Nutritional Management of Gastrointestinal Disease in the Bird

Key Points

  • Begin nutritional support only when the patient is warm, alert, and hydrated.
  • The bird with gastrointestinal disease should initially be fed a high-energy, low-fiber diet that contains an easily digestible protein source.
  • Offer dietary fat judiciously due to the relatively complex digestive process required.
  • Look for a diet that contains glutamine: the preferred source of energy and nitrogen for small intestinal mucosal cells.

The gastrointestinal tract acquires and digests food, absorbs nutrients and water, and expels unabsorbed ingesta as feces. Nutritional support of the avian patient with gastrointestinal (GI) disease is challenging. In cats and dogs, it is easy to “rest” the gut, however with their relatively high metabolic rate, this is difficult, if not impossible, to achieve in many avian patients. Specific disease conditions increase the difficulty regulating gastrointestinal motility including ingluvitis (crop stasis . . .


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