Macaw vomiting 5/12

Help, the 65 yr. old Scarlet Macaw, that is spokes bird for our organization is having digestive problems. He was unable to empty his crop Thurs. and was taken to Dr. Antinoff, certified avian vet. She physically emptied the crop, took cultures and blood and put him on both antibiotics and Ketakonizole(sp) believing there may be a bacterial or yeast inf. but cultures are showing no signs of either, we are still waiting on blood test.

Yesterday he began vomiting (not regurgitatating) and is not eating. We stopped the drug theory once cultures were neg. but there does seem to be a lot of gas behind the crop. Does anyone know of anything that can be given for gas and I would also like suggestions for something to help vomiting which has subsided a little today. He is also taking small amounts of soft foods. George has been taking Aloe Detox several times a week for the past 8 mos. but is unable to keep it down now. The Holistic Care for Birds recommends Nux Vomica But I’ve been unable to locate it.

This bird is permanently handicapped from being shot-down in the wild and used as a call bird for years before he was brought to the US and passed thought several homes before finding a good home the last 13 yrs. He’s been to hell and back and now he really needs your help.

Thanks in advance for any help with this problem.

Diane Starnes N.P.R.P.F Secretary http://www.parrotfestival.org National Parrot Rescue & Preservation Foundation

Hi Diane, Dr Christopher or Nature’s Way has a nice formula for digestion that contains dandelion, barberry, gentian, capscicum, beet, and a variety of digestive enzymes. These work together synergistically. Roxanne’s suggestion for adding ginger is also good. Vomitting is one of the bodys ways to rid itself of toxins. Sometimes vomitting isn’t bad.

Crop statsis in an adult can be caused by bacteria, which you have already ruled out; parasites, yeast, an obstruction, and some viral diseases including PDD. If this is a sudden onset, did the vet check to see if there was something obstructing passage of food from the crop into the proventriculus?

Also, why he was on Aloe Detox for so long? There are some herbs in that product that I would not give long-term.


In addition to Gloria’s recommendations…my first thought is more for immediate supportive care. The first 2 things that comes to mind is dehydration…and has digestive also slowed down? Both of these can further complicate an existing problem. Even if there was no bacteria showing that could have *changed* since testing…especially if you have slow gut transit. The longer it takes for the food to travel the more risk there is of absorption of harmful pathogens thru the intestinal walls and going systemic. Dehydration will also contribute to this. You might want to ask your vet about this.

If dehydration is apparent and slow digestion…my personal preference of treatment is Sub Q fluid (Lactated Ringers)therapy, for a minimum of a 24 hr. period of time. Use of capsicum with any foods eaten orally will counter an existing bacterial infection, and is also a preventative from infections establishing themselves….*especially* with slow digestion or GI stasis.

You also mentioned alot of gas behind the crop. Do you mean some type of inflation under the skin? If you part the feathers is there a separation between flesh and exterior skin? If you gently press on these gassy area’s do they deflate? Two things come to mind…either a yeast problem. (Please remember that the bird may have tested clear of pathogens, but that can change within a day) Or a ruptured air sac.

As to the vomiting….I have found that Ginger tends to be soothing to the crop and digestive tract…and also acts as an antiseptic for GI tract infections.

Susanne Russo

He was unable to empty his crop Thurs. and Yesterday he began vomiting (not regurgitatingr ) and is not eating.

I have had success in a similar case with a mush made from tea from  plantain leafs and slippery elm.


from gloria –

Diane Starnes wrote:

As for the Aloe Detox, Brenda started giving this because she was concerned about liver problems due to George’s many years on a poor diet. She only gives it occasionally mainly as a tonic.

Aloe Detox isn’t specifically for the liver, although it does contain liver detoxifying herbs…specifically dandelion and milk thistle. Other herbs in the formula are used to detoxify other parts of the body.

Gloria, how would you recommend using Aloe Detox and what ingredients are toxic?

I didn’t say any of the herbs were toxic. However, some of the herbs are not those that I would use long term. I don’t have the ingredient list here, but blue cohosh is one of the herbs I remember thinking was inappropriate for that formula. Traditionally, blue coshosh is used for female problems. It stimulates the uterus. It has some other functions, including some diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties. Plus it induces perspiration.

If you are using a product as a tonic, you would give it for a period of time and then stop. The period of time depends on the formula and on other factors. You wouldn’t give a dose and then a couple of weeks later give another dose. I think most tonics are taken for a few days to a week or so. Aloe Detox starts to spoil once it is opened. Even refrigerated, it is still going to spoil…just slower than if it were left out on the counter. Once I opened my bottle of Aloe Detox, I discarded any left unused after about two weeks.

If you know the bird has a liver problem then either milk thistle or andrographis would be good choices for that body organ.

As far as a bad diet….well, we are changing our views about what a bad diet is. It used to be that seeds were considered a bad diet, so people went off the deep end and denied seeds to their birds. That was only because they didn’t understand *why* an all seed diet was bad. Seeds are good food, but an all seed diet is missing some nutrients. If other foods containing those missing nutrients are consumed along with seeds, then seeds can be part of a balanced diet. Now we are noticing that pellets cause nutrition related health problems too. This is because pellets contain too many of some nutrients and they also are missing many other nutrients. An all pellet diet is just as bad or even worse than an all seed diet….over a longer period of time.

It could be that the Macaw wasn’t on a bad diet. It depends.

The Nature’s Way formula for digestion sounds good , does it have a name or do you find it listed just as a digestive formula?

It’s called Digestion…but I don’t know if it is still part of Nature’s Way product list or if the Christopher foundation took it over. It was originally a Dr. Christopher formula. (I think)

I’ll let everyone know what’s going on with George as soon as I have more information. He will be returning to the Gulf Coast Avian Exotic Clinic on Monday—hopefully we will have some test results.

I hope it is good news. He might have just had a bad reaction to some food or might also have picked up a virus from somewhere (wild birds, fresh air?) Our response to the flu virus is similar. When our bodies don’t want any food in there, we vomit. Sometimes the body needs to be free of food in order to heal.



I just wanted to let everyone know that our spokesbird, George, the 65 yr old Scarlet Macaw is almost fully recovered and moved back into the birdroom yesterday. It was very touch and go Sat. and Sun. and we really thought we were going to lose him but he’s a real fighter. Thanks to everyone again for all their help and suggestions.

The blood work showed a WBC of 23,000 and enzymes were elevated so there was obviously an infection going on although nothing ever showed up in the cultures. PDD was ruled out but I’m not aware of any sudden onset short lived viruses in birds, so we may never know the cause. One thing our vet had us use once we were able to keep food down was Ensure given in small amounts ever couple of hours. That is not something I would have ever thought of feeding a Parrot but it did seem to help, has anyone ever heard of doing this?

Diane Starnes