Gout is a type of arthritis that occurs when urate crystals build up around the joints, leading to pain. These crystals occur when there is too much uric acid in the blood. As you may know, this condition can affect people, but surprisingly, pet parrots can also be affected. Here are four things parrot owners need to know about gout.
Why do parrots get gout?
Researchers still aren't completely sure why parrots get gout, but they've identified some possible factors. Kidney problems may be associated with gout; the kidneys are responsible for filtering uric acid out of the blood, but if they're not working properly, uric acid can build up. Gout has also been linked to diets that have too much sodium or calcium as well as not drinking enough water.
Some of these factors are preventable. Ensure that your parrot is eating high quality pellets that do not provide excessive vitamins or sodium, and make sure that their water bottle is easily accessible and always full.
What are the signs of gout?
If your parrot develops gout, you will notice that their joints are sore. Signs that could indicate that your parrot's joints hurt include not wanting to sit on their perch, sitting in the bottom of the cage, shifting from one leg to another, or not wanting to fly. You may also notice that some of their joints look swollen. If you think your parrot is experiencing joint pain, take them to an avian veterinarian right away for an examination.
How do vets treat gout?
Gout can't be cured, but fortunately, veterinarians can offer treatments to help control your bird's uric acid levels. They can also prescribe painkillers to ease the pain in your bird's joints, which will make your bird more comfortable. If the pain is extreme and can't be managed with painkillers, euthanasia may be required.
How can you help your bird?
Birds of gout have very sore joints, see you will need to make some adjustments to help them stay comfortable. Adding padding to their perches can help cushion their joints and reduce their discomfort. You can buy pre-padded perches, or you can wrap fabrics like cotton or denim around their perches to make them softer.
You should also rearrange their cage that they don't have to travel too far on their sore joints to get the things they need. Make sure that their perch, water bottle, and food are all close together. If the cage only has vertical bars, considering upgrading to one that also has horizontal bars so that your parrot can climb up using their beak when their legs or wings are sore.
Gout is a very painful condition, so if you think your parrot has it, take them to a vet like the Canine Center right away.