Fatty liver disease is rampant among companion parrots. The reason is primarily twofold: excess and incorrect nutrients in the daily diet and lack of exercise. Before any treatment for FLD can succeed, both of these conditions need to be corrected. I have not seen FLD in birds who are fed the whole foods diet that I use, so a switch to this diet or similar will be the first change I will make. Next, I will look to increase exercise. See the housing article for ideas on this. Sometimes birds have become too overweight or too sedentary to fly, and in these cases, I work very slowly to build the bird up to regular exercise capabilities. But, it can be done!
In certain cases, before transitioning to a whole foods diet, I may implement a period of “detox” where a very simple diet is used for a month or so. A simple diet might include a group of five soaked seeds with no supplements. The purpose of the simple diet is to gently, but drastically, shut down the fat levels reaching the liver. After the simple diet, I will begin very slowly introducing the ingredients of the whole foods diet, a few at a time. Depending on how severe the FLD has become, I may omit various fatty foods for a year or more, but in this case, the diet needs to be reworked in order to compensate for the foods that are omitted.
In addition to the whole foods diet, I like to use a number of herbs to enhance, correct, and restore proper liver function. These herbs include organic artichoke leaf, organic turmeric, organic milk thistle seed, dried hawthorne berries (must be freshly powdered before serving) and organic berries. These herbs should be used daily, and possibly for the remainder of the bird’s life.
Finally, I often reach for Lily of the Desert Aloe Detox in FLD cases: http://www.lilyofthedesert.com/product/aloe-herbal-detox-formula/ . This is a liquid supplement that can be used as a 50/50 mixture in water. Sometimes birds will tolerate the taste; often they will not, and a lower dose must be used. The 50/50 dose is pretty effective when used for a three to six month period. But again, every bird’s water consumption must be monitored to ensure that they are drinking this formula.
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Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, or by any veterinarian. All information, including any product or technique mentioned, is for educational purposes only. None of the information is intended to diagnose or treat any disease.