Toxins can be a serious problem in companion birds due to several factors, including their size, efficient respiratory system
and curious nature. In addition, many pet owners are unaware that certain substances can be toxic to their birds. The following
is Pet Poison Helpline's list of the five most common toxins to be aware of for these pets.
GETTY IMAGES/KONSTANTIN ANTIPENKO
Lead poisoning has historically been the most common metal poisoning in caged birds, but due to increased knowledge of the
human health problems caused by lead, its use in the home has significantly decreased.
> Lead-based paint
> Foil wrap on some champagne and wine bottles
> Curtain weights
> Bells with lead clappers
> Imported bird toys
> Stained glass.
> Weight loss
> Vomiting or regurgitation
> Polyuria and polydipsia
Clinical pathology findings
> Hypochromic regenerative anemia
> Cytoplasmic vacuolization of RBCs
> Increases in hepatic enzymes (lactate dehydrogenase [LDH], aspartate transaminase [AST]), muscle enzymes (creatine phosphokinase
[CPK]) and uric acid (indicator of renal function).
> Clinical signs
> Clinical pathology
> Blood lead concentration
> Evidence of radiopaque material in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
> Remove lead object via crop lavage, cathartics or endoscopy.
> Perform chelation therapy with succimer or calcium EDTA.
Public health considerations
Pets have long served as sentinels for lead poisoning in people, especially children. If a bird or any pet in the home is
diagnosed with lead poisoning, always recommend that people in the home—especially the children—be tested too.