While there is a good amount of research on wild birds, there is precious little on captive birds. We do have a lot in common with birds, however:
- Overall human health, especially in western countries, and captive bird health is poor
- We share most of the same important internal organs and they perform the same functions
- Many very common diseases in humans and other animals are also common in birds
- Especially in the United States, we are both advised to eat a low fat, high carbohydrate diet (USDA, AHA, and others)
- When our birds are ill with diseases in common with humans, we are typically given the same proposed remedies
The food for thought here is whether, given the similarities, we can apply this animal research on diet to captive birds.
Here is a short list of diseases we share that are at least partially influenced by diet:
- Fatty liver disease
- Heart disease
- Heart attacks
- Kidney failure
- Obesity (metabolic disorder)
I’m dipping my toe into a difficult topic here: bird diets. It’s many layered and very controversial. This post is just to get you thinking about how we might learn from abundant human research and apply it to our birds.
And I’m not the only one saying these things. There is a very interesting book that discusses the crossover between human and animal health:
Note that the primary author is a physician and is using knowledge from the veterinary community to treat diseases the two worlds have in common.
Here is a review of the book in a peer reviewed journal.
Zoobiquity not only joins the cultures of human and animal medicine, but it “looks to animals, and the doctors who care for them, for answers to humankind’s pressing concerns.”Zoobiquity: The Astonishing Connection Between Human and Animal Health