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The Dangers of

Iodine Deficiency

in Pet Birds


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Iodine Deficiency in pet birds leads to hyperplasia of the thyroid gland
iodine deficiency leads to a decreased production of T3. This is
sensed by the body and the response is an increase in the release
of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) which results in the
hyperplasia of the gland..

The bird might present with dyspnea due to pressure on the trachea
from the oversized gland. Surgical removal may be tried.

Thyroid hyperplasia associated with iodone deficiency used to be
very common in budgerigars until Trill incorporated iodine into
their seed preparations.

It is still occasionally seen in birds given "loose seed"
from pet shops if no alternative source of iodine is given. Such
birds are presented with markwed dyspnea and a "clicking" noise
as they breathe caused by pressure of the hyperplastic thyroid on the

Treatment generally consists of a drop of iodine put into the
drinking water daily for two weeks, then once a week
thereafter. This should continue for at least eight weeks.

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