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Budgie Zinc Poisoning [Symptoms, Causes, Treatment]

Zinc is a very common metal used in many industries. Zinc also comes with many items made for household use such as coins, keys, wire, staples, some cages, zinc-carbon batteries, zinc-plated nuts and bolts, many toys, galvanized steel products, and jewelry, etc.

What Is Zinc Poisoning in Budgies?

Simply put, budgie zinc poisoning means an excessive intake of zinc that causes zinc toxicity.

Budgies can get this zinc metal in their bodies from many objects. Besides, budgies get zinc in their bodies by swallowing tiny objects that contain zinc or by playing with their beaks and touching objects that contain zinc.

Symptoms of Zinc Poisoning in Budgies

Zinc poisoning has many harmful effects on budgies. Therefore, if you know your budgie is healthy and shows symptoms that you fail to understand, you should suspect zinc poisoning.

Symptoms of zinc poisoning in budgies are listed as follows:

  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Staggering, inability to walk or perch that caused by incoordination of muscles and neural system
  • Having difficulty breathing
  • Shivering while fluffed up
  • Feather picking
  • Feather loss
  • Skin color changes
  • Itching
  • Diarrhea
  • Dark green or bloody dropping
  • Excessive water consumption, thirstiness
  • Constant urination
  • Regurgitation
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Ataxia
  • Anemia
  • Sudden death
Budgie Zinc Poisoning [Symptoms, Causes, Treatment]
Polyuria (excessive urine production) from a bird with zinc or other heavy metal toxicity (Source: todaysveterinarypractice.com)
Budgie Zinc Poisoning [Symptoms, Causes, Treatment]
Green budgie poop that caused by liver damage, which can be caused by zinc or other metal toxicity. (Source: todaysveterinarypractice.com)

Causes of Zinc Poisoning in Budgies

There are numerous causes of zinc poisoning in budgies. Unfortunately, many household products contain zinc both in their structure and in their surface areas.

The causes of zinc poisoning in budgies are listed as follows:

  • Chewing zinc-containing substances. If continuous, the budgerigar will accumulate trace amounts of zinc overtime in its body.
  • Swallowing tiny zinc-containing materials. The zinc-containing metals cause an excessive amount of zinc to mix into the body.
  • Galvanized wire, clips, cages, and chains also cause zinc poisoning in any interaction.

Diagnosis of Zinc Poisoning in Budgies

Zinc poisoning in budgies is difficult to diagnose because it has similar symptoms to many other diseases. So, if your budgie has one or more zinc poisoning symptoms, you should go to a veterinarian.

It is extremely hard to understand zinc poisoning without clinic equipment. Therefore, a veterinarian must use a radiograph (x-ray) to find out if your budgie swallows an object.

On the other hand, your budgie may have taken zinc into her body by chewing on substances containing zinc. In this case, a radiograph will be useful for diagnosing.

A blood test is necessary to find out the zinc toxicity in budgies in zinc-containing-material chewing situations. But, because of the size of the budgies, blood work may not work and is hard to apply.

Treatment of Zinc Poisoning in Budgies

Treatment of zinc poisoning in budgies has two stages, such as supportive care and medical treatment.

A veterinary may give supportive care immediately because of the symptoms. Even if you and your veterinarian do not suspect zinc poisoning, it is a good idea to overcome the symptoms and relieve the bird.

In the case of zinc poisoning, your veterinarian tries to understand if it is acute or chronic zinc poisoning by asking you questions.

If it is acute zinc poisoning, it is possible your budgie had swallowed an object. Firstly, the veterinarian removes the object from the budgie’s body.

For the treatment of both acute and chronic zinc poisoning, the following can be done:

  • Removing the zinc source metal if swallowed
  • Fluid therapy
  • Using a chelant as a metal cheating agent for zinc
  • Giving antibiotics and antifungals
  • Crop feeding
  • Giving thiamine and vitamin B complex
  • Using an incubator for stress-reducing and quick recovery
  • Controlling seizures with anticonvulsant
  • Treatment for anemia

Recovery of Zinc Poisoning in Budgies

The recovery of zinc poisoning in budgies also begins in the treatment stage.

For quick recovery, you or the veterinarian may do the followings:

  • Crop feeding the budgie with nutrient-rich food until the budgie gains its appetite.
  • Using an incubator in the early stages of recovery.
  • Providing a calm and quiet environment.
  • Getting rid of the objects that regularly cause chronic zinc poisoning.

Prevention of Zinc Poisoning in Budgies

To prevent zinc poisoning in budgies, you can do the followings:

  • Getting rid of zinc toxic objects with which the budgie interacts.
  • Changing the cage if contains zinc.
  • Adding more thiamine and vitamin B complex to diet.
Is zinc toxic to budgies?

Yes, zinc has toxic effects and is harmful to budgie’s health. If you have a budgie, you should be wary of zinc poisoning of the budgie.