Vitamin a deficiency causing infection
Posted: 15 May 2013 05:10 AM   [ Ignore ]
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My Mexican Red Head (Green Cheek) rescue parrot who I’ve had for over 11 years now has gotten an infection showing as white stuff in his mouth and the some loss of the red feathers on her head.  This is the 2nd year this has happened.  The vet has given her a vitamin a/b shot and I have been giving her an antibiotic in her water.  Last year we gave the meds for 2 weeks.  This time we are trying 4 weeks. 

Unfortunately Basil is a seed junky - but I do give her fresh fruits/veggies every day.  I’m worried if this is something that won’t go away permanently.  Anyone have any suggestions?

Barbara Ledbetter
New York(usa)

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Posted: 15 May 2013 06:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hi Barbara,

Has your vet considered that this might be a fungal infection? From your description it sounds like Candida (yeast), where white patches are observed in the mouth usually around the choanal slit at the back of the throat. If that is the case then antibiotics will not address the infection.

Hope this helps.
Best,
Steve

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Steve Milpacher
Director of Operations
World Parrot Trust

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Posted: 16 May 2013 04:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thanks for the fast reply.  I only have 3 more pills left and then I have to visit with the vet.  I will suggest the fungal infection and see what he thinks.
How does a bird that lives inside get a fungal infection?  I’ve had parrots for many years (one was 32 when she had to be put down due to stomach cancer) and I have another bird now that is 27yrs old.  None has ever gotten an infection.  Any info you can give me would be much appreciated.
Barbara Ledbetter

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Posted: 19 June 2013 04:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Hi Barbara,

Vit A deficiency weakens the immune system making the bird more susceptible to fungal or other infections.  The plaques in his mouth certainly sound like a symptom of Vit A deficiency.  Here’s a link to some info about it:

http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=15+1835&aid=2054

Amazons need a fairly high intake of Vit A in the form of beta carotene, which is found in red/orange/yellow and dark green foodstuffs like carrot, sweet potato, peppers, chillies, dark green leaves, broccoli etc.  Palm nuts (although high in fat) are also a good source of beta carotene.

I also have a rehome Amazon who was severely Vit A deficient which was probably a big contributing factor to his Aspergillosis (a fungal infection).  I make sure he has foods high in beta carotene daily.  He also has one palm nut a day as a treat which he adores.

Hope Basil is on the mend now.

All the best,
Roz

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Posted: 29 June 2013 08:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Hi Roz:

Thanks for your advice.  Basil was on antibiotics for one month and then rechecked.  She tested negative.  However, I see her making that motion which is trying to get something out of her throat and that tells me the infection has returned.  I am in the process of once again trying to put her on a pellet diet.  I do give her fresh fruits and veggies daily, however, she doesn’t eat everything I give her.  I bought cantaloupe yesterday and she loved it, but didn’t touch the cooked sweet potato.  Broccoli is never touched, cooked or fresh or frozen.  How do I get her to eat the proper foods?  Is there a supplement that I could give her to help with the vitamin a she needs?  It has been very costly going back and forth to the vet and since I am on a fixed income, it is now becoming a problem.  Basil was adopted and I immediately took her to the vet for a check up.  She had aspergillosis but it disappeared after 3-4 months because I keep her cage much cleaner than in the rescue. 

Any additional info you can provide would be much appreciated.

Barbara

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Posted: 29 June 2013 11:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Hi Barbara,


That’s wonderful that she is eating cantaloupe melon - the bright orange flesh is a good source of beta carotene!  If we can get her eating more beta carotene and other fresh fruit and veggies it will help her immune system.


The best time to offer fresh food is in the morning since she will be most hungry.  That’s what I do here.  Fresh bowls go in and after they’ve had a good munch, the dried bowls get slotted in too. 


Since Basil is a seed eater you could try mixing fruit and veggies in with her seed.  She will have to touch the fruit and veggies to reach the seed and she might find that she likes the fresh after all.  Put some cantaloupe in there too since she has discovered she likes it!  Also try cutting up fruit and veggies in all sorts of ways - she might like baton shaped carrot pieces rather than round slices.  Or you could try threading big pieces of fruit and veggies on a birdie kebab, or weaving big leaves like kale in and out of the bars of her cage.  She might tear it up or play with it, but eventually she might taste it.  Another option would be to sprout some of the seed and see if she will eat that.  Another way to tempt her might be to sprout some sunflower seeds and lay those on top of other sprouts or fruit and veggies.  Mine both adore sprouted sunflower seeds.  A lot of parrots like peas - I’ve pressed peas into mashed sweet potato or scrambled eggs to get them to eat it.  It took me a while to convert both of mine from seed eaters to fresh food eaters.  It took 2.5 years of daily trying to get my Pionus to try some carrot!  So it’s possible with gentle patience.


Maybe it would help you to see some of the food I offer my two.


I feed a raw breakfast since I leave the bowl in all day - it just slowly dries out.  Cooked would go off so I save the cooked for supper.  Breakfast is a bowl of raw fruits, veggies and sprouts.  I sprout legumes (mung beans, lentils, garbanzo peas) and grains (buckwheat, whole wheat berries, whole rice, perhaps some kamut or spelt) all together, and in a separate smaller container I sprout raw sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds (they are much faster to sprout which is why I do them separately).  So something like this could be breakfast.  I’m working on cutting down the quantity but am finding it hard!  Cutting the quantity would avoid them picking out their faviourites.  The Amazon’s bowl is the bigger one.  He has decided he loves strawberries, celery, mango, apricots, sunflower & pumpkin sprouts, oranges and melon.  The other things in there are to tempt him to widen his palate:


Breakfast1shrunk_zps324e4466.jpg


Then for supper I cook up grains and legumes (2 parts grains to 1 part legumes for a complete protein) with flavourings such as chilli (a big hit and so good for them!), ginger, or herbs, etc.  To that I add chopped veggies (like kale, broccoli, spinach, carrots, sweet pepper, zucchini).  Some I let cook with the grains and legumes (like squash or sweet potato and mash them in at the end of cooking), others I fold in raw at the end with some finely chopped sprouts.  Because everything is chopped, the birds can’t pick out their favourites.  About 2 or 3 times a week I’ll add a little bit of chopped hard boiled egg on top.  Again it took Ollie my Amazon some time to dare to try the egg - so I would mix it in to start with.  So supper is something like this.  You could make a big batch and freeze it in small portions:


Supper3shrunk_zpsd933e4fb.jpg


I’ve had my Vit A deficient Amazon, Ollie, for almost 3 years now and at last he is eating the above - the veggies have been hardest.  Notice the peas in the “mash” to entice him to eat it!  Another reason for feeding the “mash” is that it is a wonderful medium for adding supplements like added vitamins and minerals if necessary (I use this one sometimes: http://www.northernparrots.com/ace-high-powdered-vitamin-supplement-prod6360a/ but remember it is just as easy and dangerous to overdose on vitamins and minerals), maybe a pinch of wheatgrass powder or spirulina (which are more natural multi vitamin and mineral supplements), apple cider vinegar to give it some taste and for the healthful properties it has, a little flax oil - or you could cook it up with a little coconut oil or red palm oil (the red palm oil is high in beta carotene).  I usually add some liquid Calcium & Vit D twice a week - I use a supplement called Zolcal-D which I add twice a week.  You might want to invest in a UV lamp for parrots to make sure she is getting enough Vit D.  It is better to add supplements to food rather than water since parrots don’t usually drink very much, or at least drink sporadically, plus the water can spoil in hot weather. 


Which reminds me, another thing you could try is juicing fruit and veggies together and offering some to Basil.  Ollie, although not “tame”, was pretty quick to catch on drinking out of a glass - he loves mango smoothies.  If you buy juice or smoothies make sure it is fresh i.e. with no added sugar or chemicals.


You could try making birdie bread - my two won’t touch it… yet.  But you can hide a lot of good ingredients in it - like pumpkin or sweet potato, plus other veggies and fruit and even pellets.


My two don’t eat pellets and Ollie doesn’t eat seed either.  The diet above is supplemented with a few nuts - walnuts (perfect balance of omega-6 to omega-3), almonds (high in calcium) and cashews (because Ollie likes them!).


Look what you’ve already achieved with the cantaloupe!  Success!!  Keep up the good work!


Roz

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