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Bourkes Surgery & Recovery


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#1 Monica

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 08:58 PM

My bourke parakeet hen that is 14-16 years old (I've had her for 9 years) will be going in for surgery this Thursday. I feel as if I might be chancing something by saying this, as she was supposed to go in for surgery several weeks ago, but my avian vet did not want to perform surgery if she had laid an egg within the past two weeks. What did the bourke do? Lay an egg every two weeks... She required a diet change to bring up her protein levels, and eggs added to her diet, daily, to increase her albumin levels. Both of which resulted in eggs being laid. I've since changed the diet again, and *crosses fingers* - no eggs!

So a short list of what's happened and what this is.

  • This is a tumor
  • It is *not* bumble-foot
  • It has been biopsied
  • The results of the biopsy concluded that this growth is not dangerous to her health
  • She does not require surgery to have it removed
  • For a while, she kept picking on the growth
  • She has since stopped
  • It still continues to grow
  • Regardless, I am putting her through surgery to have it removed


I may be overly concerned, but this is the first time putting one of my birds through surgery, she is an older bird (14-16 years old, bourkes have an expected lifespan of 11-15 years, although I have heard of one living to 21 years of age), she's small (not much bigger than a budgie) and I'm worried for her! Oh, and it is the first time that my avian vet and her assistant have seen a bourke in person! I wanted to get this done a while ago, so am kind of glad that we are almost upon the day of surgery. I did ask about the possibility of having to get her foot amputated, but my avian vet does not believe this will be required - which I am thankful for! I know she could learn to live without a foot, but if she doesn't need it removed, there's no point in doing so! I hope the a-vet is able to remove all of the bad tissue so that hopefully it doesn't come back.


You can see the abnormal growth in the image below. When the biopsy was done, it was half the size it is now.





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#2 champagne4amy

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 12:39 AM

Awwww.......poor littl girl. She will be in our thoughts and prayers. Let us know how things go with her surgery. Bourkes are tough little guys so I'm sure she will pull through with flying colors.
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#3 dianaalrusty

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 12:46 AM

Hoping the best for your little girl!

#4 sodakat

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 01:34 AM

This is a very thoughtful thing you are doing for her, Monica.

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#5 Monica

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 02:37 PM

Thanks. :001_smile:


Surgery tomorrow. :16: Tomorrow was supposed to be my day off from work, but I'll be working so I wont be too far away for when the time comes to pick her up. I am to drop her off in the morning, she'll go through surgery perhaps around noon if not before, and she can be picked up sometime after 4pm - which gives them time to keep an eye on her after surgery. She's getting Sub-Q Fluids prior to surgery as well as after it, including on Friday when I am to take her in again. After that, I suppose she gets to spend the rest of the day at work with me - unless they want to continue monitoring her?


I'll find out for sure tomorrow. Hoping to figure out some way that they could document how she's doing and the surgery itself. Wondering if they'd take pictures for me! :thumbup:

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#6 macawpower58

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 07:02 PM

My prayers will follow her into surgery.

Praying all goes easily and well.

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#7 Monica

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 09:09 PM

I'm quite happy to say she (bourke) made it through surgery, and I will be picking her up around 6pm. I asked them to document the surgery (in pictures), and I've received one photo. Her foot is currently bandaged up, and I'm supposed to bring her back in on Saturday for the bandage. I think I am to bring her in tomorrow as well, for some Sub-Q fluids, although this was not mentioned over the phone. When I go to pick her up, I'll have a short after-care talk with my a-vet. We may be sending in the mass to double check that the mass isn't any different than the sample taken for the biopsy.


Image (below) of her foot right after surgery (she's still out, in the image), open at your own peril! (it's a bit graphic)


http://img.photobuck...es/b8ec2c05.jpg


I'm just waiting now to go and pick her up. (still a few more hours of work, too)

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#8 New Ekkie Mom

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 11:26 PM

Glad she made it through ok. Here's praying for a quick and full recovery!
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#9 dianaalrusty

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 11:51 PM

Great!! Very happy to hear.

#10 sodakat

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 02:31 AM

Look at that tiny little foot! I was waiting to hear how it went. Is there any chance it will grow back? She is going to be mighty happy once it heals and can get around without that big "thing" in her way!

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#11 Monica

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 02:38 AM

Interestingly enough, she was able to get around just fine with the mass... although the mass is gone now, and in it's place is a big clumpy bandage around her foot!


She's home now.

She looks like a wreck, but has been figuring out how to get around and perch with a bandaged foot. She's currently happily munching away at some millet and other food while resting inside her food dish. On the ride home, she decided that her food dish was a very stable spot to rest and a great place for snacks.

She goes back in on Friday for Sub-Q fluids in the evening, so she gets to spend the entire day with me at work! She also goes in on Saturday and Monday to see if the bandage will be coming off or remaining, and to check the foot.

They sent additional photos home, some on paper, rest on a flash drive, but they sent short cuts which I didn't think would work... and they don't... so I'll pester them tomorrow for the *actual* pictures! Maybe either find someone who knows how to transfer them onto the flash drive, or instruct them on how to do so (I don't know their software, but I think I could figure it out!)


I really hope she starts feeling better by tomorrow.

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#12 Monica

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 03:03 AM

Every now and then, she's picking on the bandage - then gives up and leaves it alone for a while. This morning, when I put her in the car, she was so intent on that bandage that she accidentally flipped over upside down, with wings spread - and she had no intention of flipping herself back over. Regardless, I helped her roll back over.

I was honestly worried last night, as she would not support herself. If she was in her food dish, she either used the sides as support for her head, or tucked her head into the dish. If she was on the bottom of the cage, or on the wire shelf I provided for her, she was laying down, head on the wire. She slept last night with one of my monitors as a sort of 'night light' in case she wanted to move around or if she accidentally freaked out. I passed out around 9:30pm, when she couldn't decide to pass out in her food dish, on the perch, wire shelf or elsewhere. Woke up a few times in the middle of the night, starting at 2am. Each time I woke up, she was in a different spot - asleep. At 6am, she was passed out in her dish.

I gave her a piece of millet (6:30 or so) next to her in her dish. At first, she growled at me, and then after the piece was in the dish, she happily munched away at it. I didn't bother her again until around 7:30am to give her her meds, and remove the dish to clean it. She was not happy with either, although when I replaced the dish with seed in it, I had picked her up out of the cage, placed her in the dish, and as I was setting the dish inside the cage, my hand still over her body, she started to munch away at the food. She currently has 1 dish of seed, 1 dish of pellets, 1 of water and a few pieces of millet sprig placed around the cage. The rope perch and wire shelf are placed low in the cage.



The day was spent with her cage near my desk where-in she rested, ate and chewed on the bandage. She's eating well, but she hasn't been drinking. Concerned, I tried giving her some water via syringe, but she was not keen on that idea, to say the least. Early afternoon, I did take her outside so she could enjoy some sun and heat (I sit at the opposite side of the room from a swamp cooler, so it was a tad cooler). That perked her up for a bit, but she wasn't interested in sitting in the sun all the way, and since it was late-ish, the spot I had her in kept losing sun and going into shade.

Took her back to the vets at 5pm, she received the Sub-Q Fluids and the a-vet feels as if she's doing better. She certainly appears to be doing better than yesterday - during the times that she's active. Was told that if she's dehydrated, she would stop eating - so as long as she's eating, I'll assume that's a good sign! And she's definitely eating!

She appears to be doing much better tonight, especially since she tried flying inside the cage and landing on the side - which didn't go over too well... I moved up the platform perch and with some "help" (okay, I wasn't very helpful) she managed to fly up to the perch where she found a piece of millet to nibble on (after eating seeds from one of the dishes)

The Saturday appointment has been cancelled, although she's still going in on Monday. I'll be dropping her off in the morning, the a-vet will remove the bandage and determine if it's okay to leave it off, or if she needs to place a new one on. Likewise, if she's not feeling well on Saturday (not much I can do Sunday) I can take her back in for some more Sub-Q fluids. I suspect I'll be monitoring her over the weekend.
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#13 Monica

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 06:46 PM

Last night the bourke was considering laying down (like a dog) to sleep but decide to lay while somewhat supporting herself (like a chicken). Medicating her is difficult, but I decided to give her some Greek Yogurt (with Live & Active Probiotic Cultures) after giving her the meds. Strangely enough, I think she liked it! Inbetween the times she was trying to escape from my hand, she would also bite at the syringe and lick it - which is more than I can say with the meds! (clamped beak!) So from now on, I'll be mixing the meds with the yogurt to see if she's any more receptive in taking them. (not entirely sure she needs them) I've tried plain, non-greek yogurt before, but they didn't seem as interested with it.

She's doing pretty well now figuring out how to get around with that lump of a foot - and still trying to remove the bandage! Since she's been feeling well enough to fly now and figuring out better how to get around again, I've moved the rope perch up a tad (tail no longer hits the cage grate). She's still eating well (even if it's mostly millet), although not drinking yet. Not particularly interested in fresh/cooked foods atm, which I'm not concerned about, for now.

Still a lot of "down time", but getting a bit livelier each day!

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#14 Monica

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 02:45 PM

For the first time since Thursday morning, the bourke has decided to take a drink of water! This did, however, result in an inelegant dip in the water dish, which was caused by a "lack of sufficient" water due to two previous blunders into the water dish. Half empty, and her not being so graceful, I removed the water dish, cleaned it, refilled to the brim, and placed back into the cage. After that, she took a good few drinks then proceeded to the food dish!

She slept in two places last night, mostly supporting herself. It would have been one area, but she fell(?) from her higher perch (or got spooked). I can tell that she's definitely getting back to her normal self!

Between the mishaps of slipping into her water dish, and eating out of her food dish while sitting in it, her bandage is starting to get pretty messy...

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#15 Monica

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 09:49 PM

This morning, the bourke was in *no way* interested in being captured, and escaped from the cage. She had a few laps around the room before quickly tiring out and perhaps making a less than graceful landing near the ground. I haven't given her the pain meds since Saturday as I can't really tell if she's in pain or not and for the most part, she left the bandage alone. She's been quite a bit perkier without her sedative (aka pain meds) as well, and appears almost back to her normal self!

Today, or rather probably by now, she's had the bandage removed, and with any luck, I'll find out within a few hours if the bandage remains off or if they need to put one back on.



Finally managed to get those photos of the surgery, and I've taken some since. Click on the images to see a larger size!

First photos, she's being held, receiving anesthesia, local anesthesia and the area is being prepped/cleaned for surgery.

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The next images are a bit graphic, as it's during the surgery itself, so if your pretty queasy, view at your own risk!




First night home, she was *not* feeling well, so when she slept like she did in the photo below, you can understand my concern and worry for her!

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A couple of pictures taken from work on Friday. (1 day after surgery) Second one she is enjoying some sun! This was prior to receiving the SQ Fluids.

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Saturday night. She ended up sleeping like a "chicken" rather than a "dog" both Friday and Saturday night. Sunday night she slept more normal like. Two pics of her resting, one she's 'attacking' the millet!

http://img.photobuck...th_19cefc0c.jpg http://img.photobuck...th_b5218c0a.jpg http://img.photobuck...th_e9d16b74.jpg




And a video to go with the last pictures!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPjPdvGDcXU






No photos yet from today, but suffice it to say, she gets better each day!

Monica & Fids (Fids = Feathered Kids)


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#16 Monica

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 03:38 AM

When I went to go pick up the bourke today, she was flying all around her cage, moving and chirping! Not holding still! The bandage is off, although there's still some gauze stuck to the scab, which will remain there until it falls off or she removes it.

She's standing on her left foot a bit, with her right tucked up, but when moving around and eating, she uses it just fine.

Had her water dish all filled up and placed it a little too high in regards to her perch, so instead of hopping up onto the dish, she stretched her neck over and took a few drinks. I moved the dish a little closer and a bit down making it easier for her to drink from it.

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#17 Guest_NotEnoughTime_*

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 12:58 PM

Glad to see that she's done so well! I gather the results of the tumor analysis were good - or did it go in for a check? A lot of stress for you I imagine - but nothing like what the bird went through...

#18 Monica

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 02:12 PM

Haven't received the results from the second biopsy yet. Was told that it can take up to 5 days to find out the results. It's been 3 business days, 4 if you include Saturday.

She's still pretty active, using her foot a lot. It's only when resting that she'll pull that foot up... although now, she's switched feet, standing on right foot with left tucked up. Ya, guess she'll be fine! :lol:


Newest photo since the bandage removal - you can see the gauze that's left over on the foot.

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#19 french

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 10:31 AM

I'm glad to hear your Bourke is recovering well. Our boy is 8.5 years old and just a little bundle of energy and love. Prayers and good energy that the second biopsy indicated the bump is benign.

#20 Monica

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 02:42 PM

Thank you. It's been a week now, or 5 business days, so I *should* hear something by today, I hope! They didn't find anything the first time, so I hope nothing has changed!

She continues to improve each day, although when I had to go into work yesterday, I missed her! Wanted to bring her along just so I could watch her and make sure she continues to improve, but I said I wouldn't bring her in until Sept 1st, a week from now - when she gets the sutures removed. When I had her in at work on Monday (and out of the way), if no one was paying attention, they didn't notice her, she was being so quiet and still. When someone did notice her, they stared at her for a while, wondering why there was a bird in at work! :lol: Even had a few questions about her.

When she was in at the vets on Monday, there was a poodle owner *so* surprised to see a bird at the vets, even more surprised when the vets had performed a "birdy operation", as she didn't know people did that! She also mentioned that she loves birds, so long as it's not her taking care of them! :lmao: She realizes they are smart creatures. :ywink:

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