Gout and Kidneys


My U2 was diagnosed with a kidney density from pellets, was fighting aspergillosis and after talking to 4 vets and not being able to lower his urine PH to a normal reading I consulted Alicia. I had already chatted with her and my U2 was getting better, just by eating her diet.

I’d asked his vet on my own about echinachea for the aspergillosis but Alicia increased the dosage by quite abit more than the recommended dosage in the veterinary medical books. What amazed me the most is that with her help, his urine PH dropped to a normal reading after only about 6 weeks. After talking to those 4 vets, and trying for a year and half, Alicia did what myself and they hadn’t been able to do in only a few weeks.

She sent me a supplement and also recommended foods to add, foods to take away. His aspergillosis titer was also excellent…..I feel partially due to the increase in the echinacea dosage. His kidney’s have continued to improve on her mash diet. She’s also given me recommendations to treat him for his x-ray exposures.


Milk Thistle will NOT help with kidney problems. Also, it is hard to help with very little details, such as if it is a baby, IS it actually kidney problems, what’s been given, and what are the physical symptoms now seen, such as severe dehydration (reddened body), pain (upright penguin-like stance).

What are droppings like?…when your close to failure you are going to see clear or bloody urine (fluid part), little solids, and thin, chalky-grit like urates (white part). When this seen the bird is very critical, and needs heat, humidity and fluid therapy (subcutaneous)

NO medications/treatments till the bird (IF) can be stabilized. If the bird can digest, small amounts (1/2 CC at a time) of cherry juice (no additives if possible)



The following are conditions associated with polyuria/polydipsia. Use this as a *check-off list* (Use a search tool to research more info. if needed.) What is followed by a question ? mark (in 1994) was still not fully researched/determined in bird Dietary-induced,

Excitement or nervousness,
Apparent psychogenic polydipsia,
Medications (corticosteriods,diuretics, progesterones),
Toxins (eg, gentamicin),
Nephrogenic diabetes insipdus,
Diabetes insipidus,
Diabetes mellitus,
Renal glucosuria,
Vitamin A deficiency,
Liver disease,
Renal disease,
Hypervitaminosis D3,
Elevated dietary sodium,
Excess dietary protein,
Excess fruit consumption

I’ve lost track of who has what problems. For the fatty liver selenium (minute amounts) is good, choline helps dissolve fat. A good source that has these two ingredients, plus many of the beneficial *B’s* is Brewers Yeast.

Beneficial amino-acids that help with liver disease (protection and removes fat, and some are anti-oxidants) are:Isoleeucine, Leucine, L-Valine, Cysteine. Eggs will raise the level of these Animo-acids for aid in liver problems. (Use a search engine to research more, or consult your vet for sources of these items) A

An Animo-acid that may be useful for the person (bird) dealing with seizures, and convulsion is Taurine, which is made in the body from Cysteine


From Sue (Vetoutreach)

I had the opportunity to talk with Brian Speer, a vet who did some research on cockatiels and problems with dietary protein. He said that they found that mutations like pearly pied, whitefaced and others were for some reason sensitive to dietary protein which shows up as polyuria (lots of urine in the droppings).

They could not induce this phenomenon in normal greys. In fact, renal biopsies did not even show changes in greys or other species until the protein levels reached 72%. So the recommendation he had was to keep cockatiel mutations on lower protein and not worry in other species if the pellets were “higher protein” (ie. 20% vs. 14%).

Of course, if your bird develops persistant polyuria, it might have a kidney problem that is exacerbated by high dietary protein. In this case, it would be prudent to not only reduce the protein levels but have it checked out thoroughly for other problems, too. Sue

Uric acid

From Susanne Russo I have some print-out info. from Harrisons as to some cockatiels having a problems with the protein (and from my *own* experiences, D3) levels in the pellets. He did up a trial pellet @ 12.5%. Still at this reduced rate some cockatiels will still have problems and recommendations were to cut with 30% rolled oats to dilute protein levels further.

From my own experiences cockatiels will eat *some* oats, but not at that %. My recommendation would be to gradually convert over to 60-70% seeds, pellets in a separate dish (free choice), and fresh greens (preferably organic), veggies, fruits. Beans are also a source of protein so I’d back off (or offer occasionally) from them too. For therapeutic purposes dandelion greens a few times a week will help both liver and kidneys. Avoid watercress when there are kidney problems.

As to Sue’s question as to a herb….my choice would be Devil’s Claw which is good for reducing cholesterol and uric acids levels. ***Note to Betsy and Beauty.*** This may be of benefit to Beauty too because her protein, cholesterol, and uric acid levels were high too.

Cockatiels can be sensitive to the smell of powdered herbs, so I have recently been using extracts @ a ratio of 1 drop per 30 CC of distilled water. This has been for young birds in the formulas. Hopefully some of our more experienced listmembers would have advice for adult dosage/treatments. Short periods of access to direct sunlight will help too.


Offhand I would say Black cherry juice; if you can get him to eat it try some Daikon. When I have more time may be able to give you couple more suggestions & a cell salt to try. I do not believe pellets such as Scenic, Noahs, Lakes & Harrison are bad esp when they are part of a diet & I feed them on a rotational basis – a few every 2nd or 3rd day – for much the same reasons as you do. I give whole vegetables such as broccoli, celery, apples, oranges, carrots, squash etc to them for the day & don’t worry when the foods like that will be in the cage for several hours- but the temp in my house is almost never over 73F.



Gout is due to failure of the body to eliminate nitrogenous (protein) waste products (urates) from the bloodstream through the kidneys. Because of this, urates are instead deposited in various places in the body. Two types of gout occur in birds, articular (located in the joints) and visceral (located in internal organs.

If urates are deposited around the joints, tendons, and ligaments, it is called articular gout. If urates are deposited in the liver, kidney, pericardium, heart, and air sacs, it is called visceral gout.

In birds, uric acid is a normal product of purine catabolism and protein metabolism. This is different from mammals, where it is the endproduct only of purine catabolism. There are several theories for the cause of gout, so it is likely that gout can occur for any of these reasons.

1. Kidney malfunction: If the kidney is not functioning properly by eliminating urates, then the urates must be deposited somewhere within the body. There are various causes of kidney malfunction including bacterial infections, mycotoxins, decreased water intake, diabetes, viral infection, and malnutrition (vitamin-mineral deficiencies) toxicity (over-use of antibiotics, for one), and stress.

In some cases, kidney disease can be the cause of gout. In other cases, gout can cause kidney disease. The obstructive form is due to obstruction of the ureters, which occurs with vitamin A deficiency and/or excess calcium in the diet.

2. Malnutrition of excess: Gout has long been associated with overconsumption of rich foods, especially protein foods.

3. Malnutrition of deficiency: Gout is also associated with a lack of nutrition, typically low protein, low vitamins, and high carbohydrates, which impairs the abilities of the body’s organs to function properly. (In humans, this is called ‘poor man’s gout’)

Symptoms of visceral gout are non-specific. Visceral gout resembles many other diseases: anorexia, emaciation, change in temperament, change in droppings, lethargy. The bird often appears suddenly dead on the cage floor.

Symptoms of articular gout demonstrate shiny swellings around the joints, which bulge up through the skin layers. This is very painful causing restlessness, lameness, and eventual lack of movement. Such birds will sometimes prefer the cage floor to the perch, depending on where the uric acid deposits are located. Other birds will continue their activity despite the pain.

Treatment depends upon establishing whether the gout is due to high protein, low protein, unbalanced vitamin/mineral, or caused by kidney disease. Once the kidneys have become permanently damaged, treatment may be ineffective. It would take at least several weeks, persevering with appropriate dietary changes, before improvement would be seen. Often, owners lack the patience to continue with proper regimen when no improvement is seen after a short time.

One of the critical aspects of treating gout is exercise. Inactive birds confined to small cages do not have the activity level to stimulate circulation and generate thirst. Water intake and output must be encouraged to stimulate kidney function.

The allopathic drug of choice is allopurinol, which reduces the amount of uric acid formed by the liver and kidneys, thus decreasing the amount deposited in the tissues. However, this is merely a preventative for further tissue deposits. It does not remove deposits already in tissue. Allopurinol must be administered daily for the rest of the bird’s life, according to one source. It is toxic to the liver.

Here is an interesting paragraph from ‘Stroud’s Digest on the Diseases of Birds’ by Robert Stroud, (The Birdman of Alkatraz): “In one of my experiments I substituted moist bread for egg food for eighteen pair of breeding canaries. For nine pair the bread was moistened with fresh milk. The milk-fed birds produced the most babies for the first two rounds; the babies were larger, feathered better and fewer of them were lost in the nests,.

But at the end of the two rounds, the old birds went out of breeding condition and seventeen out of eighteen old birds were showing symptoms of gout. About two-thirds of the old birds and practically all of the young of the milk-rfee group developed soft moult the following fall. The males could not be gotten into song. The young were all extra healthy looking birds but something was missing.

The old birds of the water-fed group continued in breeding condition over five rounds; seven of the nine hens refused to moult and became bald. In the entire season, these birds raised almost twice as many young as those of the milk-fed group, but the young were smaller, scrubbier-looking birds. The males came into full song early but about half of them failed to moult. Their heads and necks and became bald.

In another experiment cottage cheese was used instead of egg food. All of the birds fed on this item developed a very serious gout. Stroud recommends putting the bird in a large flight and feeding it “exclusively on milk-seed (the seeds of wild and cultivated plants and grasses in the milk stage of development) and green food for awhile. Pepper grass, thistle heads, sunflower heads, all the seeding grasses and even broomcorn, kaffier corn or sweet or field corn may be used.

A variety of such foods is better than a single item. “Once the gouty condition has been overcome, the bird must be kept in health by avoiding the dietetic errors originally responsible for the condition.”

In another section under Avitaminosis A he says: “It is very likely that there is a direct relationship between the need for Vitamin A and the amount of amino acids absorbed. It is known that there is a relationship between the presence of Vitamin A in the body and the ability of the individual to use proteins for body-building purposes. And I am convinced from my own experiments that green food is the best possible insurance against gout.”

The veterinary resources I read did not suggest any treatment that would remove uric acid deposits. Stroud, however, successfully used a chemical that removed deposits that had accumulated in the joints. This substance is very toxic, so I won’t mention its name here.

Holistic Treatments for gout: From Bernard Dorenkamps book “Natural Health Care for Your Bird”

1. Homeopathics: “Mix: Mucosa compositium, Colchicum-Injeel, Traumeel, and Populus compositum in equal parts and administer three drops of the mixture once a day alternating with one to two drops Solidago compositum. Restructa forte has also been used with very good success. Dissolve one tablet in about one l of water and administer three to five drops of it to your bird several times a day.”

2. Bach Flowers: “Give two drops each of Clematis, Gentian, Larch, and Gorse in 100 ml of drinking water. You can also add one drop of each from one stock bottle to about 10 ml bottle water and administer one to four drops of this standard dilution to the bird four times a day.”

From David McCluggage’s book “Holistic Care for Birds” Glucosamine Sulfate, Kidney glandulars, Acupuncture, Boswellia (Ayurvedic herb) Turmeric. It appears that he is mainly addressing the arthritic pain of articular gout, rather than visceral gout in his recommendations. He doesn’t suggest why they should be used, nor does he give dosages. Food treatment: Cherries and Celery relieve gout. Greens are loaded with Vitamin A/Carotenes plus other nutrients of which we may not be aware. Deficiencies of some foods cause problems with gout: pantothentic acid (Vitamin B5) produces excessive amounts of uric acid. Deficiency of Vitamin A causes gout.

Deficiency of vitamin E causes damage to cell nuclei, which releases uric acid into the blood stream. Herbal treatment: Dandelion to heal the kidneys and encourage water flow…since dandelion is a diuretic, water intake must also be encouraged. However, dandelion is also high in potassium, which will encourage drinking. Alfalfa and Kelp are high in minerals and other nutrients that help to reduce serum uric acid levels. The sodium in Kelp will encourage thirst. Vitamins used in the treatment of gout: Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Vitamin A

Avoid the following foods: asparagus and mushrooms…high in purines. Oils that have been exposed to heat (as in fried foods or some pellets).

When heated, oils become rancid. Rancid fats destroy vitamin E, resulting in the release of increased amounts of uric acid. Cauliflower, dried beans, lentils, eggs, oatmeal, peas, meat of any kind, spinach, and yeast products.


1. Malnutrition is the major cause of gout, although kidney disease can also cause gout.

2. Excess protein, deficient protein, deficiencies of vitamin E and A, and excess calcium/D3 can all be responsible for gout.

3. Exercise, sufficient water intake, and dietary greens help to prevent gout.

Personal observation: The only birds I’ve seen with gout were those who were fed exclusively or mainly on pellets.

Resources used for this post: Clinical Avian Medicine and Surgery by Harrison and Harrison Diseases of Cage Birds by Elisha Burr Caged Bird Medicine by Steiner and Davis Bird Diseases by Arnall and Keymer Stroud’s Digest on the Diseases of Birds by Robert Sroud Holistic Care for Birds by David McCluggage and Pamela Higgins Prescriptions for Nutritional Healing by Balch and Balch Natural Health Care for Your Bird by Bernard Dorenkamp Staying Healthy With Nutrition by Dr. Elson Haas


<<<<Allopurinol must be administered daily for the rest of the bird’s life. It is toxic to the liver.>>>>

I’ve repeatly found that the above is not true. Kidney and gout related problems are *quickly* (1-3 days at the minimum) reversable if caught quick enough…specifically through subcutaneous fluid therapy.

At the Holistic site I beleive you have a picture of *Roxie* that has a good veiw of articular gout in the ankles. Roxie is now 18 months old and had had no reoccurance of gout. She was on the allopurinol for 2 weeks…and since then on a maintenance of cornsilk, celery and cherry juice in the water several times a month.

Articular and visceral gout can occur with a small percentage of babies that are being handfed. Over the last 8 months I have had an exceedingly high occurance of this with the Exact handfeeding formula. I am now routinely adding cornsilk extract and cutting the formula with cereal to those that get sudden lameness or joint swelling….and doing fluid therapy on those that go into sudden dehydration and the urates get chalky or bleed. From the amount of babies I handfeed monthly, it appears that 1-2% are effected from the contents of the handfeeding formula.

Below is some info. that I pulled off of my other computor in regards to celery, parsley, and salt. I have found that the clery has been the most benifical for birds with prior problems of kidneys/gout. Note that parsley given on a regular basis can irrate an existing problem of the kidneys. Most of the info. is in regards to breeding cockatiels, and foods that are helpful during the breeding period as preventatives…yet act as suppliments for optimum health of the adult birds.


Hi…when parsley is used in excess or given continually on a daily basis it can irritate the kidneys. It also acts as diuretic when used continuously. Use in *moderation*…once or twice a week should not be a problem. Try and use the organically grown…there is less risks of herbicides/pesticides, which would cause serious problems.

Otherwise it is safe, and very nutritious and is one of the best sources of natural Vitamin C….which also acts as an antioxidant to the birds system. Parsley also contains vitamin A,E, calcium and iron.

Medicinally it is good for hens that are suspected or retaining fluids (ascites) or suspected egg-related peritonitis. It helps the body to get rid of the excess fluid build up that can put pressure on other organs. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Hi…celery (both the green tops, stems and the seeds)is very good for birds…just use it in moderation, maybe once or twice a week because it can also act as a herbal remedy (medicinally) for several illnesses.

Both the leaf/stems and the seeds can be given to the birds. Celery is a good maintenance/supplement food for birds that have gout and kidney problems…or are on diets that are too high in protein. The seeds act medicinally when there is gout or arthritis. Celery seeds and stems have been used to neutralize not only excessive acid in the stomach but also uric acid. It promotes the flow of urine and is used to stimulate the kidneys. They also help the kidneys dispose of the urates and other waste products. They also help to detoxify the body and improve the blood circulation, and also disinfect the urinary tubules. The green part of the celery is capable of doing the same as the seeds, but to a lesser degree. For medicinal purposes just a small amount of seeds can be sprinkled on the food twice a week.

The bulk of the stem and leaves is made up of water…still there is several vitamins and minerals available. Celery contains: Vit. A, B-group, C, Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, Silicon, Phosphorus, Sodium, Iron and Sulphur. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Hi…many birds DO know what they instinctively need. The sadness is that they can’t tell us…or that they can’t pick what they want to eat.

I had researched sodium (Salt) in regards to pairs that kill multilate babies, and had found that many times the cause is a salt/sodium deficiency.

This is also true of many birds that die of eggbinding. Salt/sodium aids in the muscle contractions. When there is a deficiency there can be a loss of muscle tone to expel the egg.

Salt/sodium is also beneficial in birds with digestive disorders, such as passing whole seeds. It is necessary for the production of hydrochloric acid in the proventriculus, and also the muscle tone in the gizzard for grinding foods.

Very lightly salted rice water helps to halt additional dehydration when a bird has diarrhea.

When my birds crave salt I give them bread or toast that has margarine spread on it. The margarine has salt, but it also contains *lecithin* as a binder/thickener in the salt. The lecithin also contains minute amounts of choline, inositol, and linoleic acid which aid the birds system. Lecithin also works against obesity by emulsifying fat build-ups.

Soo…sometimes when that bird is craving for a certain food at a certain time…give in. In this case your hen instinctively knows she needs that additional salt/sodium for proper muscle contractions to safely pass her egg.