Zinc Toxicity - Macaw diagnosed

I am purchasing an 11 year old macaw (male) who recently was discovered having zinc toxicity, while being treated for a secondary infection. He just completed a course of oral antibiotic (doubtful he got the full dose each day),and seems to be doing better.He continues to have occasional loose,watery stools that appear to be improving.

His behavior is great and seems to be very healthy. Am I crazy for purchasing a bird with this problem? Will it ever completely go away? Should I repeat a blood draw to determine the zinc levels are going down? Apparently, his x-rays show an enlarged liver and pancrease. Will these return to normal once zinc is normal? I would appreciate any and all advice you may want to give me.

Thank you, Sincerely, Maggie Jeans

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Oct 30, 2008
Zinc Toxicity cure for birds?
by: The Vet

You asked: "Am I crazy for purchasing a bird with this problem?" No. "Will it ever completely go away?" Probably. "Should I repeat a blood draw to determine the zinc levels are going down?" Yes, and probably several times.

Zinc toxicity is a serious and complicated problem. With the right management most birds return to normal, sometimes in a couple of months, other times in more that a year.

The antibiotics are not a treatment for zinc; zinc needs to be chelated. Antibiotics are good because they can treat and prevent secondary infections. One chelation never treats zinc.

Generally we go through a minimum of 3 chelations, but often times it is 5-6 or more. So if your bird has been chelated only once, he is probably not cured of the zinc poisoning. You need to have him retested to see what the levels are, treat again if necessary.

Also do follow up x-rays to monitor the changes in the liver. Thee also needs to be serial blood analyses to determine the condition of the liver and other organs.

Dr. B

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