Bird Vet Melbourne

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Avian Liver disease in birds is usually a slow, progressive disease. When avian liver disease has advanced the symptoms become more obvious.

Hen birds  are more affected than cock birds.   Occasionally juvenile birds  may be diagnosed with liver disease when  overfed weaning.

Diagnosing liver disease in birds

  • Blood testing - is done to determine  infection, anemia, how much liver function present? (Cholesterol often goes up, and Proteins go Down)
  • Diagnostic imaging - x-rays - can see an enlarged;or a small liver.
  • Definite diagnosis may need a biopsy or small tissue sample via laparoscopic surgery - or key hole biopsy.
  • Liver enzymes: AST goes up initially  liver disease (but also in muscle damage)
  • GLDH goes up with deeper cellular damage of liver.
  • Bile Acids - indication of the ability of the liver to detoxify the blood.
  • Some times we also treat fort parrot liver disease and can extrapolate the diagnosis by the response of the bird to liver therapy. 

Clinical signs of avian hepatic disease

  • Often vague and non specific clinical  signs of a sick bird .
  • Feather quality and colour change are associated with bird liver problems.
  • Overgrown beak  is a classic sign with hepatic lipidosis in birds.
  • Prolonged bleeding due to decreased blood coagulation factors etc.

Biliverdin in the urine  - the slate green colored urine is suggestive  also called biliverdinuria , is classic. (bird don't have biliverdin reductase to make Yellow jaundice colour we see in dogs, cats and man with hepatic disease)

Treatments of parrot liver disease. 

The Liver is an organ that  can regenerate in an orderly and functional way  contrast that to the kidneys that can not.

Palliative care  and supportive therapy  -  and then treating for specific for the type of liver disease. 

A quiet warm environment without barking dogs or scary cats as seen in most vet clinics.

If dehydrated treat with fluids.  DO not  vitamins A and D routinely.

Biotin choline and methionine and necessary and birds are included in the crop fed. 

Create an optimal environment for liver disease therapy.

Specific conditions - eg Ursodeoxycholic acid - for high cholesterol and has a cellular protective effect (on bird liver disease) 

Colchicine is used it is anti fibrotic and anti inflammatory

Milk Thistle  - Silibinin - has many extrapolated to be helpful in chicken liver disease !

Conclusion - with a diagnosis of the avian liver disease condition appropriate therapy can be used. .

What are the signs of fatty liver disease in birds?

Birds with fatty liver disease have non specific clinical signs like:

  • loss of appetite, lethargy, and depression.
  • Many are obese or overweight and the liver is enlarged due to fatty infiltration.
  • This fat can result in a distended abdomen leading to difficulty breathing.
  • Birds may diarrhea and slate green urine – Biliverdinuria.
  • Liver disease in birds results in poor feather quality.
  • E.g.. Budgies with overgrown, soft beaks have this fatty liver disease.
  • Some birds with fatty liver disease may die and the remaining flock are all affected. 
  • Autopsy id So important after death in an aviary..

Avian Liver disease can be treated  - with exercise, correct nutritional support and appropriate medications, it is possible to reverse the affects of hepatic lipidosis. The liver is ability to heal itself and reverse part of the damage and return to good heath.