Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Respiratory System

The efficiency of the bird's respiratory system is a wonderful thing, but it can be the downfall of companion birds. If we as their caregivers fail to recognize potential problems, our birds may die. Pesticides, perfume, oven cleaners, spray-on oil, paint fumes, air fresheners and other common airborne contaminants can hang in the air. If we fail to remove our birds from a room of our home before we spray these toxins or if we bring our birds back before the contaminants have settled out of the air, we endanger them. The efficient respiratory system of the bird takes in relatively huge amounts of the airborne contaminant in relation to the bird's size, and this can kill the bird.

Nonstick coatings on cookware are another source of airborne toxins. Although manufacturers are quick to say that if used properly such coatings will not emit toxins, these assurances can lull people into forgetting that levels of toxins in the air that do not cause any noticeable reaction in humans or other mammals can still kill a bird. Of particular danger are items such as nonstick drip pans that fit under stove burners. These routinely reach temperatures far in excess of precautionary guidelines. The best idea is to remove all nonstick items from your household. This will prevent you and any guests from accidentally misusing such items and killing your birds. There are often times nonstick parts in self-cleaning ovens and can omit toxic fumes that can kill your birds within a couple of hours due to the high temperatures needed over a prolonged period of time.

If you live with a bird, do not smoke. It's as simple as that. If you or your guests smoke, your bird takes in a huge volume of second-hand smoke. Enforce this simple rule: NO SMOKING INSIDE YOUR HOUSE.

Reference: "Holistic Care For Birds" by David McCluggage, DVM & Pamela Leis Higdon