Millennium Post

Birds don’t belong here

Birds don’t belong here
I recently acquired a parakeet and need help in setting up a cage for it. What all should I keep in mind?

I presume it is a foreign parakeet as keeping Indian ones is illegal. Keeping any birds is immoral and causing suffering to any creature like 
locking them up in cages always brings bad luck.

However, since you are the kind of person who is unlikely to worry about morality, here are some tips:
  • Birds use the width of their cage more than they use the height, and the cage should be twice the width of the bird’s wingspan.
  • Stainless steel birdcages are affordable, durable and easy to clean. Pay attention to the types of <g data-gr-id="122">grate</g> the cage comes with; some are easier to clean than others. Make sure that the bars are spaced close enough together that the bird cannot fit his head and body through.
  •   Your bird will need two water bowls – one for drinking and one for bathing – and a food bowl. Choosing a water bowl that can be locked in place on the cage helps avoid messes.
  •   Birds need perches in varying sizes and materials that can be placed at different levels in the cage to help keep their feet and nails worn evenly. Your bird’s foot should encircle the perch with a ¾ inch gap between the front and rear nails. Natural wood perches are great for birds that like to chew, but will need to be replaced often, as well as flexible braided rope perches, which can be difficult to clean. Also consider a concrete perch for the lower part of the cage.
  •   <g data-gr-id="105">Corncob</g> bedding, aspen, wood pellets or recycled paper products can be used. Cage liners are also appropriate.
  •   The cage should be in a well-lit room. A room that is too dark may cause your parakeet to behave oddly and develop health issues. Do not place the cage near a window that gets full sun in the hottest months of the year – this may cause heat stroke and death.  It’s a good idea to get some weak unfiltered sunlight for the vital ultraviolet-B light that helps keep birds healthy. If your yard is safe, your parakeet’s cage may be placed underneath a shade tree for a few hours every week or on a porch that gets early morning light.
My hamster has a <g data-gr-id="106">pus filled</g> wound in its cheek pouches.What could be the reason? How do I treat it?

Skin abscesses are essentially infected pockets of pus under the skin. In hamsters, they are usually caused by bacterial infections from wounds.  Pus accumulates under the skin, sometimes forming a sizable lump (which may sometimes begin draining on its own). Abscesses can form from cuts or scratches on the skin and also in the cheek pouches if abrasive food material causes scratches in the lining. If a hamster continually looks like it has food in packed in its cheek pouches, there may be an abscess or an impacted cheek pouch present. Abscesses require veterinary attention for draining, flushing, and treatment with antibiotics.

What causes pancreatitis in dogs and cats and how can it be treated?

The pancreas has two functions: 1) exocrine - to produce the enzymes needed to digest food, and 2) endocrine – to produce hormones, including the hormone insulin, which facilitates the uptake and storage of glucose (sugar) and amino acids (proteins).

Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, causing leakage of the digestive enzymes whereby the pancreas literally starts to “digest itself”. Pancreatitis can be acute (sudden) or chronic (happening over a course of time). Both acute and chronic forms are serious and can be <g data-gr-id="126">life-threatening,</g> especially the acute form. For the majority of cases, the cause is unknown. Pancreatitis can occur in both dogs and cats, but is more common in dogs, especially the acute form. Cats more commonly have the chronic form, and it can be difficult to diagnose.

In dogs, obese middle <g data-gr-id="120">age</g> to older animals <g data-gr-id="134">have</g> a higher incidence, as do females. Even though exact causes are not known, there are identifiable risk factors. Here are some potential risk factors:
  •   <g data-gr-id="132">High fat</g> meal (trigger for hyperlipidemia)
  •   Hyperlipidemia (high fat content in blood)
  •   Obesity (especially dogs)
  •   Concurrent disease - i.e. Cushing's, Diabetes Mellitus
  •   Contaminated food or water
  •   Certain drugs and toxins - i.e. some types of diuretics, antibiotics, and organophosphate insecticide
  •   Bacterial or viral infection
  •   Treatment for this disease is supportive, meaning that there isn't usually a direct cause and cure, but supporting the animal while allowing healing. The veterinary team will take care of the animal's fluid needs via IV, pain management, and will address any other disease processes (infection, diabetes, etc.) while letting the pancreas heal on its own.
  •   Resting the pancreas and gastrointestinal system is key, and this means no food or water by mouth for 1 to 5 or more days while on IV fluids. This is dependent on the severity of each case, and the animal must be on fluids and other support to survive and heal the pancreas while off of oral food and water.
  •   The vet will likely prescribe a low-fat, high-fibre diet to aid in your pet's recovery and to prevent future bouts of pancreatitis.

What is the Mad Cow Disease?

Mad Cow disease or BSE stands for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy. It is a relatively new disease, first diagnosed in Great Britain in 1986. The common name of “Mad Cow” is due to the loss of motor control, dementia and <g data-gr-id="130">behavioural</g> changes seen in the late stages of this disease. The most common mode of infection is by feeding cows contaminated feed – feed that contains animal proteins (from sheep or cows). BSE has a long incubation period, meaning that it can take months or years to show clinical signs. Once a cow starts showing signs, it is often terminal within 3 months. The human version is called Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease and has been linked to eating infected cow meat. It is fatal.

My pet duck seems unwell. It has started to lose muscular control legs and wings. What could be the issue?

If the bird loses its muscular control of legs, wings and neck and is unable to swallow, then it might be suffering from Botulism. It is advisable to take the duck to the doctor and get it treated. At home, one can follow these:
  •   Sick birds should be isolated and provided with food and water.
  •   Wounds should be treated, usually surgically, to remove the source of the toxin-producing bacteria.
  •   Good supportive care with antibiotics and vitamins has been helpful in some case.
  •   Remove the source of the toxin.  Keep birds away from suspect sources that cannot be removed.
  •   Supply clean feed and water, clean up around stagnant pools and ensure that all feed is fed in containers and not on the ground.
  •   The toxin is also found in maggots and litter beetles so these must also be controlled.
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