Avian nutrition has come a long way in the last twenty years thanks to pelleted diets. These diets prevent birds from using what I like to call the smorgasbord approach . . . they pick out their favorite food items and drop the healthy stuff on the bottom of the cage. Avian veterinarians have been recommending these diets to correct the health problems caused by nutrient deficient, high fat seed diets.
Unfortunately, pelleted diets do have limitations. The color variety of cockatiels, lovebirds, budgerigars and parrotlets may develop renal problems from large amounts of pelleted diets. The condition will often correct itself when the pellets are removed from the diet. Current recommendations discussed at IVECCS include limiting pellets to 50% or less of the diet for sensitive individuals. The other 50% should be a mix of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and nuts tailored to the specific bird. Always choose foodstuffs fit for human consumption to avoid contamination with unhealthy microbes.
If your pet succumbs to heat exhaustion or heat stroke, the treatment you provide on the way to the clinic may mean the difference between life or death. Apply copious amounts of tepid water to their entire body before transporting them. Do not use cold water. Cold water causes peripheral blood vessels to constrict which slows down heat exchange. Drive to the hospital with all the windows open or the air conditioner on “max” to increase cooling through evaporation. If possible take a rectal temperature every five minutes. When the patient’s temperature drops to 104.0 F or below, stop cooling. (The normal temperature range for dogs and cats is 100.0 to 102.5 F.) Excessive cooling may induce hypothermia.
Last week I attended the 14th International Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care Symposium. It was a terrific symposium attended by veterinarians and technicians dedicated to providing the best emergency care possible for our animal friends. For the next two weeks, I will be blogging about things I learned at the conference. I hope you will find the information useful.
FIRST AID FOR RATTLESNAKE BITES
The toxin in rattlesnake venom is made up of large molecular weight proteins. Because of their size, the toxic molecules cannot cross directly into blood vessels. Instead, the toxin is carried through the body in the lymphatic system. What does this mean for you or you pet? First, do not try to “suck out” the venom or make the patient bleed. Instead, flush the wound with copious amounts of clean water. Then place a snug bandage over the area of the bite wound. Compression from the wrap decreases toxin spread by compressing the lymphatic channels. There is no need to tourniquet the affected limb. Second, get medical attention as soon as possible. Early treatment is always the best.