Clinical Nutrition

Nutritional imbalances contribute to a variety of diseases and disorders encountered in avian and exotic pet medicine. A few of the common conditions are mentioned below, but this list is far from inclusive. Search the related links of your pet for more information on these conditions.

Please refer to the diet and nutrition section of the client education paper for your particular pet for more details on the dietary requirements of your pet. These can be found within this Exotic Pet Care section under each specific pet category. These lists are provided here as guides for the selection of proper foods to feed your pet.

Calcium Disorders

Nutritional Secondary Hyperparathyroidism (Metabolic Bone Disease)

  • Commonly seen in Green Iguanas and other reptiles
  • Caused by an imbalance of Calcium and Phosphorus in the diet. An imbalance in Vitamin D3 or lack of proper
  • Ultraviolet light also affects the metabolism of calcium leading to this disorder.

Hypocalcemia in African Grey Parrots

  • Caused by a relative deficiency in Calcium in these parrots. These particular parrots appear to have difficulty utilizing
  • Calcium in their diets. The first sign of a problem is often seizures in these birds.

Hind Leg Paralysis in Sugar Gliders

  • This is often attributed to Calcium deficiency, but poor protein is often a factor as well. In addition, the entire diet is often poorly balanced in many of these cases. Supplementing Calcium alone does not cure most of these sugar gliders presenting with this condition.

Vitamin A Disorders

Hypovitaminosis A in Box Turtles

  • Lack of Vitamin A in the diet can lead to puffy and swollen eyelids & swollen ear membranes. Secondary infections are common and lead to severe eye and ear infections, often leading to lack of appetite and inactivity.

Squamous Metaplasia in Amazon Parrot

  • Lack of Vitamin A can lead to changes in the mucosal lining of the mouth and respiratory tract, leading to defects in the choanae. As a result the birds are more susceptible to respiratory infections, such as bacterial sinusitis and Aspergillosis.

Vitamin C Disorders

Scurvy in Guinea Pigs

  • Presents as painful and swollen joints, inactivity & poor appetite. Guinea pigs, like people, require vitamin C in their diet since they cannot make it on their own.