Nutritional Management of Renal Disease in Birds

Key Points

  • Recognize and correct nutritional imbalances that may promote the development of renal pathology. Nutritional imbalances that may contribute or exacerbate renal disease include hypercalcemia, hypervitaminosis D, vitamin A deficiency, and excessive dietary cholesterol or protein.
  • There are many theories on the pathogenesis of articular and visceral gout, however elevated dietary protein alone does not appear to be the underlying etiology of gout in avian species since diets as high as 70% protein failed to induce gout in adult cockatiels.
  • The initial diet fed to the patient with renal disease should be high in carbohydrates and fat to provide energy and an increased caloric intake.

There are a number of potential nutritional problems that can promote renal disease. Excess dietary protein, excess dietary calcium, hypovitaminosis A, or hypervitaminosis D may lead to nephritis or other degenerative renal changes . . .

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Echols MS. Evaluating and treating the kidneys. In: GJ Harrison, TL Lightfoot (eds). Clinical Avian Medicine Volume II. Spix Publishing, Palm Beach, Fl. p. 451-491, 2006.

Kamphues J, Otte W, Wolf P. Effects of increasing protein intake on various parameters of nitrogen metabolism in grey parrots (Psittacus erithracus erithracus) Abstracts of the First International Symposium on Pet Bird Nutrition. Hannover, Germany; 1997. p. 118

Koustos EA, Matson KD, Klasing KC. Nutrition of birds in the order Psittaciformes: a review. J Avian Med Surg. 15:257-275, 2001.

Pollock CG. Diagnosis and treatment of avian renal disease. Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract 9(1):107-128, 2006.

To cite this page:

Pollock C. Nutritional management of renal disease in the bird. May 22, 2007; reviewed and updated April 15, 2015. LafeberVet Web site. Available at