asterroc: (Gabriel - Sleepy)
Well, they didn't ever call, but they mailed me the results. In short: inconclusive. I wish I knew more, but I'm okay with it so far, I wasn't expecting anything else.

In long )


No significant gross or microscopic lesions are found to explain the sudden death in this case. There is no evidence of contagious or infectious disease or trauma. The hyaline protein droplets observed in multiple renal tubules are likely to be an artifact of several days' postmortem refrigeration.

My notes )

I'm handling it fine so far. It's frustrating to not have a final answer. It's a relief to not have anything that points a big finger saying "you're a bad bird mom!" It's a bit selfish maybe to want to ease my guilt. Makes me feel free to get another bird - if I knew I'd done wrong I'd probably be crying my heart out right now convinced I should never get another pet b/c I'd just kill it, so it's a relief that I get to have another pet. Ask me again in a day or two how I am.

Anyone understand those underlined portions in the report? It's the sort of thing where I know I can look up every last word if I need to, but it'd be a pain to piece it together.

New Year's

Jan. 1st, 2008 02:40 am
As said by [ profile] galbinus_caeli,

May your next year be better than your last, ever and always.
I started calling too late. I didn't realize places would close at noon. I called 9 places and they all either didn't have time for us before they close, or don't do birds, or a billion other things. necropsy is supposed to be done w/in 24 hours. my vet's in with a patient right now and the receptionist said she'd have him call me back after, I'd like to talk w/ him directly to ask about if anything can be found out if I brought her in Wednesday. I may call back Tufts again too, to ask them about it again - they have an actual pathologist (though not today and the emergency receptionist said they would only call them in if there's a criminal investigation or if there are threats to humans' health) so I suspect their skills would be better and be more likely to get some info than if my vet performed the necropsy.
Nearly everyone on my friendslist has a pet. Roughly half have non-cat/dog/farm animals as pets. What many of us don't realize is that not only is it hard to find a vet who even understands the unique problems of our pet's species (or sometimes even our pet's class [mammal/bird/reptile/amphibian/fish...]), but that when our "exotic" pets are prescribed medicine, the vet typically has little or no information about the safety of its use on our pet's species. They are prescribing the medicine "off-label" when they give our pets anesthesia, kidney medicine, or even antibiotics.

One reason for this is that there's a lot more money involved in the more "popular" pets (cats and dogs) as well as in farm animals but there's less to gain from the smaller species, so the pet pharmaceutical companies don't generally put as much money into the research of drugs for them. Another related reason is that all drugs for pets need to be approved by the FDA, and the FDA charges large fees for the approval process. Since pharma companies are willing to put down a lot of money for a product that will sell a lot, they willingly pay these approval fees for drugs for dogs, cats, cows, horses, chicken, and turkey, but not for turtles, guinea pigs, cockatiels, amazon grays, cockatoos, lizards, beta fish, emu, goats, llamas, and so on.

Now here comes the interesting part - the part where we can do something. There was a bill passed in 2004, the Minor Use and Minor Species (MUMS) Animal Health Act of 2004, that allowed lower fees for drugs for these "exotic" pets and less common farm animals (such as goats or llamas), however for it to actually happen it needs funding. It's now 2007 bordering on 2008 and that hasn't happened yet. Should the fees be lowered, then pharma companies wouldn't have to spend as much to get drugs for our "exotic" pets approved, could still turn a profit on them, and therefore we'd have more reliable and safe drugs available for our littlest and strangest family members. So it's time to do something.

Find your Reps

Call a Rep )

Reps that can make the most difference )

Model letter )

X-posted to various. Feel free to forward or repost this at will.


Nov. 22nd, 2007 10:14 am
asterroc: (Gabriel - Sleepy)
I had a new second cockatiel, a male wild-type, and after I set him up with quarantine I went back to Gabe only to discover that her legs were so puffy and swollen she couldn't step up or perch appropriately. Since it was the day before Thanksgiving, my Mom didn't want me to waste family time going to the vet, but I insisted on at least calling. The vet told me it sounded like something he'd recently learned about, and there wasn't any treatment available, but if she survived the next couple days there was something we could try. Of course I cried and ranted at the vet a lot. When I woke I realized that what we'd described was most like an actual condition called scaly leg caused by mites. Ick. And of course I researched it a bit. Ick. But it is treatable. attempt to learn how to scratch her with your ear b/c that's what she keeps begging for. :-P

Seriously, she keeps sitting on my shoulder, preens me a little bit, then croons and begs for scratches while headbutting my ear. If I bring a finger near she argues and defends her roost. I'm trying to slowly start sneaking a finger in while I wiggle my head against hers. Any other ideas?

And meanwhile, thought people might be happy to hear that Gabe's getting pretty good at flying. She even knows that I prefer she land on my left shoulder, since I'm a righty and she's more likely to fall off if she tries to sit on my right. She doesn't yet get that she shouldn't land on my head or on top of the bookshelf yet, but she's getting there. It warms my heart every time she flies to me, knowing that she could go anywhere she wanted, but she chooses me. ^_^

Not all that great, but here's a couple flight photos:




Nov. 8th, 2007 09:06 pm
This evening she again flew straight to my shoulder after some frantic yelling. I walked over to her cage, she was sitting atop it looking eager, and at the same moment I said something, held up my arm, and she launched. My arm cornfuzzled her slightly, but she figured out to fly over it and around it and backwing and land lightly on my shoulder. ^_^ So proud! It was my left, the one I usually have her sit on so she doesn't fall off when I use my right arm for everything. She's so smart! ^_^ *beams*

She's been sitting on my shoulder for the past hour or so, preening herself and my own bits of hair poking at her, and occasionally she bumps her head on my ear and croons. ... I think she wants my ear to preen her... silly little thing, ears can't do that! I'm going to have to somehow slowly convince her fingers aren't trying to eat her or steal her space (when they're not asking her to step up), so someday she'll let me actually preen her. Silly birdie. :)
Gabe's really starting to get the hang of flying when I want her to. :) I have to admit it's a combination of her knowing what I want, and me knowing when she's receptive to it though.

So evenings she often starts screaming fits when she's on her cage and I'm not in eyesight. Last night I walked up to her cage during one of these moments, held up my arm and said "Fly!" in an eager voice at the same moment as she launched herself and hovered down to my arm. Tonight she launched herself straight to my shoulder; I don't think there was any hover, but I couldn't see too well. And all this for no physical reward, since she hasn't yet responded to treats from my hands, so the reward she gets is praise and being next to me. :)

Also tonight, I wanted to weigh her. The scale is on a table in the same room as her cage. I got her to step up onto my right hand, and as I moved it towards the scale I kept my left hand hovering above her so she didn't think she could fly. I then deposited her on the scale and weighed her (a healthy 93g) and as soon as it was done I said "Fly!" and made some gesture and she immediately launched herself up and flew back to her cage. She sat on the scale (impatiently) right until I said she could go. :-D

I still find it quite intriguing that I'm watching how her behaviors are shaped by positive reinforcement, where the only reinforcer is social. I essentially did the same thing with Peeper her whole life without knowing it, but now that I know "better" that it's "supposed" to happen with treats, and it's still working with Gabe, it seems amazing to me.
When Gabe is really frantic, she's starting to understand the concept of flying towards me. One step forward. She tried this this evening, from her cage to me a few steps away, but unfortunately didn't have the guts to fly all the way to me and U-turned back to her cage. Second step forward: Sunday was even better - she was freaking out on her boing, located between the living room and dining room, and flew straight toward me. I was in the kitchen cooking soup. One step back. Thankfully she didn't fly all the way into the kitchen, but turned around at the breakfast bar and did a couple more laps of the dining room before she landed on a chair and I could scoop her up into her cage.

Stupid stupid me. I'm not letting her out when I cook again ever!

But yeah, I'm quite delighted she's flying so well, and starting to understand the concept of flying to me! :)
Even if you're a non-bird person, feel free to take a gander at my new Bird Emergency Evacuation Kit page. You might think of something I missed, or it might be useful for you as another type of pet owner.
asterroc: (Gabriel - Sleepy)
Whee! I figured out how to set the heat so it'll turn up to 62ºF when we're awake and home, and back down to 60ºF when we're out or asleep. 62ºF has been tolerable while I'm awake and home. Should I turn it colder while we're out, or while we're asleep? I'm also checking on bird lists how cold they think I can turn it down to and have Gabe ok, I'm just looking for what people think is ok for humans.


Oct. 13th, 2007 10:42 am
asterroc: (Smoothie)
holy fsck, no wonder I'm cold, it's 59º in here! I'd recently rearranged part of Gabe's cage to encourage her to sit on the heated perch more, but she'd been alternating between it and a wood dowel, and usually sitting on the fat part of the heated perch when she did, where it isn't warm at all. When I just uncovered her cage she was on a skinny part. :-\ I emailed my landlord to ask him if we can try out the heat. I told T$ a while ago that I was willing to try as low as 60ºF to save on our heat bill, and it's already below that! I think I'll put the heat lamp back on her cage so she has that option as well.
I'm glad this isn't a weekday; I've stayed home from work the next day for less. T$ woke me up saying "I think Gabe is flying around." I'm not sure how many time he had to say that to get a coherent response out of me. The first thing I see when I turn her light on and go to look is her flapping the hell around her cage - the new flight feathers are not always a boon. The next thing I see is red on her wing, and I call out to T$, "she's bleeding, if it's bad we're going to a vet." The large size of the new cage makes it difficult to grab her out, but after I do and towel her I figure out quickly that it's a pinfeather that she broke in her frenzy, and yell to T$ as he comes out of the bathroom to bring Q-tips. Good thing I've some styptic powder handy - yeah I know it's supposed to hurt more than flour or corn starch, but it works and it's what's in front of me. The fuzziness in my brain right now means I'd probably shove her bodily into a jar of flour - not good for either Gabe or our future baking endeavors - so I'll go with what I have. While patting the stuff onto the thingit I explain to T$ that no, we don't have to go to the e-vet, though if I can't get the blood to stop I'll have to find a pair of pliers. And now that the bleeding's stopped I'm sitting awake with her for a little while to make sure her fright's over and that she won't reopen the wound. Everything's going to be ok. She's preening just like it isn't 3:16 in the goddamned am. I think I can go back to sleep now.

New Cage!

Sep. 22nd, 2007 10:29 pm
I finally got Everyone's Favorite CageTM! It took me probably a little more than a half hour to construct. If you're buying one, do print out the directions to put it together, as the only "directions" included are a couple diagrams of the finished product. It comes as a 2'x2'x4" box that weigh 57 lbs. If you have only one person, it's best to construct the stand first, then the cage on the floor, and then wait for a friend to come over to help you put it onto the stand. Building it on the stand requires a second person to hold it for you. I built the cage on the floor, then struggled to lift it onto a coffee table, and then struggled to lift it from there to the stand. You'll need a couple screwdrivers and a wrench - and it's a good thing they included spare nuts and bolts for the stand, b/c a few of them had spilled out onto the porch and I'm sure more were lost earlier in shipping too, but there were still a few spares.

Gabe was a little freaked when I started rolling it around, and uncomfortable when I put her atop it, but she's remarkably adaptable and settled in quickly.

Photos! )

x-posted to my journal, [ profile] parrot_lovers and [ profile] cockatiels
DNA sexing results came back today on Gabriel. She's female!

As mentioned before, Gabe's a lutino cockatiel, which cannot be visually sexed with complete reliability, though there can be clues. The things that led me to guess so were faint spots on the undersides of flight feathers, faint stripes on undersides of tail feathers, and faint pearling on her back (so she's actually lutino pearled). DNA sexing confirmed my suspicion: it's a girl!

Now I know to keep making sure she doesn't get triggers to lay eggs, and to make sure she gets a calcium block in case she ever does start laying. Her name is remaining Gabriel though - gender of name doesn't make a difference to her, and I find it amusing.

Gratuitous photo! )

X-posted to my blog, [ profile] parrot_lovers, and [ profile] cockatiels.

New Cage

Sep. 15th, 2007 10:51 am
asterroc: (Gabriel - Sleepy)
I'm going to buy Everyone's Favorite CageTM finally. What color should I get?

[Poll #1055750]

Comment if you need more space. Funny that a new awesome huge cage costs only $119, while the heated perch I'm also going to get costs a whopping $42.


Sep. 5th, 2007 08:19 pm
This is geeky on just soooooo many levels. Gabe wanted onto my shoulder - she hasn't been getting as much time w/ me the past few days as she should, since I went back to work. She has horribly watery poops, so I went to find her a towel, but to keep her calm I let her sit on my finger during the process. As I reached into the linen closet, put a towel on my shoulder, and put Gabe on it, I chanted "poop-towel: engage! bird: deploy!"

Shoppy, this's all your fault for the post on phasers and thrusters and stuff.


Aug. 31st, 2007 02:57 pm
Vet time, and I'm parked in by T$ and my upstairs neighbor. I don't want to bother her, but his car's a stick... I think I can move it w/o stalling too many times. Stalling's more likely than grinding gears at least, so at least I won't damage his car. :-P Clothes first, that's important. Yay, I get to try stick again. Um, that's a good thing right?
boring stuff about bird harnesses )

And here's the photos you actually want to see.

Harness from the front.
Notice how it settles in between her feathers for the most part, and you can't even see it. Doesn't mean she forgot it's there though...

Harness from the back.
According to the literature, the leash should just slide around to the bottom/front when she's standing, but it doesn't happen. I'd have to tug on it to make it happen.

From the side.
Note the loop around my wrist. It goes on my wrist even before the harness goes on her while I'm still inside. I'm paranoid I'll forget that crucial step, so it happens before everything. And it goes on my left wrist so my right one (I'm a righty) is free to react if she flies into danger and I need to scoop her up.

And a final cute shot of her on my shoulder.
Pecking at the harness as she tries to do continually... Hopefully with time she will get used to it, and she'll get more curious about the things going on around her instead of nervous about them. You'll also note in this shot that she's not fully flighted - I'm slowly growing out one feather at a time, haven't done a big clip since a year ago, working on a balance where she has a little flight but not a lot. She still lands awkwardly at times, but is getting better.

x-posted to [ profile] parrot_lovers, [ profile] cockatiels, and my own journal
asterroc: (xkcd - Binary Heart)
Mr. Roomba did the bathroom in around 15 minutes, and did a better job on the corners than I had. He's been going for close to an hour on the hallway outside the bathroom and the half of the kitchen that's empty enough for him to do - doesn't seem quite as good w/ the corners here. A Virtual Wall is keeping him away from the other half of the kitchen and the dining room - he has no problem going over door sills, which is more-or-less equivalent to the rise between the kitchen and dining room. The bird room / front foyer is ready and prepped for Mr. Roomba to go there after he's done where he is now. The noise is just below the level of irritating, but it does drown out my stereo in another room --

Ooh! He just finished the half-kitchen/hall! Time to see how Gabe likes him. :-P

ETA: She *hates* him. When she isn't freaking out and flying around or running around the inside of her cage screaming, she's sitting with her crest straight up and even her wings straight out! She can hold them out for minutes at a time... She's currently on my shoulder in the office while Mr. Roomba works on "her" room. Oh, and her cage stand isn't that solid - Mr. Roomba's "love taps" push the whole thing around, so the cage is in the living room for now.



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