Thursday, June 26, 2008

The fungus among us.

When Sasha had his vet appointment last week, our new (excellent, board certified and quite intuitive) vet hadn't seen him yet, and, as it was time for his annual check up, took blood and cultures and swabbed his bitey little mouth. It seems that the rescue from whence we adopted him is the Moby Dick to our little Pequod home. Poor Sasha is the only one of our four birds to have an avian disease called aspergillosis, which is spread by the inhalation of mold spores of the genus Aspergillus, and is usually found to be not harmful in normal, healthy birds kept in clean environs. However, the conditions in which we found Sasha at the rescue were best described as fetid: ideal to further the spread of infection and cause even the hardiest of birds considerable stress. The crusted droppings, the lack of clean water, the dust and grime, the dog feces and constant barking presence of the feral pack of dogs around the birds' cages, the cross-contamination of dozens of animals all kept in a confined, unventilated space, the being passed from foster home to rescue to foster home again, the incessant noise from birds not given enough activity, all would weaken even as strapping a bird as Sasha.

I'm certainly glad that the vet was thorough enough to not only culture the swab from Sasha's mouth, but send it to an independent lab for confirmation. I'm leaving it to Christian, though, to administer the liquid medication. I would have to towel Sasha to get near enough to his beak to get him to take the meds, and I just can't bear causing him any more stress. Poor pooper.

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