Journal Entry #13

August 8, 2005

    Yesterday morning I flew into Ontario airport from Oakland, California.  I was both sad to leave my colleagues in Northern CA and excited to see my parents and be in southern California again.  The past 4 weeks have breezed by and I have enjoyed my time at the Medical Center for Birds immensely.  I have learned a lot and gained valuable experience.  I met and had the opportunity to work with some great people. 

    Highlights of my stay up north are the "duck case", the "cockatiel case" and the "Amazon case".  The duck case was most recent, involving a 6 month old female mallard duck.  She was weak in her legs and would not stand or walk, and her urates were abnormal (green).  For a few days, we were treating her for lead toxicosis because we found a good sized piece of metal in her ventriculus with radiographs and fluoroscopy.  But she was not responding to treatment and her lead levels came back as near normal.  The main abnormalities in her blood were anaemia (regenerative), very high CK (72,000 or so and had increased since admittance), and initial elevation in WBC (heterophils predominant over lymphocytes).  After my suggestion of meloxicam (or some other analgesic), the duck began to improve clinically.  We sent her home and think that she had rhabdomyolysis/myositis.  We have no real idea how this could occur, except a far-out idea of possible sarcocystis (a parasite that has been found in duck muscle).  I enjoyed doing treatments on the duck for her 1 week stay (twice daily injections and oral medications, floating her in a tub for physical therapy, and tube feeding her once daily).

    The cockatiel case involved a female cockatiel that came in for "not doing right".  She had become anorexic and seemed to be having difficulty breathing.  She had a history of reproductive tract problems, including egg binding and oviductal prolapse.  When I examined her I found a severely distended abdomen with nothing that was obvious inside (I suspected it was a fluid filled distension).  We drew out 20ml of clear yellowish fluid from her abdomen with a butterfly catheter and she could breathe much better afterwards.  After a couple days in the hospital, we took her to surgery.  I anaesthetised her and monitored her all throughout surgery.  We found a thick-walled ovarian cyst (at least it appeared that way - tissues saved for histopathology).  She did great and went home after the surgery. 

    The Amazon case involved a female double yellow-headed Amazon parrot which was "not doing right".  She had been eating less and was more lethargic than usual after boarding for 2 weeks (at another facility).  We saw that she held her wings down and sat hunched over the perch.  She had pasting of droppings around her vent and her droppings were smelly.  She had been eating a seed and human-food diet all her life.  We hospitalised her, gave her fluids, and examined her cloaca - we found an ulcerated area that caused her some pain and was likely the cause of her problems.  We converted her to a pelleted diet and gave her fluids and anti-inflammatory medication.  She improved and went home.  On recheck exam about a week or two later, she was doing well and her cloacal lesion was gone.  She was continuing to eat pellets at home. 

    Fun things I did outside of the Medical Center for Birds included going to an Oakland A's game, having a BBQ at the Speers' house, watching "emu wrestling" by the guys, visiting 3 bird shops in the area (including Berkeley), seeing "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "War of the Worlds", taking a tour of a silica mine, and eating out at a few places (including a sushi restaurant - my first time eating sushi!).  I also watched a few DVDs with Scott at night and most were very good. 

    Now I am at home for my one week summer break.  The rest of the summer has been or will be dedicated to doing vet work (I guess I did have a couple weeks off in June...).  Next Sunday I'm flying to Albuquerque, New Mexico to participate in a Rural Area Veterinary Service (RAVS) trip to the Zuni Indian Reservation.  We will be spaying and neutering many animals, including cats, dogs and maybe horses/ponies.  After that, I'm flying to Baton Rouge (Louisiana) for 3 weeks of vet stuff at Louisiana State University.

    Right now, I'm missing out on the AAV conference and I'm kind of sad. :(  I wish I had planned it so I'd be there right now, but I spent the money on the European AAV conference last April/May and I really needed to stop in at home to pick up some stuff and drop other stuff off.  Not to mention I need to actually see my family on occasion, and my pets!


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