Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Caique ER

The caiques got into a fight Monday night. Beeps was locked in his cage. Calypso managed to get out of his cage, fly over to Beeps's cage, and start a fight. Both caiques wound up with bleeding wounds on their feet. Their hormones always go crazy around this time of year, and there had been many more caique fights lately -- we'd always been able to break them up in time before.

We packed them up and took them to a 24-hour emergency clinic. We are very lucky in that this clinic was started by an avian vet. Even better, she was working when we arrived!

She looked at them and decided they needed to spend the night in incubators. Any kind of blood loss in parrots is a serious concern, and it's better to be safe than sorry. It was a sad ride home. I hadn't thought they'd have to spend the night, so I hadn't brought the toys they snuggle with when they sleep, or any of their favorite foods. When we got home, there was no joyous beeping to greet us, and Beeps's favorite song was playing on the ipod, and it made us miss them even more.

The next morning was also very sad. Without Calypso, my shower was lonely.

Finally, around noon, I was told that I could pick them up. The receptionist told me that they were dancing and whistling and everyone kept going back there to visit them because they were so funny.

Once I arrived, I wanted to see them immediately, but had to finish filling out paperwork (we actually got a refund from the estimated fees -- having 2 birds spend the night in the ICU was much less expensive than I thought. Thomas guessed it would be more than $1200, but it was less than $500.)

Then, a tech came out and asked me which one was bigger because they couldn't tell them apart and wanted to make sure they had the right medication doses (just preventative antibiotics). They are the same size! The last time I weighed them, a few weeks ago, they were within 5 grams of each other and I don't remember which one was bigger. I gave her other clues to tell them apart and offered to go back there, but was told I couldn't see them yet :( She was able to tell them apart -- what's funny is that Beeps's dose is 0.25 ml and Calypso's is 0.26 ml. I'm not sure if you've ever tried to accurately dose and medicate birds, but 0.25 and 0.26 are basically the same thing!

As soon as they saw me, they started making their distinct whistles (Calypso does "charge" and Beeps does one that he made up) and making huge kiss sounds. It was so great to see them again! I'd brought their favorite nuts and gave them some to enjoy in the car. The car ride home was filled with whistles and kisses and happy caique noises. Neither one took their eye off of me the entire ride home -- they each had an eye glued to a hole in their carriers.

We'd been all set to put them in hospital cages with heating pads, but the vet said it wasn't necessary. The only change in their routine is that they have to take antibiotics for 10 days. They'd healed very well and were perching just fine before they were sent home. It was wonderful to have our family complete again. After we put everyone to bed last night, Stella was singing and whistling for over 30 minutes -- longer than usual -- and all her happiest stuff. Even though she doesn't pay much attention to the caiques, we think she was happy to have her flock whole again. But we're probably projecting and anthropomorphizing.

This incident made us realize that we'd perhaps gotten a bit too complacent with these wild animals, and we need to ramp up our supervision. Also double checking that all entrances and exits to the cage are secure. If they'd both been uncaged, this probably wouldn't have been an issue since they would have fought for a bit and then flown off. Since Beeps couldn't fly away, the fight escalated. We're just lucky that the outcome wasn't any worse.

I didn't take any pictures, as my main concern was getting them the care they needed. I was going to take some yesterday to show the wounds on their feet, but they are barely perceptible in person and didn't show up on the camera.


Elizabeth said...

Poor guys! I'm so glad that they're okay.

Beloved Parrot said...

It's one of the most wonderful feelings to bring a bird home from a night at the vets. You and Thomas take wonderful care of your parrots, and I'm glad.

Mary said...

Elizabeth -- thanks!

BP -- that was the first time we've ever had to leave anyone there. It was horrible! But I'm glad they got the care they needed and are healing!