Benky, our half-moon conure, died just before 8 am on a Wednesday morning. Months before that, our veterinarian told my wife and me that she had the classic symptoms of sugar diabetes. The vet gave her six months to live. The treatment that might make a difference was daily insulin injections.
Diabetes mellitus is the most common type of diabetes, and birds and humans have some similar symptoms and reactions to the disease. In Benky, there was increased thirst, appetite and what may have been peripheral neuropathy (a degeneration of the nerves in the extremities). In diabetes, arteries harden and close off circulation to appendages. Benky was already fearful of perching on fingers, and it got to the point where only one family member could hold and physically interact with her. When she wanted physical attention, she would climb up a shirt sleeve and perch on a shoulder. (We realized that shoulder perching is not recommended, but we caved because it was our only way of making contact with her.)
**For the full article, pick up the November 2008 issue of BIRD TALK**
Did you like this excerpt? Subscribe now to read more like it.