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#122932 - 08/27/03 09:17 PM Calcium  
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 2,414
ZazuSally Offline
Lives Here
ZazuSally  Offline
Lives Here

Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 2,414
Ontario, Canada
Dr. Mike:

When I had Sally at the vet in May, I was told her calcium was low normal. This was along with the questionable enlarged heart. She is being retested in November. I have switched her to Harrison's and Avian Naturals but I am not sure if she is eating them. When I get home, they are all crushed up into a powder with bits of broccoli in them. She pulverizes everything. Is there a safe calcium supplement or should I just wait until her blood work is repeated in November?

I do not want her to have seizures because her calcium is too low.

Thanks
Bev


Owner: DebRan Bird Toys
#122933 - 08/31/03 08:10 PM Re: Calcium  
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 474
Dr. Mike Offline
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Dr. Mike  Offline
Member

Joined: May 2003
Posts: 474
New Jersey
Hi Bev
How low was “low normal”?

Low serum calcium is not usually a function of lack of adequate calcium in the diet, but rather, a recuction in the absorption of calcium into the system or a lack of efficient conversion of dietary vitamin D to active D3.

This may be due to an underlying low-grade GI inflammation problem. This may be caused by many things, including invasion by bacteria, yeast, or parasites, systemic disease causing a slowdown in GI motility, or plain old stress. Stress can affect the ability of the GI to derive nutrients from the food. The former may be from a lack of vitamin D in the diet or kidney disease.

In the case of low serum calcium, it is, of course, a good idea to supplement with a quality souce of calcium, but it is also important to investigate and rule out any other possible reasons for the possibility of poor absorption or other GI problems.

The best way to supplement calcium is by feeding foods rich in it, like dark green leafy vegetables, like broccoli, collards, kale, etc. Also, if you take a cuttle bone and scrape it, you will get a pure cacium carbonate powder that can be added to any wet food she will eat.

Also, the kidneys are responsible for converting the dietary vitamin D to the active D3, so specifically investigating their health is important.

This conversion can also be made in the skin in response to ultraviolet light (as reptiles do), so while this is not an important pathway normally, if the serum calcium is low, it may be beneficial to supply this ultraviolet in the form of full-spectrum lighting. See my previous posts on this subject for more detail.

Seizures due to hypocalcemia are not as common as the literature would suggest. It happens most often in older African greys, but we do not often see this in practice. The body is very good at mainaining calcium balance to avoid this. The parathyroid glands secrete a hormone that causes calcium to come out of the bone into the bloodstream when calcium gets low and thus prevents muscle contracile irregularities in all but the most severe cases, so I don’t think Sally is at risk for this with a "low normal" level.

Let me know how her follow-up goes.

Also, THANKS very much for the book!! I find it a great addition to my collection of "old" avian literature – I also LOVE the bookmarker that was in it. I will really treasure it!

Dr. Mike smile

#122934 - 09/01/03 07:46 AM Re: Calcium  
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 2,414
ZazuSally Offline
Lives Here
ZazuSally  Offline
Lives Here

Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 2,414
Ontario, Canada
Hi Dr. Mike:

You are very welcome. My other thank-you gift should be there by Wednesday or Thursday.

Sally's calcium was 1.89. The range is 2.00 - 3.49 mmol/L.

She does have full spectrum light. I followed what Patrick Thrush suggested.

I will buy the cuttle bone and put it on her veggies. She gets broccoli every day as well as other veggies.

Thanks so much and here's wishing you get some help soon.

Bev, Zazu and Sally Ann


Owner: DebRan Bird Toys

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