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Hello, all! I am brand new here--I was hoping for some advice on how to help my little guy. Please forgive the length of this post; I'm not sure what information is most important . . .

I've had Pretty Boy since I was a child. A neighbor caught him admiring his reflection in their backyard pool and gave him to my sister and me to take care of. I assume he was someone's escaped pet, but I never could find his original owner. Anyway, I have no way of knowing how old he is, except that he is at least twelve because that's how long I've had him. He was extremely cagebound when I got him and he's been getting better, but he still prefers not to have his head touched and he can be grumpy.

I caught pneumonia a few weeks ago and wasn't paying as much attention to him as I usually do (his cage was clean and he had food and water, but he was covered more than usual so he'd be quiet). I also had a humidifier going. Last Tuesday I realized he wasn't acting like himself--a bit more lethargic and clumsy, spending more time on the bottom of his cage, etc. On Tuesday night he fell off a perch and sat on the bottom of the cage, breathing hard. He was unresponsive when I talked to him, and when I took him out of the cage he acted like he was too weak to stand up--he just lay in my hand and let me pet him (he usually complains and won't stand much petting).

I got him to the vet the next morning as soon as I could, but he was already acting more normal. The vet didn't seem especially knowledgable . . . he said it might have been a stroke, and if it was there was nothing to be done but put him down. On the chance that it was some kind of infection, he gave Pretty Boy an antibiotic shot and gave me some medicine to give him over the next ten days.

He fell off his perch again on Wednesday and seemed "out of it" but not as bad as on Tuesday night. I moved everything in his cage lower down so he wouldn't have as far to fall. I put a food dish on the floor of the cage and made sure he could reach his water, and stayed with him until he was acting normally again.

He seems to be improving, but still not quite himself. He's fluffed up most of the time and doesn't sing very often. He's eating and drinking and hasn't fallen in awhile. When I was giving him his medicine, I noticed that his tongue is a normal "flesh color" now--it was a bit dark on the end when he first got sick.

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I suppose my question is twofold: what could cause a bird to suffer lethargy and clumsiness and a dark-colored tongue, as well as episodes of unresponsiveness and heavy breathing? And, what can I do to help him, or at least make him comfortable? He doesn't appear to be in distress, but I'm worried about him.

I'm also thinking I need to find a different vet. Any recommendations in the San Fernando Valley, CA area? :/

Any suggestions or brainstorming would be most appreciated! Thank you so much!
 

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A new vet definitely.

For now, it might be best to take away high up perches and keep everything lowered for him and try to keep him warm. Essentially create him a hospital room to help him rest.

The knowledgable members on disease will be along shortly. :)
 

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I also didn't really want to say this bc it can worry you but it does seem neurological. But past that, I can't offer much advice. :(
 

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I agree that this seems neurological. I'm not a vet, but I work with human stroke survivors, and what you're describing sounds like either repeated small strokes or possibly seizures.

However, a vet visit to get a more thorough exam and testing is definitely warranted. You'll want to rule out infection as well as the potential presence of toxins, like heavy metals. Blood work would be a good idea if you can find a vet who is confident doing it and feels that your bird can tolerate the stress of the procedure.

Even if he is having strokes, it doesn't sound like it would be necessary to put him down yet. If he still has quality of life in between the episodes, then I think you're doing the right thing by simply making him comfortable. Do modify his cage so that he can reach things easily and doesn't hurt himself if he falls again.

Also take a look at our stickies on offering supplemental heat: http://talkcockatiels.com/showthread.php?t=16019
http://talkcockatiels.com/showthread.php?t=16020

If he seems weak after an episode, you can offer him a little bit of pedialyte or honey diluted in his water. That may help him regain some energy.

Please keep us updated! I'll be sending you good thoughts.
 

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Supplemental heat is helpful for an unwell bird even if it isn't chilly in your house. The reason is that it takes a lot of metabolic energy for birds to keep their body temperature up to normal. If you can offer some extra heat, then more of his energy can go toward healing rather than just maintaining his normal temperature.
 

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I found this listing for an avian certified vet. Not sure how far it is from you. Keep us posted on how your tiel is doing.

SAN FERNANDO VALLEY, CALIFORNIA -- Capri Plaza Pet Clinic; 19582 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana, CA 91356; 818-881-6344; www.capriplazapetclinic.com
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Capri Plaza has a long waiting list, but I'll try to get on it :)

He's looking much better! I've got a heated pad on the outside of his cage cover in one corner. I thought he might go cuddle in that corner but he seems to be ignoring it . . . at least it should raise the ambient temperature.

I've also got a heated perch on the way (I will supervise him on it to make sure it's safe).

He's definitely acting more like himself, and completely unaware of how much heartache he's put me through ;)

I'll keep you posted. Thank you for all the wonderful advice and well-wishes!
 

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I'm glad to hear he's doing better. If the Capri Plaza list is too long perhaps they can refer you to other avian vets in your area. My vet's office gave me two back up vet offices in case of emergencies as they don't have weekend hours.
 
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