Nina’s Story

Nina – this is her story….

(Warning:Some of the photos may be disturbing to some people)

“I would love to help you out in your situation if your unable to keep your pet id like to help and see what i can do. i know it can be hard to keep your pets some times and it leaves them vonerable to neglect. please call and time. thanks i would like a $50 donation to help ive got the time and space hopefuly but not great finances”


How many times have you browsed the online ads and seen and ad like the one above? That ad is the actual ad placed by the people who had Nina in their care – someone saw that ad, and decided to ship her off to this home – it was the worst thing they ever did.


In early August of 2007 a different ad was brought to our attention – a horrific looking bird listed as a “macaw of some kind” was for sale with a cage – we contacted them and found that they wanted money for the cage but would “give” the bird away as she was a “mean/biting/unhealthy” bird – after weeks of being given the run around as to a pick up location, she found her way to us in the back of a pickup – in a cage – during a rain storm for a 1 1/2 hour ride – this chronicles her journey.


August 20/07

When we were finally able to pick her up we were saddened by the condition of the cage she was in, the lack of food/water and her health was in dire straits – we immediately took her to our Avian vet after the pick up.


We don’t know alot at this point about the health of the bird internally – blood work was taken and we get the results on wed afternoon..

The vet is surprised shes still alive – she is so malnourished/dehydrated and in poor condition it truly is amazing that she has survived this long..

Her head feathers were plucked by other birds and she is totally bald -the tips of her feathers are what is called “bronzing” which means she was not on an adequate diet since she fledged .

She is incredibly thin and weighs a mere 92 grams…her abdomen is very distented.

She was given a warm saline injection and this did perk her up a wee bit on the drive home as well as a dose of metacam.


Shes very wobbly when perching and at times does fall over.


These photos are the first ones taken.


Aug 21/07

I am happy to say that she has been eating everything we have given her and drinking – shes still wobbly when she sits up on one foot(her right foot is very weak and the vet says it could be from her poor condition or possibly the onset of ghout or arthritis or liver related).

She has a spunk about her that I see slowly peaking out and I have no doubt shes a fighter!

Aug 22/07

At 113 grams she was found to be in lean body condition but was considered alert and responsive.  Her eyes are slightly sunken in and skin moderately wrinkled indicating dehydration.


Blood work revealed an increased red blood cell count consistent with dehydration as well as an increase in the monocyte count – monocystosis is associated with chronic inflammation in the body.


Overall this bird was found to be in poor health.  The major concerns at this time are the feather loss,ataxia, distal limb weakness and persistent monocystosis.  In general, feather loss may reflect malnutrition, cagemate aggression, underlying medical disease including viruses, metabolic abnormalities, neoplasia, or behaviorial disorders.  Ataxia in birds may reflect degenerative processes, infections(bacterial or viral)PDD, poor nutrition,metabolic abnormalities,neoplasia or toxin ingestion.  The progressive monocytosis is suggestive of active inflammation and has been correlated with diseases such as tuberculosis and psittacosis.


In this case, no evidence of trauma is observed, however if veternary intervention was not sought out for the feather loss or ataxia(the previous owner DID claim to notice these issues for at least a year)then this may be regarded as a form of neglect.


She will remain in strict quarantine and we have added a vitalite and a  heatlamp to help keep regulate her body temperature and keep her warm.

(A special thank you to Lynn and Mike for travelling into the city and donating these items for us to use)

I have her photos and her story on various message boards and she truly has touched the hearts of many many people – the emails I have received are blowing me away, her story is touching hearts all over the world.


Aug 26/07


Shes starting to get stronger every day with the odd new feather poking through – I think shes going to be quiet itchy soon – I’ve been putting some bird spray on her head and belly gently but as yet cannot get to the underside of her wings – she seems to enjoy a tiny scritch but lets you know when shes had enough..

When ppl come into the room to visit her she will slowly come to the middle of the perch to visit and stretch – she has allowed me to touch her back but for very short periods before she takes a lunge..

Shes being more selective in her food and goes straight for the sunflower seeds and leaves the rest for about an hour..than goes back for more foraging and will eat bits of different things..most veges are getting tossed now except for green beans..

The swelling in her abdomen has gone down substantially and she although her droppings are still a bit watery, they are starting to look a bit more “normal” in color..this is an awesome sign!

She is still wobbly but not as bad as she was – we’re thinking that as she gains strength it will clear up over time and the vet is optimistic it will be gone by the time she goes in for her next check(about 2 weeks)..she also said that if she makes it to “1 week” – which is tomorrow – she should recover unless the wobble turns out to be something nerve or neurologically related..shes taking the meds like a trouper and not fighting to much – I think she knows they are going to help her feel better..


Aug 30/07


Yes, I can see some strength coming back! Plus she has been making a terrible racket, and when she sees me enter the room she moves closer and gives a nice big stretch and trys to preen…we notice a few tiny new feathers coming in on her head and she seems to be losing more of the swelling in her abdomen and while she is still wobbly, she is able to perch without falling at all now.



Sept 5/07


I had her out of her cage and she has quite a bite, there is some strength coming back – not a lot but enough to give a bit of pinch – she tried to fly off and landed on my shoulder and settled in for a few minutes to rest – she touched my cheek with her beak and than took off..progress is slow, but we are hopeful – the next visit will tell us more..


Sept 10/07


Today is the recheck day and while getting things ready to go, I went in to see her and was shocked to see how fast she had deteriorated throughout the night – she could barely walk and was stumbling all over her cage – there was vomit absolutely everywhere – we called the vet and told them we are on our way NOW.

This was heartbreaking as she had been making such incredible progress.

More tests and xrays were to be done.




The xrays did not look good at all – there was a HIGH suspision that there was more going on inside of her – this along with the highly elevated white blood cell count led the vet to believe she was also suffering from PDD – Proventricular Dilation Disease – a highlty contagious and deadly disease – we had to make a decision…as heartbreaking as it was, we knew she had lost her fight and it was time to let her go..this photo was taken minutes before she was humanely euthanized…



Ninas story touches on so many issues – the people who “broker” animals – they post ads all over the internet that they will take your unwanted pet – only to turn around and resell it as fast as they can – these people are heartless and greedy and put more value on money than a living life – the people who actually GIVE their animals to people who post these ads shows a clear level of uneducation.


Nina shared a cage with other birds – she was picked on/beat up and abused, not only was this horrific for her to go through, but the other birds in contact were put at risk – she should have been placed in quarantine and she was not – this should be a lesson to ANYONE who takes in a bird – it does not matter WHERE you get it from, it needs to be in quarantine, how do you know that the bird you just rescued/bought/was given to you etc  was not housed with another who DOES have a highly contagious disease – you do not know this – the results could be deadly.


Sept 11/07


Necropsy results:


Examined are 12 pieces of tissue – liver/kidney/pancreas/small intestine/ventriculus/proventriculus/lung/heart/brain and spinal cord.  Sections of ventriculus reveal inflammation oriented specifically to nerve fibres and ganglia.  There is atrophy of muscle fibres in the wall of this organ as a result of distention and similarly the proventriculus.



Ganglioneuritis,extensive,ventriculus mild nonsuppurative inflammation,liver,kidney, and mucosa of proventriculus.


The changes present support observations of distended ventriculus and proventriculus consistent(PDD) with the syndrome recognized in these birds.


She did not deserve to die in this way – from the information we have, she suffered for over a year – a needless/senseless act of cruelty.



How can any person live with themself after seeing what they were responsible for..


Her ashes remain on our shelf – she left a legacy behind in the lives she touched..she found her “forever” home at last…


As a result of her death – reports were filed with the ASPCA and charges were laid against the “broker” who had her – all animals in that home were seized.