Description: Visceral gout is the deposition of uric acid crystals in the tissue, which is usually associated with the final stages of renal disease. Articular gout is the deposition of uric acid crystals in the tissues of the joints and under the skin.
In early stages of renal failure, your bird may show no overt signs of illness. Increased water consumption and increased urination may be seen as the kidney cells are dying as renal damage progresses. With advanced kidney disease, the bird will lose weight, become weak, fluffed, depressed, anorectic, and may develop diarrhea. Visceral gout usually occurs shortly before death. Articular gout also indicates advanced kidney disease. Causes of renal disease can include infectious causes (bacterial, mycobacterial, chlamydial, viral, mycotic and parasitic), neoplasia (tumors), toxins (vitamin D toxicosis, lead, zinc, hemoglobin, myoglobin, mycotoxins, salt, ethylene glycol, carbon tetrachloride, certain drugs and antibiotics), metabolic conditions and physical obstruction.
Tumors involving the kidney or gonad (testicle or ovary) may cause pressure on the sciatic nerve on that side, resulting in lameness of the leg on that side.
Immediate Care: If you notice that your bird is drinking more water than usual or the dropping appears to have a larger portion of urine, take it in to see an avian veterinarian, who will run blood tests and a urinalysis, as well as any other necessary tests. Radiographs are often helpful. A renal biopsy will often tell conclusively what is causing the kidney damage, although on occasion a definitive cause will not be ascertained.
Tumors of the kidney or associated structures are often very difficult to surgically remove, however using newer laser and microsurgery techniques, it may be possible to debulk some tumors.
Long Term Care: Provide your bird with a diet that reduces the workload of the kidneys. This includes a low protein diet but non-protein calories should replace the reduced protein to meet your bird’s energy needs. Your avian veterinarian will provide you with an appropriate diet. Beta-carotene should be administered as directed by your vet and extra vitamin B complex may also be necessary. Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids act as specific anti-inflammatory agents for the kidneys and your vet will prescribe the appropriate dosage. Your bird should have access to fresh, clean, potable water at all times.
It will be necessary to work closely with your avian veterinarian for the best quality of life for a bird suffering from renal disease.
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