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Post: Sun Conure Balance Problems andRoad to Recovery

Posted by Jim Sunnie on 3/20/11

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    I did not know the problems with Sun Conures regarding
    dizziness (balance problem), suddenly lethargic behavior
    (sleeping most of the day, not responding playful
    interactions with the owners as used be) until our bird
    Sunny showed these symptoms.
    We have a lovely and lively playful bird (named Sunny) and
    he is 5 years old. He has very bright gold, red, and tiel
    colored feathers. Apparently we were duped by the bird
    shop and paid extra $50 because of his more golden (chest
    and his back) and red color (his head) feathers because
    these are called King Sun conures. Later on we found out
    that was a BS. That situation was just a coincidence.
    Only complaint that I had he was not talking. The bird
    shop told us he will talk when he reaches maturity around 1
    year mark. We got purchased him when he was 2 months old
    and took him home when he was about 4 months old. We used
    have a cocktail which we both from same bird shop. His name
    was Smokey. We had a wonderful time with him for 15
    years. When they told us that their lifespan is about 15
    years, I was thinking more pr less. That bird died exactly
    when he reached 15-year mark. He was talking (4 month he
    uttered his first word as his name. He had about 6-8 full
    sentences in his repertoire. The key to make him talk to
    show him gym sucks or fluffy things such as towels or
    blankets. He was also a good whistler. When he heard a
    whistle then he could not help but join the act. His
    demise was very quick. One week before his dead, he slowed
    down considerable. A night before, he heard a nice
    whistling tune from the TV. He did not care at all and
    ignored it. We noticed that he could not fly (he could not
    elevate himself). Next day, when I came home from work, I
    could not hear his greeting voice and immediately
    understood that he was gone. I was so upset to see his
    lifeless and stiff body at the bottom of the cage.
    When we start to see a similar symptoms on Sunny as
    lethargic, cannot fly, and losing his balance, I thought
    how this could be. He supposed to live 25 o 30 years. He
    had also vet nostrils and sometimes a little balloon were
    appearing on his nose. However, we had seen these
    conditions before. These things were cleared up by itself
    without any drug. We were giving him tea and keeping him
    warm by covering the cage at night. This year we had a
    nasty winter in New Jersey. We also seen these with
    Smokey and we never alarmed with that. With Smokey we
    never dealt with a vet.
    This time I had invested a considerable amount of money on
    Sunny. When we had vacations and short trips, we were
    giving Smokey to my in-laws for bird-sitting. We could not
    do it with Sunny because his cage was big to carry. We had
    to pay $15 a night boarding to the bird-shop that we got
    him from. I called the owner and he said he is sick. He
    urged me take him to the vet that he highly recommended.
    He told me that he is also dealing with him with his
    birds. He was suspecting that the bird got bad bacteria
    and needs antibiotic. He was puzzled with the
    dizziness/balance problem. He was (like me) could not
    relate this to bacteria problem affecting neurological
    system.
    Anyway, we took the bird to vet that the bird-shop
    suggested. Doctor told us (as we mentioned too) he may
    have a bacteria also causing the cold symptoms on his
    nostrils. He said this could affect his ears and that is
    why he had dizzy feeling. He also said that he should take
    an x-ray of his digestive track to see whether he had any
    small metal particle that he may swallow. He said sometime
    the seeds kept in metal drums and this tiny zinc or other
    metal particles stuck in his digestive track and cause
    these symptoms that we saw regarding the balance because he
    might be blotted.
    X-ray came clean. He said his gizzard is swollen a little
    bit and he may have a pain. Then he said we need to do
    blood work and culture from his poop to see what kind of
    bacteria is infected him. Since the results would take
    some time (2-3 days), he said he is going to give an oral
    antibiotic and a drug to ease the pain I he had regarding
    his gizzard. If you ask me that was pain drug was the BS
    to cover up the $150 x-ray bill. He took the blood and
    poop sample. The bill was a whopping $570. This was
    almost how much I paid for the bird.
    2-3 days we gave him the oral antibiotic an the pain killer
    twice a day. No change was observed. When I called, I
    found out that the doctor is away and be back after 3-day.
    When I caught him on the phone next time, it was already a
    week that we have seen him. He said that his culture
    result did not came in yet but according to the blood work
    his white-cell count is more than twice of the normal
    (11000 versus 26000). He said he is definitely fighting
    with something. He suggested to stop with pain killer and
    continue with the antibiotic. At that point, I decided to
    search the internet and I found out many outcries of the
    bird owners regarding the dizziness and balance problems.
    Responses coming out of so called experts were self
    serving “go see a vet like themselves to spend like a half
    a grand like me in his economy “ as if this is a rare
    disease.
    Folks, this is a common problem no matter what they tell
    you. Get the knowledge from my experience. I had found
    myself in the internet vinegar is a good weapon to fight
    with bacteria as preventive care and natural antibiotic
    when there is an infection. Use apple-cedar vinegar (a
    half tbl for 4 on. Water or juice). Let me go back to my
    experience with the vet. When I spoke to him about 10 days
    after we saw him in his office, he told me that culture
    results were in and he has two heavy bacteria infection
    (Klebsiella and Entrobacter). He said bring the bird and
    he will prescribe two injection-able antibiotics. He said
    stop with oral one that he gave before because that one
    only helped his nostrils.
    We went to his office and he gave one shot himself for 10
    day coverage (80 ml/mg Convenia) and gave us 14-day supply
    of Amicacin shots (0.5ml/mg each). He also suggested to
    have bonavirus scan and CBC/Diff screen). The bill came as
    $234.

    We started giving the injections. This time it was a slow
    progress. Sunny started to be more alert after 6 shots.
    We called him. He said the blood work still shows high
    white cell count but the scans came clean. He said “chome
    after the Amicacin shots are over.” We finished the shots
    and went to see him. Sunny was almost back to himself He
    gave another Convenia shot and gave us another 7 day
    supply for Amicacin. The bill was $57 and he said come
    next week and we should do another white cell count.
    Folks, I spent almost $1000 (more than what I spent for
    buying and keeping Sunny). According to him, I am not done
    yet. Another blood test and office visit. I am not so
    sure I will go back if Sunny returns back to normal. He is.
    So, the question is how Sunny got these bacteria found in
    hia blood? Since we did not do any repairs or activity to
    cause Sunny to be poison or catch bacteria, the answer lies
    on his food or boarding that we put him up more than a week
    in the bird house. Because we gave him same seeds (the mix
    that we buy from the bird house) and the dog pellets, there
    is no need to check with the owner of the bird shop because
    he will say it is the same food we keep buying in last 5
    years. My hunch is that he caught the bacteria when we
    left him there for boarding. He is going to deny that he
    did not have any sick bird on his possession last Xmas
    till January 2nd when he was there. The vet thinks the
    same thing. This must be boarding problem although we did
    that 5-6 times in the past.
    The problem that I argue with my wife was that (since she
    is not also veggie and fruit eater) Smokey and sunny was
    getting not enough vitamins to boost their immune systems.
    She was sprinkling his water with powder vitamin. These
    things are never a good substitute for a real and natural
    veggie and fruit. Both Smokey and Sunny never used to eat
    these wholesome goodies. After age 5, Sunny will not
    touch apple, banana, orange, celery, carrot for sure. Now,
    after spending such money, Sunny is getting apple-cider,
    natural 100% berry juice, orange-mango juice mix, and fruit
    flavored yogurt. Yogurt would cultivate good bacteria that
    he is losing to antibiotics. I mix vinegar to his apple-
    cider. I think he is back to recovery, He doesn’t like
    to force feeding of the fruit juices and the yogurt but he
    already seen the light. Now, he doesn’t fight back to
    drink the juices. The yogurt is a different matter but I
    really think he would get used to that too.

    Jim

Posts on this thread, including this one
  • Sun Conure Balance Problems andRoad to Recovery, 3/20/11, by Jim Sunnie.