Poisonings in the Avian Patient

Poisonings are relatively uncommon in companion bird emergency medicine, but these conditions do occur and can involve a wide assortment of toxins. In principal, treatment in birds is the same as for other animals. First, stabilize the patient presented with abnormal clinical signs. Establish an airway, initiate respiration, and address cardiovascular needs.

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Crop Burn in Birds

Crop burns are commonly caused by thermal injury in young birds and, in rare instances, by ingestion of caustic chemicals in adult birds. Crop burn is generally caused by feeding formula that is too hot (>110ºF or 43.3ºC) or less commonly, contact with a heat lamp or heating pad. Damage typically occurs in the gravity dependent right ventral region of the crop where the weight of the food bolus presses heated material against the skin. This increased thermal exposure can lead to necrosis of the crop wall and skin forming a fistula that can leak food.


Burns in the Avian Patient

Burns are common in avian medicine. Many burns result from contact with hot liquids such as scalding water or cooking oil. Electrical burns arise from chewing on electrical wires and burns may also occur when pre-weaning birds are fed hot formula. Burns resulting from entrapment in burning buildings or inside containers, such as chick incubators with burning bedding, are not as common but are much more difficult to treat due to the complication of smoke inhalation.


Supplemental Heat for the Avian Patient

Small birds face an enormous task in maintaining their body temperature, especially in a cold environment, but fortunately plumage provides an effective barrier to heat loss. Down feathers trap air and allow little convective movement of heat to occur. Fluffing feathers increases insulation and…