Very ill king quail roo, can't pin down cause

Discussion in 'Quail' started by TheWeeBee, Oct 17, 2016.

  1. TheWeeBee

    TheWeeBee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 20, 2012
    St. Petersburg, FL
    I have a year old male, Toby, who has always been in good health. Last weekend he started showing signs of lethargy so I put him aside near a heat lamp with some vitamin-enriched water (soluvite-D) and feed. He started to eat less and less. His poops started turning into 100% urates. His weight dropped dramatically--he lost 7g just over this weekend and is emaciated, now weighing only 34g.

    Live mealworms catch his interest for a short time, he'll eat a couple, then get tired and go sit in his corner fluffed. He shows no interest in food.

    Suspecting some sort of bacterial problem, my vet put him on amoxicillin when I took him to the clinic on Friday. That didn't seem to have an immediate effect so I brought him to see a different vet today who noted that Toby's intestine could be felt through the skin of his abdomen. His breastbone is very prominent. The 2nd doc showed me how to feed via crop tube and so I was able to get some calories and fluids into him today (finally!).

    He's only pooped a few times this afternoon, only one poop I could see actually had fecal matter in it. He'll rest for about an hour after the crop tube feeding, then perk up for a little bit, even calling out to his brothers and walking around his cage trying to get to them.

    None of my other birds are showing signs of illness.

    What could it be? His symptoms match several possible diagnoses:

    White droppings consisting primarily of urates
    Lethargy
    Weakness
    Lack of appetite
    Fluffed appearance
    Wasting (from lack of appetite)


    Gizzard obstruction? Ulcerative enteritis? Kidney disease? My vet is mostly experienced with psittacines, not gallinaceous birds. A specialist vet might have answers but it will cost me hundreds to find out.
     
  2. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmm.. I don't know anything. But I'm just guessing - if the kidneys were the issue, I'd expect to see changes in the urates, not in the feces. Lack of fecal matter, to me, indicates that his gut isn't working as it should be, but whether that is caused by an obstruction, a bacterial infection of the gut or something entirely different, I can't say. But since he did pass some fecal matter today, at least something is able to get through his system, so that's good. I'd just continue with the crop feeding - a little bit several times a day. And the antibiotics. Good luck to you!
     
  3. TheWeeBee

    TheWeeBee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 20, 2012
    St. Petersburg, FL
    Feeding him won't cause a backup, and cause gut rot, will it? I checked his cage this morning and he didn't pass any more fecal matter: only urates.
     
  4. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, if he doesn't eat at all he'll die for sure, if it goes on for too long. Loosing 1/6 of his body weight over a weekend is quite a lot - he won't live long like that.
     
  5. TheWeeBee

    TheWeeBee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 20, 2012
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    I took him to the vet this morning because I couldn't get the cath past a certain spot in his throat and kept stressing him out. The tech topped off his crop for me and showed me her technique, and said the doc wants me to feed him 4x/day to try and offset Toby's extreme weight loss. My poor little baby bub, he's such a good boy I just want him to feel better again :(

    And it turns out that he did indeed pass some fecal matter in his droppings, it's just such a small amount that I didn't see it right away this morning.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
  6. TheWeeBee

    TheWeeBee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 20, 2012
    St. Petersburg, FL
    UPDATE

    Toby did the biggest poop of his little life sometime during the night. There was a giant turd surrounded by several normal-large ones in the bottom of his cage this morning. He was SO THIRSTY when I went to give him his amoxicillin and crop feed him--he drank the medicine straight from the syringe and then drank about a 1/2 tsp of the vitamin water I'd made to add to his formula. My goodness! They were smelly, dark, but no signs of worms, blood, or really anything out of the ordinary for fecal matter that has sat in a gut for a half-week. The doc also noted that his intestine no longer felt out of place as it had last Friday.

    He's since perked up quite a bit, drinking water from his dish (which before he wouldn't touch), ate a live mealworm out of my hand, began preening himself and is starting to explore his cage a bit more, pecking at tidbits of food he sees and occasionally having a munch from his food dish. Now that I know how to crop feed him properly, I'm still to do it 4x/day to help get his weight up. His poops are returning to normal (size, color, and consistency) and no longer have that nasty smell.

    I didn't see any string, bedding, or other foreign objects in his poop so the backup must have been caused by inflammation/infection, torquing his intestines. I am so happy right now, fingers are still crossed because his weight had become critical: after his blowout last night, he only weighed 28g :(

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    Last edited: Oct 20, 2016
  7. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's so good to hear!
     
  8. TheWeeBee

    TheWeeBee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 20, 2012
    St. Petersburg, FL
    He's been steadily pooping, eating and drinking his own food all this afternoon, so I think I'm going to skip the crop feeding tonight, just give him his amoxicillin, and see how he looks when I weigh him in the morning. I am sooooo happy right now!
     
  9. Tony K T

    Tony K T Overrun With Chickens

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    Do you give them grit?They are still considered a gamebirds so they also need to be wormed 2 times per year.I do not know the dosage for quail.Hopefully a quail person will step in and tell the details.
    In N.H.,Tony
     
  10. TheWeeBee

    TheWeeBee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 20, 2012
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    Hi Tony, yes I do occasionally give them grit but do not deworm them as they are indoor birds kept on aspen bedding. I've never found evidence of parasites in my budgies or quail.
     

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