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xx Impacted/Blocked Gizzard
« Thread started on: Apr 15th, 2007, 04:59am »

constipation/reduction in faecal content is often indicative of this disorder-DL

The gizzard is a tough structure and resistant to the enzymes and acids produced by the proventriculus. In the gizzard of omnivorous and seed-eating birds a great deal of pummelling and grinding of food occurs aided by grit which is normally present in this organ. The ingesta or partially digested food emerges as a pulp of fine particles of gruel-like consistency and is still strongly acid. In weak, debilitated birds the ingesta may be incompletely pulverised on entry into the duodenum, where it is then liable to irritate the openings of the bile and pancreatic ducts thus leading to digestive disturbances. If a foreign body, such as a coin, button, nail, staple or small piece of wire is swallowed, it may cause no trouble until it reaches the gizzard, where it tends to be retained, in the same way as grit. Round objects cause a mild, chronic "gastritis" or ventriculitis, which may not prevent the bird from living a relatively healthy life, but may cause occasional brief bouts of indigestion. Sharp or hooked objects tend to bury their ends into the gizzard wall during contraction of the organ, probably causing pain and perhaps resulting in loss of appetite and consequently weight. Sometimes a sharp object will perforate the gizzard wall and cause peritonitis and death. Unfortunately x-ray examination does not always differentiate between foreign bodies and the shadows cast by grit in the gizzard. When a foreign body is strongly suspected an operation for removal is not to be embarked on lightly, even by an experienced veterinarian, because this is usually very difficult and the chances of success are low. Erosion of the horny lining of the gizzard does not appear to be as common in cage and aviary birds as it is in poultry, but it may result from a lack of vitamins such as vitamin A. In waterfowl and occasionally other species, gizzard worms produce severe erosions. Gizzard erosion can be suspected in vague illnesses accompanied by indigestion and loose, greenish, mucoid and intermittently bloodstained droppings. Distension and flabbiness of the gizzard musculature occurs mostly in debilitated birds, specially when the exit into the small intestine is impacted with hard fibrous ingesta. Such an obstruction soon causes depression, loss of appetite, and soft droppings which rapidly become smaller in amount, and are passed progressively less frequently. If the condition is not relieved, death can result from toxaemia even before the effect of starvation is felt. Birds affected in this way are generally those kept in planted aviaries or where little food and an abundance of coarse fibrous material is present. Liquid paraffin given slowly by mouth in liberal amounts using a dropper (10-20 drops per 100 gram body weight) is the most effective and safest treatment. This tends to ease and soften the obstruction, and soothe the mucows membrane of the gut. Diagnosis is difficult and has to be based on careful observation, and consideration of all the circumstances.

What is a blocked gizzard?

Following wet weather or fluctuating temperatures pet birds may over-engorge on minerals (sand, soil, potting mix or grit). The reason for this activity is unknown, however, there may be an underlying health problem (eg. Bowel infection, worms or eating contaminated food) that leads to this behaviour. Once a small amount of sand, grit or soil has been ingested, the bird is likely to develop a stomach ache and will scavenge for further minerals. The build up of these materials cause a blockage in the gizzard. The presence of a blocked gizzard or foreign body obstruction is confirmed through an X-ray. (The article gives further info and treatment measures)
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