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#171756 - 07/29/08 09:47 PM Tell me this isn't going to ruin our relatinship  
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Jacque Offline
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As I've stated here on another couple of threads, I took Topy to the avian vet last week and found out that the reason he's been pulling out his cheek and neck feathers is because he has a sinus yeast infection. The vet put him on Nystatin, which is the same drug used by humans. She also put him on a low dose of Baytil because of an elevated white count. She thinks all the scratching and pulling has given him a secondary infection.

The Baytril is easy to get him to take. I just add it to juice and he drinks it from a spoon. The problem is the Nystatin. It is thick and white and very strongly flavored. No way can you disguise it in juice, or grapes, or oatmeal. Believe me, I've been trying. I even put it on the edge of a pop can (a prior owner let him drink pop and he always beelines for any can he sees). No dice. So the only way I can get him to take his 3 times a day dose for the next 2 weeks is to towel him and force it on him.

We are both feeling terrible. And he throws such a screaming fit every time I towel him that the CAG now screams if I come near his cage. (He's always distrusted me and I just proved him right).

Please tell me that we will get through this without any lasting damage to our relationship. A year is a pretty fragile base to build on, and I don't want it torn down and have to start over. He didn't like any one before me, and I don't want to join the throng of people on his s**t list.

My brain tells me that we need to do this for his longterm health. My heart tells me that I'm torturing him. Reassurance is desperately needed.

#171762 - 07/29/08 10:17 PM Re: Tell me this isn't going to ruin our relatinsh [Re: Jacque]  
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Jacque, does he like peanut butter?
I had to give mine Baytril a couple of weeks ago and he hated it. I mixed it in with peanut butter and he gobbled it down. He also would eat it mixed in with a tiny bit of plain yogurt with some fresh peaches smashed up in it. I made a mess out of toweling him and trying to use the syringe. He didn't stay mad at me.


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#171764 - 07/29/08 10:23 PM Re: Tell me this isn't going to ruin our relatinship [Re: Jacque]  
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Jacque,

I'm not sure if anything I'll write will be helpful as you've probably thought of these. Can you call your vet to see if there is any alternative you could try? (My lizards were recently on injectible antibiotics -- not sure if something similar might be available as a substitution for that drug? Either a better tasting oral or an injectible?)

Another thought is that our vet will sometimes mix the medicine with that syrup stuff you can add to coffee or pina colada mixer-type syrup, which might do a better job masking the taste. You could see if your vet would be ok with that?

Do you have anyone else that could administer the medicine?

Does he have an absolute favorite treat (a few sips of soda maybe?) that you could give him immediately afterwards? So that the entire experience wasn't so horrible.

Another thing I'd probably try is talking to him, if you guys have a good relationship. Approach him with the syringe and say something like, "Remember how I had to put you in the towel to give you this earlier? I really don't want to do that, but you have to take this so you'll get better. Why don't you just try eating it?" and see what happens. I have seen this work before.

Parrots are extremely resilient, but since they're all individuals, it's impossible to know how his behavior towards you might change after 21 episodes of this.

My heart goes out to you and Topy...

#171768 - 07/29/08 10:38 PM Re: Tell me this isn't going to ruin our relatinship [Re: Beeps]  
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Thank you both for the suggestions. Unfortunately, there is no other drug, and no other way to give it. Topy is an extremely picky eater, due to a past history of being a seed junkie. I've even tried putting it in his birdie bread, one of the few things other than nuts and pellets that he will eat. I'm afraid it's the towel or nothing. He put his tongue on the medicine when it was on the pop can, and then promptly ran away.

When he was hatched, the breeder sent him out with his new family unweaned. They were clueless, and ended up crop burning him so badly that he had to have 3 surgeries. It took a long time and a lot of medicine for him to heal. So anything medicinal, he turns his little beak up and runs like heck.

I know this is what we have to do. I just absolutely hate it.

#171779 - 07/30/08 12:17 AM Re: Tell me this isn't going to ruin our relatinship [Re: Jacque]  
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You are now having parrot nightmare #1. A picky eater who needs to take meds.

Get very proficient at toweling and do it as fast and as smooth as you can. Have everything ready to go but out of sight. Having an assistant and doing it as a team can really speed up med time. Reducing towel time. The second you get him secured the other person has the syringe ready go.

It is emotionally draining but necessary.

If every person who wanted to buy a parrot could just experience what you need to experience now. We wouldn't have such a huge problem. But then again some of them don't have your heart either.



John
Another 24 hours down. Only a lifetime to go. God speed! ~AngiesArk~ laugh
#171780 - 07/30/08 12:24 AM Re: Tell me this isn't going to ruin our relatinship [Re: TiKa's Dad]  
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Bill hates meds too. He gets MAD MAD MAD. When he was on antibiotics (for what seems like years - 4 months altogether) I would make sure that I spent a block of time with him that was just nice time with him. I separated it from the time we did meds. I considered it a bit of sweetness to mend up from the towel/med-ing.

He still loves us.

But he'll still raise a stink if you start taking out a towel around him.


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#171781 - 07/30/08 12:29 AM Re: Tell me this isn't going to ruin our relatinship [Re: TiKa's Dad]  
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This is where training husbandry behaviors with positive reinforcement before a problem is so useful. You can train your bird to accept toweling, so that it is not a scary, forceful thing. There is no reason why this can't be done any time, and it is one less thing to worry about if/when the time comes that you need to towel them. Delivering medication is a bit more difficult, though it too can be done. Just training your bird to take liquids from a syringe would be a great start. That is not going to help with a vile tasting medication, but you may be able to dilute it enough. Especially if it is being paired with some very valuable reinforcer. It is sort of far down the road to start any of this for Jacque, but it is a good lesson.


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#171785 - 07/30/08 01:30 AM Re: Tell me this isn't going to ruin our relatinship [Re: Mythree2s]  
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Thank you everyone. Just having people who understand makes a great deal of difference. I had been playing the towel game with Topy, so that it would be easier to towel him when necessary. And I towel him off after his shower without a problem. But he is smart enough to know the difference. And I'm sure I radiate discomfort and unhappiness every time I head towards him with meds. Kind of defeats the whole positive reinforcement thing when Mom's emotions get in the way.

John - thank you especially for your post. I always enjoy your comments and they always make an amazing amount of sense. Your experience is very appreciated.

Spinnyspoo...thank you for letting me know that Bill still loves you! I've been medicating Topy, putting him in his cage to calm down, and then about 15-20 minutes later I get him out to snuggle. We have some quiet one on one loving time. Hopefully he will start to connect the two.....

#171786 - 07/30/08 01:54 AM Re: Tell me this isn't going to ruin our relatinship [Re: Jacque]  
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Oh...and the silliest thing about this is that I've spent years working with raptors. I can medicate an adult bald eagle by myself without much issue. It's just this little pile of feathers who gives me so much emotional trouble!

#171787 - 07/30/08 02:05 AM Re: Tell me this isn't going to ruin our relatinsh [Re: Jacque]  
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I feel for you, Jacque. If I hadn't gotten the peanut butter trick to work, I probably would have had to make several trips to the vet with him for them to keep working with me on how to do it.


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#171797 - 07/30/08 02:56 AM Re: Tell me this isn't going to ruin our relatinsh [Re: Lanie]  
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If I need to give meds to a bird. He/she gets spoiled rotten the whole time. Lots of sorry, sorry, sorry on my part.

Quote:
And I towel him off after his shower without a problem. But he is smart enough to know the difference


Taste that medicine one time voluntarily. You're gonna need to force feed the rest

Fool Tika once. You win. Fool Tika twice you lose and pay in blood.

I don't think putting him in the cage right after meds is such a great idea. He needs a big fat reward for being such a good boy.

Last edited by TiKa's Dad; 07/30/08 03:06 AM.

John
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#171799 - 07/30/08 03:06 AM Re: Tell me this isn't going to ruin our relatinsh [Re: TiKa's Dad]  
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What confuses me is that the groomer towels my bird, does his wings, beak & nails, no problem. He isn't mad at her, he isn't mad at me. I towel him and it's a big drama. I'm not doing it any different than she is, but he seems really offended when it's me.
What gives?


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#171801 - 07/30/08 03:14 AM Re: Tell me this isn't going to ruin our relatinsh [Re: Lanie]  
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You are doing it with emotion. The vet is very calm and logical. With practice the vet develops a very light yet firm grip. He does not so much hold the bird as much as he controls the head with a particular grip. He just cradles the body enough to prevent escape but does not "grip" the bird. He does it with confidence and skill. When you feel the bird start to relax you match it by loosening the hold on the body. Not the head. The bird will start to relax after a few times. But he's NEVER going to like those meds.

How many birds has he handled compared to you.

Something to watch:
http://blip.tv/file/653187
http://blip.tv/file/657439



Last edited by TiKa's Dad; 07/30/08 03:22 AM.

John
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#171805 - 07/30/08 03:24 AM Re: Tell me this isn't going to ruin our relatinsh [Re: TiKa's Dad]  
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Originally Posted By: TiKa's Dad
You are doing it with emotion. The vet is very calm and logical. With practice the vet develops a very light yet firm grip. He does not so much hold the bird as much as he controls the head with a particular grip. He just cradles the body enough to prevent escape but does not "grip" the bird. He does it with confidence and skill. When you feel the bird start to relax you match it by loosening the hold on the body. Not the head. The bird will start to relax after a few times. But he's NEVER going to like those meds.

How many birds has he handled compared to you.



Excellent point
I've handled one. He's handled thousands, and a lot of them wild.


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#171816 - 07/30/08 04:26 AM Re: Tell me this isn't going to ruin our relatinsh [Re: Lanie]  
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If you don't know the "head grip". Get him to show you. It's hard to explain in print. Basically you make a circle with you thumb and second finger. Overlapping the thumb on top of the finger a bit. That goes around the birds neck. You point the tip of your thumb upward into that hollow under the birds beak. Your grip is loose. You control the beak with the thumb. This is for a really feisty bird. Very difficult for one person to do that and give meds.

Instead of trying to pry his beak open. Get him to grab a stick/dowel/object to clamp down on but still keeps his beak open enough to stick the syringe in. Once he has grabbed it you can even use your fingers to keep his beak clamped around it if he's really feisty. Watch those fingers.


John
Another 24 hours down. Only a lifetime to go. God speed! ~AngiesArk~ laugh
#171817 - 07/30/08 04:27 AM Re: Tell me this isn't going to ruin our relatinsh [Re: Lanie]  
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I've handled several hundred wild birds as well. I know how to towel birds....I know the correct hold..and I can tell you from recent experience that I would rather pill a ticked off eagle that one little G2.

The debacle tonight ended up with me bleeding and him royally ticked off.

But on the bright side, he ran to my husband for love and protection as soon as he was done. And he's always been standoffish with my husband. Hubbie was thrilled, Topy got the scratching and loving he wanted, and I was able to go wash off my wound without making a big deal of it.

And John, I think you're right, lots of love and attention after the fact seemed to work much better. We'll get through this somehow. But boy, does it stink.

Oh, and I'm going to have to lay in a supply of syringes. Those things aren't nearly as strong as they look! lol

#171820 - 07/30/08 04:33 AM Re: Tell me this isn't going to ruin our relatinsh [Re: Jacque]  
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I forgot to mention the part about buy syringes in bulk!! They need to make ones with steel ends on them.

Last edited by TiKa's Dad; 07/30/08 04:33 AM.

John
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#171832 - 07/30/08 05:15 AM Re: Tell me this isn't going to ruin our relatinsh [Re: TiKa's Dad]  
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Have you been taught to gavage feed? Its quite easy once you know how to do it. And its an awesome way to administer drugs. I did it a couple times with Bokka when it was needed. Make sure he has something warm before doing this and afterwards, to insure he will not throw it up. SO feeding him formula (comfort feeding) helps after you administer the drug. Have an avian vet teach you how to Gavage feed. I was taught when I volunteered at Sarvey Wildlife and help medicate a Blue Heron.



Originally Posted By: Lanie
What confuses me is that the groomer towels my bird, does his wings, beak & nails, no problem. He isn't mad at her, he isn't mad at me. I towel him and it's a big drama. I'm not doing it any different than she is, but he seems really offended when it's me.
What gives?


I wouldnt be offended much if some person I barelly knew called me ugly. But if someone I loved did. That hurts worst! Something to think about..

Mercedez

Last edited by Bokka-pooh; 07/30/08 05:15 AM.
#171841 - 07/30/08 05:33 AM Re: Tell me this isn't going to ruin our relatinsh [Re: Bokka-pooh]  
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Quote:
Have you been taught to gavage feed? Its quite easy once you know how to do it.


Unless you've been taught good and well this can be very dangerous too. I know 2 people (one an avian vet) who have killed birds gavage feeding. This doesn't mean that no one can do it, it's just that it does not come without a dollop of risk.

Last edited by spinnyspoo; 07/30/08 05:34 AM.

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#171844 - 07/30/08 05:37 AM Re: Tell me this isn't going to ruin our relatinsh [Re: Bokka-pooh]  
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Jacque-Just a quick sugestion that might help mute some of the bad taste. Microwave a sweet potato, wrapped in a moist paper towel, for five minutes. Scoop out the center and put in food processor with a little cinnamon,few few ground walnuts and 100% grape juice. See if he will eat this mixture with the medicine added. Bogie is a very fussy eater, and really loves this.(I'm pretty sure I got the original recipe,mixing in small pellets, from the MyToos sight.) Hope it helps.

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