Using Antibiotics

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Sally
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Using Antibiotics

Post by Sally » Fri Oct 16, 2015 6:06 pm

There is a discussion right now on the NFSS Facebook page about the indiscriminate use of antibiotics. Vonda Zwick (www.finchaviary.com) gave me permission to pass on this post of hers, which I think is very informative. Vonda has done a lot of work with avian microscopy, and I respect her opinions. I agree with her that there is far too much indiscriminate use of antibiotics. You can actually do more harm by giving an antibiotic for the wrong illness. Next time you want to reach for an antibiotic in your med supply, please make certain you know what you are treating.

"Ever wonder why so many of the OTC antibiotics sold in stores and by bird vendors don't work? It is because 1. they are being used to treat the wrong thing and 2. they have been misused as described above so often that when used to treat the right thing, the bacteria has become resistant to the antibiotics.

Having used a microscope to identify problems via fecal smears, I can tell you that the majority of the problems that our birds face are not bacterial in nature (some are, but most are not). They are parasitic (coccidia, trichomonas, giardia, cochlosoma, variety of worms, etc) or yeast related (candida or AGY). Antibiotics actually make yeast infections worse by destroying the gut flora. Even when none of these show up on a fecal, problems can be viral in nature and not bacterial. When it is bacterial, it is important to know something about the type of bacteria as not all bacteria respond to any given antibiotic.

Personally, I never would use antibiotics preventatively. Other types of meds, yes under certain conditions (eg, birds kept outside that will be constantly exposed to coccidia). It is better to allow your birds to be exposed to bacterial pathogens in light loads so their immune systems can step up and learn to fight them. Keeping a clean healthy environment will help ensure that bacterial loads do not become too heavy, but over sterilization can result in no exposure, which means the immune system will not be prepared to deal with problems when they do arise. So clean environments but not completely sterile.

If the bird is ill, I want to know first that the problem is bacterial and then as much info as possible before administering an antibiotic. The best course of action is to consult with a vet. You can get some information by doing gram stains (gram positive vs gram negative) but these are harder to do yourself accurately, and some info via visual fecal smear (rods vs round [coccus]) that will help determine which antibiotics may be most effective."
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Re: Using Antibiotics

Post by andiok » Fri Oct 16, 2015 6:19 pm

Sally
thx for sharing Sally.
ive always been a strong believer that preventing with antibiotics makes things worst. is just like with the kids and human body. you get a swab from the physician to know if its a virus or infection that need antibiotics.
the thing with our birds though, is that vets are so crazy expensive for a feces test that makes it impossible for some of us to actually pay that amount of money. And what people do is that they guess whats wrong with their birds and start the treatments according to their guesses

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Re: Using Antibiotics

Post by debbie276 » Fri Oct 16, 2015 6:38 pm

Thanks for sharing that information Sally :)
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Re: Using Antibiotics

Post by lovezebs » Fri Oct 16, 2015 6:54 pm

Sally

Thank you Sally, and Vonda.

I find the idea of just throwing antibiotics at anything and everything disturbing.

For many years doctors did that with people, which is why we have so many antibiotic resistant strains of God knows what out there now a days.

It is a dangerous practice, and something that should be discouraged strongly.

The problem is however, that in many cases when something goes wrong with our little guys, we don't know what to do. In many cases, even Vets don't quite know what's wrong with them, and what to do about it , and not all of us have access to Avian Vets (who by the way, in many cases appear to be more experienced with hookbills than finches). Plus in many cases, dragging an already sick finch to a Vet's office, places so much stress on the bird, that it dies with or without treatment. You end up with a large bill and a dead bird.

So that's where 'taking a chance' comes in. You have a sick bird, simple home remedies (heat, etc.) are not working, your bird is getting worse, you reach for the antibiotics, thinking that the bird is dying anyway, so maybe , just maybe, the antibiotics will help.

I think, that what is really needed, is a very clear and concise book about as many finch diseases and disorders as possible, with as many symptoms as possible listed in layman's terms , so that the majority of people can understand. Added to that, a list of treatments that should be tried, from the most simple, to a list of medications that may be helpful.

Will it take all the guess work out? Of course not, but at least it might give people a clue as to what they 'might' be dealing with to some extent....

Shall we all pitch in, and buy our Crystal, a gold pen, and the biggest notebook we can find??? Hint, hint, hint......
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Re: Using Antibiotics

Post by wildbird » Fri Oct 16, 2015 10:10 pm

Good idea Lovezebs. When you find a book like that, let us know. Most of the vets who write books, are writing them for other vets to use, not the small bird owner. I remember one vet I went to a few years ago was looking at one of Dr. Harrison's books for the information. He was supposed to write one for bird owners, but I don't think that ever happened.

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Re: Using Antibiotics

Post by cindy » Fri Oct 16, 2015 11:29 pm

We found that on our fbk group there was a period time where a lot of folks had birds sick all around the same time, some of the most common questions were in regards to what antibiotic to give. A majority of issues were not bacterial but primarily parasites/protozoa with secondary yeast issues. A few coccidia cases.

I do also agree that antibiotics are usually what folks want to grab first or they dose the birds (often with the wrong antibiotic if bacterial) with the hopes it will make the birds well and it actually made it worse since they were not treating the actual cause of the illness and the issue progressed because the treatment was wrong.

A vet is often the best course for illness especially if it is moving quickly through the flock. fecal smears are usually done and blood may be drawn, right medications given. The unavailability of vets in areas and cost often are a concern and that is were the forum and groups come into play. Anything we try to help with is a guess at best based on symptoms we see.

Some breeders I know have even gotten microscope and learned how to do their own fecal smears, how to read them by using a few different guide, some available on line. To learn to do this takes time and practice... some when acquiring new birds run a fecal on the new birds in quarantine. They do a few smears because with some parasites may not be shed every time the bird does a dropping. Doing fecal smears and examining them gives them peace of mind that they will not be introducing issues into their existing flock and they can treat the new birds according to the findings if needed.

I do refer to often is Dr. Harrison's book... Avian Medicine: Principles and Application
by Branson W. Ritchie (Author), Greg J. Harrison (Author), Linda R. Harrison

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Re: Using Antibiotics

Post by Spreckles » Wed Nov 04, 2015 4:09 pm

What about after traveling from the breeder to you? The breeder recommends it.

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Sally
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Re: Using Antibiotics

Post by Sally » Wed Nov 04, 2015 9:53 pm

It used to be suggested that new birds in quarantine get a full course of many medications, some still do this. I personally do not, because I only want to give antibiotics if I have a known illness in my birds. When I get new birds, I do give them NV powder (electrolytes plus glucose) in their water for several days. This helps them through the stress of being moved to a new environment. This is made by Dr. Rob Marshall and can be found online. Morning Bird makes a similar product called Vitalize.

In addition to the NV powder, I will administer SCATT to each new bird, just in case they might have air sac mites or some other little critters. If the new birds might have come from an outside aviary, I will also worm them.

This is all I will give to my new birds. I watch them closely during quarantine, and then if and only if I have a sick bird and I KNOW what is wrong, I will administer whatever medication seems appropriate. Quarantine is very necessary, because it gives a chance for you to observe the birds and try to protect your flock in case the new birds are sick. It also allows the new birds to get used to their new environment. It can be a big change for them--new diet, new water, new cage--lots to get used to.
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Re: Using Antibiotics

Post by Spreckles » Wed Nov 04, 2015 11:09 pm

Thank you do you consider them to be in quarantine by a separate cage or does the cage need to be in a different place as well? I don't think we even have an avian vet here closest is in LA.

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Sally
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Re: Using Antibiotics

Post by Sally » Thu Nov 05, 2015 1:21 am

Ideally, quarantine should be in another building. However, few of us can do that. Next best is quarantine in a separate room of the house. Last choice would be in the same room. One thing to keep in mind is that you should be careful to keep utensils, dishes, etc. separate from your other birds, even washing your hands after working with your birds and before working with the birds in quarantine.
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Re: Using Antibiotics

Post by Eng.W0LF » Tue Dec 01, 2015 7:56 pm

thank you Sally for sharing these informations

one week ago i had a sick zebra hen, she was so tired and puffed up and won't even eat or move as usual , she was laying eggs but the symptoms didn't look like egg binding issue, so instead of trying to guess the illness and choose an antibiotic that i "think" it's suitable for this issue, i basically did everything i can in small doses
i put the hen close to a heater , put some mineral grits and cattlefish bone in the cage , and put some egg food , this is in case she has egg binding,
and because there's a chance she might have a bacterial infection i chose a liquid wide spectrum antibiotic and used the least dosage possible for only 2 days , now she's ok , it appears that she had an egg binding issue because after that she laid a weird shaped egg (looks more like a capsule :D )
my point is, sometimes you find yourself in a situation where you don't have enough time , and you have to save the bird and make a quick response,
and for the new birds, i personally prefer not to offer anything but vitamin/mineral supplements and let the new bird build it's own immunity system.
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