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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi there,

Looking for some advice about my cockatiel. She is a grey female, approx. 15 years old. She lives with two other cockatiels.


For about a week, her breathing has appeared laboured. She has been breathing with her beak open and there is an odd clicking/grinding noise with each breath (kind of like the sound their feathers make when they rub together). She opens her beak wide now and then like a massive yawn. She also gets super out of breath when she flies just to the other side of the room. She's never been extremely fit and has always got out of breath much more quickly than the other two, but this is bad even for her!

About a month ago, one of her cagemates,
was ill. He looked really bad and we thought he was dying. He had wet sticky feathers round his face, so he probably threw up. He was very bad for a few days, then started to perk up a bit. We took him to the vet who gave a course of painkillers and antibiotics. He seems ok now.. not 100%.. he's holding one wing a bit low, but certainly much much better than before. He's eating and singing again. The day after he went to the vet, I noticed our other bird breathing a little heavy, but this only lasted a couple of hours, so we figured she'd just flown around too much. The third cagemate appears ok at the minute but he's the strongest of the three so could be hiding it or fighting it better.

She has been to the vet, who prescribed Baytril and Loxicom. We figure she's picked up the same thing as her cage mate had and just didn't show it because she's stronger. We're about 7 days into the antibiotic treatment and no real improvement. Next stage is to take her back to the vet for a swap (not sure why they didn't just do that when we were there the first time...
). After that it'll be an xray if they find no answers.

She seems to be tired, but is still eating and pottering about. She hasn't necessarily got any worse, just not better, but it's very difficult to tell because she fluctuates. One minutes she'll look a bit better, then an hour later she'll be gasping again.. Seems to be eating but despite this we think she's losing weight.
It's difficult to tell if she's swallowing the food but definitely de-shelling things and hasn't lost interest in food. Mostly going for salad leaves at the minute.

Looking for any advice at all. Taking her back and forth to the vets, which is over an hour away, is very stressful for the three of them.

Has anyone come up against something similar? Is it likely to be bacterial or maybe fungal??? Something else??

Can anyone recommend good food to give her that will keep her weight up? Tried syringe-feeding some banana but she didn't appreciate that at ALL.


Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Update. Taken her to the vet again. Has taken a swap from her throat. Had the option of having an x-ray as well but this would have meant sedation, which we're not 100% comfortable with. Want to leave that as a last resort, only if the swab shows nothing. Got her back home and she's making funny squeaking noises like she has water up her nose.

Could this Just be a side effect of the swab, like she has a bit of a sore throat? The vet said she cleaned her nostrils too... Perhaps this has always been happening and we just haven't been able to hear it. I just hope the stress of the swab hasn't made things worse.

Any advice or similar experiences?
 

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I'm glad you took her to the vet, because it's not possible for people on the internet to accurately diagnose illness. Call the vet and ask them about the squeaking noise, because they know more about what's going on with her than we do.
 

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Update. Went for swabs. She has a resistant form of the bacteria so went on another antibiotic for 10 days. Just finished the course but shy seems no better. Next step is an x-ray but this requires sedation and I'm really unsure about this. I just don't know if I want to risk it. The trip is stressful enough for her as it is. Not sure that an xray will show that they will actually be able to help with. If whatever is wrong requires hospitalization, I'm not sure either her or her two cagemates would cope with that..

Anyone had experience with sedation/trays? Is it safe for birds?
 

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That's a hard questions or advice to give you. If you are taking her to an avian vet there's not much more you can do. My husbands 1st bird had to have xrays and in my opinion it wasn't anymore stressful then the stress of the ride, being handles, getting shots, and getting medicine forced down her mouth. The x ray revealed terminal cancer tumor in her reproductive organs. But at least we knew even though there was nothing to be done. I guess, and I HATE to say this, but you'll have to decide at some point if you see no improvement and that she's getting worst to continue treatment.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Sadly, after a few weeks of fighting, our precious bird took a turn for the worst. Her breathing became very laboured and, despite perking up a bit in the morning, she died on the way to the vet. Likely, the infection caused a mass that ultimately stopped her breathing. Surgery probably wouldn't have been an option for her, so all we could have done is make her comfortable, but that doesn't make it any easier. I'm sure there's something that could have been done if we'd have caught it early but it's too late for that now. All I can do is advise anyone who notices any breathing difficulties in their birds to get it checked as soon as they can. They mask their illness far too well...

Rest in peace my little angel. You were very brave. X
 
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