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August Abbott, CAS
August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7626
Experience:  Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
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I lost my rainbow lory 18 months ago to a bacterial

Customer Question

I lost my rainbow lory 18 months ago to a bacterial infection. There are many unanswered questions from the avian specialist so I thought I'd get another opinion about a few things. I was told that the necropsy showed among other things a liver that was swollen and dark maroon with several lesions thoughtout the liver. I was told 4 liver tests showed a normal results. How could this possibly be????????? The avian vet had no answers. Should I pursue more info regarding this? I am not totally satisfied with the answer he gave me which was he didn't know why? Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  August Abbott, CAS replied 1 year ago.

I'm so very sorry for your loss and I understand exactly how you feel. One of my very first rescues, a young cockatiel, had a congenital liver disease with virtually the same results as you've described upon necropsy. As frustrating as it is, sometimes we really don't know why we lose them.

It might help you better understand the liver (largest internal organ) by comparing it to the skin, the largest organ overall. There are hundreds of reasons we might see a rash, or lesion, redness, other discoloration and what appears to be unexplained injury on our skin.

It would be too easy to see an area of redness and think bug bite, but it might be ringworm, allergy, psoriasis or even cancer, among so many other things.

When a liver looks abnormal it's equally perplexing as to what is behind it without being able to run a series of live bird tests and trial and error treatments

The labs showed a normal result just like the overall function of skin with disease or infection would probably do the same. All this means is that the liver, an incredibly resilient organ, kept working. Right up until it didn't.

It's also quite deceptive in producing within normal limits results at any given time even while diseased.

Finally, it's possible that the labwork wasn't specific or in depth enough to catch the nuances or remote possibilities

A BUN isn't an accurate evaluation of liver function in birds, this is a kidney related test; instead, the vets should be doing Xrays to look for enlargement and studies looking for elevated bile acid.

SOOT, AP and LDH elevations are also likely to be found with liver disease; however SGOT and LDH (cholesterol levels) need to be evaluated by an experienced avian clinician since they are not liver specific.


So there's a lot of "should have's" to look back on, but none of this brings your companion back. This is what I've learned first hand.

And what matters is that you did everything you should have. Consider honoring your bird's life and contribution to you by perhaps providing a good, loving, supportive home for a rescue? The entire avian rescue & rehab org I founded after losing that one little bird is done in honor of the brief time he shared his life with me.

Expert:  August Abbott, CAS replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about Rainbow. How is everything going?
S. August Abbott, CAS