Avian Urinalysis

Excerpt from “Avian Urinalysis: A Practical Guide to Analysis and Interpretation.” Rosalie A. Lane

The color of the urine in birds varies with specific gravity, the concurrent ingestion of water-soluble vitamin products (e.g., vitamin B complex produces yellow urine), ingestion of pigment-containing foodstuffs or medications, normal constituents of the bird’s plasma, amount of uric acid and feces mixed with the urine, concurrent existence of certain diseases, and liver disease. Normal or expected colors are green, greenish-white, and berry (blue-red from berry pigments in rare instances). Nonpolyuric birds will produce only a very small quantity of urine and a variable quantity of urates. Expected urate colors are pure white, off-white, pale yellow, or light beige. Liver disease consistently produces urates that are greenish (bilverdinuria), yellow, or mustard. Considerable species variation occurs in color tendency traits. The following are color findings that are not consistent with established guidelines. Red or blue – often due to ingestion of berries or other colored foodstuffs. Reddish or brown – plumbism may cause hemoglobinura in Amazon parrots. Green (biliverdinuria) – early liver disease. Icteric (dark yellow) – advanced liver disease; macaws produce a dark yellow urine and urates in liver disease. Chartreuse, mustard, or orange – severe liver disease as with Chlamydia or end-stage liver disease where the liver is unable to process vitamins and foods.

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