11 Years
Oct 16, 2008
My rooster was lethargic and not eating well. Took blood and found liver enzymes elevated and white count slightly elevated. His skin and comb are yellow colored. Put him on Cefotaxine, TMS and Batril but took him off as they seemed to make him worse. Does anyone have any ideas about this?


Human Encyclopedia
13 Years
Jan 11, 2007
The yellow color of the skin cannot be due to "jaundice" as it is with mammals (although change in comb color can be associated with anorexia) because birds do not show signs of liver disease in this way as mammals do.

Here below a (non-chicken specific) veterinary review of liver function/disease > info in general applicable to all avian species although there are a couple of conditions listed which are not applicable to the chicken) small excerpt:
"....Serum bile acid measurement is a liver function test because extraction, conjugation, and secretion of bile acids are all functions of the liver (7,6). When liver function is impaired, bile acids are not properly reabsorbed from the blood, and the proportion of excreted bile acids reaching the peripheral circulation increases (5,6). Elevations have correlated well with liver disease
in many avian species (6,7). It is recommended to submit a single, fasted (3 to 4 hours) sample for bile acids determinations in birds (5,7). Bile acids are labile in plasma and samples should be run within 48 to 72 hours of collection.

Cholesterol is a major lipid that is a precursor of all steroid hormones and bile acids. The source is animal proteins in the diet and it is synthesized in
the liver. Increased serum levels can be associated with high fat diets, hypothyroidism, liver disease, starvation, budgies with xanthomatosis, obese
birds, and very high levels usually accompany lipemia, especially in Amazons(4). Decreases in albumin can be a non-specific indicator of chronic liver disease,as albumin is manufactured by the liver (4,6). This decrease will occur very
late in the course of the disease (6). A yellow appearance of the avian plasma or serum should not be mistaken for jaundice, as birds do not produce appreciable amounts of bilirubin. The yellow color is suspected to be due to carotene pigments from the diet. Most chronic diseases, including hepatic diseases can induce a depression anemia .
The definitive diagnosis of liver disease is obtained by a liver biopsy and histopathology (2,6). This not only describes the pathological process, but
also provides information about the degree of change, which is important for
prognosis. ........
...........The liver is the site of vitamin K-dependent coagulation factor synthesis (1). Excessive hemorrhage can accompany chronic hepatic diseases .....
General Therapy
Although the best treatment plan should include a specific therapy directed at the causative agent,this is frequently not possible . In many liver diseases the specific etiology is unknown, or is an agent that is non- responsive to current treatments (viruses, amyloid), or is no longer present (toxins). Supportive care is important, especially with acutely ill birds. If the bird can be supported through an acute episode and then maintained on a regimen designed to minimize liver insults, the bird can enjoy varying intervals of good health.....Excessive ascitic fluid can be aspirated to provide immediate respiratory
relief as long as appropriate precautions are taken to prevent severe albumin depletion and hypovolemia. Diuretics such as furosemidebcan beused to control ascites. Fluid therapy is important as many of these birds are not eating or drinking enough to meet their needs....."

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