WHAT IS THIS CULPRIT, THE AVOCADO!
Avocado is a kind of berry that has a buttery and slightly salty taste, which makes it a delight to the taste buds of humans. It is not only exotic to the taste but highly nutritious and a grand source of beta carotene, riboflavin, foliate vitamins E, K and even C as well. It also has what is referred to as the good fat. The omega-3 fatty acids which should ordinarily be nice peck to the savory fruit but it will surprise you know that the fruit could potentially kill your feathered friend. Yes avocadoes are lethal to birds.
WHY IS AVOCADO TOXIC TO BIRDS?
I bet you didn’t know that a fruit so tasty and healthy could also be toxic to birds or any living thing fro that matter. But it is what it is, Avocado contain what is referred to as Persin. Persin is a fungicidal toxin that filters from the pit and into the fruit, it is oil soluble so you will not exactly find it looking different from that very beneficial fatty acid contained within it. The level of toxins found in this avocado is harmless to human beings because the quantity found in it is so low that a human being would not even sense that anything was amiss, but the same can’t be said for birds.
WHAT PART OF AVOCADO IS TOXIC?
Unfortunately every part from the fruit from the leaves, to the stems and seed of the avocado tree have all been seen to contain the toxin and would poison in birds as well as some mammals. So that means its an altogether dangerous for birds. This persin in any part of avocado will cause the death of the heart muscle cells or what is referred to as myocardial necrosis when ingested by birds and some mammals. This is a death that will be so sudden that you will find yourself asking, what the hell just happened here?
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PERSIN POISONING IN BIRDS?
Budgerigars who fed as little as 1 gram of avocado fruit developed agitation and feather pulling. Infact When Budgerigars consumed around 9 grams of mashed fruit, death occurred within 48 hours. The lethal dose of avocado in budgies is approximately 3.5 grams, while its 20-30 grams in cockatiels and canaries 2 grams.
The adverse effects in birds begin as quickly as 15-30 minutes after ingestion. The first signs that owners usually see are weakness and depression, with fluffed plumage and a reluctance to perch. when there is poisoning, these are some other likely symptoms that you will notice before death occurs;
- Difficulty breathing,
- Lack of appetite.
- Subcutaneous edema of the neck and pectoral regions.
- Diagnosis and antidote
IS THERE ANY EXISTENT AVOCADO POISONING DIAGNOSIS METHOD?
Basically there is none, There are no specific tests that will confirm an avocado toxicosis as of now. No one will actually go drawing blood from a bird to run the toxicity test, this is going by the volume of blood required for such tests juxtaposed with the size of the bird.
Diagnosis is made on the basis of clinical signs and a history of exposure to avocados, the veterinarian is basically just looking symptoms along with the information that you have given. So if you suspect for any reason that your feathered friend has been exposed to avocado, then you must to it to an avian immediately. Do not try to remedy the situation at home, you might end up making things worse. Going by their size things could go south pretty quickly and the sooner the better.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR AVOCADO POISONING?
Unfortunately there is no antidote for Persin poisoning, although there such actions the vegetarian can take to reduce the toxicity level depending on how quick the bird was brought in for medical help. The chances of survival will largely depend on the fact that the consumed avocado has not infact been digested. The veterinarian would likely perform a procedure to clear out the birds crop. So what is a crop? This is where the bird stores food before it goes into the stomach and unto digestion and assimilation by the body. There are other steps your vet can take to minimize toxicity if you seek treatment early.
Your vet may also administer activated charcoal to prevent the toxin from being digested and entering the blood stream.
And where this digestion has already taken place the veterinarian may give mediations to clear out the cardiac region that might have taken in water and as the toxin enables dangerous accumulation of water in the heart area.
WHAT THEN CAN I FEED MY BIRD INSTEAD OF AVOCADO?
Avocado asides from the capacity to poison your bird or cause its death, it has a high fat content which should always be given in moderation, this is to say that your bird is resistant to its toxin. However they can also safely eat nuts, eggs, and cheese. However, it’s important to keep in mind that all of these foods should be fed in moderation. Fatty, calorie-dense foods should not be offered on a daily basis to your bird.
There are several alternative to avocado, including banana,, apples, nuts, vegetable options for like flax seeds, peas, hemp seeds okra and such others. Hemp seeds are particularly a good alternative to avocado due to their high fat content. Flaxseeds have almost the same amount of fat as avocado but with higher fiber and protein, a quality, which makes it even a better option.
As much as natures gift of fruits is a wonderful thing we must not allow think that its automatically entirely safe for all living things because nature too sometimes brings its own curve ball to play and this one of such situations that a fruit so nutritious and tasty should be a death sentence to a bird or even an animal because other mammals are susceptible to the suffering poisoning or even death after having ingested it but that is how it is , so protect your birds from exposure to avocadoes and where necessary keep it away from them totally.