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Discussion Starter #1
This morning I rushed Sunny to the vet because he started wheezing and open-mouth breathing while he was eating his breakfast. It was similar to when they get water in their nose and snort it out, but without anything to reasonably precipitate the reaction. He had a very brief similar episode on Monday night, but at that time it resolved so quickly that I assumed he just got a seed hull stuck in his throat.

My vet said that currently his throat is very red and inflamed, which may indicate an infection secondary to Sunny's history of chronic allergies. We opted not to culture, since the last time we were in this situation, the cultures came out negative but antibiotics solved the problem anyway. So now he's got Baytril for two weeks, and we'll recheck then. If it doesn't resolve, we may have to do bloodwork to rule out mycobacteria or aspergillosis. Right now I'm hoping it won't get to that point. Overall my vet wasn't terribly concerned -- he thinks there is something going on, but Sunny hasn't lost any weight, has a normal energy level, and is acting happy. So we don't think this is a dire situation, but still one to pay attention to.

Other symptoms he's had for a while that may or may not be related include frequent sneezing, a very slight tail bob, and panting after mild exertion. Last summer he was treated with Baytril and hydroxyzine for allergies and secondary infection, and the problem seemed to resolve then. I think it may have been exacerbated now by the fact that he is molting, and we've had very bad air quality here.

I'm not asking for help or advice right now, although good thoughts would be nice. Mostly I'm starting this thread because I think it's likely that this will turn out at the very least to be related to allergies -- It might be entirely an allergy problem. I don't think we have much info on allergies in 'tiels currently on the forum, so I'll be posting updates here in the hopes that this might someday be a helpful case history for someone else.
 

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Oh, I hope all goes well for you and Sunny. :( I'm absolutely sending good thoughts your way! Keep us updated! Good luck!
 

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Thanks. I'm not too concerned at this point, but glad he got seen and that he has meds. On another note, I'm SO tired of medicating birds. This will be my fourth month of it in the past year. >.<
 

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Aww, poor baby! I hope that it is just allergies as suspected and Sunny gets better soon! And poor you, giving meds is not fun! I have two more days to give Zoey meds and I will be rejoicing when we are done :D
 

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I think it's likely that this will turn out at the very least to be related to allergies -- It might be entirely an allergy problem.
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Allergies to what?
Initially when he had a flare-up last summer, it seemed he'd become allergic to cardboard dust from cereal boxes that he was shredding obsessively. We took that away and things seemed to settle down for a while. I don't know what would have caused this latest flare-up, but there's any number of possibilities -- we've had bad air quality alerts here every day for the past week, he's molting, Roo's molting, and I've had to turn the heat back on because it's gotten cold again, so that's probably also irritating. I do run an air purifier, but that clearly can't get rid of everything. The other thing we sort of suspect is maybe a food sensitivity, since both times the gasping happened while he was eating.

I don't know how one determines what a bird is allergic to short of removing things from the environment one at a time, though. There's no test as far as I know. Any other suggestions?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I should also add, within the past week, I had increased the amount of Volkman mix he was getting with his pellets and nutriberries. I sort of suspect he may be allergic to something in it, or at the very least that there's something in it he was choking on. For now I've taken it out of his diet, so he's getting Roudybush, nutriberries, and veggies. I know I need to put the seed back in, and I will, but I want to see if this helps clear up the irritation first. I may need to find him a mix with fewer things in it.
 

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I don't know if this helps..but my dog was having some allergies that affected his skin last year and we tried so many things. Then the doctor said that if it continued he would do some allergy test that showed levels of things in his body. We never had it done so I'm not sure how it worked but I guess it's possible? Anyway--the doctor changed his monthly heartworm/mosquito/flea and tick preventative and I changed his food to holistic and grain-free and he doesn't have issues anymore so I suspect it was a food allergy.
 

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it seemed he'd become allergic to cardboard dust from cereal boxes that he was shredding obsessively.
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He would not be allergic to cardboard....but from any shredding of paper products because they consist of very fine fibers that can irritate and/or impact in the sinus cavity.

I had increased the amount of Volkman mix he was getting with his pellets and nutriberries.

I have read not long ago that the Kaytee Company (which the parent company is Central Garden Pets) bought out Volkman seed, and many people have been concerned that the quality/cleanliness is not as good now.

I may need to find him a mix with fewer things in it.

I have been using this seed since 1994 because it does not contain crap and fillers.
http://www.foryourbird.com/page/foryourbird/CTGY/higscock

And I will be ordering this to see what the birds think of it: http://www.foryourbird.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=foryourbird&Category_Code=totorg
 

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And...just a thought. You are changing 2 things in his intake at once. You are giving him meds AND taking away the seed. So, that said, even if he's better by the end of his treatment you can't blame the seed until you add it back into his diet and THEN he shows the allergies again. But Susanne has a good point...I don't buy Kaytee products because it isn't good enough for my birds. And knowing that they own Volkman (which I've considered switching to) I would not consider buying it again.

Thank you Susanne for the links..I've been looking for a different seed mix and starting mixing parakeet seed with sunflower seed from the bulk section at my local pet shop recently...I will probably be ordering Higgins now. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14

He would not be allergic to cardboard....but from any shredding of paper products because they consist of very fine fibers that can irritate and/or impact in the sinus cavity.


It's possible to develop an allergy to anything that is irritating for long enough, so I do think he developed a specific allergy to that type of dust. His reaction was consistent with that, even according to my vet.
 

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so I do think he developed a specific allergy to that type of dust.
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Nope....the very fine fibers that could also come from any paper based product. If there was anything to the cardboard I would be more suspect of the glues or coatings used on the paper being cause of an allergic reaction.
 

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so I do think he developed a specific allergy to that type of dust.
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Nope....the very fine fibers that could also come from any paper based product. If there was anything to the cardboard I would be more suspect of the glues or coatings used on the paper being cause of an allergic reaction.
I'm not going to argue with you. He became allergic to SOMETHING in the dust that is specific to cereal boxes. Maybe it was glue or coating, maybe it was something used in the cardboard fiber. Anything can become an allergen -- the only requirement is that it must be irritating enough to trigger an immune reaction. But he doesn't have access to that now, so this is really beside the point of whatever is going on this time.
 

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My vet said that currently his throat is very red and inflamed, which may indicate an infection secondary to Sunny's history of chronic allergies. We opted not to culture,
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You might want to have a culture done, since he has been on Baytril before to make sure that it is the most effective antibiotic for him. It is commonly prescribed as a broad spectrum antibiotic and with several treatments a bird can develop a resistant to an antibiotic.

My past experiences with a red throat (with no white lesions) is a Vitamin A deficiency. If the diet does contain a good source of foods with Beta-carotene (which gets converted into A in the liver) then bloodwork might be in order to cheek liver enzymes. If the liver is enlarged this can also contribute to some tail bobbing, open mouthed breathing, etc.
 

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I'm not going to argue with you. He became allergic to SOMETHING
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LOL....I'm doing what my vet did to me when were were trying to get to the bottom of similar allergic reaction type symptoms....which in my case years ago was an allergic reaction to synthetic vitamins used in fortified seed mixes.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
My past experiences with a red throat (with no white lesions) is a Vitamin A deficiency. If the diet does contain a good source of foods with Beta-carotene (which gets converted into A in the liver) then bloodwork might be in order to cheek liver enzymes. If the liver is enlarged this can also contribute to some tail bobbing, open mouthed breathing, etc.
This breathing/tail-bobbing is suggestive of nasal congestion more than an internal mass, at least according to my vet. The reason is that it is VERY intermittent -- He'll be sitting there perfectly normal, then make his little snort noise once, and go back to totally normal for hours before it happens again. Plus, it is snorting from the nostrils more than gasping from the chest, so we are thinking a combined upper respiratory/sinus thing. But bloodwork is the next step if the Baytril doesn't work.
 

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He'll be sitting there perfectly normal, then make his little snort noise once, and go back to totally normal for hours before it happens again. Plus, it is snorting from the nostrils more than gasping from the chest, so we are thinking a combined upper respiratory/sinus thing.

As birds breathing system is made up of several air sacs distributed within the body. Place your ear to his head/back to see where the sound is coming from. Air sacs can also be along the side of the bird on the side of the abdominal cavity. If any of the air sacs gets even a slight tear this can result in a small amount of fluid trapped, and cause the bird to snort and gasp trying to clear this out.
 
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