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Long term concerns with zinc poisoning?

Tazlima

Sprinting down the street
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A couple years ago, my Quaker, Gus, was feeling a bit off (vomiting). I took him to the vet, where he got a full workup. They mentioned they saw some very small metallic specks in his x-ray, and said if he didn't improve, they would test for heavy metal poisoning. He came home with some antibiotics and did appear to return to normal, so it was never pursued further.

Two months ago, the same issue recurred - a bit of lethargy and vomiting. X-rays again showed tiny metal flecks, so they did a blood test and his zinc levels were elevated - not horribly, but just high enough to be outside the "normal" range. He took some medicine to treat it, and I did a top-to-bottom scouring of the house to remove anything that could possibly have zinc. Best guess of the source was possibly the bells on his toys (those cheap ones that come with them), so I removed just... so many bells. I also replaced a couple household fixtures that I don't think had zinc or even got chewed on, but better safe than sorry.

A recheck showed his blood levels are now normal.

My assumptions at this point:

1) the zinc poisoning has probably been occurring at a subclinical level for a LONG time. The reason Gus was rehomed to me in the first place was because his previous family couldn't handle his aggression in combination with their toddler. A lot of his toys with the bells came from that previous home (I keep a whole bin full of toys so I can rotate them out regularly), so he could have had the problem even then.
2) the source of the zinc has now been successfully eliminated from the environment.

Gus has always been a cranky little booger compared to my other birds. I thought it was just his nature as a Quaker, especially as this was exhibited the most as cage aggression, which is basically Quaker 101. However, one of the symptoms of zinc poisoning is aggression, so there's a non-zero chance that at least some of his "anger" came from either not feeling well, or the heavy metal poisoning itself. Supporting that, he does seem to be in a better mood lately.

All the articles I can find about this issue talk about symptoms during the poisoning, but I'm trying to find out what happens after.

So here's my question: If his aggression was caused, at least partly, by the zinc, is that something that will subside now that he's better, or will there be permanent damage to his temperament and/or cognition?

I'm going to keep working with him as I always have, I'm just revisiting everything in light of this new information and trying to see if/how I should adjust my expectations for him.
 

Zara

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Hankmacaw

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There are long term effects from zinc toxicity, but I have only heard of these in severe zinc toxicity cases. some of the results can be neurological problems, such as twitdhing, weakness in the legs. Liver problems. And excess urination.
 

Tazlima

Sprinting down the street
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Thanks. I'll definitely keep an eye out for anything like that (he does poo/urinate more often than my other birds, but again, that could also be explained by other factors. He's the best flier in the house and by far the most physically active. It makes sense he would eat and drink more since he burns more energy, and more going in = more coming out).
 
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