Avocado Toxicosis in Birds

Filed Under: Poisoning, Birds

Next time you are cutting up fruits and vegetables for your bird, make sure you hold the avocado. Did you know avocados are toxic to birds? Ingestion of the fruit, leaves, stems and seed of the avocado tree have been associated with toxicosis in birds as well as mammals. The causative agent, persin, is found in all parts of the avocado and will cause myocardial necrosis (death of the heart muscle cells) in birds. Budgerigars fed as little as 1 gram of avocado fruit developed agitation and feather pulling. When Budgerigars consumed around 9 grams of mashed fruit, death occurred within 48 hours.

Symptoms in affected birds include lethargy, difficulty breathing, lack of appetite. Affected birds may develop subcutaneous edema of the neck and pectoral regions. Sudden death can also occur.

There are no specific tests that will confirm an avocado toxicosis. Diagnosis is made on the basis of clinical signs and a history of exposure to avocados.

No antidote for the persin is available. Treatment for congestive heart failure may be of benefit.

References:

Kahn, Cynthia. Editor. The Merck Veterinary Manual. 9th Edition. p. 2361

Topics: poisons

Symptoms: difficulty breathing, lethargy, loss of appetite

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