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Kakariki, Care, Breeding, Ecology, and Conservation :: View topic - Arthritis/ old injury arthritis.Advice
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Arthritis/ old injury arthritis.Advice

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Joined: Feb 11, 2012
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:49 pm    Post subject: Arthritis/ old injury arthritis.Advice


I took one of my kakarikis to an avian vet on Friday as she seemed to have hurt her foot and he noted that she was physically incapable of fully extending her left leg.
Her knee joint is thicker on that leg but otherwise, everything is in place. There's nothing that would suggest an issue aside from her left knee.

Her stance has always been quite squat compared to my other birds but it never seemed to bother her before.

The vet suggested that it was potentially an old injury that she has aggravated or arthritis.

To my knowledge, she 3 to 3 1/2 years old. She wasn't weaned onto a very healthy diet and it has taken a lot of work for me to get her eating bits of fruit and veg. It's still very much a work in progress, but we're getting there slowly.

Her bite has been steadily improving as well - when I got her, she could only eat millet, raisins and sunflower seeds. If she tried to bite me, she couldn't get a firm grip on my finger. She still struggles with tough seeds, but mostly she is ok.

I worry that there is potentially a larger issue involved - maybe inbreeding or unhealthy parents - but I don't suppose I'll ever know that for sure.

I just want to know what I can do to help her. The vet offered anti-inflammatory medication but he cautioned that there is no medication available that has been tested on birds so it would be one commonly used on cats that is thought safe.

I was wary of this and took her home to see if there was anything I can do without medicating her, but I can't find much information out there about how to help her.

Have my of you had any experience with avian arthritis? Do you have any suggestions of what I can do to make her comfortable?

She's so young. It breaks my heart to think of her potentially living another ten years in pain. Sad
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Joined: Oct 06, 2004
Posts: 4550

PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:50 am    Post subject:

This may sound a little blunt. but not meant that way.
1st, most species of captive birds.. animals have limited gene pools. This can throw defective off spring.. in the wild weak defective animals one way or the other seldom survive to breeding age.
It is essential in captive breeding to remove euthanase ALL off spring that one even suspects as defective in ANY WAY.
Unfortunately this doesnt happen, and defective birds even those suspect get past onto pet shops and pet owners..and from there often back into the captive gene pool

From your description the bird was hand raised ( difficult to wean to healthy diet) and its not uncommon if chicks are removed from the nest to hand raise a little early, the kegs are weak, forced to stand and hip, knee issues happen.. temp or permanent dislocations etc.
This later in life causes new issues like arthritis...
You mention the bird has little strength developed in its beak muscles also

Combine that with leg issues, I strongly suspect a defective weak chick with muscle issues , resulting in dislocations , joint issues very young while being hand reared... then past on to a pet shop instead of culling... for the bottom line money.

OK now what to do
My 1st priority for ANY animal is never let it suffer

Think about this.. animal , fish, bird insect etc
"Nothing ever dies of old age in the wild"

I shudder when ppl SAY they love their old dog, yet its full of arthritis or kidney issues, cant jump onto a couch and if can one can see the pain in doing so....
Love is a verb not a noun..
Arthritis is a bitch, it is painful and unless you have it not take as seriously as it should. People can feel the pain take something for it that HELPs not removes the pain... pets get irregular pain relief, and at the end of the day usually get it when not need , spending most of the time hurting, just trying to go to sleep to try and escape.

The vet offered anti-inflammatory medication but he cautioned that there is no medication available that has been tested on birds

A vet who can stick their neck out a little like this I would take head of what they suggest... even if goes wrong in the end.
They have the animals best interest at heart.. rather than the till filling with coin.
Also vets are often put in a awkward position, on one hand care a bit the animal, but if say something like I have above.. would never have any customers... a catch22 caught between the ocean and deep blue sea.

She's so young. It breaks my heart to think of her potentially living another ten years in pain. Sad

If was me.. and yes have done so with family pets over the decades.. I would be going to the vet, talking to them along the lines I out line above.. even print it out and show them.
Then listen to what they say, taking note of body language and choice of words objectively.
Then make up your mind, no matter how hard (or not) in the heart.

Hope this helps with some understanding of background

My Spelling is Not Incorrect...It's 'Creative'
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Joined: Feb 11, 2012
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:39 pm    Post subject:

Thanks for your response, and thanks for being straight with me.

I don't think you've said anything harsh. I've been continuing my digging since posting this and had already come to the conclusion that she must indeed have been bred from unhealthy parents, thus making her predisposed to skeletal and muscular issues.

Previously when I have bought birds, I've seen the parents and their diets and the other chicks and spent some time looking over them and making sure everything seemed ok.

Then I found myself in a position where my first bird and I lost our entire flock in a year. She grew lonely and began chewing her feathers because she was spending 8 hours alone almost every day, having never been alone in her life. I was desperate and these were the only kakariki chicks within 100 miles of me.

I had no choice but to view this one in the evening, and her parents (and all other birds in the house) already had their blankets over the cages and their owner didn't want to disturb them.

In hindsight, I should have thought it suspicious, especially when I got her home and realised that she wasn't properly weaned. Instead, I went through the process I did with my first kakariki. She was from a huge clutch and the parents were struggling so some of the chicks were removed early to give them a fighting chance. Not natural, I know, but I weaned her from 4 weeks old and she's made it to 6 with no problems aside from plucking when she's lonely.

This bird (Newbie, because she was the new one and it stuck) has gone from strength to strength since I started my care. It's a slow process but we have been progressing.

I just want to say that I have no intention of keeping her alive if she's only ever going to suffer. I've made those choices before. I'll make them again as and when I need to. I won't go into the past, other than to say I was malnourished and mistreated as a kid and have a whole host of issues because of it. I know well what pain is, but I also know that there are things I can do without medicating to help myself.

Given that five days ago, Newbie was a top class bird without a care in the world and an expert flyer (two inches of space between a door and the frame and she could fly through it), who actually managed to break my skin for the first time (not enough to make me bleed like my other bird who will shamelessly scar me if I annoy her then act like it was all my fault and expect me to apologise [which, of course, I do], but enough to leave a mark), I'm not giving up on her yet.

If there are things I can do to help myself, I think for sure there has to be something out there that will help her live another few years without pain. That's all I was after, really. Something to make her life bearable until its time for her to go, because it really does break my heart to think of her living another ten years in pain.

I'll start by implementing some of the things I do and see where it takes us, I just don't know if the things I do are safe or even possible for birds - and while I can't speak for her siblings, she's a companion bird and her DNA will never make it back into the breeding pool.

Zeke, the older kakariki, has very much adopted her and feeds her and preens her. She's not laid an egg or been broody since Newbie arrived (which I'm not complaining about at all. I worry about their vitamin levels once they start laying) but the older she gets, the more reluctant I am to buy her friends.

I've read stories of them living to be 20 or more, but I think 10 is more realistic and common. It'll be an endless cycle if I keep buying one bird to stop the other being lonely all the time, and there's no guarantee that they'll actually get on either - or that one would survive the loss of the other (I had a lovebird commit suicide because he hurt his mate and she died as a result) Shocked

For now, I'll keep fighting her corner, but I'll stay mindful that eventually enough will be enough and it'll be time to let go.

Thanks again for your reply. Wish me luck!
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