trip to the vet.

You guys are awesome! Totally on point with the vet too! :) He basically told me not to worry about those little actions, because they are normal. To be honest, I do know those little habits and traits but I got over-paranoid when she suddenly lose her sight.. :( Vet mentioned something about her pupils staying dilated even when brought under light, but she seems to be squinting a lot.. and because birds are able to control their pupils' dilation, it is quite difficult to tell if it is permanent or temporary.. We did an X-ray, and sure enough, the vet pointed out a tiny white round-ish piece in her lower abdomen area.. We can't figure out what it could be, and because parrotlets are too tiny to be operated on, the vet could only give us some tips on feeding her more fibre or mucous type foods to hopefully aid her in expelling the piece naturally in her poop. There was another option; a medication which she could take to bind the foreign piece together so she can easily poop it out.. but due to the infrequency of usage, the vet had no ready stocks till maybe a couple of weeks later.

She's still blind though, but we can see that she's getting used to the cage and perches' layout.. just that it still kills me a little when I poke my finger in with her favourite treat and she simply stood there without a clue.. T.T Hopefully that dreaded foreign piece thingy in her can be expelled from her soon, and I pray pray pray her sight will come back eventually.. Will definitely keep you updated! (thanks for all the concerns and replies!!)

Bout the cage, I have a Hagen Vision S01 but now that we separate them, we didn't have an extra. I'm getting another one though, just not sure if I should get a large one with a separator, or another small-ish one so they can have their own separate cage just in case.. anyone has any great suggestions for cage?

Here's a pic of the pair looking contented and puffy about a month back.. :) Lilo's the green one. :(

 

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The Hagen Vision cage is definitely safe. The small one is too small for parrotlets to live in, so I would get a medium one for Stitch, but considering Lilo's blindness she actually will be best in a smaller cage while she isn't feeling well. Also, yes, don't move the things inside the cage. And I would put the cage in a corner to help her feel protected from her blind side, with Stich visible on her seeing side. Once she is feeling better, I would move her to a medium cage as well, but set it up EXACTLY as the smaller cage.
 
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