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Diabetic Blue and Gold

missscoot

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Seems to me that you are in a difficult situation.


Since she's diabetic, I would recommend cutting out *ALL* processed foods. No bread. No pellets. No pasta. Nothing that's been processed. Put her on a fresh food based diet.


Feeding her warm, mushy foods, especially by hand, can be encouraging her hormonal behavior.


Her being underweight though could be troublesome with a diet change.


Can you try feeding her cayenne pepper, or maybe the cayenne spice mixed in her food? Seeds and all?
I was told that the bread and pastas would be OK if 100% whole wheat and in moderation. Other then those nothing else is processed that i can think of. And the fact that her weight may be the new normal for now is the other possibility. Is 970 that bad a weight for a blue and gold? Her keel bone is easily felt but not as obvious as it was. She was 935 when she first went to vet and she is 970 now but it has been over a month. And the not eating has only been for the past week. I am beginning to believe that it is the side effect of loss of appetite in the glipizide but not sure. I have already read up on the cayenne pepper and will be picking that up first chance I get. As for the hormonal thing, that was my first got instinct that I was encouraging her hormonal behavior and that is why I was reluctant in doing that. But of course if it comes down to her health declining I will do it but right now if her weight stays the same I am trying to avoid that. I did find out last night while reading this forum that I was unknowingly encouraging that behavior though. Because Mickey has never shown any hormonal behavior in all the years I have had her, I never knew that patting her on the back would encourage this. We have always snuggled in the past but maybe it's time to stop that now? Another odd thing is that Mickey has always loved my son. Yet he came this morning and Mickey has lunged at him and won't even let him pick her up or pat her. I think it broke my son's heart. He couldn't believe it and neither could I. I would like to think the diabetes is just making her grouch this morning :) but I am not sure that is the case.
 

Monica

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My mother was a diabetic. In order for her to not take any diabetic medications, she has to control what she eats. This meant cutting out processed foods, including breads and pastas. If she ate bread, she had to use almond flour and coconut flour. If she ate pasta, it was shirataki noodles or some type of vegetable. (i.e. zucchini) Wheat in any form was not allowed.

I know that diabetes is different in birds than it is humans, but I don't know to what extent. (this is actually where I'm not sure if grains are a big issue or not for birds who are diabetic!)


Whether or not 970 grams is a bad weight for a B&G is somewhat irrelevant, because it could be a good weight or a bad weight for your bird. I mean, like humans, a bird's weight can vary based on size of the bird and their metabolism. One person could weigh 160 pounds and be at the perfect weight! A short person, they would be obese. A very tall person, that would be anorexic.

We can say that yes, 970 grams is a good weight for a B&G, but we can't say that it's a good weight for your bird, because we can't see and feel your bird's keel bone.

http://www.scottemcdonald.com/pdfs/Average Weights.pdf


Definitely no pets on the back! Sounds like a combination of things has led to her hormonal behavior and she's taking you as her mate, thus she's "rejecting" your son.
 

Macawnutz

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Hormones is making her grouch. :) If my macaws are acting hormonal I keep petting and touching to the head but during normal times I grab them anywhere. :D They are hands on birds and not nearly as sexy as other large birds such as cockatoos. I don't have many seriously hormonal birds, when I do I change my ways.

My female BG is normally 950 grams, my male is about 1100. I find both to be a perfect weight. My male is a huge flyer and has quite a bit of muscle, my female not so.
 

missscoot

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My mother was a diabetic. In order for her to not take any diabetic medications, she has to control what she eats. This meant cutting out processed foods, including breads and pastas. If she ate bread, she had to use almond flour and coconut flour. If she ate pasta, it was shirataki noodles or some type of vegetable. (i.e. zucchini) Wheat in any form was not allowed.

I know that diabetes is different in birds than it is humans, but I don't know to what extent. (this is actually where I'm not sure if grains are a big issue or not for birds who are diabetic!)


Whether or not 970 grams is a bad weight for a B&G is somewhat irrelevant, because it could be a good weight or a bad weight for your bird. I mean, like humans, a bird's weight can vary based on size of the bird and their metabolism. One person could weigh 160 pounds and be at the perfect weight! A short person, they would be obese. A very tall person, that would be anorexic.

We can say that yes, 970 grams is a good weight for a B&G, but we can't say that it's a good weight for your bird, because we can't see and feel your bird's keel bone.

http://www.scottemcdonald.com/pdfs/Average Weights.pdf


Definitely no pets on the back! Sounds like a combination of things has led to her hormonal behavior and she's taking you as her mate, thus she's "rejecting" your son.
Thank you for the link. According to it Mickey is just a little below average. But as you said they vary. Mickey is by no means a large macaw and I really don't know what her weight was a year ago but I do know by the feel of her keel bone she is underweight. But at least now I am not quite as worried as I was. I mean at least it doesn't seem like she is drastically thin in comparison.

Maybe down the road if Mickey's appetite returns to normal or at least closer to normal and I am able to get her weight up some I will be able to omit pasta and breads all together but at this time I feel if there is a chance she will eat some it's better than nothing. Her sugar seems to be some what better than it was even though she does have a few high spikes still but it is getting more and more difficult to get strip tests with so much less urine to test. But I get them when I can. Thanks again for all your help. Oh and no more pats on the back for sure!!!
 

Monica

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Asked a friend who had a diabetic macaw as well as anyone else (in a Facebook group) willing to give input. Here are the replies so far.


Alyce

As soon as she was diagnosed (by a blood test) I took her Completely off pellets and instead gave her mostly Nuts (human grade) with No pellets even available. This cured the polyuria symptom of the diabetes in 2 days or less. Very fast. That meant she was no longer dehydrated.

The dehydration is a big risk which can kill them Much faster than the high blood sugar itself. I gave fruit too in this phase. She was a veggie hater but if your bird will eat them then by all means include veggies, but they do need the nuts for the protein and fat content, to keep up their weight (which is often down already due to the diabetes).

It's VERY Important to make sure their blood sugar doesn't "crash"! Super low blood sugar can be MUCH more rapidly deadly than high blood sugar.
:O I always, ALWAYS made sure she had some sweet fruit - Banana, for example - in her food cage where she could get to it easily and quickly, to restore her blood sugar immediately if she was feeling out of sorts. (Hopefully their instincts will tell them to eat it.)

Make sure their "fast sugar" source is something like banana (with plenty of fiber in it) so that it won't spike her blood sugar too quickly, but make sure it's a sweet fruit and one your bird personally likes, not citrus or anything else which is tart (or too starchy but not sweet).

I was concerned she could go into a diabetic coma which kills very quickly so I always made sure she had access to Fresh fruit she wouldn't hesitate to eat, especially overnight but actually 24/7.

The brain in humans runs *only* on sugar. Our body has to be able to provide sugar to the brain or we will lose consciousness. I'm not sure if the brain of birds works the same way? But since they are meant to eat tons of fruit in the wild, I'm assuming their body chemistry (even more so than ours) is probably "geared" to have a constant steady drip of *natural* sugar available to it.

To know what is going on with their blood sugar, simply watch their pee puddle size and monitor them that way. (Not the poop, and not the white urates but the actual amount of water they excrete.) That is an extremely very accurate indication of their blood sugar levels.

Too much pee (giant water rings - way larger than normal) and they definitely have high blood sugar which is "spilling over" into their urine. (That's due to a mechanism of how kidneys work, making it pretty much universal, so far as I know.)

Once I got my bird's great big pee puddles to stop (via the nut and fruit diet) I gradually phased back in the (much less "tasty") natural type of pellets. Since it was the only thing she had available (other than fruit, veggies and some nuts) she did start eating it. (It's all her whole flock was getting too so she wasn't jealous seeing another bird get something "better".)

Please DO be sure to give them enough nuts to keep them from losing Any weight though, because otherwise they may seriously starve themselves to death quickly if they don't recognize the natural pellets as proper food.
:O
:(Birds are hardwired to be picky eaters about unfamiliar foods because so many plants in their natural habitat can flat out kill you if you eat them (birds or people).
:O

So, that's how I approached it. Our vet was clueless so we handled it much like a human situation (higher protein, lower sugar diet). Be aware also that it can be hormonal. Our bird had worse times and better times according to what her hormones were doing. I sometimes had to pull her pellets out and suddenly switch her back to the nut & banana diet temporarily when her hormones would mess with her and raise her blood sugar again. I kept a close watch on her pee amounts to see when her blood sugar was rising too high.

In the long term though, in retrospect, I would suggest going to an all natural raw diet, such as "chop" and maybe some "birdie bread" (things you can freeze) and supplement that base diet with natural pellets (any low sugar type) and supplement it also with *some* but not tons of high quality nuts of course too.

I'm feeding more pecans lately (from Costco) which are very low in oil. I also feed lots of walnuts which have *healthy* high quality oils in them. I feed almonds as well (good oils too) but I am very sparing with the cashews which are very oily. I found the best price on all my nuts at Costco. I get my pellet in bulk from Pet Mountain. (My almonds are by law sold only blanched here in CA which takes care of any poisonous chemicals in them naturally. They are safe to eat in large numbers for anyone - bird or human this way.)

Ultimately we lost our diabetic bird to heart disease, to badly clogged arteries. I'm not sure how much all those nuts may have contributed? This is why I now recommend a fresh food diet.

Mainly she was a chronic egg layer so her hormones were out of whack. Vet told us it is the Females who get heart disease (especially when they are chronic egg layers). This is very much the opposite of humans where the males are at much greater risk for heart disease.
:(

We didn't know about it until too late but her arteries were clogged up. She died of a stroke, in her 20s.
:( Devastating for us and for her companion - a little amazon who was her friend. Heartbreaking!




Jason Crean

Good healthy fats like Alyce explained are critical to birds in this condition. Coconut oil provides a great, efficiently metabolized energy source that doesn't tax the pancreas. Tree nuts are vital as well!
 

enigma731

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Seems to me that you are in a difficult situation.


Since she's diabetic, I would recommend cutting out *ALL* processed foods. No bread. No pellets. No pasta. Nothing that's been processed. Put her on a fresh food based diet.
I think there's some confusion here about processed foods. There's nothing inherently bad about processed foods for a person (and presumably bird) with diabetes. I think the confusion arises from the fact that generally for good bloodsugar control, you want foods that are low on the glycemic index. Some processed foods ARE higher on the glycemic index than fresh counterparts (e.g., white bread vs whole wheat) but there are some processed foods (e.g., whole wheat pasta) that are fine and plenty of fresh foods that are high glycemic (e.g., many fruits). If you want to go this route, your best bet would be to look up glycemic index references.

Here's one example: Glycemic index and glycemic load for 100+ foods - Harvard Health
 

Monica

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@enigma731 , it's more along the lines that processed foods often contain a bunch of unnecessary crap that your body doesn't need. That is, "less is more".


When you don't even understand everything that's on the label, and many products contain sugar, artificial sweeteners, sugar substitutes, etc. Any type of mainstream sugar keeps you hungry. Not good.


More along the lines of consuming whole foods. Going back to the basics.



My mother has been a diabetic for years. The prescribed diabetic diet recommended by doctors? It kept her diabetic! It didn't help her. She just had to keep taking more and more meds. Things didn't change until she saw a new doctor. A doctor that insurance companies wont cover. The doctor she saw practices Functional Medicine. That is, instead of treating the symptoms, he treats the underlying cause. Without invasive surgery (aka gastric bypass or similar), she is no longer diabetic. Just diet, supplements and exercise. She doesn't need to take insulin, other diabetic medications, cholesterol meds, blood pressure meds.... my mother is not vegan or vegetarian, either! She eats meat, including bacon. Breakfast may be bacon and eggs! Butter is amazing stuff, too! Unless she makes it herself, my mother doesn't eat bread. Pasta is made out of vegetables. She doesn't consume anything made from grains, including flour. She has coconut flour and almond flour as alternatives. Uses Stevia as a sweetener.

It's no surprise to me that the more people rely on processed foods, the more health issues we are seeing in society. If you balance diet and exercise out, can it work? Most definitely! Still, a lot of people aren't eating enough whole foods. Instead of home cooked meals, it might be take out, something out of a box or a can. I'll admit, I don't feel as if I eat as healthy as I should, but in today's society, it's cheaper to eat an unhealthy diet than it is to eat healthy. That's another issue. A lot of people can't afford to eat healthy.



From having to watch my mother struggle with diabetes for years and trying to eat healthier, including switching to wheat alternatives, but not being able to make a change to her health until she cut out processed foods, I'll have to disagree with you.
 

Monica

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Going back to the topic of diabetes in birds.... I have received another reply.



Kathy

I have experiance with two birds . One a blue n gold macaw. ( not owned by me. But I was care giver when owners went on vacation ) hobo was a 60 plus or more macaw . When the owner aquaired her she was a mess. She was seen by Dr bonda. ( who was in buffalo at the time) he determined she was diabetic and set up an insulin proportion for her. She took insulin for 16 years twice a day. we did test strips on her poop. Twice a day . Hobo succisuccumb to a sudden heart attack . No one knows what her true age was.

Then I had a cockatiel who was diagnosed with diabites. he was 7 at time of diagnosis. It was be lived it could have been caused. By pdd. He lived for two years on insulin twice a day. After his death he was tested for pdd, to see if it was related to diabetes. He tested negative for pdd.
 

missscoot

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Asked a friend who had a diabetic macaw as well as anyone else (in a Facebook group) willing to give input. Here are the replies so far.


Alyce

As soon as she was diagnosed (by a blood test) I took her Completely off pellets and instead gave her mostly Nuts (human grade) with No pellets even available. This cured the polyuria symptom of the diabetes in 2 days or less. Very fast. That meant she was no longer dehydrated.

The dehydration is a big risk which can kill them Much faster than the high blood sugar itself. I gave fruit too in this phase. She was a veggie hater but if your bird will eat them then by all means include veggies, but they do need the nuts for the protein and fat content, to keep up their weight (which is often down already due to the diabetes).

It's VERY Important to make sure their blood sugar doesn't "crash"! Super low blood sugar can be MUCH more rapidly deadly than high blood sugar.
:O I always, ALWAYS made sure she had some sweet fruit - Banana, for example - in her food cage where she could get to it easily and quickly, to restore her blood sugar immediately if she was feeling out of sorts. (Hopefully their instincts will tell them to eat it.)

Make sure their "fast sugar" source is something like banana (with plenty of fiber in it) so that it won't spike her blood sugar too quickly, but make sure it's a sweet fruit and one your bird personally likes, not citrus or anything else which is tart (or too starchy but not sweet).

I was concerned she could go into a diabetic coma which kills very quickly so I always made sure she had access to Fresh fruit she wouldn't hesitate to eat, especially overnight but actually 24/7.

The brain in humans runs *only* on sugar. Our body has to be able to provide sugar to the brain or we will lose consciousness. I'm not sure if the brain of birds works the same way? But since they are meant to eat tons of fruit in the wild, I'm assuming their body chemistry (even more so than ours) is probably "geared" to have a constant steady drip of *natural* sugar available to it.

To know what is going on with their blood sugar, simply watch their pee puddle size and monitor them that way. (Not the poop, and not the white urates but the actual amount of water they excrete.) That is an extremely very accurate indication of their blood sugar levels.

Too much pee (giant water rings - way larger than normal) and they definitely have high blood sugar which is "spilling over" into their urine. (That's due to a mechanism of how kidneys work, making it pretty much universal, so far as I know.)

Once I got my bird's great big pee puddles to stop (via the nut and fruit diet) I gradually phased back in the (much less "tasty") natural type of pellets. Since it was the only thing she had available (other than fruit, veggies and some nuts) she did start eating it. (It's all her whole flock was getting too so she wasn't jealous seeing another bird get something "better".)

Please DO be sure to give them enough nuts to keep them from losing Any weight though, because otherwise they may seriously starve themselves to death quickly if they don't recognize the natural pellets as proper food.
:O
:(Birds are hardwired to be picky eaters about unfamiliar foods because so many plants in their natural habitat can flat out kill you if you eat them (birds or people).
:O

So, that's how I approached it. Our vet was clueless so we handled it much like a human situation (higher protein, lower sugar diet). Be aware also that it can be hormonal. Our bird had worse times and better times according to what her hormones were doing. I sometimes had to pull her pellets out and suddenly switch her back to the nut & banana diet temporarily when her hormones would mess with her and raise her blood sugar again. I kept a close watch on her pee amounts to see when her blood sugar was rising too high.

In the long term though, in retrospect, I would suggest going to an all natural raw diet, such as "chop" and maybe some "birdie bread" (things you can freeze) and supplement that base diet with natural pellets (any low sugar type) and supplement it also with *some* but not tons of high quality nuts of course too.

I'm feeding more pecans lately (from Costco) which are very low in oil. I also feed lots of walnuts which have *healthy* high quality oils in them. I feed almonds as well (good oils too) but I am very sparing with the cashews which are very oily. I found the best price on all my nuts at Costco. I get my pellet in bulk from Pet Mountain. (My almonds are by law sold only blanched here in CA which takes care of any poisonous chemicals in them naturally. They are safe to eat in large numbers for anyone - bird or human this way.)

Ultimately we lost our diabetic bird to heart disease, to badly clogged arteries. I'm not sure how much all those nuts may have contributed? This is why I now recommend a fresh food diet.

Mainly she was a chronic egg layer so her hormones were out of whack. Vet told us it is the Females who get heart disease (especially when they are chronic egg layers). This is very much the opposite of humans where the males are at much greater risk for heart disease.
:(

We didn't know about it until too late but her arteries were clogged up. She died of a stroke, in her 20s.
:( Devastating for us and for her companion - a little amazon who was her friend. Heartbreaking!



Jason Crean

Good healthy fats like Alyce explained are critical to birds in this condition. Coconut oil provides a great, efficiently metabolized energy source that doesn't tax the pancreas. Tree nuts are vital as well!
Monica. Thank you so very much for your help! I can't tell you how excited I was to see your post this morning. To actually hear information and thoughts from someone who has gone through this was wonderful. I am so saddened to hear that they lost their beautiful macaw though. Please tell your friend that I am so grateful that she responded to you that I appreciate all the information she has provided. I am also pleased to know that some of what she has suggested, I am already doing. Mickey is getting many different nuts, and although I have not taken her off pellets completely she has successfully been changed over to Harrison's which has no sugar. I am not giving her a lot since she doesn't eat a lot. I see that there is disagreement on pasta and bread even if it is whole grain. So I still am not sure what to do in this case. She does have food at all times though. But now I am confused about the fruit issue. I was told often by many to limit the fruits to very little because of the high sugar content. But I do agree and worry about the "low sugar" being more of a concern than the high sugar. So when she shows signs of low sugar I give her a small piece of orange. I assumed this to be fine since orange juice is offered to people with low sugar dips. So I am not sure I understand the acid, starch problem. But I certainly am willing to give her a banana instead. My only concern is that I am afraid if I make sure she always has fruits available for those low sugar times, she will be eating too much of them since she does love her fruit and not enough nuts or veggies.

Her urine output also quickly improved with diet change but I believe mostly because of the glipizide. I did notice that alyce didn't mention anything about that or insulin. Am I correct in understanding that she controlled her macaws diabetes without either of these, just diet alone? I am not sure that will be possible with Mickey since even with glipizide her sugar will spike to over 2000 at times. Another thing I was wondering. Did she test strip her urine or just judge her sugar by urine output. I am having a very hard time testing Mickey' now that there isn't enough urine to get a test result on the strip. I am assuming since her output is low lately that her sugar in down but am also concerned that it could be dehydration but she appears normal with no sunken eye look or anything.

It is good to know about the hormonal aspect too. Thank you. Funny that she seems to now decide to show all these signs of that when she never did before but luckily she isn't laying any eggs, at least not yet. And I am reading up on that and trying not to give any "triggers" for that.

May i ask you if you could please ask your friend if she would be willing to contact me? I don't want to put her on the spot or anything but it would be so helpful if I could learn even more from her and her experience. But I do realize that takes time etc and I would completely understand if she wasn't able to. It is just very hard to know what is best to do with all the information I do learn.
Again I can't thank you enough for reaching out to others on Mickey's behalf. Thank you. Debbie
 

missscoot

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Going back to the topic of diabetes in birds.... I have received another reply.



Kathy

I have experiance with two birds . One a blue n gold macaw. ( not owned by me. But I was care giver when owners went on vacation ) hobo was a 60 plus or more macaw . When the owner aquaired her she was a mess. She was seen by Dr bonda. ( who was in buffalo at the time) he determined she was diabetic and set up an insulin proportion for her. She took insulin for 16 years twice a day. we did test strips on her poop. Twice a day . Hobo succisuccumb to a sudden heart attack . No one knows what her true age was.

Then I had a cockatiel who was diagnosed with diabites. he was 7 at time of diagnosis. It was be lived it could have been caused. By pdd. He lived for two years on insulin twice a day. After his death he was tested for pdd, to see if it was related to diabetes. He tested negative for pdd.
Would really be interested in how long ago this was when these birds were treated with insulin? From the very few that I have read about they were 10+ years ago. And have found some information that says that insulin doesn't work for birds that well. But since Hobo lived for 16 years that seems to show that it does. I really really want to avoid insulin shots if I can!
 

missscoot

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Hormones is making her grouch. :) If my macaws are acting hormonal I keep petting and touching to the head but during normal times I grab them anywhere. :D They are hands on birds and not nearly as sexy as other large birds such as cockatoos. I don't have many seriously hormonal birds, when I do I change my ways.

My female BG is normally 950 grams, my male is about 1100. I find both to be a perfect weight. My male is a huge flyer and has quite a bit of muscle, my female not so.
My son will be so happy to know this and hopefully after this "hormonal" rampage is over Mickey will return to her normal self with him. He said yesterday that he really felt that something is wrong with her head :) He thinks she's gone nuts!!! and that something is seriously wrong with her.
 

Monica

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High starchy fruits may include plantains, winter squash, pumpkin, figs, raisins, plums and even unripe bananas. Ripe bananas contain very little starch. I'm not sure about the starchy fruits either...

The diet my mother is on keeps her blood sugars stable. The diabetic diet often recommend by doctors paid by insurance companies results in sugar levels that rise and fall. This is why I'm not sure that feeding bread and pasta is a good idea, but at the same time, I also realize that birds are different to humans. I'm not sure how much bread and pasta, even if it's deemed "healthier", will affect the health of a diabetic parrot.


Additional reply from Alyce, directed towards Kathy.


Alyce

Thanks for sharing! My doc wasn't so sure about doing insulin. I'm now seeing a younger, Much more high tech (but still common sense "bird savvy") group of avian vets. The old guy was really good but he was in his late 70s and was very "old school".

My newer vets (who tried to save Chloe from her stroke and diagnosed her underlying heart disease) said that her "diabetes" may actually have been more of a passing thing, due to her extreme fluctuations in hormones. (I got the impression a fair analogy to human health might be "gestational diabetes" that pregnant human women sometimes get.)

They did not necessarily feel she had high blood sugar on such a regular basis that daily insulin would have been appropriate. They said it would take much more testing to determine if she was diabetic all the time or just when "nesty" and hormonal.

Sadly our sweet Chloe passed away from another very severe stroke, so we never explored the question of her diabetes any farther.




Message sent to you.
 

missscoot

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High starchy fruits may include plantains, winter squash, pumpkin, figs, raisins, plums and even unripe bananas. Ripe bananas contain very little starch. I'm not sure about the starchy fruits either...

The diet my mother is on keeps her blood sugars stable. The diabetic diet often recommend by doctors paid by insurance companies results in sugar levels that rise and fall. This is why I'm not sure that feeding bread and pasta is a good idea, but at the same time, I also realize that birds are different to humans. I'm not sure how much bread and pasta, even if it's deemed "healthier", will affect the health of a diabetic parrot.


Additional reply from Alyce, directed towards Kathy.


Alyce

Thanks for sharing! My doc wasn't so sure about doing insulin. I'm now seeing a younger, Much more high tech (but still common sense "bird savvy") group of avian vets. The old guy was really good but he was in his late 70s and was very "old school".

My newer vets (who tried to save Chloe from her stroke and diagnosed her underlying heart disease) said that her "diabetes" may actually have been more of a passing thing, due to her extreme fluctuations in hormones. (I got the impression a fair analogy to human health might be "gestational diabetes" that pregnant human women sometimes get.)

They did not necessarily feel she had high blood sugar on such a regular basis that daily insulin would have been appropriate. They said it would take much more testing to determine if she was diabetic all the time or just when "nesty" and hormonal.

Sadly our sweet Chloe passed away from another very severe stroke, so we never explored the question of her diabetes any farther.




Message sent to you.
Thank you again. I think for now, as long as her weight doesn't go down I will try staying away from the pasta and bread this week and see what happens. Still not quite sure what to do about the fruit but I did give her a small piece of apple this morning.

It would be wonderful to think that this was just hormonal but for Mickey I think it has been going on for some time, even before we realized it was diabetes. Just didn't realize the signs of diabetes at the time. Looking back now they were there. Thanks again for passing along all this information.
 

Monica

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Monica
I'm iffy on the bread and pasta, not just because it's processed food (if you made your own bread, you could put vegetables in it), but because it's also made with wheat. Wheat is a grain. Foods cooked with grains may cause those blood levels to rise and fall. (pellets would have the same potential) The majority of parrot species consume grain based diets. At least, they do in captivity. The wild diet may be more seed and fruit based, but I know it varies on species. Fruit may be a large part of a wild parrots diet, but the fruit that they often consume is not the same that's found in grocery stores. They may also prefer unripe fruits over ripe ones.


I do know someone else who had a cockatiel that became diabetic, and it was believed that pellets were the cause. This was several years ago and I doubt I would be able to get a hold of this person now, if they may still be alive. I don't remember anything beyond that the 'tiel needed a diet change. I recall it only because it seemed so odd. A diabetic bird?


More info from another member.


Lori

We have jenday conure that is diabetic. We are still working on getting under control

Our jenday, Marz, is receiving gliburide dissolved in his water daily. Our avian vet said that birds metabolize insulin too quickly to be affective.




All that I'm gathering for sure is that we may need people to research diabetes in parrots, which may mean intentionally breeding birds for diabetes (if that is at all possible - one member says they had purchased a cockatiel that they later found out was bred for heart disease so that testing could be performed on the birds - birds were genetically prone to die of heart disease around 10 years in age), then figuring out diet and meds. See what triggers high or low blood sugars in birds.
 

enigma731

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@Monica I'm glad your mother's diet works for her. I stand by what I posted regarding glycemic index values, and I hope that others in this thread will take a look at it. It sounds like your mother's diet prioritizes low-glycemic foods and that is probably why it works so well for her.

In people with type 2 diabetes, eating a diet that is low in carbs is helpful because it reduces their need for insulin and therefore compensates for their body's insulin resistance. In diabetic parrots, where the problem is not insulin resistance but over-release of glucose from the body's stores of it, I don't think this same principle applies. That's why it seems to me that low glycemic foods and complex carbohydrates, including whole wheat, would make the most sense for this bird. Of course there is no systematic research on this in parrots, which is unfortunate.

P.S. I'm a human behavioral medicine provider and I've had type 1 diabetes (the kind where my body will never produce insulin) for 23 years.
 

webchirp

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You may want to contact Dr. Susan Orosz. Bird and Exotic Pet Wellness Center - Toledo, OH - Home

If she doesn't know something about this, she could tell you who does. I've traveled to the east coast and to Illinois to hear her speak. Very knowledgeable but in my eyes, more importantly, she loves birds.

I wonder if you could try making birdie breads with things like coconut flour?
Yes, please consult with Dr. Orosz. I have not experienced it (knocking on wood) but I know of at least one client that had a bird with it.
 

Monica

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From Alyce.

Diabetes in a bird is Extremely serious and can kill them very fast! They are so small - they don't have much body mass which puts them at high risk for serious complications of the disease!


I would suggest that your friend try to treat the bird ASAP by taking away pellets and other processed foods Immediately and replacing with tree nuts. Please be sure they know to ALWAYS having a small amount of Fresh sweet fruit (banana or apple or grapes? anything they know their bird likes and will Definitely eat) which must be available to the bird 24/7 plus plenty of fresh water.

All of the above MUST include fruits and nuts they KNOW the bird will gladly eat. That's Extremely important! They can mix in some new fruit or nuts but the bird MUST have familiar foods they will eat quickly and without hesitation. Just like us, when sick, especially, birds tend to revert to their "comfort foods" - the way we want to eat the chicken soup or whatever our Granny fed us when we were kids and were sick.

Dehydration is the most immediate life threatening concern (hence cutting out the sugar and the highly refined carbs ASAP) so the bird will stop peeing out so much water!


However, it's important to understand that **Preventing a diabetic coma** is also top priority (which is what the fruit will hopefully prevent). Most of the time when we think of diabetes we think Sugar = Bad. Which is true, but too simplistic. The truth is, for a diabetic, especially, there is a HUGE and very life threatening danger of having Too Little sugar!

Diabetics can experience massive and potentially Fatal blood sugar Crashes which is something a normal person or animal's body just won't do. The rest of us may feel like crap when we haven't had a meal recently and we may get cranky or whatever.

But a Diabetic can have a blood sugar crash, get dizzy, pass out, go into a coma and DIE right there, on the spot. This is a SERIOUS RISK!

Large amounts of water are also Essential because without the water the bird cannot flush it's system of all the extra sugar from it's food. (You really can't keep sugar out of the diet nor would you really want to - for the reason just explained above - but you do want to limit it and most important of all, you want it to come into their system Slowly but Steadily, not all at once (which is what happens with a very sugary treat or with heavily sweetened pellets).

Please make sure your friend understands that just about ALL our food - all types of carbs for example, even the "good" ones - are processed into sugar once inside the body. We process food as one of 3 things: some form of sugar, protein building blocks (amino acids) or fats. Those are pretty much our body's only options.

ALL of those categories are absolutely Necessary for our survival! Sugar isn't "bad" - it's essential to life. Whether it's "good" or "bad" comes down to how fast it goes into our blood stream. Big *spikes* of blood sugar - that's what's hard on our bodies, and especially hard on diabetic people and animals because their bodies are malfunctioning and just can't cope with too much sugar all at once.


The brain runs *exclusively* on glucose (the most basic sugar there is, chemically speaking) so we literally cannot even stay conscious much less survive long term without "sugar". Too much sugar all at once though (those big blood sugar spikes) is damaging to the body. Too little sugar, though, is very *quickly* deadly!


I would definitely have thought that the best thing would have been to totally cut out sugars, but *surprisingly* that's not the case at all.
 

missscoot

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Yes, please consult with Dr. Orosz. I have not experienced it (knocking on wood) but I know of at least one client that had a bird with it.
I sent an email to Dr. Orosz under the "contact us" section of their website the same day I first received the suggestion on this forum but have not received anything back yet.
 
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missscoot

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I am sorry. I appreciate all the help and information but right now I am more confused than ever. I am not sure what I should give Mickey and what I shouldn't. At this point all I know is I have a really bad headache :) So I am going to call it a night and go play with Mickey and deal with this again tomorrow. Thank you everyone.
 

Macawnutz

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I am sorry. I appreciate all the help and information but right now I am more confused than ever. I am not sure what I should give Mickey and what I shouldn't. At this point all I know is I have a really bad headache :) So I am going to call it a night and go play with Mickey and deal with this again tomorrow. Thank you everyone.

One day at a time. You are under the supervision of your vet and testing her daily. Don't feel you need to sway from your vets advice without understanding and research. These are things you should ask your vet next time you speak with her.
 
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