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Radiographic Case Study: A seizuring Sun Parakeet

Clinical history:

1 year 7 month old Sun Parakeet

This bird presented with seizures and profound depression. The owner lost lost another bird 3 weeks prior to this one presenting at the clinic. The bird wandered the house freely unsupervised. Radiographs were taken to investigate.

Scroll down for the radiographs:

Diagnostic Interpretation:

Skeletal structures are unremarkable. There are multiple metallic fragments filling the ventriculus and small intestines. The coelomic cavity is otherwise normal.


Ingested metallic material. DDx: Heavy metal toxicity. Alternatively, other metabolic or nutritional cause without radiographic abnormalities.

Additional comments:

Testing for lead/zinc levels as well as haematology for signs of anaemia is advised. Serum biochemistry for metabolic disease is also advised.


Lead poisoning was suspected due to the confirmation of the presence of metallic foreign particles in the ventriculus and intestine. Blood lead was elevated at > 65 mcg/dL. Chelation with CaEDTA was initiated. Psyllium husk fibre was gavaged to the bird to facilitate removal of the lead particles. Antibiotics were given to treat for enteritis which commonly accompanies lead poisoning. The bird rapidly recovered, but treatments were continued for several days. A standing "bird in a box" radiograph was used to determine if the metal was gone from the GI tract, without the stress of restraint or anaesthesia (see radiograph below).

The previously noted metal within the ventriculus and intestines were no longer seen (see above). No additional abnormalities were noted. The bird was released from the hospital having recovered fully.