A Special Needs Bird
Boo-Boo (pronounced like the name of Yogi Bear’s friend Boo-Boo) was a special bird from the beginning. He was smaller than his clutchmates, but he seemed very healthy. While it took him longer to get through the initial developmental stages, my experience has shown me that this is not that unusual for the sixth in a clutch of lovebirds. He was, essentially, the runt of the litter.
The problem started when Boo-Boo was about 4 weeks old. I woke to hear thrashing in the room where the babies are kept. At first I thought there must have been a small earthquake. When I came into the room all the lovebirds were panicking. As they calmed, I heard this very strange cry from one bird. It was still thrashing in the baby brooder. He was having a seizure! I removed him and held him firmly in my hands to protect him from thrashing about. He eventually calmed down, but his body was rigid with partial paralysis. HIs right leg seemed to have literally bent itself backwards against his body. I was horrified. I couldn’t move the leg at all without him screaming, so I made him up a separate brooder with a small box inside to help cushion him so he could be comfortable until morning. I had a sense of dread, wondering if he would make it until morning when I could take him to an avian veterinarian.
The next morning I checked on the baby lovebird. The leg had relaxed and I was able to reposition it. However, he had right-side weakness. It seemed as if the bird had a stroke of some sort. A vet visit was scheduled immediately. My avian vet decided to put the bird on Baytril, suspecting that some sort of bacterial infection had gone into his brain, causing the seizures. However, results of cultures showed no sign of bacteria. It was baffling! Boo-Boo improved dramatically over the next few days. I kept him separate from his clutchmates and other birds just in case.
I realized pretty quickly that Boo-Boo had suffered some sequelae from his seizure. He had a funny chirp that was very different from the typical lovebird chirp and he just had an odd sort of personality. His right leg seemed to have regained most of its strength, although he did seem to favor it. Just as I thought we were out of the woods, I heard this terrible screeching and banging. I ran out and saw poor Boo thrashing again, in the midst of a terrible seizure. I held him gently until the seizures stopped. I was desperate to figure out what was happening. We started a second, longer course of antibiotics in the hopes that it was some sort of bacterial infection that had not been detected in culture. The seizures again seemed to stop.