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Gout in Birds

Avian Gout

 

Gout is a musculoskeletal disorder affecting the muscles and bones around the joints of the bird.

 

Symptoms and Types

 

There are two types of gout. Which type the bird suffers from depends on the body parts affected:

 

  1. Visceral gout – this occurs in the tissues of the internal organs. 
  2. Articular gout – this chronic form of the disease which occurs when uric acid and urates are deposited in the ligaments and tendons, but more commonly in the legs or wing joints. The joints become swollen, red, tender swell, and warm to touch.

 

A bird with articular gout prefers to sit on a flat surface instead of perching because of the pains. If forced to walk, the bird becomes noisy due to discomfort. It may also be depressed and dehydrated, with greenish diarrhea. In addition, the bird will look dull, its feathers ruffled and the vent moist.

 

Male birds are susceptible to articular gout, and the common age for this affliction is four months and above.

 

Causes

 

Gout is mainly due to damaged kidneys (nephropathy). When they stop functioning normally, it results in an accumulation of uric acid and urates in the muscles and joints. Kidney damage leading to gout can be due to the following reasons:

 

  • High calcium and vitamin D3, with low phosphorus amounts in food
  • High amount of sodium bicarbonate in food
  • High amount of salt (more than 0.3 percent) in food
  • High amount of protein (more than 30 percent) in food
  • Not enough water in the diet (dehydration)
  • Consumption of water with a high amount of minerals (i.e., calcium and copper sulfate)
  • Viral infection (i.e., avian nephritis)
  • Antibiotics like gentamycin, nitrofurosones, and sulfonamides
  • Poisoning by disinfectants (i.e., cresol and phenol)

 

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