Nutritional Management of Liver Disease in Birds

Key Points

  • Chronic liver disease may lead to malnutrition, hepatic encephalopathy, and weight loss.
  • Antioxidant supplementation may protect hepatocytes from further damage.
  • Protein restriction is not required except in cases of liver failure and encephalopathy.
  • In liver failure, temporarily restrict protein while feeding a highly digestible diet with moderate amounts of fiber.

In mammals, chronic liver disease is often associated with decreased intake of food, mainly due to anorexia, nausea, and vomiting, as well as taste abnormalities, and the same appears to be true for the avian patient. Chronic liver disease may also lead to maldigestion and malabsorption, as well as metabolic abnormalities such as increased protein and lipid catabolism, glucose intolerance, depletion of hepatic glycogen stores, and decreased glucose oxidation. Therefore chronic liver disease may lead to significant malnutrition and weight loss, particularly in patients with severe hepatic dysfunction . . .

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To cite this page:

Pollock C. Nutritional management of liver disease in birds. June 18, 2007. LafeberVet Web site. Available at