What to do if your bird is sick from recalled Mazuri feed

Dr. Scott Echols, an avian veterinarian, has been following the Mazuri pet food recalls very closely. The information he’s offering is intended for bird owners who are concerned their birds may be sick from eating the recalled food.

Please know that I understand how many of you are scared or at least concerned over the Mazuri recall. I am doing everything I can to understand the problem and get to the bottom of the issue. Please read this information thoroughly.

Moments ago, I got off the phone with Dr Liz Koutsos (PhD nutritionist with Mazuri). I am also waiting for return calls from other non-industry experts who may be able to add to our understanding of this problem. I will go over my conversation with Dr Koutsos (quick update on tested product) below, but first I need to address concerns about your birds:

Send me a personal message or e-mail (this will be posted on http://www.avianstudios.com/ and facebook) with the following information:
- 1. Your name, address, e-mail and phone number
- 2. Your bird’s name, species, age and sex if known
- 3. If your bird is a female, please indicate if she has laid eggs, and if so when the last egg(s) was(were) laid and how many
- 4. Any abnormal signs your bird has displayed in the past 2 months (Part A)
- 5. Any abnormal signs (even if seemingly unrelated) your bird has displayed prior to 2 months ago- in other words, any prior medical problems (Part B)
- 6. Your bird’s current diet and prior diet over the past year (if different)- please be specific about treats, supplements, etc

Once I have your information, I will do my best to contact you within the next 1-2 days (depending on how many people respond).

REGARDLESS OF THE CAUSE, IF YOUR BIRD IS SICK I WILL ASK YOU TO TAKE HIM/HER TO AN AVIAN VETERINARIAN. If you do not have an avian veterinarian, go to www.AAV.org to locate one. Otherwise, I will attempt to make a recommendation based on where you live. I can also consult with your veterinarian as to diagnostics and interpretation if needed. However, the first step is to talk with you.

If your bird is a vitamin D toxicity suspect (based on our conversation, a veterinarian exam and supporting labwork), then I will direct you to Dr Liz Koutsos for further discussion and to possibly go through a claims process. If your bird is not a vitamin D toxicity suspect, your costs will likely NOT be reimbursed by Mazuri. My consultation is at NO COST TO YOU OR YOUR VETERINARIAN.

Now a word about Dr Koutsos. . .I do not personally know Dr Koutsos. After talking with people who do know Dr Koutsos and after personally talking with her, I feel that she is deeply concerned about the Mazuri recall and wants to do everything possible to address the problem.

A word about my relationship with Mazuri. . .I have no personal or financial vested interest in Mazuri or its parent company. I have been asked to be a paid independent consultant to talk with people with primarily companion birds who have eaten recalled Mazuri bird foods. My goal is to attempt to determine if any birds have become sick from eating recalled food, guide appropriate therapy where indicated and act as a channel to Mazuri to report my findings. I am a practicing clinical avian specialist veterinarian and have extensive experience working with numerous companion, zoo/aviary, rehabilitation, endangered and wild bird species. I CANNOT MAKE A DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT PLAN THROUGH THE INTERNET OR VIA A PHONE CALL WITHOUT SEEING AN ANIMAL OR WORKING WITH A VETERINARIAN WHO HAS SEEN THE ANIMAL IN QUESTION.

This morning Dr Koutsos explained that test results for the 2 batches of recalled Mazuri Waterfowl maintenance have arrived. The April 17, 2012 recalled Mazuri Waterfowl Maintenance diet had 8500 IU vitamin D/kg of feed. This is roughly 3 times the normal formulation. The April 28, 2012 Mazuri Waterfowl Maintenance diet had 2360 IU vitamin D/kg of feed. This is on the lower end of the target range.

The published vitamin D toxicity ranges for poultry start at 40,000 IU/Kg of feed. No such values exist for any other birds. After checking the veterinary and published literature databases, I could find no reports of vitamin D toxicity in waterfowl and one questionable case of vitamin D toxicity (complicated by vitamin A toxicity) in a blue and gold macaw and Moluccan cockatoo.

This does not mean that vitamin D toxicity does not occur in birds, but that it is rare or difficult to identify. Also, we have little information as to how to diagnose and treat the problem when it does occur.

Again, if you feel your bird is suffering as a result of eating recalled Mazuri bird foods, please contact me with the information above and I will consult with you.

M. Scott Echols, DVM, Dipl ABVP (Avian Practice)

Dr. Echols, Avian Studios, also has an active Facebook group – Nutrition for Pets – where he is posting information about the recalls.

See the Mazuri website or the FDA website for the long list of Mazuri foods being recalled. You can also download the July 20 release by PMI here.


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