Sol's Chance


Sol is a beautiful 17 ½ year old African Gray Parrot full of personality who first visited the Ridgewood Veterinary Hospital six years ago. Dr. Stancel wanted to help Sol since she had been having seizures for about one year, which was difficult for both Sol and her family to bear. All of Sol's blood test results were normal, including tests for lead toxicity and hypocalcemia, which are common causes for seizuring in African Grays. Although her blood calcium level was normal, Sol was given oral calcium in case her calcium levels were beginning to drop, but not enough to be reflected in the lab results yet. 

Since the seizures continued, Dr. Stancel gave Sol an anti-seizure drug called Phenobarbital mixed in her water, which reduced the severity of the seizures, but she was still having them. Over time, the Phenobarbital began to help less and less, even with an increase in medication. 

In 2005, the seizures became so intense that Sol would develop a short period of blindness after seizuring. Sol began having seizures on a daily basis, and it became very difficult for her and heartbreaking for her family to watch. Her owner almost gave up, but it was especially difficult since Sol was still living her life, eating, playing, talking and ringing her bell for the remainder of the day when not seizuring. 

In 2008, the seizures became more frequent, and Sol was given Phenobarbital directly into her mouth to get more accurate amounts of the medication rather than by drinking it in water. The medication was gradually increased, but Sol still had seizures, yet no one wanted to give up because Sol was still a happy bird during the rest of the day.

On the night of January 29th, 2009 Sol came into the Ridgewood Veterinary Hospital because she was having so many seizures that she became blind and was extremely listless. This time Sol was not chirping, she was lifeless, and the appointment was scheduled as euthanasia. Although it looked like the end for Sol, Dr. Stancel couldn't give up. He asked Sol's Mom to give him one more chance to help save Sol. Dr. Stancel wanted just a few days to try a medication that had previously been effective in dogs and cats. She agreed, and Sol was admitted to the hospital for supportive care and monitoring while the new medication, Potassium Bromide was started. 

That night she was admitted and her medication was given. Sol was monitored very closely and she had one seizure for the entire weekend. That was Sol's last seizure. Since her return home, her family reports that she is doing wonderfully. She has been playing, talking, and has more energy than she had since she was a young bird. Just like the phoenix that rose from its own ashes for a new beginning, Sol got a second chance, and her family could not be happier that Dr. Stancel did not give up that night.

One of the missions of the veterinarians at the Ridgewood Veterinary Hospital is to begin where medical books end, and never to give up unless it would be kinder to do so. Dr. Stancel wanted Sol to have the full, happy, carefree life a bird should have, and in this case one more chance was all that Sol needed. Dr. Stancel says, "We must not only be driven by knowledge, but more importantly by our hearts," and Sol still chirps in agreement.