by Heike Ewing Ott
This article contains some interesting information on antibiotics and parrots. It is written with a handfeeding baby in mind but still contains some helpful information about different types of meds that are sometimes used with parrots.
How long is it taking Bubba’s crop to empty?
How do his droppings look?
Have you checked the mouth for white spots that would indicate Candida?
Is Bubba’s skin unusually red or wrinkled?
Does Bubba appear to be breathing normally? Any abnormal clicking, wheezing, rasping, or bubbly sounds in the breathing?
If Bubba’s crop is emptying normally, the droppings look pretty normal, the overall appearance of the skin is pink, smooth, and healthy, and he’s having no problems breathing, it’s unlikely he’s going to drop dead without warning. However, it does sound like there’s =something= going on.
Antibiotics are a touchy subject in a situation like this. There are several good, mild antibiotics (hereafter called abs) that are safe and effective, but target certain types of infections or areas. For example, Baytril is quite good for intestinal infections but not so helpful for respiratory ones, and is a pretty safe ab as well. “Broad spectrum” abs such as penicillin, tetracycline, etc, that will generally kill most anything, anywhere, are also the systemic, stronger abs that often have undesirable side effects in baby birds, particularly in the liver and kidneys.
I can understand the vet’s reluctance – he can’t determine what type of infection there is, if there is one, and if he gives a broad spec it might cause more problems. Also, the giving of antibiotics to hand-feeding babies often leads to a Candida (yeast) infection, which must then also be treated with an antifungal such as Nystatin or Gentian Violet.
If this were Doc’s patient, he’d first of all advise keeping it warm and watch the crop emptying and stools very closely. Then, he’d take a crop sample and a stool sample for both initial microscopic exam and for culturing for bacteria. He’d listen carefully to the breathing and look for any signs of discharge from the nostrils, and check the mouth area for Candida spots. He’d suggest adding lactobacillus or bene-bac and spirulina to the h/f formula, if you aren’t already, and if none of the tests turned up anything he’d probably be doing the wait-and-see until he could pin down the source of the problem a little better.
He might also advise mixing the formula with Infalyte or apple juice instead of water, and/or adding infant rice cereal to the formula because it is easier to digest and easier on the baby’s system. He’d probably also tell you to boil the water if you’re using tap water, or use bottled or filtered water..”stuff” in tap water can affect a small baby bird at levels that don’t bother us.
Infalyte, a pediatric electrolyte solution made with rice syrup solids, is very helpful because it is relatively sterile and better for hydration than water. Giving smaller, more frequent feedings is a good idea because it provides more constant blood sugar levels and is easier on the baby’s digestive system, and also helps to prevent sour crop because the food doesn’t stay in the crop as long.