Charlie the cockatiel had just had his wings trimmed. Much too short, it goes without saying, because he couldn’t even hover anymore. He fell to the ground like a rock when he tried to fly away. A little disappointed by the drastic cut, Denise had taken the resolution not to cut the feathers of her bird. After all, he behaves well when he flies around the house.
That morning, Denise put Charlie back in her crate just before she left for work. She never let the bird free when she wasn’t there to watch. In the house there was not only Charlie. There was also Little Willy, the Yorkshire Terrier. The little dog harbored a barely concealed hatred and jealousy towards the bird. He would have liked to obtain the exclusivity of compliments and hugs but he had to share with the bird of misfortune. It made him bitter and resentful.
Distracted, Denise who was late forgot to lock the door to Charlie’s cage. At what time of day did Charlie decide that a walk around the house would be far more interesting than sitting quietly in his cage waiting for his mistress to return? One could not say exactly. But since an unlocked cage door is for him the equivalent of an open door, Charlie found himself free. As usual, he certainly tried to steal from his cage to the couch. He loves to sit there and look out the window. But unfortunately he fell to the ground instead. The opportunity was too good for Little Willy. He would finally be able to take revenge. How convenient for him that Charlie couldn’t fly anymore.
On her return home, Denise found an empty cage and a lot of feathers strewn here and there. Little Willy looked at her innocently. Finally, a little cry coming from under the couch made him understand that his poor Charlie was still in this world, but in what state? Charlie was rushed to the vet. Several bite wounds were visible on the top of the parrot’s head and back, which had been stripped of feathers. No internal fractures or bleeding was detected on examination. However, the bird was sleepy and wore its plumage swollen. His crop was completely empty, so he hadn’t eaten for a few hours. Charlie was placed in an incubator and received treatment (fluids, antibiotics, painkillers, force-feeding ). The risk of infection was very high. Bacteria in the mouths of dogs are very dangerous for birds. The contact of Little Willy’s saliva with Charlie’s torn skin allowed the inoculation of many of these bacteria. Without proper treatment, these bacteria take an average of 24 to 48 hours to multiply and eventually cause a fatal infection.
Attacked birds do not necessarily die from their injuries but from sepsis (a generalized infection that spreads through the blood ) that ensues. Studies in humans have shown that several bacteria can be transmitted during a bite: Pasteurella, Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, Neisseria, Corynebacterium, Moraxella, Enterococcus, Fusobacterium, Bacteroides, Porphyromonas, Prevotella, Propionibacterium, Peptostreptococcus . Of all these microorganisms, three bacteria are more frequently isolated from infected bite wounds: Staphylococcus aureus, Pasteurella multocida and anaerobic cocciae. It is Pasteurella multocidawhich seems to be the most to be feared. In the presence of a virulent strain, sepsis causes death quickly. Less virulent strains have time to visit the lungs, liver, kidneys, spleen and heart. The toxins produced by the bacteria permanently damage these organs. Trying to treat a bitten bird yourself using leftover antibiotics from the drugstore is risky. Cases of antibiotic resistance are not uncommon. A combination of two specific antibiotics is often necessary.
Charlie was lucky. A few days in the hospital were enough to put him back on his feet. Six weeks after the terrorist attack on Petit Willy, nothing appears. Charlie is very handsome and Denise has kept her resolution: Charlie will no longer have the feathers of clipped wings.