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 Very sick feral pigeon - please help

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MissJR



Posts : 13
Join date : 2011-11-03

PostSubject: Very sick feral pigeon - please help   Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:18 pm

Hi,

First of all, thank you for having this board out there to help other birds.

Secondly, here is the problem.

I have found a very sick pigeon and I need help/advice. I am definitely no expert at bird care and have never kept pigeons as pets so I don't have any pigeon expertise.

My mother was out walking and she found two sick pigeons, one vomiting but able to stand and walk. The other one was just laying in the (wet!) grass, very ill, did not move or start at all when approached. I came down to see if we could help, or at least provide the bird a warm and safe place to die with as little suffering as possible. At that time, I did not expect the sicker bird to live more than a few hours. By the time I got there, my mom didn't know what happened to the other bird that had been vomiting. I picked up the sickest one. It didn't resist me at all; it was barely conscious. I took her in and put her on a bed of paper towels. Her breathing was VERY labored, in fact, she had to open her beak to get her breath at all. She was closing her eyes. And she lists over to one side if I don't prop her up with something. I thought she was about to pass away then and there.

I stayed by her a few hours and kept wiping her beak because she has a lot of mucous or some kind of clear discharge coming from it which was hampering her breathing.

I really wanted to wipe out her mouth with something but didn't dare because she seemed so fragile. She didn't want food or water. I set her by a warm vent and let her rest. About an hour later I checked on her. She was a bit better. Keeping her eyes open, breathing easier, but still has a lot of discharge. Also, when I approached her she walked (well, really it was more like stumbled or crawled) away from me and was also moving her head and looking around more. But she can't keep her balance; she keeps falling forward and puts out her wings to trying to keep balanced. She is still in bad shape.

I was afraid to try to force feed her water or food, but now I am getting worried about dehydration.

What do you think she has?

What should I do in this case?



Thanks.


PS I should mention--so far no droppings except one that looks like nothing but brownish water.
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MissJR



Posts : 13
Join date : 2011-11-03

PostSubject: Re: Very sick feral pigeon - please help   Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:24 pm

Update: I am reading Theresa's instructions to Lula, but I am wondering if I should vary them at all for this case?
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Teresa
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Join date : 2009-07-23
Location : Portugal

PostSubject: Re: Very sick feral pigeon - please help   Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:20 am

Hi, MissJR, welcome to the forum! Welcome

Thank you so much for helping this bird! It takes a lot of kindness and courage to pick up an animal that looks almost beyond help. Pigeon angel

The advice I'd given Lula can be broadly applied to your rescue too, once you had brought her indoors and allowed her to warm up (birds should never be given food or water if their temperature is even slightly below normal).
Her symptoms are confusing, and appear to indicate several different problems at once, and we can't even rule out poisoning. I'm going to write a bit more, but I'll just post this for now, so you know I'm looking into it, and also to ask you to let me know where you are located, as we may have someone close to you who might be able to examine the pigeon and advise you.

See you in a moment.
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Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: Very sick feral pigeon - please help   Fri Nov 04, 2011 1:07 am

What action to take -- Keeping her warm* is the most important thing for now. Sick pigeons become hypothermic (unlike us, who get fever) and must be provided with an external heat source to keep their temperature a couple of degrees above our own. Her body and feet should feel a little warmer than your hands.
Check for symptoms of dehydration: Birds suffering from dehydration may have crinkly skin around theirs eyes. Another way to diagnose dehydration is to pinch their skin for a second (which is possible in chicks or birds with unfeathered areas on their bodies). Dehydrated skin will remain tented for several seconds, rather than bouncing right back. The best thing to give a dehydrated bird is a commercial electrolyte fluid, such as Pedialyte; or mix one pint of water, one pint of Gatorade, 1 teaspoon of honey or Karo syrup, 1 level teaspoon of aluminum-free baking soda (such as Bob's Red Mill Baking Soda), 1 level teaspoon table salt. The most basic is 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt to 1 liter of water, if you don't have all of the above in the house, and it will work quite well. It should be offered at body temperature.
Best not try to feed her for now, but let her rest, stay warm and stay hydrated.

About the symptoms:

The discharge -- Is it definitely coming from inside the beak, or from the nostrils?
If from the nostrils, it could be Ornithosis ( http://www.chevita.com/en/pigeons/treatment-plan/specificinfections-ornithosis.php -- take extra care washing hands in this case, as this is about the only pigeon disease that humans can catch, causing mild flu symptoms) or Mycoplasmosis ( http://www.chevita.com/en/pigeons/treatment-plan/information-mycoplasmosis.php ). Both require treatment with antibiotics, either broad-spectrum or specific for respiratory infections.
If it's coming from the beak, most likely she's vomiting clear liquid, probably because she has no food left in her crop, and she could have canker, a protozoal infection ( http://www.chevita.com/en/pigeons/treatment-plan/digestivetract-trichomoniasis.php ) partially blocking her aesophagus and airways and causing a yeast infection ( http://www.chevita.com/en/pigeons/treatment-plan/information-candida.php ).
It could also be the result of poisoning, either deliberate or accidental.
A third possible cause would be a severe worm infection, causing partial obstruction and emaciation. Worms are usually the culprits (or one of the main culprits) when the bird shows signs of starvation: put your hand under her, and if you can feel her keel bone against your hand, she's starving. However, it's best to keep her on the hydrating solution for now, because if she's ingested something poisonous, it needs to come out before she eats.

I don't honestly think at this point that she's got a viral disease such as PMV. The debility, leaning to one side and falling over is probably the result of her extreme debilitation.

* Ways to provide heat:
hot water bottle
bar heater
a heating pad set on low placed beneath (not in) the cage. Make sure to place a towel or blanket on top of the pad as a physical barrier to any metal of the cage.
an incandescent light bulk can also be installed overhead to provide extra warmth (avoid white bulbs because the bright light will interfere with the patient's sleep. It's best to use a 40 to 60-watt green bulb as a source of heat.
Heating Options
A towel, blanket or cage cover can be used to provide additional seclusion and to keep the warmth inside the cage. Keep the cage covered three-fourth during the daytime and cover the cage completely at night.
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MissJR



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Join date : 2011-11-03

PostSubject: Re: Very sick feral pigeon - please help   Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:21 am

Hi Theresa,

Thank you for your help. I have answered your question via a PM.

I am keeping her as warm as possible using a variety of means. If she is still with us in the morning, I will try to get her a heating pad. It probably is still not warm enough in the apartment, but unfortunately I don't have central heat so it's hard to get the place really warm. I'm doing my best.

She is in a box that is covered right now until I came come up with something better.

It seems as though she has diarrhea. Her droppings (there finally were some) are a dark brown and partly watery and partly a runny solid. They don't look like normal bird droppings.

The bad news is, I've had no luck getting any liquids into her. Tried again with plain water just to see if she would take anything. Nothing. I dipped the very tip of her beak into it but she wouldn't drink. The most I could do was kind of wash the discharge off her beak. Just that amount of handling her seemed to exhaust her and I had to put her back into her box for the night. She's sleeping a lot now and seems less feisty than before. I did change her bedding and wipe her beak off.

I could try to make her drink some electrolytes with a dropper, but I'm worried it would be too much stress on her.

My mom had suspected poisoning as well, and we both noticed that many of the other birds in the flock were puffed up and a bit lethargic. One had vomited.

Thanks for the warning about transmitting germs. I have been using lots of soap and hand sanitizer every time I handle her or her bedding.

She is still falling forward when she walks or stands. In the box she is propped against the side of it with paper towels. When I take her out, I hold her up with my hand in front of her breast to keep her from falling forward. But that makes it hard to try to give her water, etc.

QUESTIONS:

Should I wait or try to force her to drink? If so, what is the gentlest way?

Since you said you didn't think it was a viral thing, does that mean I shouldn't try to get antibiotics for her? I don't even know how I would do that. I can't get them into her at this point.

It is very hard to tell where the discharge originates. It seems to come from everywhere--her nostrils, her beak, etc. It does tend to drip off the end of her beak and is also inside her mouth. I think it may be that she's vomiting.
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MissJR



Posts : 13
Join date : 2011-11-03

PostSubject: Re: Very sick feral pigeon - please help   Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:54 am

Sad update. I checked on her a few minutes ago, and I'm so sorry to say, she has passed on.
Considering the state she was in, I was surprised she even lasted this long. But I really had hope for a little while there. The only good thing I can say is that she was sleeping (I think relatively comfortably) the last time I looked in on her.

Thanks for all of the advice and all the time you donate to this forum.
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Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: Very sick feral pigeon - please help   Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:39 pm

I'm so sorry she didn't make it, MissJR! Disappointed

Poor little bird, she was too frail... When you found her you didn't have much hope, but still you tried your best to do what you could for her, even if all you could do was to keep her warm and safe and let her pass away with dignity and in peace.
Fly high and free, little one! pigeon 1

Thank you so much for being so caring towards this pigeon. I hope your kindness and generosity will be repaid to you a thousandfold!
Circle of Love
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MissJR



Posts : 13
Join date : 2011-11-03

PostSubject: Re: Very sick feral pigeon - please help   Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:35 pm

Thank you, Theresa, for all your help and kindness. It is so good to know there is a place like this go to for advice.

I wish I could have reported a better outcome, but I think as you said, it was already too late when we found her. At least she was comfortable. I will keep an eye on the rest of the flock, too, to see how they are doing. It's gotten pretty cold here.

Please keep up all your good work!
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Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: Very sick feral pigeon - please help   Sat Nov 05, 2011 6:23 pm

Thank you for your kind words, MissJR, and I'm very glad you like Pigeon Angels. I hope we'll be able to assist you again, under happier circumstances. Thank you also for the decision to keep an eye on the feral flock that your rescue came from.

The onset of the cold weather is always hard on the birds, especially the ones born the same year, who hadn't experienced a winter yet. The cold and the difficulty to find food can weaken them and leave them defenceless against infections and parasites.
Canker (often compounded by intestinal worms) is the most common killer of birds, and may be suspected when birds are puffed up and lethargic, as you described. I'll leave you a link to the symptoms, so you can compare them with those shown by the flock: http://www.pigeonangels.com/t238-canker-trichomoniasis

Land or water pollution, and the application of weedkillers and other chemicals can poison the animals and birds that come into contact with them. One mysterious case I dealt with involved a pigeon that my vet thought had been poisoned through the skin, simply by standing on grass treated with weedkillers.
And sometimes... well, sometimes people can be pretty horrid...

I hope your flock stays safe, and wish you and your mum every happiness. Hi there/Bye
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AZWhitefeather
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PostSubject: Re: Very sick feral pigeon - please help   Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:32 am

Welcome to Pigeon Angels, MissJR. Hi there/Bye

I am so very sorry to hear your little rescue was unable to make it. Very sad

There are a number of things that could have taken this sweet bird from you, as Teresa has mentioned, but I just wanted to mention, mucous found in the mouth can be a symptom of advanced canker. I have rescued several like that and sometimes the canker wasn't even visible in the mouth.


Many thanks for all you did for this little one. Universal hug


pigeon 1 May you forever fly high and fly free, sweet one pigeon 1

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Cindy

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Please watch over us while we fly,
Keeping us safe from the predators that share the sky.

If we become ill or injured in any way,
Please lead us to safety where we are welcome to stay.
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