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Avian Heavy Metal to Toxicosis

It has been described as the most common type of poisoning in pet birds. Clinical signs of lead and zinc poisoning include lethargy, depression, decreased appetite, weight loss, weakness, diarrhea, anemia, regurgitation, increased urination, blindness, circling, tremors, head tilt, seizures or death. It is seen in hook billed birds because they climb using their beaks and like to chew on things. Lead and zinc are found in household items such as paints, galvanized wire, clips, chains, adhesives, plastics, toys and older cages. Contact with these sources must be discontinued or the bird will become more and more toxic or continue to be poisoned after treatment.

Diagnosis is by X- rays, general blood work and specific blood tests but only if the bird is large enough to be able to take the additional blood. General treatment is aimed at the side effects, iron for anemia, anticonvulsants for seizures, DMG to raise the seizure threshold, fluids, antibiotics, antifungals and so on. Specific treatment includes t w i c e d a i l y I injections of chelating agents to remove circulating lead or zinc along with gavaged oral cathartics such as barium sulfate, psyllium, activated charcoal, or oil. Sometimes a bird will need surgery to remove very large pieces of metal. Early diagnosis and treatment offers your pet bird the best chance for total recovery.

Best Friends Veterinary Hospital

or death. It is seen in hook billed birds
because they climb using their beaks and
like to chew on things. Lead and zinc are
found in household items such as paints,
galvanized wire, clips, chains, adhesives,
plastics, toys and older cages. Contact with
these sources must be discontinued or the
bird will become more and more toxic or
continue to be poisoned after treatment.

Diagnosis is by X- rays, general blood
work and specific blood tests but only if
the bird is large enough to be able to take
the additional blood. General treatment is
aimed at the side effects, iron for anemia,
anticonvulsants for seizures, DMG to raise
the seizure threshold, fluids, antibiotics,
antifungals and so on. Specific treatment
includes
t w i c e
d a i l y I
injections
of chelating
agents
to remove
circulating
lead
or zinc along with gavaged oral cathartics
such as barium sulfate, psyllium, activated
charcoal, or oil. Sometimes a bird will
need surgery to remove very large pieces
of metal. Early diagnosis and treatment
offers your pet bird the best chance for
total recovery.



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