Sick parrotlet visits WSU for treatment

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Dayton Chamber of Commerce president Bette Lou Crothers missed a chamber board meeting earlier this month in order to transport her ailing pet, Kuhio, to the Washington State University veterinary school.

Kuhio, who is named after a "beloved Hawaiian prince," is a tiny parrot, called a parrotlet, and is slightly smaller than a parakeet.

The petite lime green and cobalt blue bird was doing better Friday, after spending several days in an incubator at WSU. His veterinarian, Dr. Nikol Finch, said he was feisty with his caretakers, biting them when they tried to take him out of the cage.

"I told her 'that's probably because you stick him with a needle every time you take him out,'" Crothers said.

Kuhio's diminutive size makes him difficult to treat -- he is too small to draw sufficient blood for some diagnostic tests, and too small to safely administer some drugs that could help him.

Like any proud parent, Crothers says Kuhio is very smart. "That bird knows everything," she said.

After losing their dog several years ago, Crothers and her husband Gene decided to get a bird because it would require less care and attention than a dog, but they've found that was faulty reasoning.

"It's like owning a dog. He bosses you. He's just banging the doors on his little cage to get you to let him out," she said.

"We think we're reasonable and intelligent adults, but we're run by a bird," Crothers said.

If Kuhio gets through his illness, Crothers can look forward to many years of avian bossiness. Kuhio, who is 2 years old, has a life expectancy of about 25 years.

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