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In Depth Look at Atherosclerosis in Birds

Lady Jane

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Side Note here: If you have an African Grey species know that they are more subject to this than other species.
 

Fuzzy

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That's really interesting, Dianne. Especially knowing that Omega 3 oils can help (flaxseed, chia, walnuts). Have just sent this to a friend who's Quakers both have high blood fat readings. Seems that Quakers are prone too.
 

Karen

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Thanks for the article link.

My avian vet recently mentioned to me that this is much more widespread and showing up in many species. She mentioned that it is a product of the diet and the lack of exercise.

Macaws are susceptible to this too and she recommends a product called OptOmega as an excellent source of the omega three oil’s. I used to be able to buy it online but now I can’t get it in the US. Only available for me at the AV office now.
 

Rain Bow

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This was very interesting Lady Jane! Thank you for sharing it w/ us!
 

Lady Jane

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Pam's article is very good on this subject. I suggested she write about it be cause many of us don't pay attention to the foods we feed our birds like a slice of pizza or junk foods that humans eat. Thanks for posting.
 

Rain Bow

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This was very interesting. I never knew peas & carrots were high in pectin, that was an oh my goodness moment. Buddy gets snap peas quite a bit.

Pam's article is very good on this subject. I suggested she write about it be cause many of us don't pay attention to the foods we feed our birds like a slice of pizza or junk foods that humans eat. Thanks for posting.
I've been tweaking little snacks I was giving Buddy initially. By tweaking I mean limiting to a parrot bite, or removing them altogether. Now, I give him a part of a pizza crust here & there. It's about the only time I can get a little tomato in him. Stuff my vet said he could have a little of, I wish she would've never said or been way more specific.

I've just added chia seed & hemp hearts to his small amt of seeds. He doesn't seem to like it on fresh foods but he cracked @ it forever tonight just raw in his bowl. What about Flax? Should I be going for ground or is whole ok? I thought someone posted ground but it was regarding small birds, so I'm not sure. Buddy's a Zon.

Thanks in advance!
 

webchirp

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I also can't help but think about air pollution...we know their lungs are so much more susceptible to things and when we were downsizing there were a few inexpensive homes close to the highway. I found an ohio study (can't find it at this second) that showed living within 1500 ft of a highway increased your risk of cardio disease. I imagine the increased pollution overall is taking its toll on our birds.

Near-highway pollutants in motor vehicle exhaust: A review of epidemiologic evidence of cardiac and pulmonary health risks
 

Hankmacaw

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Atherosclerosis is the bane of my and Jasper's lives. Her atherosclerosis has progress steadily from the time she was 6 years old when I got her and she was diagnosed. It was so apparent on her xrays at that age that it could be seen readily. I don't know if her heart disease ( occlusion of both atria and enlarged left ventricle) has contributed to the atherosclerosis but the vet and I highly suspect that it has.

Was she congenitally affected by the disease or did she develop it after hatching - I don't know. Her diet for the fist 5 years of her life was terrible - bacon, ice cream, potato chips, cheese, everything she loved and everything that was bad for her. When I got her at 6 1/2 years she was well on her way to death and three months after I had her she was struggling to breath and was very swollen. Her first vet that saw her took xrays that were read by the only heart expert in AZ (at the time) who wrote right on the xray that she had significant congestive heart failure. The vet who saw her said nothing to me about the diagnosis. He later told the examining board that he didn't say anything because he didn't know how to treat it. My regular vet, Dr. Driggers was back in town and Jasper was struggling with breathing again, so I took her in to him. He pulled the xray took one look at it and came back in with a syringe of furosemide. He told me that Jasper might die at any time due to her fluid retention and the pressure on her heart and lungs. She didn't die (mainly because I made a mistake on her furosemide dosage the night we got home and gave her a very large dose - she lost 60 grams, all fluids, overnight. From that day forward it has been a constant fight and one crisis after another (no I rarely post about the crisis - there are too many.)

Please everyone, pretend your bird has atherosclerosis and feed and exercise them as if they do. It won't harm them and it may save their lives and you a lot of sadness.
 

webchirp

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Please everyone, pretend your bird has atherosclerosis and feed and exercise them as if they do. It won't harm them and it may save their lives and you a lot of sadness.
Likely the best advice ever...

Everytime we xray/ultrasound Lola, Dr. O asks me if I'm certain he's only 5. His arteries are white on ultrasound. Breeder fed them the sunflower seed with corn diet. :(
 

Lady Jane

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@Hankmacaw I wish everyone here could read your life experience with your birds. Atherosclerosis is bad stuff for humans and birds and can lead to fatal strokes at a minimum. The links deserve to be a sticky at the very least. Thanks for you input and I know it is hard to relive the events, even when writing about them.

Perhaps @Unapproved Vendor's Dailies Marsha would like to leave a comment on this subject as it relates to the diet of a Parrot.
 

suileeka

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I have two birds with diagnosed atherosclerosis. One, my recently adopted Amazon, fits the profile of sedentary, overweight bird with a dubious diet history. The other, a budgie, has been with me for most of her life and has been on a healthy diet with daily exercise. However, she and another budgie were positive for Psittacosis when I got them, and at least one study shows a correlation between Psittacosis exposure and the risk of developing atherosclerosis. She now has to take four daily medications, likely for the rest of her life.

There are many, many more parrots out there with undiagnosed atherosclerosis.
 

Lady Jane

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Lindsay i am sorry to hear about your birds. Are you doing any dietary intraventions?
 

suileeka

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Lindsay i am sorry to hear about your birds. Are you doing any dietary intraventions?
I already feed a diet close to the recommendations in the articles you posted (and have for years), with the exception of fish oil.. That one I'll have to ask my vet about. Recently I've been focusing on reducing the carbs in their diets, by using more veggies and fewer refined grains in their bird bread. Also focusing on portion control since Coco is very overweight and has a large lipoma on his abdomen. I've also been growing my own leafy greens in my Aerogarden so that I always have them available (instead of rotting away in the fridge).

Ironically, Coco and Pepper are two of my best eaters in terms of eating healthy food... Coco loves his raw broccoli and gets upset if I don't provide it every morning!

I also recently noticed, much to my dismay, that two of the pellets I feed have sugar as an ingredient! So I've been trying to convert my GCC and Hahn's to another pellet. My Hahn's is my most difficult bird diet-wise, as she came to me eating an all seed diet, and getting her to eat ANY pellet has been a challenge. I've had her for 5 years and the only veggie I've ever been able to get her to eat is red pepper.
 
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Lady Jane

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I have an Aerogarden also and the lettuces I find are the best growers but recently I grew 3 bok choy plants and they grew very well and my budgies loved it when I held a leaf up to their beak. Ate it like a champ.
 

Rain Bow

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I already feed a diet close to the recommendations in the articles you posted (and have for years), with the exception of fish oil.. That one I'll have to ask my vet about. Recently I've been focusing on reducing the carbs in their diets, by using more veggies and fewer refined grains in their bird bread. Also focusing on portion control since Coco is very overweight and has a large lipoma on his abdomen. I've also been growing my own leafy greens in my Aerogarden so that I always have them available (instead of rotting away in the fridge).

Ironically, Coco and Pepper are two of my best eaters in terms of eating healthy food... Coco loves his raw broccoli and gets upset if I don't provide it every morning!

I also recently noticed, much to my dismay, that two of the pellets I feed have sugar as an ingredient! So I've been trying to convert my GCC and Hahn's to another pellet. My Hahn's is my most difficult bird diet-wise, as she came to me eating an all seed diet, and getting her to eat ANY pellet has been a challenge. I've had her for 5 years and the only veggie I've ever been able to get her to eat is red pepper.
You may want to try @Unapproved Vendor's Dailies pellets. Buddy hasn't decided if he likes them yet. They have a large variety, & by far will beat out anything corporate you can buy.

@Lady Jane , Marsha's was slammed, I'm not sure if she's caught up yet. I haven't been on in a bunch of days myself. Lost most of my alerts it's been almost a week, I think.
 

Danita

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Well, this is a good place to share my personal experience.
Cute little Coco was so tired after she ate, after X-rays, tests, ultrasounds, CT scan and a second opinion, we concluded that this is what Coco has. The blood is not pumping well enough to help with her digestion.
She is on meds, but still has a tough time digesting. We are still trying to tweak her meds.
I am so grateful, all this happened because well, I wouldn't have known until she dropped dead for no reason.
I took my list of foods that I feed Coco and I included most of the AO ingredients of course, because she eats that. Her main diet is Harrison's Life time, but I am switching all to Harrison's Pepper, that is the lowest fat.

After my vet reviewed everything, she did the big NO list!
After this eye opening experience, I am adjusting most of my AO recipes to be heart healthy, I will label each accordingly. I just really need to cut down on the nuts is all, but everything is pretty good. I agree with someone who posted that we should treat all our birds like they have this disease. I have my whole flock on this new diet as they are all are rescues.

Big nos, this isn't what I fed my flock, but I will put it out there in case others don't know this.

NO Sugar! Never! Never! Never! Sugar turns to fat. I saw someone online feeding her bird cake?!?!?

Any oils, none, they are high in fat! Coconut oil, nope. She did say the Red Palm Oil is good, just a little.

Nuts, well definitely in moderation, like really in moderation. My macaw is now only getting half a walnut, and an almond a day. Coco, a cockatoo can only have an almond SLIVER occasionally!
Almonds and walnuts, high in fat. Of course no peanuts, and peanut butter, almond butter, that is a given, people know that. Cashews are so high in fat that they will never get another again.

Sweet potato is on our no list too.

No pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, hemp seeds.

Dried fruit has a ton of sugar, sugar turns to fat. So my birds are not getting any. No banana for Coco, but I will give my others a little fresh once a week.

No animal fats at all, no eggs, I don't feed that at all but in case others do.

We can give salmon occasionally, just a little. We eat fresh salmon at our house 3 times a week, the birds love it. But, now they get only a bit once a week.

I see my vet frequently for Coco, if any of you have any foods you question, I can ask :)
 
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