My Green-wing is 29 now. I’ve had him since he was a few months old and he is gorgeous. A true funny, gentle giant!
About 6 years ago, we nearly lost him. I came home to find him on the floor having what I thought was an asthma attack. He was gasping to breath, it was awful. It went on for about 20 minutes and I just held him on my lap until it started easing.
I called my avian vet and he said to bring him in straight away. I took the hour drive and had to leave him. Drove the hour home and received a call from the vet basically warning me to prepare myself for him passing because he was really sick.
He had an advanced case of aspergillosis. They gave him oral meds and constant nebulising with more meds. They were going to keep him over the weekend but he then refused to eat, drink & was extremely frightened.
The vet called in the morning to say he really thought it best I come and fetch him and bring him back to an environment he knew and felt safe in plus he would be with me. I went straight up and fetched him.
I was told about what meds to give him, how to do it, how to nebulise him etc. My husband was away for a month so I had to get a grip and do my utmost for him.
One whole year, every single day, I gave him oral meds twice a day and 20-minute sessions of nebuliser treatment 4 times daily. We had to split how family holiday with the children so someone could always be with him to give him meds.
He had x-rays throughout this time to monitor his progress. A year later, we were told there were no longer signs of the disease whatsoever.
Hers’s the thing. Scarlet (my GW; he’s a boy with a girl’s name!) For the first 23 years of his life, had a seed based diet and he just loved sunflower seeds! He’d scoop them out and eat them first… But unknown to us, sunflower seeds strip the body of Vitamin A, which plays a massive role for Parrots.
His body was getting none, because of the damage these seeds had done and the tiny mould spores floating in the air, which would never have affected him with a healthy immune system, was the cause of aspergillosis.
The day he came home, I started giving him Harrison's High Potency course food, which the vet had given me. No brainer, he hated it! I’d taken his ‘chocolate’ away! So a few weeks of coaxing, pretending to eat it and hand feeding him, He came round!
We were so lucky with Scarlet; the vet was gobsmacked! He said he didn’t think for one second he would survive.
I didn’t know about sunflower seeds AT all. I would HATE any Parrot owner to go through what we went through with Scarlet. I just think prevention is better than a cure.
Thank you to Sara Rawlins for sharing her story. If you are concerned about your Parrot's health, we would recommend speaking to an avian vet.
Find the nearest one to you here.