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Cardiac disease in 1.9 month old African grey.. Unbelievable.

SumitaSinh

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Hello everyone,

Astro had her routine check up this Tuesday and it turned out she has an enlarged heart. The heart score has gone from 55.8% to 59.7% since June 2020. My vet said she is on the verge of starting losing heart function. Astro has never been on a seed diet, I have put a whole lot of research into her chop mixes and she eats nicely. The pellets she has been weaned onto are local, but they are very similar to Harrison's in their make up. She gets Zu-preem like pellets for training treats, maybe 20 a day or sometimes fruit in place of this in limited quantities. She eats an egg a week. She flies around all day and is housed in a very large aviary so she gets decent exercise and she always has.

I cannot believe she has cardiac disease at such a young age. I guess I've gone wrong with the egg [which was recommended by my vet] or maybe her treats. Maybe its genetic. Anyway I feel devastated. Just wanted to share to let it out...

View attachment 382040 View attachment 382041
I think it's a congenital heart defect... found in human also.
 

Hankmacaw

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Regardless of whether it is a congenital defect or caused by diet or caused by a fungal, bacterial or viral infection, it must be defined and identified so it can be treated properly.

Humans are treated for congenital defects, but not before it's known in detail just exactly what the defect is.

My Hank (the bird to the left) died of a carcinoid thyroid tumor that pressed his pericardium so severely that it stopped his heart. The Dr. and I assumed that he had been killed by an aspergillosis granuloma that had existed for years very close to his heart, but no it was cancer. We found this out upon necropsy. The only known cause of this type of cancer is a viral infection. There are over 50 viruses that effect birds and there are tests for only four or five. So there are so many maybes that all we can do is diagnose a condition to the best of our ability and go on from there.
 

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Exercise should be moderate (whatever that is), but that is what my vet told me. If she starts panting heavily or doesn't recover her breathing quickly (1 to 2 minutes) after flying, then reduce the amount of flying and work her back up. She should pant after flying, but not excessively so. If she acts like she doesn't want to fly - don't - she knows if she is feeling bad. You have to be very aware of her condition and how she feels.

I tis critical that you start medications immediately (if she truly does have cardiomyopathy) The medications, for the most part relax the walls of the circulatory system and allow the blood to flow more freely. Another test that she needs to have done is a blood pressure test. If she has high blood pressure she will need a slightly different medication - Sildenifil. Jasper didn't develop blood high blood pressure until 10-12 years into her treatment - but you never know. Heart disease has as many presentations as that d**** Aspergillosis.

Yes, Harrison's has 15% fat content (they do need some fat), but much of that is Good fat, not saturated fats. If you would like, you can contact the company and find out how much is saturated and how much unsaturated. I knew once years ago, but that has leaked out of my head. Maybe @Mizzely knows - she has done lots of research on pellets. You can give her an almost fat free diet outside of her pellets - that's what I did with Jasper - to the point that I had to supplement some fats with Olive Oil. My vet instructed me to do that.

This is a pretty technical article about heart disease in birds, but an excellent one.tDon't try to digest it all at once and go to the treatment section first.
DEFINE_ME

This is a very complete list of heart medications used in birds and what they do and don't do.

Jasper (throughout the 21 years was on the following)
Furosomide for the entire 21 years. A compromised heart does not allow the body to excrete all of the fluid it needs to so a diuretic is almost always needed - for Jasper it was critical that she have it every day.
Enalapril
Benazapril
Sildenafil
It all depends on the nature of the heart disease.

Many times (with Jasper especially) an NSAID is called for to control pain and to reduce inflammation. She was on Metacam for many years and then she was switched to Celexicob for the last five years.

Ask what you want and I will answer what I can.
Thank you very much for all the information. I have read the article but I sure need to save it somewhere for further reference, it is very detailed. In the meantime until I can see the other vet, probably in about a month, I'm planning on switching on to almonds and walnut for treats instead of sugary pellets because I read that the polyunsaturated fats in them are actually good for the heart.

The vet prescribed some medication and supplements like omega 3, phosphorus, folibol and ursofalk. I don't know what the other two are for, I'll ask the next time I speak to her. But my concern is that in order to be able to give these to Astro, I need to add some molasses or fruit juices to the mix in order to give it with a syringe. I'm not sure how I can eliminate molasses or juice since they are bitter tasting medications. It is only 3 drops of molasses but still, loaded with sugar. How did you give your birds medicine without forcing them?

I have also bought Harrison's high potency and it is coming on Monday.

Another thing I will ask my vet will be if she expects the growth to continue at this rate.
 

dollfish

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You can also contact Harrison's to see which they recommend. I had asked them why they advise high potency for birds with liver issues when they generally need a lower protein diet and it is higher. They were able to explain their reasoning and research.

I do not know their differences in fats, sorry!
This is very nice to hear. I have already ordered a large bag of high potency but I'll contact them to get more information. I have also red their "sunshine factor" article, which explains some of the fats in the pellets in detail.
 

dollfish

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I think it's a congenital heart defect... found in human also.
It may be. I wonder if the growth continues at the same rate with congenital heart defects. If so then it is a grim situation for us.
 

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It is the same for humans, diet and exercise keep the heart healthy but when genetics play a roll its time for medication to help out. Did doc test cholesterol? Wishing you good luck with this.

OH by the way @Hankmacaw i just ate some Fritos and ice cream. Me bad.
 

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This is what I could find on the medications givien you. Did she say that she suspected liver disease? If so you should start her on Milk Thistle - start her anyway it does not harm a bird in any way.

Ursofalk®) is a bile acid used to treat the symptoms of gallbladder or bile related liver diseases such as gallbladder mucocele, cholestasis, and chronic liver inflammation. (In the African grey the gall bladder is often absent - Basic Information Sheet: African Grey Parrot | LafeberVet)

Balanced Omega Fatty Acids: Why Do Birds Need Them? – Pet Birds by Lafeber Co.


I cannot find any information for "folibol" - can you look it up on Turkish sites?

Like I told you already (if she does have heart disease) medication it will mitigate the future advance of the disease. Whether it is congenital or caused by other things.

Diet is very important. Start her on a very green and orange chop immediately. Romaine lettuce is one of the best, but any green leafy vegetable is great. Sweet potatoes are not all that good - way too much simple carbohydrates that metabolize directly to sugar then fat. Spinach, Swiss Chard, zucchini, summer gourds kale, mustard greens , bell peppers- on and on. Stay away from high starch veggies such as corn and peas.

Give her more chop than pellets.

It's hard and a steep learning curve, but you can and will do it.

My birds are not spoiled when it comes to taking medications - sounds harsh - but they do what I say when it involves their health. Find out if there are any compounding pharmacies where you live and have them compound any medications prescribed. Jasper's favorite falvor was tutti-frutti, some like peanut butter or Pina Colada. None have sugar when it comes from a compounding pharmacy.

Do not fly her seven days a week - just like a race horse, give her two days a weeks off - she will sour on you at seven days per week.

 

Hankmacaw

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@Clueless If Jasper had known that while she was alive, she would have packed up and moved in with you.
 

Lady Jane

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Do the cardiac meds contain a diuretic?
 

Hankmacaw

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@Lady Jane NO. the diuretics are given separately. Almost always Lasix or Furosemide (the same thing) are given. Jasper took Furosemide twice a day for 21 years. Her heart did not pump well enough for her lungs and liver to clear the excess fluids.
 

SumitaSinh

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Exercise should be moderate (whatever that is), but that is what my vet told me. If she starts panting heavily or doesn't recover her breathing quickly (1 to 2 minutes) after flying, then reduce the amount of flying and work her back up. She should pant after flying, but not excessively so. If she acts like she doesn't want to fly - don't - she knows if she is feeling bad. You have to be very aware of her condition and how she feels.

I tis critical that you start medications immediately (if she truly does have cardiomyopathy) The medications, for the most part relax the walls of the circulatory system and allow the blood to flow more freely. Another test that she needs to have done is a blood pressure test. If she has high blood pressure she will need a slightly different medication - Sildenifil. Jasper didn't develop blood high blood pressure until 10-12 years into her treatment - but you never know. Heart disease has as many presentations as that d**** Aspergillosis.

Yes, Harrison's has 15% fat content (they do need some fat), but much of that is Good fat, not saturated fats. If you would like, you can contact the company and find out how much is saturated and how much unsaturated. I knew once years ago, but that has leaked out of my head. Maybe @Mizzely knows - she has done lots of research on pellets. You can give her an almost fat free diet outside of her pellets - that's what I did with Jasper - to the point that I had to supplement some fats with Olive Oil. My vet instructed me to do that.

This is a pretty technical article about heart disease in birds, but an excellent one.tDon't try to digest it all at once and go to the treatment section first.
DEFINE_ME

This is a very complete list of heart medications used in birds and what they do and don't do.

Jasper (throughout the 21 years was on the following)
Furosomide for the entire 21 years. A compromised heart does not allow the body to excrete all of the fluid it needs to so a diuretic is almost always needed - for Jasper it was critical that she have it every day.
Enalapril
Benazapril
Sildenafil
It all depends on the nature of the heart disease.
It may be. I wonder if the growth continues at the same rate with congenital heart defects. If so then it is a grim situation for us.
But with medication, it can be restricted... Don't worry, those medicines you mentioned are wonderful. Even humans live an active life with an enlarged heart.
 

dollfish

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It is the same for humans, diet and exercise keep the heart healthy but when genetics play a roll its time for medication to help out. Did doc test cholesterol? Wishing you good luck with this.

OH by the way @Hankmacaw i just ate some Fritos and ice cream. Me bad.
Interestingly she looked at the CBC from the previous doctor from 6 months ago and said that cholesterol was irrelevant, along with a couple of other things. I was wondering why she would say that. She is an avian and exotic vet.

This is what I could find on the medications givien you. Did she say that she suspected liver disease? If so you should start her on Milk Thistle - start her anyway it does not harm a bird in any way.

Ursofalk®) is a bile acid used to treat the symptoms of gallbladder or bile related liver diseases such as gallbladder mucocele, cholestasis, and chronic liver inflammation. (In the African grey the gall bladder is often absent - Basic Information Sheet: African Grey Parrot | LafeberVet)

Balanced Omega Fatty Acids: Why Do Birds Need Them? – Pet Birds by Lafeber Co.


I cannot find any information for "folibol" - can you look it up on Turkish sites?

Like I told you already (if she does have heart disease) medication it will mitigate the future advance of the disease. Whether it is congenital or caused by other things.

Diet is very important. Start her on a very green and orange chop immediately. Romaine lettuce is one of the best, but any green leafy vegetable is great. Sweet potatoes are not all that good - way too much simple carbohydrates that metabolize directly to sugar then fat. Spinach, Swiss Chard, zucchini, summer gourds kale, mustard greens , bell peppers- on and on. Stay away from high starch veggies such as corn and peas.

Give her more chop than pellets.

It's hard and a steep learning curve, but you can and will do it.

My birds are not spoiled when it comes to taking medications - sounds harsh - but they do what I say when it involves their health. Find out if there are any compounding pharmacies where you live and have them compound any medications prescribed. Jasper's favorite falvor was tutti-frutti, some like peanut butter or Pina Colada. None have sugar when it comes from a compounding pharmacy.

Do not fly her seven days a week - just like a race horse, give her two days a weeks off - she will sour on you at seven days per week.

Yes, she was diagnosed 6 months ago with liver disease at 115 months of age. I did reading on folibol and it seems to be folic acid, which is supposed to help with cardiac disease. Phosphate must also play a role because I found out that it works together with calcium to regulate muscle contractions and nervous functions.

I think we are on a good track with diet. I looked up foods that contain folic acid and omega 3 and the other things and so many of these are already included in our chop mix. The current mix doesn't include sweet potatoes or peas but the previous one did, so I'll make sure to stay away from that from now on. I have read that a lot of the legumes and lentils in our chop are very good sources of nutrition for heart health.

I'm actually able to give the medication to Astro in this way but I she was starting to realise it was medication and I know of horror stories people having to towel their birds everyday for meds and it wrecking the relationship, so thought I would give it with molasses but I'll find another way, maybe look into the things that you mentioned, I haven't had a chance yet, I had been reading on the other things.

I have noted your advice on flying, along with all the other things. I think I will actually make an information sheet for myself for further reference on diet and other stuff.

I have come across another article that said for humans that the heart kept growing together with the body in children. I wonder if the same goes for parrots considering Astro's very young age but I guess the vet would know that and not raise concern if that was the case. I still cannot quite comprehend the reality of the situation.
 

dollfish

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No advice, just very sorry you’re going through such a bad scare.
Thank you for showing support! It really is especially considering how young Astro is.

But with medication, it can be restricted... Don't worry, those medicines you mentioned are wonderful. Even humans live an active life with an enlarged heart.
I hope so! I think you are right. Time to make changes I guess.
 

Hankmacaw

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Yes, phosphorus plays an important part i heart health, but it is rare that anyone is deficient in phosphorus.

The difference between birds and humans is that birds reach full adult size in just a few months while it takes humans 15-18 years.

Here is a good list of low carbohydrate vegetable - some are not appropriate for birds, such as avacado.
 

Hankmacaw

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@SumitaSinh " I cannot find any information for "folibol" - can you look it up on Turkish sites? " Do you know what type of medication this is and what function it performs in heart disease?
 

SumitaSinh

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@SumitaSinh " I cannot find any information for "folibol" - can you look it up on Turkish sites? " Do you know what type of medication this is and what function it performs in heart disease?
Is it folbiol? Then it's a vit B complex supplement.
 

dollfish

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@SumitaSinh " I cannot find any information for "folibol" - can you look it up on Turkish sites? " Do you know what type of medication this is and what function it performs in heart disease?
Is it folbiol? Then it's a vit B complex supplement.
Yes, it seems to be folic acid.

I was talking with my mum yesterday and she told he that athletes often have enlarged hearts because of their activity level. Could it be that Astro has an enlarged heart because of her activity level? She is a serious flier. I doubt this vet has ever seen such an active parrot in her life. Also, the norm is the captive bird when taking and asessing these measurements isn't it?

Yesterday Harrison's came and Asto took to it immediately. I also had one and they taste very similar to what she was having before so it was a smooth transition! ٩(๑❛ᴗ❛๑)۶
 

SumitaSinh

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Yes, it seems to be folic acid.

I was talking with my mum yesterday and she told he that athletes often have enlarged hearts because of their activity level. Could it be that Astro has an enlarged heart because of her activity level? She is a serious flier. I doubt this vet has ever seen such an active parrot in her life. Also, the norm is the captive bird when taking and asessing these measurements isn't it?

Yesterday Harrison's came and Asto took to it immediately. I also had one and they taste very similar to what she was having before so it was a smooth transition! ٩(๑❛ᴗ❛๑)۶
Sorry, but the enlarged heart conditions of athletes are different... Astro can't have that at such an young age (and that's the most painful thing, I feel so sorry for the poor baby). But, once again, I assure you, she can have a healthy life with proper medication. My Head of the department has similar heart problem, taking same medication (Sildenafil) and it works nicely... She's 65 yrs now and active. So, let's keep our spirit high... Astro will be fine.
 
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