Underdog, the cockatiel, came to us after being neglected by his previous people. His beak had become so overgrown it had actually curved under his lower jaw, pierced through it and became embedded in his tongue. Our veterinary staff quickly cut off and removed the growth, which looked like hoop earrings in the middle of his face. But, the damage had already been done. His lower jaw was barely a thin line of bone, and his tongue was bloody.
After a trip to a bird specialist veterinarian, he was put on pain medication and we were told that Underdog would have to learn to eat again, if he was to survive. To achieve this, we syringe fed him baby food four times a day for several days. We then moved to a variety of soft foods, such as cooked pasta & rice, scrambled eggs, finely chopped fruits and veggies, mashed potatoes and small pieces of bread. He was able to pick and choose what he liked.
But would it be enough to sustain him? Could he keep the food in his mouth long enough to swallow it? Would he ever be able to eat regular bird food again? The answer was "YES!" to all of the above! Underdog was not about to let his past hold him back. Each day he improved and within a few weeks was eating bird pellets and bird seed. He started chirping and showed much interest in all the comings and goings in the office.
A month later, another trip to the bird specialist showed a weight gain from 97 grams to 107 grams, a huge improvement in his feathers and general good health. Also, his lower jaw is starting to grow back! Just like the cartoon character he was named for, Underdog always wins! While he will need regular trips to the vet for beak trimming, we see no reason why this special guy can't live a long, happy life. Underdog would do best with an experienced bird person, so come meet our little hero!
Answer Book 2016
To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2016 Answer Book, please click here.
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