|Thursday, 1 October 2015 - Brisbane Bird Vet Newsletter October 2015 - Frankies Story|
It is with great sadness that we share the news of Frankie’s recent passing. Frankie the goose was our longest residing patient, and many of you have been following his story on Facebook and Totally Wild with great interest. This newsletter is dedicated to his memory, and the remarkable battle Frankie fought.
Frankie was a domestic goose who, until recently, was thought to be an older hen. He was inherited with a property purchase some years ago, and lived free to roam on a very large country estate with his mate. To his owner’s horror, Frankie was found swimming in the dam with a badly broken leg but it still took four days to catch him. As his owner lived in rural NSW, Frankie was initially stabilised by a local vet prior to transfer up to Brisbane.
Once Frankie arrived here at Brisbane Bird Vet, we found that Frankie’s fractured leg was terribly infected. Despite 4 surgeries and months of intensive care, ultimately Frankie’s left foot had to be amputated. A bird of his weight cannot function with one leg, as there would be severe pressure sores that would develop on the remaining foot and he would be unable to walk. Therefore, we had to get creative in thinking of a solution. We approached some human medical prosthetic companies but they could only offer minor support.
One of our regular clients happened to be an engineer with a keen interest in mechanics and robotics, and after he met Frankie in our hospital and heard of his plight, he very kindly offered to help brainstorm and manufacture a prosthetic leg for Frankie. The trial process took many more months with ongoing design and material tweaking to get the most functional prosthetic that fit our husbandry criteria, and also be comfortable for Frankie to wear. During this time, Frankie was a long term patient here at Brisbane Bird Vet. Staff, clients, patients and Wally got used to a regular honking from his outdoor pen when it was time for Frankie to come in of an evening, and Frankie was happy to sit on his foam mat inside and watch us go about our work.
Some complications that we faced was a lingering infection in Frankie’s stump that would flare up intermittently, and managing a smouldering pressure sore on Frankie’s right foot. We purchased a Jolly Jumper and modified the seat to fit Frankie, which worked wonderfully to reduce the load on Frankie’s right foot during the prosthetic development process.
Over the last couple of weeks we had noted a gradual decline in Frankie’s attitude and demeanour. Frankie was increasingly withdrawn, and less interested in trialling his new artificial leg. We were concerned that Frankie’s internal organs were starting to fail. Frankie passed away suddenly and peacefully one morning while sitting outside in the bright sunshine. An autopsy revealed degenerated organs and (surprisingly) testicles that indicated a very aged bird. As we never knew Frankie’s true age, we suspect that he was very old and this, combined with ongoing infections and the stress of his condition all contributed together to Frankie’s demise.
Frankie was a memorable goose who took everything in his stride. He will be missed by many, including all of us here at Brisbane Bird Vet. Frankie’s journey has taught us all and these lessons will benefit many fellow amputees in the future.
|Tuesday, 21 July 2015 - CASE OF THE MONTH – Secondary Intention Healing|
Little Gracie is a very lucky 2 year old budgie hen who has tempted death and strutted away to tell the tale.
In late April, Gracie and her friend Pauly had been left outside in their usual cage for some fresh air. Gracie’s owner was alerted by their vigilant guide-puppy-in-training that there was something wrong. She went out to find the budgie cage on the ground and Gracie badly injured.
Gracie was immediately raced down to the practice and Dr. Adrian determined that she had sustained a complete degloving injury from her right elbow joint to the tip of her wing. Gracie was missing most of the skin and feathers from the end of her right wing. She had lost a lot of blood and was in considerable pain, however Gracie was trying her best to put on a brave show. Analgesia, fluid therapy, antibiotics, bandaging and supportive care with heat and forced feeding resulted in a rapid return to function.
The healing power of birds is well documented, however even we were amazed with Gracie’s recovery. With Dr. Kathryn performing regular dressing changes under anaesthesia and her devoted owner providing lots of TLC, Gracie was slowly nursed back to health. She is now busy regrowing most of her primary flight feathers, and has just been given the all clear to be returned to Pauly. Pauly had been most concerned about her injured wing and had to be moved into adjacent temporary accommodation so that Gracie’s bandages remained intact.
We think Gracie is an inspiration – how about you?
|Thursday, 10 October 2013 - Brisbane Bird Vet Newsletter August 2013|
With breeding season rolling in, can you understand what signals your bird is sending you?
We think females are complicated. How about considering our feathered friends?
As spring draws closer and daylight patterns begin to change, birds of all shapes and colours start preparing for the next generation. Important factors for these birds to consider is the presence of a suitable nest environment, abundant food and, of course, a loving mate. If your bird can tick all these boxes – watch out! Your cuddly, relaxed, happy companion could suddenly morph into a beak-gnashing, territorial beast whose sole aim is to reproduce... with you!
In captivity, it is easy for us to accidentally encourage hormonal behaviour in our fellow flock members by providing a safe, stable home environment, a reliable high energy, nutrient rich diet, the presence of a suitable nest (for example - boxes, closets, a warm cavity under a blanket or down a shirt) and a mate who provides close physical contact and mutual preening opportunities each day.
A reproductive state can lead to life-threatening medical problems such as prolapses, excessive egg laying and egg binding in hens. Birds can become extremely territorial of both their perceived nest sites and their mates, and display aggressive behaviour towards other family members or visitors to the home. These birds may also scream excessively and could even damage their own feathers.
Reading your bird's body language is an important skill to develop, as this is often not instinctive or intuitive to us. Similarly, your bird may misinterpret the signals you are sending him/her with every interaction you share. Learning to properly communicate and making some simple adjustments in daily routine with our feathered friends can prevent damaging, destructive and dangerous reproduction-driven behaviours from developing in your pet.
If you would like to discuss any of this information further, please do not hesitate to contact our practice. Our highly trained nurses will be able to help, or may suggest a 30 or 60 minute consultation with Dr Adrian or Dr Kathryn.
See the link below to watch what happens when “Sirocco”, a rare kakapo, doesn't take no for an answer!
|Thursday, 10 October 2013 - March Microchipping Madness! - February 2013|
MARCH MICROCHIP MADNESS!
Microchips performed during March 2013 will be reduced to $100 instead of the usual $150.
Did you know that birds can be microchipped? Or that microchipping isn’t limited to the larger parrots? We can even microchip Budgies and Lovebirds!
Microchips can be very beneficial if your bird has flown away. Unlike dogs and cats, birds can travel great distance’s when they escape. They are capable of flying at 60km/hr! One of our clients had their Princess Parrot escape from Nundah. He was found five days later north of Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast. There were a couple of people claiming to be the owner and it was only after he was taken into a local vet and scanned for a microchip that he was able to be returned to his true owners. Another remarkable case was the theft of a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo who was free to wonder around his yard. He disappeared and the owner carried out a letter box drop around her area. When delivering the fliers, she heard her bird talking. When she approached the occupants of the house that had her bird, they stated that it was actually their own bird and that they had owned him for years. It was only after the police were involved, that ownership was determined by scanning for a microchip. Another very relieved client. Determination of ownership is virtually impossible without some form of permanent identification.
Unlike dogs and cats that have their chips implanted subcutaneously, birds require microchips to be placed intramuscularly. Microchips are implanted into the pectoral muscle of the chest. If placed subcutaneously as in dogs, they are found by the bird whilst preening and either broken or removed completely. Due to this a short anaesthetic is required for microchip implantation in birds. Some people do get concerned about their bird having a general anaesthetic but we assure you that it is a very safe procedure for healthy birds. You don't have to wait until your birds next health check to have a microchip implanted! It is only a 5 minute procedure and can be performed while you wait. You are also welcome to watch the procedure should you wish. Otherwise, you can always have your bird dropped off in the morning and picked up in the afternoon if that is more convenient.
Our "March Microchipping Maddness" promotion includes the anaesthetic, microchip, lifetime registration and an optional “M-CHIP” stainless steel leg band. The “M-CHIP” leg band helps to indentify that your bird is microchipped should it be found by someone that does not know that birds are microchipped.
Please telephone the surgery on 3359 2233 should you wish to take advantage of this excellent promotion. We recorded Indah the Sun Conure's microchip procedure, you can see this is a short procedure that can greatly increase the odds of finding your bird if it is ever lost or stolen. Please click on the picture below to view our video.
|Thursday, 10 October 2013 - Merry Christmas from Brisbane Bird Vet! - December 2012|
Merry Christmas from Brisbane Bird Vet!
Christmas is just around the corner! If you are going away over Christmas and will be leaving your bird in the care of someone else it is a good idea to have a health check beforehand. Often the stress of a routine change can bring out underlying disease or illness. Detecting these issue’s before you go away can avoid distress to your bird and their carer.
We will be closed on the following days over the Christmas Holiday period.
- Christmas Eve Monday 24th December 2012
- Christmas Day Holiday Tuesday 25th December 2012
- Boxing Day Holiday Wednesday 26th December 2012
- New Years Eve Monday 31st December 2012
- New Years Day Holiday Tuesday 1st January 2013
We wish you and your feathered friends a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
|Thursday, 10 October 2013 - Have you got the Breeding Season Blues? - October 2012|
Have you got the Breeding Season Blues?
As many of you would be witnessing, we are smack in the middle of the breeding season. This is an exciting time of year for our avicultural clients but often a nightmare for companion bird owners. Some may be asking: What has happened to our normally happy, loving and social pet?
Birds are one of the few domestic pets that we do not desex. As such, we see many undesirable behaviours that are directly related to the increase in sex hormones that occur during the breeding season. These may include excessive egg laying, masturbation, aggression, screaming and self mutilation. All of these behaviours can be very problematic and can become more difficult to control the longer they persist. The most common of these is excessive egg laying which predisposes hens to a range of reproductive disorders, many of which can be life threatening. This on top of the fact that many laying hens are just not the same interactive, loving individuals when they are guarding a clutch of eggs.
Most of these unwelcome behaviours can be resolved or improved with a raft of simple management changes and with the adoption of some simple behavioural techniques.
Most birds are flock animals. Outside the breeding season they are social, tolerant of other flock members and much less territorial of their cage and mates. Most of the management strategies that we promote try to revert our companion birds hormonal cycles from a breeding to a non- breeding state. Diet, photoperiod, cage design and owner interactions may all be considered. The addition and implementation of different training techniques can also help curb some of the aggression that we see at this time of year.
Our aim is to have companion birds that are well trained, confident, easy going, relaxed and adaptable. These traits ensure that there is greater interaction with their owners, leading to a more enriched owner - bird relationship.
If you feel that your bird is exhibiting any of the above behaviours, please telephone the surgery on 07 3359 2233 for a consultation. Speak to one of our helpful nurses they should be able to determine if a 30 or 60 minute consultation is required.
|Thursday, 10 October 2013 - Brisbane Bird Vet Newsletter Winter 2011 - August 2011|
Hi. My name is Wally and I’m a sulphur crested cockatoo. I was surrendered to Brisbane Bird Vet in 2008 as my owners were not in a position to have me treated. I wasn’t in a great state with numerous health problems including malnutrition, osteoporosis, a fractured humerus and pancreatic disease. Thanks to the wonderful team at Brisbane Bird Vet, I am now in good health. I live a great life at Brisbane Bird Vet! Occasionally, I donate blood and have saved many feathered friends lives.
Welcome to my first edition of the Brisbane Bird Vet newsletter. This newsletter will bring you regular updates on what’s been happening at Brisbane Bird Vet and will deliver information on the keeping and breeding of birds, and diagnosing and treating common avian medical conditions. An interesting article will also be included in each newsletter.
Firstly, I’d like to introduce our newest staff member at Brisbane Bird Vet; Hayley Eldridge. She is working as both a receptionist and veterinary nurse. During school, she completed a Certificate I and II in Animal Studies. She is currently studying for her Certificate IV in Veterinary Studies. Hayley has always had a keen interest in animals and has extensive experience in keeping dogs, cat, horses, cattle, as well as birds. She has a real passion for chickens and keeps over 200 birds, including soft and hard feathered breeds. Welcome Hayley!
Chili was a 2 year old cockatiel hen. She presented to us for having a one day history of being fluffed, lethargic and having a poor appetite. Recently, Chili had been laying a lot of eggs. She had laid almost 15 eggs in the last month! She was sitting on the bottom of the cage with her eyes shut and had obvious breathing difficulties. On examination, Chili was in good body condition. She had squinted, almond shaped eyes (which is suggestive of pain in birds). On abdominal palpation her pubic bones were approximately 1cm apart and an egg-like structure was palpable just below her chest. Her faeces were dark green which indicated that she was anorexic and hadn’t eaten in the last 12 hours. A provisional diagnosis was that Chili was egg bound. Chili was hospitalized and given a calcium injection, as egg bound birds are often calcium deficient. She was also given meloxicam to provide pain relief, and was force fed with roudybush formula 3 handraising formula to provide energy. The following day, Chili laid her egg. It was normally shaped but was very thinly shelled.
There are numerous factors that contribute to egg binding in birds. These include nutritional deficiency (seed based diets), excessive egg laying, exhaustion, infection and neoplasia. The risk of egg binding can be minimized by ensuring your bird has a balanced diet consisting of pellets, fresh vegetables and fruit. If your bird is a chronic egg layer, she should have a consultation. It is a serious risk to your bird and there are many things that can be done to reduce the frequency of egg laying.
PRACTICAL ADVICE ON EGG LAYING
Winter solstice has been and gone. Day length is increasing, which is a major stimulant for breeding in birds. While owners are not able to control day length, we can alter other factors that stimulate breeding. Most of these involve diet or management. We recommend that owners discourage their pets from laying eggs, as it can lead to the development of egg related problems such as egg binding and yolk peritonitis. Both of which can be fatal if left untreated. Often the presence of eggs causes changes in your birds behaviour that can be unpopular. Phone for an appointment with Dr. Adrian or Dr. Amy if you have any concerns about yours bird’s health. Until next time……