Sunday, 19 March 2017

Under the Lights

I've been baking this weekend. Probably not the best past time, but enjoyable nonetheless and quite honestly I'm baking to feel like I can do something useful. 

We have our cockatoo home now, but he's dying. We're basically doing palliative care and waiting for him to die. There is a small, vanishingly small, possibility his illness may remit for months to years, but it's highly unlikely with him as sick as he is currently. He does not seem in pain at all or we would have him euthanized. He's enjoying eating his favourite foods, and spending time under his heat lamp and snuggling up to us. He's very sick, but essentially on a slow downhill trajectory. If he goes downhill fast or seems to be in pain, we'll call our vet to come to the house to euthanize him. As it is now, we're just trying to let him enjoy the rest of his time with us. 

My kids are learning some important lessons through helping take care of Gallifrey. We're coping with some big emotions, as we'd expect. 

I wish I could make this better. If he were human, there would be options. The virus would be better understood. The treatment options would be better than "we think this might help, so that's what we're doing." 

This illness - formerly known as macaw wasting disease, then PDD, then ABV, and now avian bornavirus ganglioneuritis - has been around as long as I've had birds. The virus is everywhere. Almost every flock will have a bird or two who carries the virus asymptomatically. It's somewhere around 25-40% of pet birds who have the virus. Whether it will progress to a clinical syndrome, as it has done in my bird, is unpredictable. This is the most likely time of year for it, because they're entering breeding season and the hormonal activity is stressful. 

I've been poring through what little literature I can find to see if there's anything else we can do, but he's already on the generally accepted treatment regimen that, in some birds, helps them live for years longer. 

It's pretty obvious he's not going to live for years more at this point. He's hanging out under his heat lamp and eating a bit. We're feeding him some hand feeding formula as easily accessible calories and fluids. 

We've done our best by him, and that's all we can do. Now we just have to help keep him comfortable and let him pass in his own time, in his own space, where he is happiest. 

He needs a bath, but I'm hesitant to give him one because he's having trouble maintaining his temp already. :-/

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