Diabetes in Birds
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Pet Cockatiel with Diabetes (AvianHealth mailinglist member shares with us her experience with Diabetes)
Overproduction of the hormone glucagon causes blood-sugar levels to rise.
Symptoms of Diabetes in Birds
- Birds drink excessive amounts of water and urinate excessively
- Birds may be overweight first, and then lose weight.
- Birds are more susceptible to infections.
- Low blood-glucose levels can result in seizures, coma or death - in cases where blood sugars are dangerously low, the owner has to have corn syrup, sugar-water or other simple-sugar containing liquids on hand to drip into the bird's beak (careful not to aspirate / drown bird)
- Low blood-glucose levels most often happen in cases where insulin was over-administered or a patient went without food for too long.
- Urinalysis shows elevated sugar levels in the urine
- Patient can be monitored at home by urine dipsticks for sugar
- Blood-glucose level is persistently above 800 mg/dl
As with human patients, it is important to carefully monitor the diet. A low *carbohydrate, low-sugar diet in combination of exercise are usually helpful in keeping blood sugar levels within normal limits. In some cases, insulin may have to be administered.
*Some carbohydrates are necessary, but only whole-grain and in limited amounts are usually recommended. Refined carbohydrates should be avoided.
Insulin injection have proven to be problematic in birds and oral medications such as glyburide (glyburide) and glipizide (slow- and long-acting) have shown superior results in controlling avian diabetes.
Also, please refer to below ...
" The vet prescribed Glyburide 1/4 tab in 1/2 cup of water a day. I do think he is peeing less and I almost think he is more active.
The thing is when you live with a bird companion , changes can happen so slowly that you don't realize there have been changes....the only reason I became alarmed was when I switched from bedding to newspaper and saw the difference between how much pee was on his paper as opposed to how much pee was on the paper of two tiels I am boarding for a friend.
The day after his first dose, I came home and immediately upon hearing the front door open Birdie say " Hi Birdie" in a really chipper voice. He just seems more active and brighter although he seemed fine to me before. He is drinking his water so I guress he doesn't taste the meds. His appetite was good before and is good now. He is a really sweet tiel , he is a shoulder bird and he puts his head down for me to scratch his neck and head and he talks a little." Brenda, Birdie and Jacob
14 Days after Treatment Began:
As told by owner:
"Birdie has gained 8 grams since diagnosed a couple of weeks ago! Dr. Bill tested his urine again and one test from early morning pee showed 1+ and the other test from the urine in her carry cage was "normal"! A couple of weeks ago her urine tested off the charts and that was three separate tests all were off the chart..
I shared with him the diet changes I have made: .Porridge, Oh Boy Parrot Food , Fresh Chopped Greens, Puree Veggies......he made notes of all that and was most interested in Birdie's diet....in addition he is going to contact a big Avian Vet in either Florida or California! He didn't charge for this re check either, he is delighted !! and hopes that he will learn much from Birdie and me and be able to encourage other Birdie owners not to give up when presented with a diagnosis of diabetes.
I had forgot to tell you all that for birdie's like Tiels and other smaller birds, generally the only thing you will see is a collapse if the blood sugar dips too low and to put some maple syrup on Birdie's tongue, but he said its rare even in really sick birds whose blood sugar has dipped to collapse or have seizures.
I use urine test strips morning and bedtime with Birdie and keep a daily record and in a month do a re- check! " Brenda, Birdie and Jacob
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