There is no arguing the fact that you should keep an eye on your bird’s overall health if you want it to have a long and happy life. Feeding it with the right food, supplementing its diet with the perfect vitamins and minerals, and providing it with an environment that is clean and peaceful are keys to giving your pet bird a long life that it will certainly enjoy.
In that regard, you should also consider that your pet birds are highly susceptible to a lot of different health conditions. However, this is not the same as humans or other pet animals because birds usually have specialized nutritional needs and a faster rate of metabolism. As such, there is always a good chance that your bird will end up with health problems as a result of malnutrition. Some of the complications that may arise from malnutrition are liver problems such as the fatty liver.
What causes liver problems in birds?
While we previously said that liver problems in birds are usually caused by malnutrition, there are other factors that contribute to such health issues. There are plenty of factors that you can look at if your bird is suffering from liver issues. You can give it a perfect diet, but it may still end up with liver diseases if it is a congenital issue in your bird. Sometimes, things such as trauma and parasites can also contribute to the development of liver problems. You can even look at toxins in the surrounding area as possible causes. If you are unsure of what is causing the liver problem in your birds, you may want to have it checked by a pet care professional or a veterinarian to be sure.
Symptoms of liver disease
If you have noticed that your bird shows any signs of these symptoms, it might be time for you to have it checked for possible liver problems or other associated illnesses:
- Weight loss
- Overgrown beak
- Enlarged liver
- Loss of appetite
- Increased urination and drinking
- Low body temperature
- Aggressive behavior
- Change in feather color
How to treat liver diseases
The good thing about the liver is that it is able to regenerate itself if it suffers any damage. That means that if you are able to pinpoint the exact cause of the liver problem and that if you are able to treat it properly right away, you will be allowing the liver to heal and regenerate itself over time. The key here, as the vet might suggest, is for you to look for treatments that will minimize fibrosis while also stabilizing hepatocyte.
Plenty of medical and natural treatments are available for you if you want to treat your bird’s liver problems. Some would say that avocado can have a positive effect on the bird’s liver because it actually helps liver problems in humans. However, you should take note that avocado is highly toxic to birds and will most probably kill it due to the chemical properties of this fruit. In that regard, there is a chance that you will be helping your bird in relation to its liver problems, but there is an even greater risk that you will also end up killing it. So, as such, avocado should always be out of the question when treating your bird’s liver problems.
Vets will also use other varieties of treatment in relation to what is causing the liver problems in your bird. For example, if the liver problems are caused by malnutrition, you will be required to fix your bird’s diet and make sure that it fits its nutritional needs. Another example is that birds with liver conditions caused by a parasitic infection would be given a treatment that can help against the parasitic infection. Of course, it also more than useful if you are able to provide a healthier and cleaner environment for your bird to minimize the risk of it suffering from liver conditions and other illnesses and health issues as well.
Pain medications are also helpful when it comes to managing the pain that your bird is feeling in relation to its liver problems. Other therapies that may be useful include increasing its fluid intake, assisted feeding, blood transfusions from other birds, and increased intake of clean and pure oxygen. Such treatment options will allow the bird’s liver to regenerate itself naturally due to this organ’s regenerative features.
However, you also have to check if the bird has an abnormal liver because that can ultimately change the prognosis. Always have your pet bird checked by an expert or a veterinarian first before performing any sort of treatment on it because there is a chance that certain treatments would not be effective due to the bird’s abnormal liver structure or its own natural biological makeup.
Using milk thistle for treating liver problems
Arguably the most common type of treatment that has been used for treating liver problems in birds is milk thistle. In case you do not know what it is, milk thistle is actually a type of plant; it is native to Europe and Asia. This plant’s seeds contain silymarin, healthy fatty acids, and linoleic acid. And if you haven’t heard, silymarin is a healthy chemical compound that allows the liver to improve its natural healing abilities. That is why a lot of supplements for the liver contain silymarin. Milk thistle seeds actually contain 70 to 80 percent silymarin, which makes them good for treating any sort of liver problem.
While there are plenty of birds that prefer to eat seeds as a regular part of their diet, not a lot of birds are willing to eat milk thistle seeds because of how bitter they are. So, in that regard, trying to feed your sick bird with milk thistle seeds won’t help at all since it already has a decreased appetite due to its liver issues. That is why there are plenty of milk thistle supplements you can buy from the market.
Normally, milk thistle in its liquefied form is safe and healthy for your birds. But be wary of the milk thistle supplement you are buying because some of these contain alcohol and other chemicals that make it dangerous for your bird to take. As such, always use a liquefied milk thistle that is clear of any other chemicals so that it will be safe for your bird to take. Alcohol-free should always be the way to go if you are indeed concerned about your pet bird’s health.
Another factor that you should consider is that, like any medicine or natural remedy, it is also quite easy to overdo milk thistle supplements. There are some owners who have reported negative effects on their birds because they gave them too much of this natural remedy. Digestive issues and nausea can be some of the effects of giving too much milk thistle to your birds. As such, when you are using milk thistle for your bird’s liver problems, always make sure that you do so under the supervision and recommendation of a veterinarian so that you will know the exact dosage and the regularity of the dosages.