Author Topic: Important info on heavy metal toxicosis!  (Read 1314 times)

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Offline Julie T

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Important info on heavy metal toxicosis!
« on: June 27, 2014, 11:21:43 PM »
I copied and pasted this from another forum I'm on. I'm posting this because I'd like to share this information with other bird lovers, and to tell you how COMMON this is.

Robin is acting same as ever, but today after 3 weeks of chelation therapy he has a recheck to see if he still needs surgery!  :shocking:

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ROBIN DIAGNOSED WITH CHRONIC LEAD TOXICOSIS! (Long post)
FIRST, I wanted to let everyone know that Robin is lucky and not in IMMEDIATE danger, and will get his first dose of chelation therapy tomorrow.
He has the long term chronic condition caused by low levels circulating in the blood over a period of years, not an acute poisoning which causes immediate death.

So where do I start. This was such a big surprise to me. Robin, my male Red Bellied parrot is my most beloved, bonded, soulmate of a pet to me than any pet has EVER been. I've had Robin since he was a 3 month old weaned juvenile. That was nearly 20 years ago. He turns 20 on July 31st.

For the past several years, I would take Robin to the vet for his annual wellness exam. Since he's getting older, I wanted to monitor things a bit closer nowdays. The bloodwork on his check ups long term over the years have always been within perfect range (despite eating mostly Harrison's).
However.... I noticed he would VOMIT ONCE A YEAR for the past few years, Robin would only do it for a day or so. I'd be concerned, then it would resolve, never to come back for another year or longer.

I also noticed that while he would play, and talk, and hold a good appetite and weight, and would act "normally", he would also TAKE MORE SHORT NAPS during the day. This has been going on for YEARS, and since he was eating and happy and holding weight, I passed it off as just one of the signs of 'getting older'.

THEN, not too long ago.... Robin vomited AND was having diarrhea AND/OR polyuria (increased urine portion of droppings). That was it. Although his vet visit 6 months prior was great, I took him in to get another work up... He was still acting happy, but this time I knew something had to be wrong.

My regular vet was out of town (Murphy's Law), so I saw his associate who is mostly a dog and cat vet. She took blood... The results were the start of KIDNEY DAMAGE. What??!! His kidney values were fine 6 months ago! Remember, the lead toxicosis (which I'm getting to) has been present for years, but just now getting to the point it's showing on tests, and a little more symptoms. THIS vet was only about one step ahead of me looking info up on a textbook (one of the assistants led on). She (the vet) prescribed a special rx kidney diet (Roudybush AK). Robin's outward GI symptoms resolved within a couple days of eating it.

I kept reading articles on this, and the question always came to mind WHAT IS CAUSING the kidney damage? It is NOT diet related. My experience shows me that while Robin doesn't like to eat a ton of fresh foods, his kidney damage and symptoms are suspiciously from something else.... and PDD tests came back negative.

Since I live fairly near a well known exclusive avian specialist, I decided to take Robin for a second opinion. BINGO. I knew this vet would know exactly what to do. An x-ray showed METAL FRAGMENTS in his gizzard!! He sent blood for analysis (I'm sure he knew at that point from the symptoms plus x-ray) but of course any good vet won't say anything until lab results are in. The lab results showed definite LEAD toxicosis. Low level enough it wasn't fatal thank God, but giving off these "classic" vague symptoms of chronic (long-term) heavy metal poisoning.
I was so shocked, as all of Robin's life, I have watched him closely so that he was never getting into household objects. I've tried to buy safe toys... The metal pieces are round. I wonder if they are the little metal 'doughnuts' around the shoe laces on mini-shoe bird toys? I don't know.

I am SO thankful I took Robin for a second opinion with a specialist!! He says that LONG TERM HEAVY METAL TOXICOSIS IS THE MOST UNDER DIAGNOSED MEDICAL PROBLEM IN OUR PET BIRDS!!!

** side note - Robin is NOT a plucker, BUT... Metal toxicity is an extremely COMMON REASON for Cockatoos, and others to pluck!!! People tend to look at behavioral or diet first, and many vets don't even think of toxicosis as a possible reason. If in doubt, please get your precious babies checked!