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August Abbott, CAS
August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7532
Experience:  Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
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My 30 year old Red Lored Amazon has been passing bloody

Customer Question

My 30 year old Red Lored Amazon has been passing bloody stools all day today. Same happened about 10 days ago and then completely normal in-between. Other than being extra clingy she is eat and drinking and playing like normal. Any ideas?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  August Abbott, CAS replied 4 months ago.

What is it that happened? Why did vet Rx antibiotics? Is this vet a bird only vet?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
There was no cause that we know of. The Vet has a large avian practice. The Rx was a guess as there was no other obvious explanation.
Expert:  August Abbott, CAS replied 4 months ago.

OK, let me ask a few more questions to get a better understanding:

What color is this blood you're seeing? Pinkish, light red, very red, dark red, almost black?

Is it in every dropping? Is it the center (fecal matter) or the middle layer that is usually a white or cream color, or the outer, liquidy area?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Very dark red and thick like partially coagulated. I wasn't with her all day so I can only judge by the cage bottom and it is in all locations where she pooped. It's enough that it colors the whole poop so hard to tell if in one part it the other.
Expert:  August Abbott, CAS replied 4 months ago.

Thank you for this info. Now I'm worried about two things: First and foremost, how any vet could just issue an antibiotic and send a bird with dark red hemorrhaging home. Please find another vet; another opinion. Blood this color is generally from high up in the intestinal tract and very often a serious concern. Too many things it 'could' be to list. Anything from a tumor/cancer, to other endocrine system issues.

What seems to be blood in the droppings might also be a type of bile. It could indicate anything from lead or other metal poisoning to the lesser seen, kidney infection.

Speaking of heavy metal toxicity: Have your vet perform a blood serum test for zinc levels (just in case your vet isn’t an avian-only vet, zinc levels over 2 ppm are positive for zinc toxicity). There will also likely be elevated WBC’s (white blood count).
Zinc can be ingested slowly over time when toys, clasps, chains, links or even cages are chewed on or played with. Other poisonings occur when the bird actually swallows a toy, link or piece of one. Watch out for bell clappers for instance.
X-rays should also be employed to rule out toxic ingestion like this. In fact, at the very least an Xray should have been suggested when this became "the second time".

I'm so sorry you're going through this frightening and frustrating time. The worst thing is not know what it is and thus, no idea how to make it better. Clearly you love this bird and are doing all the right things. I can't tell you how much I respect you for this.

My strongest suggestion at this point and given what's happening is see another avian-only vet quickly. If this actually is blood, birds can not just suffer from, but succumb to anemia relatively quickly. They just don't have that much blood in their aerodynamically perfect bodies to be able to tolerate much loss.

Please come back and let me know what happens ok? I'm happy to stand by you

Expert:  August Abbott, CAS replied 4 months ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about Sheena. How is everything going?

August Abbott, CAS

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