Friday, June 13, 2008


Never take a budgie to the vet. Because if you do, chances are that you will pay $50 for the visit, plus $28 for the lab test, to find out that a bird which costs $20 at the pet store needs $15 worth of antibiotics. In our case, since we have two budgies, we spent $143, since one test and one dose of antibiotics suffice for both.

And the fun has only just begun. You may wonder how one gives antibiotics to a bird. Well, you suck it up into a syringe and shoot it down the bird's throat, while trying to avoid being bitten but still handle the bird gently so as not to hurt it. I don't know if this sounds straightforward or not, but it's not as easy as that sentence would make it seem. We have one budgie in particular who is amazing for her ability to struggle to free herself and scream bloody murder all while keeping her beak clamped tight shut. The poor thing now has sticky and slicked down feathers on the side of her face where the sugary antibiotics have missed her mouth. And when I do miss her mouth, I never really know whether I should try again with another dose or not, because maybe she's gotten enough down her throat that if I give her more it would be bad.

Which is not even to mention the merriment when the bird escapes. Budgies are little and flighty, so we have to chase them back and forth across the room, swatting at them vainly to get them to leave whatever high perch they've lighted on, trying to tire them out until they lose enough altitude for us to get our hands on them. In my case, this is generally accompanied by mounting frustration leading to anger, even though there's not really anyone to blame. Doesn't help me keep my temper, though.


We are supposed to keep track of our remaining antibiotics, and bring the birds in for another checkup and lab test, and presumably go through this all over again in case the lab test shows a continuing high bacteria count. I love the budgies, and I know that misuse of antibiotics is bad for everybody, not just the birds involved, but does ANYBODY do that for their children, say, if the prescribed course of antibiotics has left the children feeling healthy again? Given that the budgies didn't have any actual symptoms to start with, just a high bacterial count in their droppings, I'm afraid we are all going to have to soldier on without the followup.

Life is tough sometimes.

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