Seizures caused by Hypocalcaemia syndrome associated with low calcium levels in the blood. It is the commonest cause of central nervous disease in African grey parrots. Supplementing the parrots' diet with calcium and Vitamin D, and providing access to natural light are important factors in preventing this problem. Birds aged 2 to 5 are most commonly affected. Vets often treat grey parrots suffering from seizures presumptively with intravenous calcium gluconate, as well as with diazepam.
Clinical signs are incoordination, imbalance (such as falling off the perch, convulsions and seizures. Birds may be hypersensitive to noise or movement.
Treatments include the administration of parenteral calcium gluconate applications and calcium and vitamin D3 dietary supplementation. Patients generally respond within minutes of treatment.
A lot of the health problems associated with low calcium levels can be prevented by providing sufficient natural sunlight to our pets. Even those situated by a window will not benefit from the sun because the window blocks the UVA and UVB rays needed to synthesize vitamin D necessary for bone health. Birds use sunlight by preening their feathers. The substance on the feathers will undergo a chemical reaction from the sunlight producing Vitamin D3 which the bird ingests with further preening of the feathers. The indoor bird does not have the benefit of this reaction.
The most common health problems associated with vitamin D deficiency are: weakened immune systems / susceptibility to diseases, soft bones, bent keels, splayed legs, abnormal beak development, reproductive problems (egg binding, soft-shell eggs, dying chicks) as well as seizures and, to a lesser extend, Stargazing (twisted back)In areas where access to natural sunlight is limited (such as in the northern hemisphere during the winter months), full-spectrum lamps can be used to provide UVA and UVB rays.
Vitamin D / Calcium Deficiency can also be a result of a malfunctioning uropygial gland, as the uropygial or oil gland produces vitamin D3 precursors that are spread into the feathers as the birds preen themselves. Upon exposure to ultraviolet light, the precursors will be converted to active D3, which will then be ingested when the birds preen themselves again. Therefore, it is important to also make sure that the gland is working properly. Please also refer to Calcium Metabolism in Birds.
African Greys with red feathers scattered throughout the plumage are occasionally seen. Such red feathers scattered in areas where you wouldn't expect to see them could be an indication of damaged feather follicles (usually because of feather plucking), medication (for example administration of antibiotics at the time a bird is molting has caused changes in feather coloration - however, this is not a permanent change and subsequent molts produce normal feather coloration).
Although it is possibly that genetics is involved and that it is a mutation. It is easy enough to differentiate that -- depending on whether an African Grey developed these red feathers over time (which would be an indication of health problems), or whether they were born with it, which would point towards genetics / mutation.
Tapeworms and Blood Parasites
Bad Feather / Beak Condition; Missing and Misshapen Feathers:Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD). A deadly, highly contagious (air-borne disease). Only supportive treatment available. No cure.
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