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News on Ice-Cream

Friday 29 April

Ice-cream our popular Bare eyed cockatoo has been very ill for some time with a fungal disease known as Aspergillosis, which in this instance affected the lungs, air sacs around the body and possibly the kidneys. Seen very clearly in x-rays and confirmed with blood results. With extensive avian veterinary support, he has turned a corner and is improving but not quite out of the woods yet.

Latest x-rays and blood tests show a recovery but his urates are still higher than normal, so his kidneys are still affected in some way. He is a little fed up with long term treatment through the winter as he is highly sensitive anyway and rather tatty because of it.

However, we are hopeful he will go out into an aviary again soon and start to build himself up again. Thankfully having the skill of a specialist vet, although very costly due to the advanced testing systems and equipment, the cost would have been greater without this expertise, as Ice-cream would have probably lost his life.

Birds do not show that they are ill often until advanced stages as they have to disguise it for as long as possible. Being prey species, showing signs of weakness would leave them vulnerable to attack in the wild, so a quick response and diagnosis is needed to give them a chance to recover.

As we have an older population of birds now at Raystede, some having been here nearly 30 years, we are seeing more signs of illness creeping in and have sadly lost some of our much loved parrots.

William an old African Grey for instance, who had had a terrible past life, living in a really unhealthy environment, must have seen and endured a number of awful things.

He had been witness to family members suffering physical and mental abuse and a drugs raid on the house, at least for him was the start of someone intervening and rescuing him from such a stressful and unhealthy situation. He was always quite feisty and cheeky but never had many feathers and must have carried the emotional burden with him for life.

Sadly, there was little we could do for him in the end, as he was such a defiant bird and did not show signs of heart failure until the last day. Even the vet was surprised and did not know the full extent of the disease until Post Mortem.

He was very brave and we can only hope that we gave him a much more secure life for the years he had left.

Without supporters giving towards the care of all our animals and in particular the exotics, which can be much costlier than cats and dogs, we would have little chance of helping or saving our birds when they become ill.

We thank everyone who considers the birds during illness.  In particular for those at a later point in life and especially when they have endured a difficult life and face disease or age related problems directly as a result.  But at least here at Raystede they have a good chance of recovery or can receive palliative care.

Within the sanctuary, we do not give up on the animals because they are old or need extra care. This is their home and we aim to give them the best life we can until we can no longer help them.

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