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I’m going to preface this by saying that there isn’t an avian vet within 8-12 hours of where I live and no vets in my area are willing/able to see birds. With covid restrictions, crossing borders are very difficult. I don’t know what else to try. I tried to schedule a paid phone consultation with an avian vet to get some advice (acknowledging that they can’t officially diagnose over the phone), but they said no. Any advice that anyone can give me would be very appreciated because I don’t really know what else to try.

This might be long and I apologize.

So, I have a 20-year-old cockatiel that has developed polyuria/borderline diarrhea. He is still active and eating; the watery droppings are his main issue (though he has been molting more frequently this year).

At first, I thought that it might be a liver issue because of the weird molts and as he unfortunately was on a mainly seed-based diet for his first 10 years (I was a kid and my parents didn’t know better at the time). In his later years, I have managed to get him switched over to a diet of mainly Zupreem pellets (it’s the only one he’ll eat) and some Zupreem Sensible Seeds. He gets some vegetables, sprouted seeds, and Senior Cockatiel Nutriberries as well. Because I thought it might be his liver, I started him on a supplement of MorningBird Milk thistle and dandelion tincture.

The polyuria didn’t clear up, so I sent a fecal sample to our provincial vet lab. The results were negative for parasites, negative for Salmonella spp., and light Enterococcus faecium (which I believe is normal GI flora for a bird). I have connections to a local hospital where a vet tech has birds, but they don’t actually take avian patients. She suggested that I could try him on antibiotics to see if they help, but I’d have to take him somewhere otherwise. My cockatiel gets so extremely stressed with restraint that even if taking him to an avian vet were possible, I worry an exam might actually kill him (I’m a wildlife tech; I know capture myopathy is a legit concern). I would absolutely drive 12 hours and pay any amount of vet bills (he's my family. He was 3 months old when I got him and he’s been with me 2/3 of my entire life), but I honestly think the stress of it would be harder on him.

The out-of-town parrot supply store suggested a dilution of Braggs organic apple cider vinegar with the mother. I tried it, but it did nothing. I have strong suspicions that it is bacterial (some of his poos are quite bubbly). I tried a course of Amoxitex, but didn’t clear it up. When I stopped and switched to Morningbird probiotics, he got worse after two days being off it. In hindsight, I think it did help a bit, but I suspect that he wasn’t getting enough of the antibiotic in his water (possibly deactivating over time). I have put him back on it and change his water 3-4 times a day so that he’s actually getting it. His droppings have improved again, but they’re not 100% normal (formed but still more watery than normal). I REALLY don’t like messing around with antibiotics. I know the risks of resistance and he is getting the full course (I don't stop early or anything). I’m just not sure if the Amoxitex will fully clear it up, but I don’t want to screw around with trying beyond without actual direction. I bought avian Bene-Bac Plus for when I take him off antibiotics this time (I think there are more CFU than the Morningbird probiotic I tried before), but… I dunno. He has a couple days left before he’s done this course. I’m worried when I take him off them again, he’s going to get worse again and I won’t have a back-up plan. I’m especially confused because it’s not like he’s going downhill overall. I’ve been trying to get him help with this for two months. He’s still his active, curious, and normal self… just with really wet and sometimes bubbly poops.

Maybe it's his liver and a bacterial infection. I don't know. The urine in his droppings look clear, but when I have him poop on a white paper, they dry green. I know that can be liver, but the bubbles/improvement with antibiotics tell me bacterial.

I’m out of options. If anyone has any advice or suggestions, then I’d really appreciate it.
 
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