Small Animal Facts, Questions and Medical Tips: Pet Owner Blog
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Small Animal Facts, Questions and Medical Tips: Pet Owner Blog

Hi, my name is Darma. I love rodents. I have a ferret, two guinea pigs, several rescued feeder rats and a hedgehog. I am an extremely conscientious pet owner, and I know how hard it can be to find medical tips on small animals. In some cases, it can even be challenging to find vet care for them. In this blog, I am going to write about everything I have learned in my decades of being a small pet owner. I am going to write about cleaning, nursing, feeding and taking care of small pets. I am also going to write about finding the right medical treatment for them and knowing when to seek help. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy my blog.

Small Animal Facts, Questions and Medical Tips: Pet Owner Blog

4 Things Parrot Owners Need To Know About Atherosclerosis

Timmothy Ortiz

Atherosclerosis is a serious disease of the arteries. Plaque accumulates on the walls of the arteries, which then hardens and doesn't allow as much blood to pass through. You may already know that people can suffer from atherosclerosis, but you may not know that parrots can, too. Here are four things parrot owners need to know about atherosclerosis.

Why do parrots get atherosclerosis?

Parrots tend to get atherosclerosis as they get older, just like people do. Age isn't the only risk factor, though. Additional risk factors include a high cholesterol level, a poor diet, and not getting enough exercise. Fortunately, all of these factors, with the exception of age, can be controlled with proper care.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptom of this disease in parrots is sudden death, so if your parrot dies without warning, atherosclerosis may be to blame. However, some parrots show symptoms. Some symptoms you may notice include dyspnea (difficulty breathing) and tiredness. You may also notice nervous system symptoms like paralysis or difficulty balancing. Difficulty balancing may present as frequently falling off of the perch, or sitting on the floor of the cage instead of attempting to sit on the perch.

Can vets help?

If your parrot is diagnosed with atherosclerosis, some medications are available to treat the condition. Isoxsuprine, a drug that is used to treat high blood pressure in people, has been reported to be an effective treatment for atherosclerosis in parrots. Your bird's symptoms may return once the treatment is stopped, so your vet may recommend keeping your parrot on the medication indefinitely.

Can you prevent atherosclerosis?

You can protect your feathered friend from atherosclerosis by feeding them a healthy diet and by making sure they get enough exercise. Wild parrots need to fly great distances to look for food, which keeps them in shape, but pet parrots don't need to exert any effort to get fed. This makes it easy for them to become overweight and unfit.

To counteract this, you'll need to create an exercise routine for your pet. Ideas for fun exercises include playing ball with your parrot, dancing with them, or exploring play trees. If your parrot is flighted, letting them fly around your home is a great exercise, and if they're not flighted, encourage them to flap their wings while sitting on their perch.

A proper diet is also very important. Parrots need more than just seeds and bird pellets; surprisingly, they also need to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. A whopping 30% of their diet should be comprised of vegetables like lettuce and kale, while about 5% should be fruits like apples and berries.

If you're concerned that your parrot has atherosclerosis, take them to an emergency vet right away.