Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Parrot Behaviour Consultant

Recently, I had the privilege of meeting, Yvonne MacMillan, via correspondence through the internet. She is a parrot behavior consultant and operates, The Island Parrot Sanctuary. It is the first Parrot Sanctuary to become a registered Charity in Scotland. I would like to share a story she sent me in one of her emails, pertaining to the work she does with rescued birds.

Yvonne MacMillan
Island Parrot Sanctuary
United Kingdom (Great Britain)

These birds were brought to us at the age of 40 years old. Their names are Charley and Jacob (Jacob left and Charley right). Charley is in the next photo with Bob eight weeks later. Jacob was beaten with a stick and found life very hard. Trust was a big issue as it was with Charley.

I was contacted by a rescue centre in Wales, England. I work with the special needs birds. We are a rescue centre for Parrots located on a small, quiet, Scottish Island, which is a Sanctuary in its self and gives the birds the tranquil peace that they need to heal.

Charley was deemed to be highly aggressive as was Jacob. They had been fed with tongs as they would bite badly if handled. In my experience these birds are just afraid and need time to trust and relax. Charley was the most naughty, but oh what a darling. He would say "Thank You" in a Welsh accent then take what ever you had to offer. He had badly self-mutilated his body, as you can see in the photo. but today he is a majestic wonderful boy with his plumage growing day by day. (after photo, shown below)

I worked with my wonderful avian vet Alistair Lawrie but also used herbs to help him heal. Milk thistle to take the anger from his liver. Aloe to sooth his skin and love to help him trust. Charley has now found a lover in a blue and gold macaw who goes by the name of Kimmy. They are full of naught behavior and fun. They have a stalker by the name of sparky who has a passion for big birds. She is a Red Rump Parakeet (Female). It is funny to see the three birds sleeping together with little sparky squeezing up to the Macaws. I work as an avian behaviorist in Scotland and I am always amazed at how many times birds prove you wrong with their behavior.

Jacob, will take a little bit longer to heal. He is now like a pin cushion with new feathers poking through his skin. He has went through hell and back in his life. He was taken from the wild and then past from pillar to post. he ended up in the gentle hands of a lady called Scarlett, who sent him to me as I tend to work with special needs. Jacob is doing so well but is being helped with good food and love. He has the rain on his back and the sun on his feathers now.

I am so looking forward to using your Pet Remedy Charts for Birds. Any information I can get to make the lives of these wonderful creatures better is a God send.

Yvonne MacMillan
Island Parrot Sanctuary
Kerrera Argyll

We would like to thank Yvonne for sending the pictures and the story, and we encourage you to visit The Island Parrot Sanctuary website. It is a wonderful informational site pertaining to parrots and their care.

Here is a great article that can be found on the Sanctuary's website called Recognizing Illness in Parrots

Here is a link to some heart touching videos of Yvonne's work with the parrots at the Sanctuary.

While you are visiting the website PLEASE don't forget to DONATE. It is a registered non-profit charity. The Sanctuary has over 50 parrots and they need your help.

Any Donations are welcome no matter how small. Every penny donated is used for the parrots, to provide them with food, toys, heated aviaries and lots more!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Alternatives to Pet Vaccinations - The Titer Test

For animals who previously experienced an adverse reaction to vaccination or are at genetic or physiological risk, one alternative is annual monitoring of serum antibody titers. If the test shows protective titers, the animal should not need re-vaccination until a later date. This quick and simple blood test for rechecking of antibody titers can be performed by your veterinarian at 6-month or yearly intervals thereafter.

What is titer testing? A titer test (pronounced TIGHT er) is a laboratory test measuring the existence and level of antibodies in blood. Antibodies are produced when an antigen (like a virus or bacteria) provokes an immune response. This response can come from natural exposure or from vaccination. (Note: titering is also called serum vaccine antibody titering and serologic vaccine titering.)

If you are one of many, who worry about vaccine safety or over vaccinating your dog, this affordable alternative can be asked for from your veterinarian.

Common sense dictates that sick, very old, and debilitated animals should not be vaccinated. Similarly, immunocompromised and febrile animals should not be immunologically challenged with vaccines until their physiologic state returns to normal. Animals of certain susceptible breeds or families (e.g., Akitas and Weimaraners) and including those with coat color dilutions (e.g., double-dilute Shetland sheepdogs, harlequin Great Danes, albinos) appear to be at increased risk for severe and lingering adverse reaction to vaccines.

A detailed veterinary medical study from Sweden examined the duration of serum antibody response to common dog diseases. The results reveled that vaccines are recognized to give longer-lasting immunity than what was thought and few animals actually benefit from annual boosters. Revaccination may be needed only every 3 to 5 years, if at all. In humans, once the series of vaccinations in preschool and school-aged children is completed and college students are revaccinated during disease outbreaks (e.g., measles), protection against these diseases is generally assumed to be lifelong.

To learn more about alternative pet health care visit our website - Pet Remedy Charts

Herbs to Treat Heart Disease in Dogs and Cats

Hawthorn and DandelionHawthorn berries and Dandelion root in combination can be used to provide heart support for pets who have cardiac disease. The two herbs work synergistically to strengthen the heart muscle, improve circulation and as a diuretic to help eliminate edema (excess fluid build up in the body).

Heart Disease in Dogs - Congestive Heart Failure

There are two common types of canine heart disease.
Type one - the dog's heart valves lose their ability to close properly, causing abnormal blood flow.
Type two - the muscular walls of the heart become thin and weak.

Both conditions develop gradually and result in congestive heart failure (CHF). Approximately 3.2 million dogs in the United States are diagnosed annually with an age related or congenital form of heart disease and may be in heart failure.


Administration of Hawthorn & Dandelion can be given throughout the duration of some HeartWorm treatments and beyond the HWF treatment to strengthen the heart and help heal the damage heartworm can cause (talk to your vet first).

Feline Heart Disease - HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy)

The most common type of heart disease in cats is HCM, it is a heart disorder in which the left wall of the heart grows and thickens.

Hawthorn Berries - Modern research has proven hawthorn to be a valuable herb in the treatment of cardiovascular problems and promotes a healthy heart. It causes more blood flow to reach the muscles of the heart. Hawthorn can also help to reduce the incidence of angina, which is a spasm of the blood vessels and improve the smooth muscle walls of the rest of the circulatory system, improve blood pressure, improving circulation and treating symptoms of mild heart failure and reduces atherosclerosis. Hawthorn works by widening blood vessels, especially heart blood vessels, which results in increased heart blood flow.
Dandelion Root - Research has shown that Dandelion works very well as a diuretic. Research in Germany shows that it helps to detoxify the system and stimulate the production of bile by the gallbladder. Dandelion helps with water retention (edema), regulation of blood glucose, nausea, urinary tract infections, kidney and bladder stones, liver and gallbladder complaints, and loss of appetite. Unlike prescription drugs, dandelion is a natural diuretic that increases urine production by promoting the excretion of salts and water from the kidney, without depleting the body of precious minerals. It can also be used for pets with impaired kidney function.

Beneficial for Heart and Circulatory System
The root of the dandelion makes mannitol, which is beneficial in the treatment of heart conditions such as high blood pressure as well as promoting healthy circulation. Dandelion root also contains high levels of sodium that help balance electrolytes in the blood, uric acid levels and cholesterol levels.

Other Uses

The root of the dandelion has a rich concentration of sodium, which can eliminate toxins that have been acclimated in the body. Dandelion root works quickly to eliminate toxins from the body, by stimulating the kidneys. This removes toxins, purifies the blood and replaces any potassium that was lost.

Skin Diseases
Dandelion root has numerous healing benefits to the skin, which includes cleansing and improving the skin's texture. The root can also be used to treat skin conditions such as fungal infections, dermatitis, acne and migrant growths.

Dandelion root is beneficial for strengthening the gallbladder. When taken on a regular basis, its root may prevent gallstones from forming in the gallbladder. Its root is also beneficial for existing gallstones as it may help to aid in dissolving them, so they may be more easily eliminated out of the body.

You can use Hawthorn berry and Dandelion root in tincture form. Purchase an herbal combination formula. If you can not find a combined product, you can buy a bottle of each tincture and mix them together yourself. Dandelion root has a bitter taste so you will need to mask its flavor in an appealing treat. Right after dosing, feed the animal a regular meal.

Dandelion root increases the flow of bile, and should not be given to animals with an inflamed or infected gallbladder or blocked bile ducts.

Suggestions for Dosing -
Hawthorne/Dandelion Herbal Tincture

Under 3 lbs. 2 drops
3-10 lbs. 5 drops
11-20 lbs. 10 drops
21-150 lbs. 15 drops
151-250 lbs. 20 drops
251-300 lbs. 25 drops

Suggested Use: Administer the appropriate dose in number of drops as determined by the animal's weight. Given two to three times daily. Frequency of Use: 5 days on, 2 days off. This gives the body a chance to clear and work on its own.

Note: It is a good idea to introduce any herb slowly. Begin with half the recommended dose then over a few days increase the amount accordingly. This will allow your pet to adjust to the herb, while you monitor the results. This way, there are fewer if any adverse effects, such as tummy upsets or loose stools.

For the ultimate guide to using herbs for pets, visit Pet Remedy Charts. Developed to enable anyone to quickly and confidently treat their pet naturally at home. The charts are beautifully illustrated, double sided and packed with healing treatment strategies.