Metal Toxicity In Birds – Yes Metal Poisoning Can Happen To Your Cockatiel

Metal Toxicity In Birds

As owners of pet birds, there will always be things that you need to look out for so that you can ensure that your pet doesn’t get injured or sick, and this includes metal toxicity in birds.

Your aim should be to have a happy and healthy pet bird, and you never want to find yourself in the situation where you have been careless and allowed your little pet to become sick.

Metal Toxicity in birds is another thing to keep in mind when you own any sort of pet bird.

Is Your Cage Safe?

metal toxicity in birdsMost of the time we keep our pets in cages that were specifically made for them. Even the plastic shown in the picture above could pose a health risk for your cockatiel.

So always make sure that you buy your cage from somebody who specializes in making bird cages, as they will know what they can and cannot use in the manufacturing process.

Not only should you only buy from these manufacturers because of metal toxicity in birds, but also because you want the cage to be safe and secure so that the bird cannot escape.

If you keep your pet cockatiel somewhere other than in a bird cage, or if you let your bird roam freely around your house, there is always the chance that he could be poisoned by something. Make sure your bird is supervised at all times when he is roaming freely about the house.

Because birds are so inquisitive, they like to explore their surroundings and nibble on just about everything. If he nibbles on the wrong things, you could potentially find yourself with a very sick bird.

So make sure that you are either keeping the bird in a cage designed for him or that you have done your research and checked that the materials in the cage are not going to harm your bird.

If you let your bird out often, make sure you bird proof the room and remove any harmful items from the room so that he doesn’t run the risk of running into trouble.

Besides Cages, What Else Can Cause Metal Toxicity In Birds?

There are many other things that can cause metal toxicity in birds, and here are some of them:

  • The fumes from Teflon Pans
  • The lead in a pencil – never let your bird chew on a pencilmetal toxicity in birds
  • Foil from champagne and wine bottles
  • Curtain weights
  • Bells with lead clappers
  • Lead-based paints
  • Some imported or cheap bird toys
  • Golf balls
  • Linoleum
  • Batteries
  • Stained glass
  • Anything with Zinc. Zinc is also highly toxic to birds
  • Never galvanize the cage to prevent rusting, as this is also a top cause of metal toxicity in birds

How Will I Know If My Cockatiel Has Lead Poisoning?

The lead that is ingested can be absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract and then taken up by soft tissues and eventually by the bones.  Lead affects all major organs and can cause damage to the gastrointestinal tract, red blood cells, kidneys, and liver.

Signs of lead poisoning as seen by your vet may include non-specific signs of illness, gastrointestinal signs, urinary tract problems and neurological deficits. The more lead the bird has ingested, the sicker he will be.

Other signs include anorexia, vomiting, regurgitation, loose and black stool, twitching, circling, blindness, and convulsions.

If your bird has ingested zinc, his stools will be green or yellow.

Vets will normally remove heavy metal from the bird’s tissues with a chelation agent like calcium EDTA. Pieces of heavy metal within the digestive tract may also be removed endoscopically, surgically or via gastric lavage.


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