Bad Medicine

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My parrot’s still not doing very well. At three o’clock yesterday morning, he shot out of his bed into the bathroom, and bled huge amounts down the wall from the wound under one of his wings. Not a sight to see. I packed his side with wound powder to staunch the flow. Birds can bleed to death very quickly, and even if all you have is corn flour to put on an injury or bleeding sore, you have to stop it immediately. I spent the rest of the day making sure he didn’t pick himself open, getting him to eat, and disinfecting his entire sleeping area again. The same thing happened this morning, with less blood, but still deeply terrifying.

I originally thought that this was being caused by some sort of feather mite, but now I’m certain that he has a parasite called Giardia. It’s a really evil thing. I’ve looked at pictures, and researched his symptoms. They’re pretty classic, and he has the full set. He’s been pulling the feathers out from the inside of his legs, and from his back and under his wings because of the itching brought on by this, to the point where he’s now had sores there for a couple weeks – one in each wing pit. The problem is that the vet only had one drug called Flagyl (metronidazole) to treat him with. I’ve got it, but I’m terrified to give it to him. From what I’ve found out, it’s not very effective. The Giardia either comes back or it doesn’t kill the parasite in the first place, and the side effects are horrendous. From the sounds of things, it’s likely to do just as much, if not more harm than this particular bug does. I won’t generally give anything to my animals that I wouldn’t be prepared to take myself, so I’ve been treating him with herbs that are known to be anti-parasitic, and antibiotics to stop infection.

I’ve spent all my online time looking at avian websites for advice, and apart from one drug that I’m trying my best to lay my hands on as quickly as I can (it seems to be only available in Germany), I’m not seeing any other solutions. As this parasite is highly contagious between birds, I’m going to treat all of the horde just as soon as I get it. But everyone’s advising quite strongly against the medicine that I have, and I’m at my wits end. Do I treat him as best as I can, and wait till I get the one medication that’s safe, or do I take the chance of liver failure, not actually curing the bird, and all sorts of other really life-threatening side effects, and give him what I’ve got now? It’s not an easy decision to make when either one of them could be the wrong one.

I must say though, apart from some pictures of birds in conditions that made me wonder how anyone could be so uncaring as to let them get that far, I was really heartened by how much most people love their feathered friends. Our pets worm their way into our hearts with their unconditional love. They’re totally dependent on us, which makes most of us fiercely protective of them, and the thought of losing them not something we want to contemplate, even though at some point it’s inevitable. We just have to make sure that while they’re with us, they get the best care we can give them so they can be, at the very least, as happy as they would be flying free.

Till next time friends.