Lost parakeet recites address

Pete Keesling

There’s a unique story out of Japan about a lost parakeet reunited with its owner. It all occurred in a small town outside of Tokyo, where a parakeet named Piko-chan escaped out the window of his home. He flew the coop, so to speak, and landed on the shoulder of a startled guest at a nearby hotel. The police were called and at first, Piko-chan was quiet. But after a few days at the station, he started talking.
First, he blurted out the name of the city and district where he lived. Then he repeated the number and street of his home. Astonished police took him to that address where he was happily reunited with his owner. It seems that Piko’s “mom” had lost another bird a while back. So when she bought Piko-chan, she taught him to recite the address of his home … just in case he ever escaped. This escapee was no bird-brain. He had a good memory and it got him back home where he belonged!
Q:
We just went through a scary situation with our dog, Belvedere. He was feeling fine last Tuesday, then lost his appetite and lost all control of his bowels. The scary part was that he started bleeding when he passed diarrhea. We thought we were going to lose him. But within 24 hours, and with a lot of help from our veterinarian, he’s doing fine. I still don’t understand why he passed all that blood. Any explanation?
A:
First, let me tell you that over the past few weeks here in South County, there have been several cases of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE) similar to Belvedere’s. A common denominator has been diarrhea with blood, depression and loss of appetite. Some of these dogs have also vomited. Fortunately, all have completely recovered. We don’t know if there’s a common cause to these incidents. It may or may not be the result of a viral infection. We do know that they’ve originated in different areas (both Morgan Hill and Gilroy), and poison is not the cause.
Blood in the stool comes from a broken or leaking blood vessel in the lower intestinal tract. It can result from infection, intestinal parasites or anything causing inflammation in the lower bowel. Dogs that chew and swallow wood or other foreign objects might excrete a little blood when that material passes through. Spoiled food with bacteria can also be the culprit as well as anything else that causes a patient to strain. A little blood in the stool is a “red flag” to veterinarians. Large amounts of blood are a large worry.
The first question Belvedere’s veterinarian asked you was if he had any chance to eat mouse or rat poison bait. These poisons have an anticoagulant in them that causes spontaneous bleeding. Tests confirmed he didn’t and that he didn’t have a blood clotting disorder. In cases like this, veterinarians treat HGE aggressively with intravenous fluids, antibiotics and supportive medications. Glad to hear Belvedere is back to full strength.
Q:
We just found out that our poodle, Terrence, has diabetes. His veterinarian has started him on a new diet. She says that he might not need insulin if he eats this special food. But we forgot to ask about pills that treat diabetes in humans. If the diet doesn’t work, can we treat Terrence with medication besides insulin shots?
A:
Probably not. Oral hypoglycemics like glucophage (also called metformin) don’t work predictably in dogs or kitty-cats. The good news is that many patients respond very well to a diet that’s specially formulated for diabetics. Many don’t require any other treatment. Remember, it’s very important to follow the dietary guidelines your vet gives you.
So I hope Terrence responds well to his new diet. But just in case he needs insulin treatment, don’t worry. There are thousands of dogs and cats that receive this medication and do very well. The injections are easy to administer and pets receiving these shots rarely have any problems with their twice-a-day routine. The needle is very small and not painful. And diabetics live so much longer now with the insulin we use. So whatever Terrence may need, here’s to a long life with good medical care and love from you and his family.

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