HotSpot for Birds is an avian resource

Why Caffeine is Toxic to Birds

Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine. Caffeine & theobromine belong to a chemical class of alkaloids called methylated xanthines. These are found in coals, coffee, tea & in chocolate. As a class of drugs, Methylated xanthines cause central nervous system (CNS) stimulation, diuresis (flushing of fluids through the body), cardiac (heart) muscle stimulation, & smooth muscle stimulation.

Methylxanthines are absorbed very quickly & easily from the oral cavity & intestinal tract. The liver is needed to metabolize these chemicals, & the waste products are excreted in the urine. These chemicals primarily affect the CNS & kidneys. These chemicals cause increased motor activity & also result in tachycardia (too fast a heart beat.) Because of the increased motor activity, seizures may occur. The kidneys may be affected causing diuresis & very high urine output. This may lead to dehydration. Respirations may become too rapid, & hyperthermia (too high a body temperature) may occur, resulting in death. There is NO antidote for these drugs. We may only treat symptoms with supportive care & drugs to decrease their severity.

Toxic dosages for birds are not well established. In dogs the toxic dose is approximately 200 mg/kg of body weight. In cats the lethal dosage is only 80 to 150 mg/kg of body weight. (higer metabolism means that less is needed to cause toxic effects.) A cup of coffee may contain 35 to 85 mg. A 12 ounce bottle of cola contains approx 50 mg. Now these levels would mean that a 1 kg (2.2kg) cat would need to drink1 1/2 to 3 colas for death to occur. However, since a bird has a much higher metablolism than a cat, & a much smaller body size than a cat, we can safely say that it would take a much smaller dose for toxic effects & possibly death to occur.

Since we are unsure of the toxic dosages in birds, one definitely should avoid ALL caffeine & chocolate consumption for pet birds. (theobromeine & caffeine are both found in chocolate-- this means that chocolate packs a double whammy!) I reccommend that these substances be avoided in ALL pet species.

I feel that my birds have enough energy as it is. Why rev their systems up even more???

Sources:
1. Veterinary school lecture notes
2. Clinical & Diagnostic Veterinary Toxicology. Gary Osweiler, et Al.

Dr. Lisa
Lisa Paul DVM
Longmont, Colo



hotspot-caffeine

[RETURN TO HotSpot for Birds HOME PAGE]



avian resource birds, parrots, aviary safety and health.   Safe common sense bird carrier smoking around birds, tobacco nutrition.  Nutritional food bird food pellet seeds cause illnesses, prevent diseases, clip wings.  Toxins poisons toys cleanliness parrot diseases non-toxic avian veterinarian.  Parrot diseases healthy bird cages cure illnesses remedies animals exotic parrots chronic remedy malnutrition.  Hotspot for Birds is an avian resource.


WebMaster:
Advin Systems
mail11@hotspot4birds.com