Where were we when we last left our hero, Mario???? I think we had just been to the vet for his initial exam and were awaiting test results……While we were waiting for results, Dr. W. prescribed medications to get Mario started….[I truly believe he would have died in a few days as he had not eaten in quite some time while he was with his previous owner.] So it began, the morning and evening routine of administering medications and experiencing stress, flailing for everyone involved in these daily events. Seven syringes were lined up each morning, which included medications & food, waiting to for Mario. The hardest part of the entire process was getting him out of the cage. Despite the fact that he was obviously weak, he could still run extremely quickly. I would enlist my husband’s help in catching and restraining while I administered medication and food. It was horrible! I hated to see this poor boy so stressed out, but as one would do with your child- it had to be done. Within about five days, Mario had begun eating on his own. I reduced his syringe feeding to once a day for the following week, and discontinued it a week later.

An important fact to remember about Mario’s physical condition was the fact that he had very few feathers, including flight feathers. He was basically fluff with a few feathers added in here and there. I began to see blood, approximately seven to eight days into treatment, in the area of his wings. After examining his wings, I found the few flight feathers he did have were breaking due to all of his flailing (and the horrible condition of his feathers- extremely dry and brittle). As much as I did not want to to it, those feathers had to come out. One evening after his medications, while my husband held him, I pulled out the broken feathers that were causing the bleeding. In total seven feathers had to be removed. In Mario’s case the blood stopped very quickly and he was back up and in his cage within a few minutes.  I was so happy something seemed to go well….. but that thought changed rather quickly…..

We were still waiting for test results while continuing medication as per Dr. W. My experience with Mario was uncharted territory for me. It seemed as though we would take one step forward and five back. He was still not handle-able, had no interest in interacting, and seemed to be mad at the world. Yet, when I was holding him in a towel after his medications he did allow me to pet his head, even though he didn’t seem to enjoy any of it. As time went on he seemed to know we were trying to help him, but it didn’t change anything. I kept hoping his attitude would improve as he got better, but we had a long way to go.

The morning after the feather removal proved to be one of those discouraging times when I wondered if there was any hope at all for this little guy. After catching Mario, my husband emerged from the cage area with blood on his face and clothing. The ceiling and walls, as well as my clothing had blood spatters everywhere. It could have been on one of those TV shows involving murders, even though the victim would have been extremely small. Despite a minimal amount of flailing, it turned out to be the area on his wing where the feathers had been pulled the night before. Thankfully, the bleeding stopped almost as quickly as it started. I had the cornstarch ready and available to assist in stopping the blood flow, but it was not necessary.  As you may have guessed, this created a whole new problem……I made several attempts to bandage or pad his wing to prevent further incidents without much success…. As I was struggling with my own discouragement, the Vet’s office called with Mario’s test results…..another blow…. He had tested positive for aspergillosis. A nightmare for bird owners….


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