Friday, December 26, 2008

Deworming Shamas

As those of you who have followed Jeffrey Low's posts on the Malaysian Bird Forum know, he is one of the most knowledgeable keepers of pet birds, including shamas. Certainly, he knows more about the care of shamas and especially their ailments and cures, than I do. His knowledge and experience benefits us all. Below is a short article that I received from him today:

One of my shamas completed its molt three months ago, in September. It molted well. The feathers were glossy and there was no trace of stress lines on the tails. He also had reasonably good form, singing and displaying not only when at home but also at bird gatherings. Somehow, though, he did not reach top form as can be expected after the bird has completed the molt for 1 ½ months or more.

His diet and environment seemed to be fine and did not appear the cause of his inability to reach top form. This suggested to me that he could be harboring intestinal parasites which could have come from the livefood which had been a large part of his diet during the molt.

Two weeks ago, I dosed him with piperazine citrate on 3 occasions 3 during the week. This dewormer is intended only for round worms but it is quite safe to use. There was no subsequent improvement in his condition and I decided to use a broader spectrum dewormer.

I decided on a combination of dewormer, albendazole + praziquantel just in case he has tapeworms etc. I was aware that repeated dosing of albendazole might cause feather damage and it should be avoided especially during the molt. Since he had already completed the molt and since only 1 dose would be required, I felt that it would do no harm. I gave him a carefully calculated dose last week.

Three days after the dose, the two long tails dropped (measured at almost 11 inches ... sigh). So far, nothing else has dropped (even his form remains good). Maybe if I am lucky, there will be no further damage to the new replace tail feathers. Maybe I was right about the presence of worms and the benefits to the bird from their eradication will more than outweigh what is required to regrow the two tail feathers. I can only hope that this doesn't amount to a false molt and instead with the worms gone, the bird will be better off afterwards. Whatever turns out, I don’t intend to use albendazole again to deworm shamas.

Jeffrey Low

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