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Health

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Serge Micheli from Toronto, ON, Canada asks: Hi Rob, The test results are in and I was pleased with the results this time around. Obviously the KD weekly treatments are helping. However, from the results it is obvious that I need to stop the weekly use of probiotics in their soft food. I did just that about a week and a half ago. I was away at a business conference and left my birds in the care of my good neighbour on straight seeds and megamix in the water. I came back to strong healthy birds that are looking great and getting closer to the finish line in their Spring Moult. Results -- No budding yeast was found. The bacterial culture did not isolate citrobacter this time or anything else. However, the vet said it did show proper normal gut flora levels of enterobacter. This would be from the probiotics. I have stopped using this and hope that the enterobacter goes away from the weekly use of KD. I changed to boiled and cooled off water and I changed to fresher seeds that passed a sprout test. Things are looking up for my birds. Thank you!!!!! They are actually starting to look great in colour as the new feathers come back and all the juveniles have finished colouring up with great strength and activity - the KD really helps the juveniles become stronger birds. I have them on dufoplus and ioford that I purchased from Laraine. The two remaining older adults that are stressed and passed the culture test are getting a bit better but are obviously older birds and possibly genetically weaker. Sincerely, Serge
Hello Serge, Your results from the use of my health programmes sound wonderful. Please keep us updated on their progress. Rob

Serge Micheli from Toronto, ON, Canada asks: Hello Dr.Rob, A few months back my vet discovered Citrobacter in my finch colony and put the birds on Baytril for 2 weeks. Now we are checking the birds again to be sure that it is gone, but my vet has suggested that I stop using your Megamix and KD Water Cleansers because this can cause problems - it is his opinion that Citrobacter for example like acidic conditions. He believes that I should go back to using the Saniclens instead. I talked to him about your health program and he seemed impressed, but again he said once we clear this up, that acidifying the water with water cleansers can bring on Citrobacter. I tend to disagree with that and I prefer to continue the 2 days a week on KD and the rest of the week on Megamix as it seems to help them with the moult and keeps away the watery stool. Serge
Hello Serge,

The nature of Citrobacter is similar to enterobacter bacteria. I manage this problem in the same way as E.coli. If Saniclens contains hibitane it has no effect on Citrobacter, if it contains an iodofor it may help with Citrobacter. The emphasis should be placed on the nature of Citrobacter in that it is often related to contaminated water or soil or to carrier birds that introduce the disease. This is a serious disease that can cause kidney failure and respiratory symptoms.

Citrobacter is a water related disease in finches. The contaminated water may be from the tap or on the fruit or vegetables. Citrobacter also may exist in a carrier form, similar to birds infected with Salmonella. It may be that the Citrobacter has been introduced by a new bird. This is potentially a serious problem as it is difficult to identify the carrier bird. 90% of carriers are hen birds and the infection persists in the ovaries and can be transmitted to the babies. The best course of treatment is Baytril or a Sulfa type antibiotic for 7 days. My experience is that acidifying the crop will help prevent the spread of Citrobacter through the aviary as it belongs to the enterobacter family of bacteria. I agree with you to continue with the KD or Megamix to control the spread of Citrobacter through your aviary. Please reply if you can find a water souce of the Citrobacter. It likes to live in the sludge and beneath the water containers. Rob

Linda Hughes from Rhome, Texas asks: Dr. Marshall, I am the lady from Rhome Texas that wrote you about the three pairs of gouldians that have shown signs of illness for several months. One of the black headed hens died earlier in week. I had a necropsy done and the only thing it showed was Viceral Gout. Her internal organs had a white film covering them, caused from kidney failure. I guess the kidneys failed from all of the medications I have given. I have given Amytl, Ronivet-S, Erythromycin, Sulfa, Doxicycline, S76,& Nystatin. She also started favoring her left leg the last 24 hours. I am using the microscope now and I looked at the others droppings. I see yeast(I hope that is what it is. It looks like your video, variable sized pearl colored slightly moving round objects. I also saw what looks like two large white rods(Megabacteria)larger than the ecoli. I am very frustrated with all of this. I keep a clean aviary, feed them only the best foods and supplements. But I wanted to thank you for all of your help! Linda Hughes
Dear Linda, Visceral gout is a complex problem. Its origin is poorly understood so we cannot say that excessive medication has caused this. There is no cure to visceral gout and it may be that the reason for a poor response to the medicines has been that the brid already had visceral gout. With Thrush it is necessary to check your food quality and humidity and temperature fluctuations. Megabacteria is often secondary to other problems.

My advice is to place the birds onto Mycostatin for two days, look for the response, then reassess. Keep in touch. We can work this out. Rob

Linda Hughes from Rhome, Texas asks: You asked about the colors of these specific gouldians. I have had two of the pairs for two years. Two pairs are a red headed normal roosters with a black headed normal hens. The third pair is a orange headed white breasted hen with a orange headed normal rooster. Two of the pairs have produced healthy offspring last year. I obtained my starting stock from a local well known Gouldian breeder. He has never had a illness in his aviary. I tried the KD over a month ago for the three days and now I use it on a weekly basis. The only reason I have not got a culture as of yet is because my Aviary Vet said I needed to bring them all in to have them checked and I really do not want to stress them or for them to catch something else. I do not want to loose them. I have taken my pet parrots in before without problems but the finch people I have spoken with said it was too stressful to take a Gouldian to the vet unless there was no other way. I planned to have a necropsy done if any should die. Anyway, I felt if it was a bacteria or virus they would have died before now. I feed them a seed mixture of fortified finch mix plus soak seed, Japanese millet, red millet, canary seed and niger seed. I add Spiralina, wheat germ, dry kelp, and E-Powder. In a separate bowl is a combination of baked crushed egg shell, charcoal, grit, and F-Vite. In another separate bowl is CeDe Egg food. In another bowl I give them a green salad mixture that I get from LadyGouldian. I just started this about two weeks ago. Before that time I gave them cut up washed greens only in the summer. Then water with either Turbobooster,Dufoplus, and Ioford or with Kd and Megamix. Two days per week I put Calciboost in the water instead of the other products. My vet will not run a culture from a fresh stool. Do you? I am planning to get a microscope to use. Do you have a preference? I am an RN so I feel the microscope would be a beneficial addition to my set up. I will let you know what happens. Linda
Dear Linda Your management sounds perfect. You may be able to get a culture done at a HUMAN laboratory. I do this sometimes with difficult bacteria. They can type it exactly. Perhaps being a nurse would help you have this done. The microscope idea sounds great. It will help you understand the changes in the droppings from day to day, week to week, season to season, and help you identify the underlying cause. Japanese millet is highly susceptible to moulds I would sprout these seeds individually on cotton wool soaked in water, place in a warm place and wait for 72 hours. Look for mould or smell. Good luck. Rob

Linda Hughes from Rhome, Texas asks: Dr.Rob, I am the lady that wrote last week about my gouldians not looking good and having watery stool. I gave them the Nystatin x 5 days and they did seem to be feeling better on about the third day, but the treatment is finished and the 3 pairs still have the same look and watery stool. One pair has the "lazy eye" You asked that I keep you posted so that is why I am writing. They are still eating well. My Aviary is a constant 75 to 77 degrees F. Everyone else looks great. Like I said before they were in a over crowded situation last winter (when they first started to look this way)before we moved into the new building. Thanks for any help. Linda
Linda, I believe that these birds are inherently weak birds. What colour, age and sex are they? What food are you feeding? What is the water source? I would place these birds on KD for three days and look for a response. A culture would identify any germs in the droppings. Keep in touch. Rob

Linda Hughes from Rhome, Texas asks: I have read your book multiple times and have put all my finches (Gouldians, Parrot Finches and Societies on your products. I have 3 breeding pairs of Gouldians that have had poor feather color and one is balding, watery stool, and just dont't look good in the eyes at times. They all eat well and this has been going on for several months. I have tried Amytl, Ronivet, Batril, Doxy, Megamix of course and nothing has change them. I have Nystatin but I do not have the dosage for finches. Help!
Linda, the watery stools that you mentioned indicates an increased thirst or acute stress in your Gouldians. I believe that this is the significant symptom; the other symptoms you described indicate a bowel problem that is affecting the absorption of nutrients from their diet.

It is impossible to accurately diagnose the exact cause without a culture of the droppings or a look under a microscope, but I believe that the most likely cause would be Thrush, secondary to one of the following causes:
  1. High Humidity (tops the list)
  2. Fluctuating Temperatures
  3. Over-crowding which causes stress
  4. Poor Hygiene or food spoilage
  5. Poor aviary design causing unrest at night.
I would treat first with Nystatin (10ml per liter of water). If there is a positive response in a few days, then this confirms a Thrush problem, but then the initial cause must be found and corrected. Check the humidity in the bird room. Use a minumum/maximum thermometer/hygrometer to check for the possibility of humidity or temperature fluctuations. A dehumidifier may be necessary to correct the humidity problem if one exists. A complete discussion of Thrush and its causes can be found in the book on pages 242 - 249. A photo of your set up would be nice. Please report back, Rob.

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