Gout Does Affect Birds

October 13, 2008 by  
Filed under Pet Birds

Firstly, one needs to understand what gout is. Gout is a buildup of uric acid in the blood and forms due to the kidneys not being able to remove the uric acid from the body because the levels are too high. Uric acid crystals begin to form in the affected areas, causing the gout sufferer extreme pain and discomfort. These crystals form in the ligaments and joints when articular gout is experienced and around organs such as the liver and kidneys when it is visceral gout. Unfortunately, birds are susceptible to gout.

Gout can affect any pet bird, but is more commonly found in parrots, budgies and cockatiels. Even though gout can be treated through the use of medication, the damage done before diagnoses cannot be repaired. It is therefore vital that bird owners know what signs to look out for so as to catch the onset of gout in its early stages. Swollen and stiff joints might be the first indication, and birds will often shift their weight around or not be able to perch, remaining on the floor of their cages. In some cases their wings could be affected, leaving them unable to fly. If the organs are being affected, an increase in urine, weight loss and a change in demeanor could be indications of gout.

Even though a veterinarian will prescribe medication, owners can assist by keeping their birds on a strict diet. Birds suffering from gout are usually given a low protein diet, that is often a mixture of avian pellets, very little seeds or sometimes none, and in some cases oatmeal is added. Mixing water with the food, feeding them a moist mixture is also recommended, as an increased intake of fluids assists in flushing waste products through their kidneys.

Medication for birds with gout is still undetermined when it comes to safe levels of dosage. Veterinarians are known to treat gout with medications such as allopurinol, probenecid and colchicines. Crystals can be removed surgically in some cases, but again, the damage gout causes is irreversible. It is better for bird owners to prevent gout in their birds, and feeding their birds the correct diet is a recommended start. If a bird is diagnosed with gout, listening and taking the advice given by the veterinarian can help to alleviate a lot of pain and restore comfort in a bird’s life.

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