From an email I just wrote
He is free-lofted in the mews, but has been spending all his time on the floor lately, and has gotten less and less responsive when flown. In retrospect, we think this is due to the frounce, but today Mr. Carnahan suggested he might have aspergillosis, which would explain why he was so tame right out of the trap.
I've attached a bunch of photos of the mews from all angles. It's 10' X 14', perches by the windows and a bow perch in the middle with a bath pan. One of the photos shows the corner where he's been spending the night, you can see the mutes where he stands. Normally he's been free-lofted, but after the foot treatment I figured it was better to keep him out of that corner, so I tethered him to the bow perch and put down some astroturf-type mats just now in case he goes to the floor tonight.
His response to food is getting better; after the flagyl he cast a pellet and then immediately started eating anything that looks even remotely edible and tears into food like he's starving, which I imagine he was. He's packing on weight but the state of his keel hasn't changed much, not that that's the most precise indicator. He's now at exactly the same weight he was when trapped. Mr. Carnahan told me to feed him up as much as he'll take and build his weight up, until he starts acting like a real ass, then keep him at that weight for a couple days before starting to work him down again. He thinks if his weight was like this when I picked him up that he was in pretty bad shape on the trap. He is very weak, he can only jump a few feet from the ground to the glove, and will only fly about ten to fifteen feet before hitting the ground and running the rest of the way.
Burt diagnosed frounce due to his behavior and the regurgitation. I couldn't see any cheesy plaques, at all, but could feel some lumpiness around his esophagus and crop. He was having trouble swallowing food, and there was that regurgitation, was weak, only moderately responsive, and a little wheezy. I have not fed him any pigeon at all, just goose, quail, cottontail, and nutria. I picked up some duck yesterday and have started giving him that.
He was very calm on the trap and easy to man. He's trained easy as pie, which though great at the time, in retrospect I find worrisome. He was always very eager and responsive, but would never fly past a certain distance, about 100ft along the creance line. We started free-flying him, thinking he just didn't like the drag of the creance, but he still wouldn't come any further, though he was eager and responsive up to that distance.
We decided his weight was too low, and I began to feed him up to bring his weight and condition up. Even still, he became less responsive, which may be because he was comfortably well-fed and thus not motivated, but also in retrospect may be because he's getting sicker and sicker. One day he just refused to fly more than a few feet, and was gagging like he was attempting to cast a pellet. He hadn't cast in several days. Eventually he chucked up a few small bits of meat, which he promptly grabbed and ate again, and regurgitated again, and ate before I could grab it, and so on. He had, previously, had some difficulty swallowing. Burt dx'ed frounce based on these symptoms.
We treated for frounce, his condition seemed to improve--or at least his appetite did, anyway, but he flies shorter and shorter distances, and now will only jump about ten feet to the glove, or about two feet ground-to-glove. I haven't heard any gurgling or wet wheezing sounds, but have heard noticeably "windy" breathing after light exertion--though only sometimes. Definitely no open-mouthed breathing, or labored breathing, just... windy sounds. Slightly noisy breathing, but like I said, not all the time. He eats everything I put in front of him and is heavier now than trapped, though his keel still feels very sharp to me. I've been dusting his food with vitahawk, if that matters.
He also had a wound in his foot which I've been treating with betadine flushes and packing with TAO.
He seems to bathe daily, but hasn't preened himself much in the last two days or so and is looking decidedly roughed-up.
My sponsors are currently travelling out of the country. The prognosis as given by the master falconers I spoke with said that if he does have asper, there's not much to be done, and I should just keep feeding him up and providing supportive care, and see how he does once fed up. It seems a reasonable course of action, but I would like to know, and to put him down if the alternative is to let him slowly die from lung infection.
Welcome to falconry, eh?