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Truman is Not Eating Well

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Truman is Not Eating Well

Postby Michael » Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:12 pm

You probably already know about Truman's injury and vet mixup. When I originally brought him home after a 4 day stay at the vet, Truman was eating fairly well on his own. During that week he had managed to stabilize his weight toward 320g. However, since the medication overdose and abrupt termination of medication, he has lost interest in food. If he weren't eating at all (as the day of accident and day after), I'd be bringing him back to the vet urgently. However, he does eat but just not an adequate amount.

Without my assistance, I'm sure he'd be losing even more weight. All of my intervention is doing something between maintaining this low weight or losing it slower. The simple fact is he is taking in less than he is putting out. Right now I'm in a position where i just have to wait and see if time/medication improves his condition or worsens it to know how to act. It is difficult for me to afford to keep him at the vet for more days if I don't have to so I'd like your advice about how I can encourage him to eat better.

Here is what I did this evening which barely got enough calories into him. I feed him foods in order from least eager to most eager to eat so that he can get a bit of everything. First I gave him broccoli and he picked at it for a little while. I don't know if he actually swallowed any or just played with it like a toy. Then I gave him Roudybush pellets and he had a few (but not a meal by any means). Then I gave him some of his Pretty Bird pellets that he was weened onto and he had a few of those. Next I fed him oatmeal out of a teaspoon. At least half of that teaspoon ended up on the floor and he wouldn't eat a drop more. I tried giving him some baby food (apple sauce or something like that) but he wouldn't touch it. I mixed up some Lafeber and tried syringe feeding it to him but I think he was spitting it all out. I thought he'd like being "baby fed" but sure doesn't seem that way. Kili ended up eating more oatmeal than Truman. Finally I gave him two almonds and he zealously ate those. I cracked one but he managed the other one his own.

If he's got the strength to crack and eat an almond, I'm surprised why he can't just eat his pellets. So through all this feeding effort, it brought his weight from 310-315g which for him is about 1/2 of a meal (and leaving lots of room till 330g). Oh and did I mention he's been drinking far less water than usual. So this is a tough situation. If he weren't eating at all, I'd have to bring him to the vet to be gavage fed. But he is eating and to an extent on his own. It just isn't anywhere near his normal food intake. I don't really know what to do.

Also, as it seems like he is very willing to eat his nuts despite lack of interest toward other food (that he normally likes), I've been giving him way more than usual in hopes that he gets at least some calories. Is this bad? I think he's had a total of 3 entire almonds and a whole walnut today. And I'm not feeding this to him in place of pellets. I'm only giving him a nut after he had eaten pellets and refuses to eat any more. Truman isn't particularly familiar with alternative foods yet so it is difficult for me to come up with different things that he would want. Does anyone have ideas about universal foods all parrots like that he could be eating in his condition?
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Re: Truman is Not Eating Well

Postby Mr.Darcy » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:04 am

My dog who was 15 yrs old, had his knee give out on him and the vet put him on metacam too. Great anti-inflammatory, but it does take a few days to build up to work for pain and swelling. I imagine it take a few days to come out too. My dog was a beagle (which I am sure are related to goats! They eat everything) and I noticed with the metacam his appetite dropped too. It sounds like you are doing everything right. And as far as too many almonds, he is sick and not eating so if thats what he will eat, feed it to him, and when is 100% again, then you can fight to get his diet back on track. Right now he needs calories to heal so who cares where they come from for the short term as long as he is eating

Good luck!
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Re: Truman is Not Eating Well

Postby CheekyandMalolo » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:04 am

Is he still restricted from flying and training and such?? Perhaps a trip outside or some training, maybe some really good playing might kick start his appetite. Something active that'll get him back into some kind of routine.
A lot of things have changed in the past few weeks for him, he's probably fairly shocked and got his nose out of joint over it. Perhaps he just needs some regularity in his life.
Could you put him and Kili together to eat? He might get into it with her and eat some more. Or is she being a nasty pasty to him?
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Re: Truman is Not Eating Well

Postby bmsweb » Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:49 am

Have you considered trying handrearing formula? Its packed with everything he needs and he can get in into his system with minimal effort. Well that's the path i would go down.
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Re: Truman is Not Eating Well

Postby birdvet » Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:52 am

Heya. I just got myself up to date on the vet mix-up drama. What an absolute nightmare for you and poor Truman. I don't have any more advice than what has already been given on how to increase his intake.

I am, however, worried about Truman, although metacam seems to be much safer in birds than mammals and birds can tolerate much higher does rates than mammals, I would be inclined to repeat a blood test 1 week after the original one. The reason I say this is because the uric acid value, which is what we test for to assess kidney function in birds, only becomes elevated when 70-80% of the kidney function is wrecked...so basically, one normal test result doesn't necessarily mean that the kidneys are functioning well. I know its another expense, I think your vet should have covered the cost of the first test at least....but I won't get on to that topic, too political ;)

Have you noticed if he's drinking more than usual? Has the urine component of his droppings increased? These might indicate kidney issues.

Another problem metacam causes in mammals is gastric ulceration. This could also cause reduced appetite. This is not usually a problem in birds but I wouldn't want to rule it out completely. Are his droppings darker than normal? This might indicate digested blood which could indicate an ulcer.

Hopefully Truman's appetite loss is purely due to the fact that he's not receiving metacam anymore and his pelvis is painful. And hopefully I'm just being overparanoid about the overdose :D

Good luck, I hope he improves. :senegal:
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Re: Truman is Not Eating Well

Postby Kim S » Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:01 am

I am not a vet in any way, but wishing I was so I could give you some usefull advice.

Like bmsweb my first thought was handrearingfood. Truman is still a baby and hasnt been weaned for very long, so he might be willing to accept that. Call the breeder and ask what formula she used. These formulas are packed with everything a bird needs and loads of callories to boot.

I dont think youre doing the wrong thing feeding him nuts and other things he likes. The most important thing is that he keeps eating. What he is eating wouldnt really concern me. For all I care you give him peanuts for the next two weeks. He needs the input.
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Re: Truman is Not Eating Well

Postby lzver » Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:31 am

I'm sorry to hear that Truman doesn't really seem to be improving.

I think the suggestion to feed hand-feeding formula sounds like it might be the best idea at this point. Sounds like he'd at least be getting the nutrients and calories that he needs to heal.

What about keeping his environment warm? Birds maintain a higher body temperature and when they are sick or injured they use a lot of energy trying to maintain their body temperature. From what I have read, it is suggested to keep their environment above 85 degrees. I've heard suggestions about using heat lamps and also placing a heating pad under the tub that he is staying in. You can insulate with a few towels if it is a plastic tub that he is in.
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Re: Truman is Not Eating Well

Postby lainmai » Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:12 am

As others have pointed out - your best bet is to offer hand feeding formula. All the wild injured birds I've had in the past, baby or not we fed this and then offered other foods with it throughout the day. It insures that at least one or two meals a day gets into them and they stay hydrated as well in a stressful situation. While only a small number of birds have survived out of the many my mom and I have helped I really do believe it was because of the formula and effort....as well as the birds will to live.

I'm really sorry to hear how things are going Michael, I really do hope for the best & hope Truman gets past this hurdle! Good luck.
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Re: Truman is Not Eating Well

Postby Michael » Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:25 am

birdvet wrote:Have you noticed if he's drinking more than usual? Has the urine component of his droppings increased? These might indicate kidney issues.

Another problem metacam causes in mammals is gastric ulceration. This could also cause reduced appetite. This is not usually a problem in birds but I wouldn't want to rule it out completely. Are his droppings darker than normal? This might indicate digested blood which could indicate an ulcer.


Well that's the thing. This is exactly what they were worried about. All of the anecdotal evidence suggested that this is not the case but they did the test anyway which confirmed what they already said but then billed me for it. He has not been having dark poop and he has been drinking less than usual if anything. They also charged me $45 for Sucralfate Compound which costs more than the original medication. They said this is supposed to help line the stomach and prevent ulcers or clean up the overdose. Basically something like that. Once again, a major expense incurred specifically as the result of the screw up.

lzver wrote:What about keeping his environment warm? Birds maintain a higher body temperature and when they are sick or injured they use a lot of energy trying to maintain their body temperature. From what I have read, it is suggested to keep their environment above 85 degrees. I've heard suggestions about using heat lamps and also placing a heating pad under the tub that he is staying in. You can insulate with a few towels if it is a plastic tub that he is in.


That's what I've basically been doing. I've been leaving the AC off or using it less. By not running it during the day, the place heats up to the mid to upper 80s. His area is warmest cause he's in a plastic tub and there's a regular lamp nearby.

This morning he woke up down to 306g and thus far has not touched a single pellet. He's just sitting there screaming. I'm going to give him a few hours to eat pellets but if he doesn't, I'll come back and try the whole oatmeal, nuts, and other foods deal again.
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Re: Truman is Not Eating Well

Postby lzver » Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:56 am

Have you considered giving Truman Pedialyte to ensure he doesn't become dehydrated? If he won't accept on his own, try feeding using a syringe. You can even try a 100% fruit juice if you have it around.

I'm sure you already know/considered this, but just trying to throw out any ideas I can think of that might help Truman.
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