College of Veterinary Medicine

Featured Patients

Sharif's Story

This is Sharif's story. We got Sharif for Omar (love at first sight for me). Omar told me plain and simple that he wanted "her", someone of his own. He was 7 years old in 1998 when we got her. She came to our house, 1 year old, so cute she took all our hearts- falling on her bum as much as her face and moving like a child with no fear. Omar still can't keep his beak off her, grooming like there's no tomorrow, he lives for her.

In 2005 she started feather plucking in certain spots under her legs and side of the tail. They seemed small, but off to the Vet she went, (not too many bird vets in South Idaho). He saw her from once to 3 times a week for 3- 4 months when after 3 visits in one week she closed her eyes, opened her mouth, and fell straight over backwards into the wastebasket.

We (my Ray and I), rushed her to Boise, Id.,( a two hour drive). The E.M. Vet injected liquids and said she was dehydrated & emaciated.  So then came the tube feeding, WEEEE what fun. For 6 weeks ( 4 times a day). During the last 2 weeks of this she had been able to get one collar off that still had 5 out of 6 snaps, in 10 — 20 minutes she put a hole under her leg open clear to her back bone. She started acting "drunk" and I could tell she was getting very sick (duh). She was severely anemic, and I'm sure there were other problems too At this time, we went to Washington State University.

I owe W.S.U. Sharif s life and my sanity. So many helped and they all "fell" for her too. I found out, in 2007, that this was the first time they didn't think she would make it. Someone, who works with exotic animals and birds of prey, and who's name is a bird, came up with a double collar system (a soft neoprene collar over the harder one). She could overcome one or the other, but not both! It worked! After 3 more months and 17 times under anesthesia she came home, with a scrapbook that was a joy, even though some horror need be included.

During the next 1 1/2 years we noticed at molting, twice a year, that there were ingrown feathers poking out about 1/2 inch but not breaking the skin, we learned to extract them ourselves by using tweezers and pulling them out through a hole just below the curling greenness that was under the pink skin. These ingrown feathers were all over her body — not just at the large surgery site.

In Feb. 2007 something just didn't seem right, (Sharif has had 3-4 eggs in the spring for 5 — 6 years before her plucking started), but the swelling in her belly didn't seem the same to me. So off to the vet for an ultrasound, (which looked like a swollen ovary). Three weeks later I took her in for the works, everything I could think of heavy metal, diabetes, thyroid, blood counts, etc. She was one sick bird, severe anemia, and liver problems. So off to WSU again. After a redo of the X-rays they said she had a large abdominal mass that was pushing her organs out of place, and it was cancer or a bacterial mass. The 1st biopsy is the second time WSU thought she might not make it.. She made it. They had never seen anything like it, and still couldn't tell what it was, but there were no good liver cells detected. We were asked if we wanted to go through with a much larger biopsy.
It takes about 8 — 10 hours driving to get there, ( we took Omar and Sharif up the week before), so we told them to wait, and jumped in the car. We had to see her at least once more. Hopes were not high.

She made it! Head flopping, stitches all across her tummy, a belly that looked like a large purple and yellow Easter egg, but still alive. We all stayed for the week ( thanks Ray's boss :) and she slowly got a little better. It was not cancer, but with as much as was taken, there were still no good liver cells detected. I've read that more than 75% of a bird's liver has to be damaged before any signs of damage appear. She is on antibiotics, milk thistle, dandelion root, and a very strict diet, she has also been given a prognosis living several more months or even years. I was told, "I do not want to give you false hope, she may not make it long, but each day with her is a blessing to be cherished."

Omar " One healthy bird " and Sharif - a large, somewhat pink, bare belly swinging upside down again - thank all who helped and prayed, and lit candles for them!

P.S. We believe group prayer and/or projected good will helps everyone, and we love you all.

Sincerely Teresa S

Last Edited: Jun 19, 2007 2:43 PM
College of Veterinary Medicine, PO Box 647010 , Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-7010, 509-335-9515, Contact Us   Safety Links