Budgerigar Health Part 1 of 5 – Emergency First Aid

Straight crop needlesThis article covers the following:

  • First Aid Kit
  • Sick Bird: Step by Step
  • Emergency First Aid
  • Crop Needle Technique
  • ER & Qwik Gel Formula
  • ER & Qwik Gel Preparation

First Aid Kit

Your budgerigar first aid kit should ideally contain:

  • Crop Needle: 2.5cm long straight 16 G
  • Syringes: 3mls
  • Stainless steel bowl
  • Kettle
  • Emergency rescue Formula (e.g. ER formula)
  • Quik Gel
  • Amoxicillin antibiotic
  • Sulfa-trimethoprim antibiotic
  • Heated Hospital Cage – Thermostatically controlled 25-30 degrees Celsius, perch, food and water containers, millet spray, paper on floor
  • Dr. Marshall’s Contact numbers: Tel: Sydney Australia 0298716036 – Email: www.robmarshall@birdhealthcom.au

Sick Bird: Step by Step

  • Step One

    Isolate the sick bird(s) to a heated cage, collect droppings for veterinary testing and treat with a crop needle with ER/Quik Gel.

  • Step Two

    “Guestimate” medicine based upon symptoms.

  • Step Three

    Give Quik Gel into the drinking water of the rest of the flock and clean the cages/flights with an appropriate disinfectant whilst the problem is being diagnosed.

  • Step Four

    Submit droppings collected prior to giving medicines for testing and seek advice from a bird veterinarian.

  • Step Five

    View the illness as a “family weakness” when sick or dead birds are related. It may be necessary to remove such families from a breeding plan. Identify the illness as an environmental issue when sick birds are unrelated.

  • Step Six

    Introduce a disease prevention plan following a final diagnosis to protect the rest of the flock from future infections.

Emergency First Aid

  • The first response to failing health should be to isolate any sick bird(s) to a hospital cage. The hospital cage should be pre-heated to 25-30 degrees Celsius, possess a perch, fresh seed and have Quik Gel in the drinking water. The floor should be lined with clean paper so that the droppings can be clearly viewed.

     
    Any bird that fails to perch in the hospital cage must immediately receive heated ER/Quik Gel – a specially prepared heated liquefied formula administered – by a crop needle.

    This treatment is the starting point for recovery irrespective of the disease involved, as in many cases, a full recovery occurs simply by crop needle feeding a sick bird and keeping it warm.

    For further information, please reference: Chapter 19 pages 240-247: “The Budgerigar” (by Dr Rob Marshall)

Crop Needle Technique

  • Crop needle feeding ER formula and Quik Gel – an emergency rescue mixture – has multiple life saving actions. It re-establishes normal body temperature, elevates blood glucose concentrations and reverses any dehydration, all of which stimulate kidney function, circulation and appetite. Its action is to re-establish vital functions so that appetite returns, allowing the body to self heal. With a return of appetite, recovery becomes far more likely.

     
    For non-infectious conditions and birds with low-grade secondary infections, the administration of ER formula, Quik Gel and hospital care often brings about a cure within 3 days.

    For further information, please reference: Chapter 19 pages 242-243: “The Budgerigar” (figure 19a).

ER & Qwik Gel Formula

  • A heated emergency rescue food administered by crop needle represents the single most important act for saving the lives of sick budgerigars.

     
    Most sick birds can be saved if they receive ER/Qwik Gel formula before they have completely stopped eating.

    ER stands for Emergency Rescue formula and in combination with Qwik Gel saves the lives of sick birds whilst a diagnosis is being confirmed.

    This heated concoction provides an ailing bird with a rapidly absorbed source of energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals that restores core body temperature, fluid balance and energy levels.

ER & Qwik Gel Preparation

  • Place a teaspoon of ER powder in a cup then whilst adding 10ml of hot water (35C) in small amounts mix it continuously until a smooth cream-like solution is created. Maintain the heat of this liquid formula by using a hot water bath. Then mix one drop of Qwik Gel into the formula and immediately draw up 3mls into a warmed syringe and remove any air bubbles. Connect the syringe to a 5cm 16 guage crop needle and test formula passes freely through the crop needle – then administer to the sick bird.

     
    Antibiotics are added into the hand rearing mix according to veterinary instructions – See Chapter 19 pages 242-243: “The Budgerigar” (figure 19b). A 10ml solution is enough to treat 3 birds. Repeat this process 2-3 times each day until the sick birds are active and eating again.

    For crop and gizzard blockages continue this treatment twice daily for 3 days.

    For egg binding add 1ml liquid calcium to this mixture and continue this treatment twice daily for 3 days.

    For further information, please reference: Chapter 19 pages 242-243: “The Budgerigar” (figure 19b).

Dr Rob’s Products

To order the products mentioned in this article, please use the links on the Dr Robert Marshall page.

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About the Author: Dr Rob Marshall B.V.Sc., M.A.V.C.Sc. (Avian Health) is arguably the finest and most experienced veterinary surgeon in the world currently highly active in the field of avian diseases. His knowledge, supported by his extensive Curriculum Vitae, plus papers and books on avian health, is unequalled. His latest publication, "The Budgerigar Book", took 12 years to produce and is undoubtedly the most extensive volume concerning budgerigar health ever produced. Dr Marshall has his own veterinary practice in Carlingford, near Sydney, Australia.

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