How We Handle our 38-year-old DYH Amazon’s Heart Disease

How We Handle our 38-year-old DYH Amazon’s Heart Disease

Last Updated on by Catherine Tobsing

Patty M. 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.

Pancho has been on Isoxsuprine and Enapril 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 pellets and various vegetables and quinoa.

So that is just outstanding care, Patty. 

For those unfamiliar with the subject, there is no “typical Amazon heart disease”. Cardiac disease has been associated with atherosclerosis and hypercholesterolemia.

For the rest of us, if your bird is lethargic, displaying weakness or lethargy, any of which can be a symptom of avian heart disease.

Some tests an avian vet might run if heart disease is suspected.

Here’s a paragraph from one of very few papers on avian cardiac health

`one can find on 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 an Amazon parrot.

There are three things that will help control heart disease and or fend it off altogether.

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 Safflower Gold which contain seeds, fruit, nuts, and pellets can be accepted because of the many textures.

3) As much as we 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.

This birdie exercise blog post will help any species keep in shape 



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