I Wish I Were a Snot Ball Shooter
Join Date: Feb 2003
Boy - where to start ???
We'd been having a lot of problems with Eephus, I can't pinpoint when he got really bad ... he's always been a bit of a maniac.
Back in June, he flipped out on me one night at around 2 am. Was going berserk inside his cage, when I got him out, he was just crazy. I took him in on the bed - he was tearing up his feathers, hopping around like crazy, was so terribly hot ... I ended up calling Doc Anders at home. He suggested giving him a shower to cool him down and then distracting him with a treat. It worked (nothing like feeding a wet macaw a graham cracker on the kitchen counter at 2 in the morning) and I just figured something had spooked him. There were some sore spots on his chest that I wrote off as him hurting himself when he fell while still in his cage.
When he recently started being super-aggressive towards me, we figured it was because Greg had been home most of the summer (foot surgery) and because he's getting older and maybe was choosing Greg over me as his "mate". When his screaming got out of control, we thought maybe we were spoiling him too much. When I was finding tons of white downy feathers on his cage floor, I figured it was just another "molting phase". I'm just disgusted at myself, I didn't recognize that something was seriously wrong until about 2 weeks ago when he started plucking himself. He'd already torn out all those downy feathers I found, he was moving on to his gold chest feathers. Just the new ones. He'd snip them off before they were ready, making them bleed - then later he'd pull out the stumps - grunting and growling because it hurt. Pretty soon, I noticed he was doing it to the tops of his wings, under his wings, and his legs.
So, we made an appt. Doc is a certified veterinary acupuncturist. I won't try to explain it all, after a while it got jumbled a bit in my mind. Doc said he's showing signs of spleen deficiencies - which has caused some liver deficiencies .... all of this caused his blood to thicken which meant his circulation was bad. It all boiled down to the poor guy being so terribly hot, and unable to cool down, which made him irritable and aggressive. The spleen is most active between the hours of Midnight and 3am, which explains that crazy behavior on that night back in June.
Everywhere that he was picking is a "cooling point". When you blew back what feathers were left on his chest, the area over his heart was completely bare. That's a major cooling point, it can't be used for acupuncture because it would cool him down too much. Doc listed off a bunch of symptoms, Eephus had 99% of them.
So, we toweled Eephus, put him on his back and Doc hit 4 points, well actually 5 - he hit one that is a calming point (weird, he instantly settled down). And, when one spot bled, the blood was almost black, so it was thick just like Doc figured.
It started working instantly - his aggression towards Doc was all but gone, he blew a big old batch of hot nasty breath in my face (heat coming out of his digestive system), and after I took him home, he left the feathers he'd sheared off earlier where they were.
We are absolutely amazed. Greg especially - he thought acupuncture was a bunch of voodoo. We're wondering who this bird in our house is, and what happened to our maniac. The screaming has become manageable, he's not near as aggressive towards me, he has new feathers coming in .... we can't get over how different he is. We were at our wits end with him lately. I guess we didn't realize just how bad he'd gotten until these past couple of days - he's so pleasant now.
It may happen again, but at least we'll know some of the warning signs. At 70 bucks a pop (22 office call, 45 for the treatment), we figure it'll be worth it for him. Meanwhile, we're being very careful with his diet, hoping he can keep this balance.
He never got so bad that he had huge bald spots showing. His chest isn't very pretty because it's thin in spots, and he has some ragged spots on his wings and legs - but thankfully we realized what was going on before it got too bad.
I'll pull out the camera tomorrow, see if I can get some good pictures of him.