Hypocalcemia in an African Grey Parrot
Congo is a wild-caught African Grey Parrot, presumably about 25 years old, who came to us late on a Thursday night because he’d stopped eating. We sent him home after gavaging him (administering formula directly into crop with a tube) and drawing some blood. Due to the time of day, we couldn’t get results until Saturday morning, so he came back in Friday for more gavaging and continued supportive care. We started him on an antibiotic because of some bacterial overgrowth found on a swab of the mouth (“choana” in birds). He went home over the weekend. I called the owner Saturday to let her know that blood work showed his calcium level was low. Following my recommendation, she bought him a full-spectrum bulb (ReptiSun 5.0) and offered him scrambled eggs with eggshell mixed in, and by Monday (this morning), he’s feeling much better! He loves to spend time under his light and is eating well on his own again. I gave him a calcium injection and recommended that we recheck blood calcium levels in 6 mos.
We know that African Greys are susceptible to hypocalcemia, and this is a perfect example of a happy outcome for this bird. It illustrates the importance of a healthy diet. We recommend Harrison’s Bird Diet – High Potency for African Greys because of this concern. Currently, Congo eats mostly seed, but we’ll be working on switching him to a better diet!