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An Urban Experience
administration is based on the fact that only 25% of
the fluids administered to a bird remain in the vascular compartment 30 minutes after it enters the blood stream.5 Since the patient that presents in shock is often suffering from metabolic acidosis and lactate
is metabolized to bicarbonate in the liver, LRS is the
fluid of choice.6 Lactated Ringer’s solution can be supplemented with potassium chloride (0.1 – 0.3 mEq/ kg to a maximum dose of 11 mEq/day) if the plasma potassium and sodium levels are low in the patient due to vomiting or diarrhea (HERNANDEZ and AGUILAR 1994). If a patient is hyperkalemic due to severe tissue injury, a catabolic state, or renal dysfunction, LRS is
not contraindicated and calcium gluconate (0.5 ml/kg facilitates the movement of potassium across the cell membranes.5 In cases of hydropericardium, pulmonary edema, or increased intracranial pressure without hemorrhage is present hypertonic saline may be useful.5
Plasma, dextrans, and hetastarch are large molecules that do not cross the vascular endothelium and are called colloids.5 These products replace lost protein
and help to maintain plasma oncotic pressure and reestablish circulatory volume.6 Caution is advised when considering the use of synthetic colloids in patients diagnosed with congestive heart failure or anuric/oliguric renal failure because they are excreted by the kidney.6 The recommended dose for hetastarch is 10-15 ml/kg IV for 1 to 4 treatments over a 24 hour period.7 Remember to reduce the volume of crystalloid administration by the volume of hetastarch used to prevent fluid overload.6
3. Fluid therapy should be adjusted based on an assessment of patient needs and the disease condition being treated.
4. The daily fluid maintenance in parrots is estimated from 50 ml/kg/day9 to 100 ml/kg/day (Orosz, unpublished data).
5. Maintenance fluid therapy should be provided until the avian patient is fully hydrated and drinking water to maintain its normal hydration status.
6. Intravenous and intraosseous fluid administration should be used whenever possible.
7. Subcutaneous fluid administration is often preferred for avian patients because of their reluctance to maintain and IV or IO indwelling catheter.
8. For patients in shock peripheral vasoconstriction will reduce their ability to absorb subcutaneous fluids.10
9. Subcutaneous fluid administration should not exceed 10 ml/kg/site10
10. Use isotonic fluid products for subcutaneous fluid administration.
11. Fluids with an osmolarity of 300-320 mOsm/L can be recommended in parrots.
1. Tully TN. Psittacine therapeutics. Vet Clinic Exot Anim 2000; 3: 59 - 90.
2. Lamberski N and Danial G. The efficacy of intraosseous catheters in birds. Proc Assoc Avian Vet, Chicago, Illinois, 1991: 17 - 19.
3. Griffin C and Snelling L. Use of hyaluronidase in avian subcutaneous fluids. Proc Assoc Avian Vet, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1998: 239 - 240.
4. Clubb L, Wolf S, Phillips A. Psittacine pediatric medicine. In: Schubot R, Clubb K, Clubb S (eds): Psittacine Aviculture Perspectives, Techniques and Research. Loxahatchee, Florida: ABRC, 1992; 16.1 – 16.27.
5. Hernandez M and Aguilar R. Steroids and fluid therapy for treatment of shock in the critical avian patient. Sem Avian and Exot Pet Med 1994; 3:190.
6. Joseph V: Emergency care of raptors. Vet Clin Exot Anim 1998; 1: 77 - 98.
7. Stone E and Redig P. Preliminary evaluation of hetastarch for the management of hypoproteinemia and hypovolemia. Proc Assoc Avian Vet, Reno, Nevada, 1994: 197.
8. Lichtenberger M. Principles of shock and fluid therapy in special species. Sem Avian Exot Pet Med 2004; 13: 142 – 153.
9. Steinhort L. Avian fluid therapy. J Avian Med Surg 1999; 13: 83 – 9.
10. Dibartola S and Bateman S. Introduction to fluid therapy. In: Dibartola S (ed): Fluid Electrolyte and Acid-Base Disorders In Small Animal Practice. St
Assess critical patient and stabilize
a. Place in a warm incubator
b. Oxygen supplementation prn
c. Most patients administer warmed crystalloid fluids 3 ml/100 gram body weight
d. Once stabilized diagnostics and treatment for dehydration and hypovolemia
e. Blood pressure?
f. Glucocorticoids?
g. If hypovolemic bolous administration
I. Crystalloids 10 ml/kg and colloids 5 ml/kg until clinical response
II. Usually 1 or 2 bolus treatments required for effect
Estimation formula for fluid deficit based on dehydration status and body weight
a. Estimated dehydration (%) x body weight (g) = fluid deficit (ml)
b. Daily maintenance fluid requirements (4 ml/kg/hr) are added to the fluid deficit volume
c. Fluid deficit can be replaced over a 48 to 72 hour period

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