Last Updated on by Catherine Tobsing
Patricia McP relates
My 38 year old DYH Amazon just had an echocardiogram done by Dr. Fitzgerald, an avian cardiologist specialist. It was a beneficial exam that helped us adjust Pancho’s meds. Pancho has the typical Amazon heart disease, but it doesn’t mean the end if you take special care and take advantage of all the modern technology available.
There is no typical “typical Amazon heart disease”.
Cardiac disease has been associated with atherosclerosis and hypercholesterolemia.
Is your bird lethargic, displaying weakness or lethargy?
Was any of the following included in the exam?
A biochemistry profile
Hematology and biochemistry values are not always helpful in diagnosing cardiovascular disease, although myocardial disease may cause increases in concentrations of AST, CK, and LDH.
So here are some thoughts Patricia.
A paragraph of one of very few papers one can find on avian cardiac medicine
Concerning therapy of cardiac disease, the state of scientific knowledge is far below mammal medicine.
There are only a few scientific studies about the use of heart drugs in birds, and for newer drugs, only a few case reports exist.
The principles of cardiac therapy in birds follow the principles in mammal medicine, although some important points need to be considered.
First, avian cardiac cases are mostly high-grade alterations because the changes are normally first diagnosed in the stadium of decompensation.
Normally there are serious accompanying problems, such as weakness, emaciation, ascites, and high-grade circulatory disturbances.
Second, due to the high performance of the avian heart, the consequences of cardiac insufficiency are often more dramatic than in dogs or cats.
Third, it has to be expected that the effects and side effects of drugs depend on the bird’s species because the class Aves is very heterogeneous and there are many differences between the species.
No one is manufacturing cardiac drugs for parrots, there is no large need for them.
Thus all the meds are designed for humans having an average heart rate of 80 BPM whereas a parrot’s heart is beating at 200 BPM.
An adult human heart weighs around 250-350 g roughly the weight of your bird.
There are three things that will help you control
1) Weigh your bird once a month – any noticeable swings one way or the other should trigger a trip to the vet.
2) Just like humans birds have to eat right, pellet diets are ideal but not intuitive so food blends like Higgins which contain seeds, fruit, nuts, and pellets can be accepted because of the many textures.
3) As much as resign ourselves to a fitness habit in January the gyms start thining out in March.
Birds get fatty liver and heart disease for the same reasons humans do.
A healthy bird is a bird that climbs and flies all day ~ it’s something we encourage with our flock.
Best of luck
Pancho has been on Isoxsuprine and Enalapril for 5 years! She gets checkups with blood work every 6 months. With the guidance of my Avian Accredited Veterinarian, she is doing better than expected. She is 40 yrs old and due to a broken wing and arthritis, she has limited exercise.
But she eats healthy now with Tropican Alternative Formula and various vegetables and quinoa.