OT: They put my baby in a cone!

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Alyndra, Oct 5, 2005.

  1. Alyndra

    Alyndra New Member

    I have a female Parrotlet that is a feather plucker, and I've gone insane trying to help her. She's been a plucker for years now (her stomach, back and wings are completely bare). I've had her to 3 different vets, spoken with the breeder, and have spent well over $2000 to date just to find out she does it 'because she can'.

    Because of her routine and the feather plucking - the behavioral therapist actually diagnosed her obsessive compulsive with anxiety disorder. They even prescribed her Amitriptyline.

    Well, because she has no feathers - she's started mutilating her skin. Her beak, tummy, wings and perch - were all covered in blood this morning.

    It's an hour long drive to her Vet, and unfortunately he's the only Vet around here that will treat her species.

    Now at 6 yeards old she has to be hand fed, and she also has to stay in an empty 'hospital cage' for the first few weeks of the medicine. She can't walk or climb with that damn collar on, and when she falls on her back - she can't get herself upright again.

    I just don't know what to do! I've tried the prescription thing, the diet thing, the exercise thing, and I even got a male Parrotlet thinking maybe it was a lonely thing.

    Still no feathers!

    Does anyone else know of anything natural or holistic out there that will help with feather plucking/mutilation??

    I'm at the point where if she'll be happy plucking her feathers for no reason - then fine. But has anyone ever had feather plucking turn into self mutilation of the skin??

    She's my girl, and right now I feel absolutely useless.

    Looking for ANYTHING that will help
  2. jerseybunny

    jerseybunny New Member

    you might want to try a board specific to exotics and birds. perhaps a newborn tshirt . it works on my buns..my vet is fantastic with exotics.
  3. rileyearl

    rileyearl New Member

    How awful for you and your baby! I wish I knew the answer. I had a dog that scratched all her fur off and they would give her prednisone sometimes. Can they do something with her beak to make it so she can't pluck? Can you get or make a toy for her that has real feathers? Maybe she will pluck the toy bald instead of herself? I'd buy a bag of feathers from the craft store and stick them through the knit of a sock or something. I know how it is when you love a pet so much. Here's a hug!

  4. rileyearl

    rileyearl New Member

    Is your little bird any better? Let me know!

    [This Message was Edited on 10/06/2005]
  5. spasco

    spasco New Member

    his feathers too, but not to that extent. He started at 6mths old. First my son left home, then my mom wound up in a nursing home, then our dog of 13yrs had to be put to sleep.

    Any stressful circumstance can send them off. The way you feel can do it. If you pay less attention to her than you used to, if you are gone more than you used to be. Boredom is a big part of plucking too. Any major change will affect them deeply. Moving, a death, a sudden illness, any of this means a change in the environment. Birds need as much stability as you can provide. They need to be slowly introduced to any changes, if possible.

    Birds are so intelligent, they need to be entertained by their toys when their people can't be there. It is essential to slowly introduce a new toy before placing it in the cage, so they don't become frightened. People they don't know should never be allowed to go up to their cage without the bird being able to get used to them first.

    Also, Bitter Apple Spray is a deterrent for some birds. Log on to BIrd Talk Magazine, or but one. This magazine is a must for the serious bird owner.

    God bless! Stephanie
  6. Alyndra

    Alyndra New Member

    jerseybunny - despite there being about a dozen vets in my area that advertise they treat 'exotic', they take one look at my babes and turn me away! The average size for a parrotlet fullgrown is only 4-5 inches tall. My female, is considered a dwarf because of her size. She stands 2 inches tall, and weighs in at a whopping 28 grams! Even for a parrotlet she's tiny. I do agree with the tshirt thing. Covering the feathers can really deter them from picking their feathers long enough to let the skin heal. I've tried Barbie clothes and cut a spot for her wings so that it doesn't limit her mobility - but she ate through the shirt.

    rileyearl - Chewing wise - she has EVERY toy out there! She has rope that she shreds, she has a toy thats full of peacock feathers that she demolishes within days, she has newspaper that she shreds into tiny pieces, I've given her rawhide to chew on - and she definately does chew ALOT! But unfortunately even with all these other things to keep her occupied - she still rips and tears at her feathers and skin. :(
    As of today though, I haven't had to clean up any blood for 24 hours now - but she's also on a sedative right now because she started eating her collar (it was made out of xray film!) - and I had to take it off of her. The doctor is racking his brain trying to figure out what to do with her.

    spasco - get this! For some reason, she LOVES the taste of the Bitter Apple Spray. I tried it on her awhile ago, and the only thing it did was make her chew her feathers more! If she gets thirsty and doesn't want to go back to her cage - she'll come over and nudge my hand and then nudge my glass of water - she does this with the bottle of spray, too!

    I definately agree with the intelligence of them though. Alot of people look at my little guys and just assume they're budgies. It is SO hard to find decent toys for them. They need the problem solving type of toys that are made for large parrots - but no one makes those types of toys small enough for a Parrotlet!

    Even the 'for all Parrots' food! In order for them to be able to eat the food that's custom to what their bodies need, I have to sit down with the bag and break open all the large nut shells, and then grind everything down to a size they can manage! There's some nuts in there that weigh more then my female does!

    I at one point in time had a subscription to just about every bird and bird health magazine out there. After about a year I didn't renew - because everything they recommended to do for Parrots etc didn't apply to a miniature Parrot.

    She has all the toys in the world, and when I get her a new one I put it in her playground first. When she starts getting comfortable with it, and isn't cautious about it anymore - that's when I'll put it in her cage. She's never locked in her cage through the day - I only put my birds in their cage to cover them at night. She's NEVER alone. Even if a human isn't around - there's a male of her species as well as a cockatiel. I don't confuse her by putting my rescue birds around her. I keep them in an entirely different area of my house while they're here.

    This just feels like such a dead end situation right now, and I absolutely HATE having to medicate her.
    Thanks so much to everyone for their input!
  7. Mareeok

    Mareeok New Member

    'George's Aloe Vera' liquid. I was taking care of an elcectus parrot who had been bitten by a dog. He was put on antibiotics which turned his feathers black and very itchy. I bathed him every three days in one part aloe vera to three parts water and his feathers improved and the itching stopped. I now use it as maintenance for my girl ekkie. Her feathers are softer and more brilliant.

    You can find 'George's aloe vera' on the net. I had a drug store order it for me and get it on a regular basis. It is made for people. I get it for about $24 a gallon. There are different brands but 'Georges' is pure with no additives. I also add some to Miss Ruby's drinking water about once a week.

    It probably wont solve your pronblem but may help some since it will cut down on the itchiness which can cause more scratching and focus on the feathers. I also would add it to the drinking water (1 part to 3 parts water) since it also is good for overall health.

    [This Message was Edited on 10/07/2005]
  8. ilovecats94

    ilovecats94 New Member

    Seems that you need the Pet Psychic to help you. I wish I knew how to contact her, but I don't.

    The only other psychic I can think of is Sylvia Browne. I have her URL, it is "http://www.sylvia.org/home/index.cfm" Her phone number is
    408-379-7070 to get a reading from her or her son, Chris. If you are desperate you may want to call. Maybe she can help you figure out what is going on.

    I realize this sounds insane, but it is the only thing I can think of since the Vets don't know.

    Wishing you the best,
  9. JPach007

    JPach007 New Member

    Hi Amanda,
    I feel your pain about your bird...I have an African Grey and she is my baby! She's 3 years old and fortunately I havent had any feather plucking problems...When my husband and I travel, I drive 1.5 hours to the place I got her to board her..her cage and all. I would never consider leaving her anywhere else.
    I'm also a Vet Tech, although the clinic I work at doesnt see birds...The place I got my Grey is always my best resource for anything to do with Princess. She breeds, hand-feeds and sells them. She does an extensive interview before selling her birds to anyone...
    Have you checked with the place you got her?
    Good luck, and hope your baby gets better soon..
  10. rileyearl

    rileyearl New Member

    Hi Amanda,

    This is kind of weird, but I remember some other people on the thread saying that their pets had fibromyalgia.

    Since your bird likes the green apple and chews on everything, do you think she needs vitamins or minerals? Are there bird vitamins? Maybe she's trying to get what she needs from her own feathers?

    I know this much about birds - 0 -, but thought I'd tell you anyway.

    You are a marvel! Rescue birds! Wow! Are you training them to peck at your future MIL?

    Good Luck with your girl!

  11. Alyndra

    Alyndra New Member

    But I'm definately happy to say things haven't gotten worse!

    Mareeok- Miss Ruby is BEAUTIFUL! Such a happy and healthy looking girl. I'm very enthusiastic about the aloe vera liquid. I picked up a sampler 1oz bottle today for her to try, and all went well! I put the mix in a seperate dish from her normal water, and she was cautious about drinking it for the first few hours, but eventually her curiosity got the best of her and she started sticking her tongue in it. For the first while she would take a gulp and then spit it out, but by evening she was leaving her cage to go to the dish to drink it. Even if it doesn't stop her from plucking, I'm happy knowing it's healthy for her and she actually likes it!

    Faye! Well, as crazy as I've been called - I gladly took her to a psychic fair with me last summer. Walked out of there with the same diagnosis as from the vets "she does it cause she can". Now I just think they're BOTH wrong ;) I'll never accept that she willingly hurts herself for no reason.

    Jessica - She was actually my first 'rescue' bird. Although she was never abused - the elderly couple that originally had her didn't realize that a Parrotlet requires the same type of training as a large species Parrot to be tame. By nature they're aggressive little buggers! She was 4 months old when I got her, and she got a clean bill of health at that time. It was just shortly before she turned 2 that she started having problems. Unfortunately she was a gift to her first owners, so they had no idea where exactly she came from.

    Francie - there's definately vitamins specific for birds. She gets a multi vitamin fresh everyday in her water, as well she gets an extra calcium powder sprinkled on her food. Because she's genetically considered a dwarf, she's prone to very weak bones. Luckily the most she's ever broken was the tip off of her beak. With her cuttle bone, it doesn't take her long to shape it back into a point!

    As far as an update, it's been about 36 hours now and there's still been no fresh blood or sores - so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the worst is over. We had guys in today working on the furnace and air conditioner - and for awhile it got pretty cold. My other babes just fluffed up and went where ever there was sunlight. Between my girl not being able to fly (no feathers!) and with how drowsy the meds are making her (she's been falling over alot), she spent a good portion of the afternoon in my shirt pocket. She was happy because she was keeping warm - and I was happy because I knew she wouldn't pick her feathers in there.

    Again, I thank everybody who's been a part of this thread. Your suggestions and best wishes are REALLY appreciated.
    I put up a picture of my little guys in my profile. You can't truely understand how tiny these parrots are until you see them!


    [This Message was Edited on 10/07/2005]
  12. ilovecats94

    ilovecats94 New Member

    There just HAS to be an answer for this. I don't know if it would be casued by a change in her food, your cleaning products, something you would be using like air freshener, something different in the water. Do you think she would benefit from bottled spring water?

    I'm just trying to think of the things I heard the Pet Psychic say about problems other animals were having. She said to use vinegar (white) and water to clean with.

    I saw your profile, but could barely see her under the phone book. I guess that was her? What is her name?

    Does she take a bath? Could it be something in the water that is irritating her? I'm just trying to think of anything simple that would be the problem for this.

    I don't guess Prozac comes in that small of a dose to help her. Just wonder as it sounds like OCD behavior. Maybe Elavil isn't the right med for her OCD?

    I surely wish I could solve your problem. These are just some crazy ideas I have come up with. Since you have spent over $2000 on her so far, I'd call Sylvia Browne. Where else to go?

    Good luck!

  13. Mareeok

    Mareeok New Member

    Don't forget to bathe her in it. That's what really helps with the itching.

  14. Alyndra

    Alyndra New Member

    It sounds like you're starting to rack your brain as much as me over this!! They're all good suggestions - but there's few to none that I haven't tried. She eats her favorite seed, her favorite pellets, and she eats alot of fruits and vegetables as well as whole grain bread during the day. (her favorites are exactly what the vet recommends, too!)

    Because of my MCS I don't use air fresheners, every surface she comes in contact is cleaned with a formula specificly safe for birds. I give all my birds spring water, and I even use warmed spring water in their baths.

    She has actually been clinically dx'd with Obsessive Compulsive and Anxiety Disorder. Just as of these past few days after her ripping her skin she's been put onto Amitriptyline, Atvan, as well as a generic medication for animals VERY similar to prozac. I just hate having to medicate her!

    BUT! it's been 72 hrs (? I think) and still no blood!
    She actually has a few feathers starting to show at her skin line. She's been EXTREMELY grouchy today though because she had a lil mishap with the aloe water. She (because of the meds probably) lost her footing and nose dived into her bathing dish! She was NOT a happy camper for the rest of the day. Nothing but her ego was hurt. ;)

    As well, that was definately her hiding under the phone book. She's also the one closet to front in the center picture. Her name is Qwanto - and the male (lower left pic, and in back of the center pic) his name is Taijo. She's a little over 5 years, and the male is just coming up to 8 months. He's the ultimate trouble maker and will taunt her until she comes to the playground to play with his. And she beats up on him but GOOD - yet he keeps going back!

    Again, thanks for all the input I've gotten here.
  15. JPach007

    JPach007 New Member

    Because you want to keep her skin from itching so new growth will come, try taking her in the shower with you! I shower with mine 2 times a week. She either is on my head or my arm.
    Your baby doesnt have to get real wet, the moisture from the mist in the shower will help heal her skin in combination with the aloe. No soap though.
    Let us know how that works!
  16. ilovecats94

    ilovecats94 New Member

    I guess try what Stacey said and go to that bird site. I was wondering if Xanax would help. I feel so sorry for her.

    My cat was scratching a lot and there were clumps of hair here and there several weeks ago. Well she started to scratch and we used the flea comb on her, but no fleas at all (she is inside only).

    Sometimes she will come upstairs when she hears me turn the air cleaner off and the TV on and I come in my office after I brush my teeth and wash my face to get my noon meds. (I sleep until around 11:30 AM.)

    Well she wanted me to comb her (with a human comb--we use one up here just for her). Now that I have been combing her every few days, I notice the hair clumps have stopped.

    Point I'm getting to would be would Qwanto want or need more time with you. Could she be mad at you for getting the male?

    Do you feed her first, do for her first in the morning? I haven't given up on this yet, but that site that Stacey mentioned would probably be of more help than I am.

    Well it is good that she hasn't picked at her skin to bring out more blood. If she was having constant itching that could cause her to pick at her feathers and skin.

    I'll still try to find your post as long as someone is posting to it to see if there are any updates. I guess you know by now how much I really do love animals, birds, reptiles, etc.

    We keep bird seed outside year around and water too, when possible. Our cardinals (state bird) don't migrate.

    Continuing prayers for you and Qwanto. You may want to put Qwanto on the Prayer Thread.

  17. Alyndra

    Alyndra New Member

    Stacey - The shower perch is a great idea - and my male Parrotlet and Cockatiel love the mist! But with my little naked one I have to really careful of her bathing because with no feathers - she gets far too cold while she's wet! She does get spritzed in the morning with a mister - early morning is when the sun comes in the strongest on her cage, so it helps to keep her warm and dry quicker. When she really wants to bathe - she has a small dish on the table that she'll splash around in.

    Size is what makes things so difficult right now. Size wise my female is actually only about the size of a Green Cheek's head. She fits in the palm of my hand!

    I'll definately be checking out those websites though! Thanks!

    Jessica - To make a long story short, I knew in her mind taking her INTO the shower would be off limits - so I took her upstairs while the shower was running to see how she would do with the moisture. !LOL! Because she's so paranoid/anxious/worried/scared of everything/etc... Well, she got herself so worked up over just the noise of the shower she hyperventilated and fainted. It was a really good idea! Just kinda didn't work. But don't feel bad! Her getting so excited or scared to the point of fainting is actually VERY common with her. I guess I could always stay in the bathroom with the moisture while waiting for her to come to. Maybe it would work, afterall! ;)

    Faye - You have the cat, I have the cat food ;) Afterall, Qwanto is roughly about the size of a nugget! I honestly can't think of anything she'd be mad at me for. She gets attention virtually whenever she wants it, there's very little time through the day that she's not around somebody. As for the male, I actually got him just this past February. The Vet thought the feather plucking was because she might want a companion. She's been plucking for almost 4 years now. And she can't be mad that I brought home a male she didn't like - for 6 weeks I took her to the breeders home so that she could adapt to having another one of her species around. Taijo (the male) is the one that she would go to week after week! Never paid much attention to any of the other Parrotlets there. So really, she picked him herself!

    Now, the good news...DAY 4!
    Still no blood, and there's still feathers peeking out around her belly and her wings - so not much plucking, either! So far today she's done more playing then sleeping - so this is a REALLY good sign that she's adapting to the meds. I'm sitting here typing this not all too far away from her - just not within visual range.. and I can hear her tiny little voice chattering away! Sopmething I haven't heard in months, now.

    The war on skin mutilation might just be over ;)

    And seriously - Thanks again, ladies! You have been so great through all this.
  18. ilovecats94

    ilovecats94 New Member

    Well that is good news that she is starting to get her feathers. I guess you still have her on the Elavil. Maybe that is the answer for her.

    I had to laugh when you told me she fainted in the bathroom with the shower on. My cat is scared of noises too and every time the cleaning girl comes she comes in my office up here. Stays around until Gale comes upstairs and then goes downstairs.

    I have to tell Gale to stop cleaning the floor, because it is like a lake and I think Biscuit is licking her wet feet and the Mr. Clean Gale uses is making Biscuit sick.

    I'm going to use the Swiffer myself and dump the contents of the cleaner stuff out and just use white vinegar and water. The Swiffer floor cleaner smells really bad of a chemical smell anyway. I can imagine how bad it would be for anyone that close to the floor.

    Keep us updated about Qwanto. I surely hope she keeps up doing well.

  19. Alyndra

    Alyndra New Member

    This Amitriptyline etc seems to be doing the trick for Qwanto. Today she's been VERY lively, playing with everything and back to chasing around all the other little guys.. and she's soooo fuzzy. She has a solid tummy of down feathers and there's even a few green and yellow feathers showing through.

    Now I just gotta watch her weight. As ALOT of us know Amitriptyline causes weight gain, and this past week she's gone from 28 grams to 29.5. Doesn't seem like alot, but even at 28 grams the Vet said she was on the pudgy side. That girl eats like a horse!

    Just wanted to give a quick update. Seeing her with feathers and playing around certainly lightens up my mood alot!

  20. JPach007

    JPach007 New Member

    Hi Amanda!
    I am so glad to hear your baby is getting better! I know it can be a long road to recovery, but it sounds like your baby is making progress!
    Keep us updated!

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