Lead toxicosis is a common problem in both pet and wild birds. Sources of lead for pets often include lead weights, bells, solder, stained-glass framing, toys, and improperly glazed food and water bowls. In the wild, a common source is lead shot. In this case, an adult male, double-yellow-head Amazon parrot was presented with a 36-hour history of seizures. The parrot's diet was seed mixture and table scraps. Midazolam controlled a seizure the patient had in the examination room. Bloodwork revealed microcytic, hypochromic anemia. The parrot was also hypoalbuminemic, with elevated AST and creatine kinase levels. Radiographs showed a 2-mm diameter, circular, dense object in the ventriculus. A presumptive diagnosis of lead toxicity was made, and the bird was given supportive care consisting of gavage feedings twice a day and fluids. Chelation therapy of 40 mg CaNa2EDTA was given IM. A fiber supplement was added to the feedings in an attempt to increase gastrointestinal motility to move the foreign body. After 13 days of therapy, the object was removed using endoscopy. It appeared to be lead shot, presumably from portions of game birds that the bird had been fed. Although toxicosis has been reported in pet birds fed game birds, it is much more common in raptors. This case emphasizes the importance of helping pet owners to recognize sources of lead that their birds could be ingesting.
Management of an ingested lead foreign body in an Amazon parrot. Riggs SM, Puschner B, Tell LA. VET HUMAN TOXICOL 44:345-348, 2002.