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Even if we choose not to use these chemicals, fertilizers, and herbicides, when we walk our dogs, they may walk right through grass or gardens treated with these poisons, or on a sidewalk or street that has a residue thanks to run off. We have an appointment Monday for xrays. American Kestrels , like Eastern Screech-Owls, eat mostly insects and small mammals. Although ulcerative colitis is often treated as though it were an autoimmune disease, there is no consensus that it actually is such. Regular exercise, eliminating cigarette smoking and reducing alcohol intake also help to improve digestive health. The side branches empty into a larger duct, the main pancreatic duct, which empties into the intestine through the papilla of Vater in the duodenum. Has been on Pheno barb and his liver enzymes are high.

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He is showing no physical symptoms and is a high energy dog. The vet suggested a liver biopsy however I do not want to risk potential side effects of a liver biopsy at this time.

He has been on this for about three weeks and his liver enzymes are now He is still showing no symptioms at all and am not sure what to do next.

Is it time for a liver biopsy? My 12 year old dog was diagonalized with crushing, has a grade 3 heart murmur and has hypothyroidism. The consensious was to put her on Lysodern and before that we did a geriatric blood panel and found that her liver enzymes had elevated tremendously in the past 3 months Ast and AlT with an alkaline phosphate of We could not put her on the medicine for cushings because of this, as the medicine is metabolized in the liver and it it is not it could lead to toxic shock.

The catch 22 is the elevations could be caused by cushings. I have booked a consult with a vet who is also a herbalist and will see him this Wednesday.

Any suggestions or comments would be greatly appreciated. Alondra, I would think about having your dog tested for Cushings. My 9 year old peke-a-poo started drinking a TON of water, stopped jumping up on the couch, had a big belly and her head was like a skull.

These are all characteristics of Cushings. I had never even heard of Cushings before my dog was diagnosed. I agree with Carol. Your best bet would be to get your dog tested for cushings. Make sure your vet is experienced with the endocrinal system. Sometimes it saves a lot of precious time and money to get your vet to refer you to an internal specialist.

It is slightly more expensive but money well spent. The vet said that her enzyme level was 2, and that it probably indicates liver problems. I am too facing the lost of my dog. Initially thought that her problem to get up was arthritis because she is 15 years old. Went to the vet and obtained a treatment for that. But also agree to have a blood test. Unfortunately, her enzyme level is high. That decision is based on an evaluation of how happy, a dog can live is such condition and taking consideration of how long she has been living happily.

Even though it is paintfull to let her go, it is the right choice. The vets were pushing towards Cushings until she went blind. She explains the diseases as well as implementing diet and supplement changes. Hope everything works out well for your dog. I have two Scottish Terriers with extremely high elevated liver counts.

We have run every tesy know but nothing conclusive shows up. One dog was very bloated and drinking tons of water.

The other just drank a lot of watet. Both had skin problems. After much research we put both dogs on prescriprion Science Diet dog food for liver disease L-D.

It comes in dry and canned. My dogs seem to prefer the dry more than canned. I pour hot, filtered water over it and let it set until it becomes soft. We also put both dogs on Denamarin chewables, which greatly supports the liver. They must be given on an empty stomach, followed by food an hour or so later. Both dogs improved greatly doing these two things though the liver counts remained high. The first dog no longer bloats or throws up, and skin problems have all but vanished. The second dog does not drink nearly as much and her skin has also cleared up.

She has no symptoms. The first dog however is drinking continuously, and has now started loosing weight, though her appetite is good. She has great energy, and looks good otherwise.

Hope this helps some of you. I just lost my Scottie to liver, kidney, and pancreatic causes. The first we heard of her problems was two years ago. Her liver enzyme count came back 3,!!! My vet ran the test four times with the same results; he told us she should be dead. We had been treating her kidneys and adrenal glands with medication, and with the liver problems we added a special, low-protein diet food for her liver.

Over the last two years of her life, her liver enzymes went down to right before she died. However, the liver affects the pancreas, and what she died of was pancreatitis. Get them thoroughly checked out, and look for any links. Take care of your dogs—your time with them is short and precious. Our 11 year old Springer Spaniel has been very lethargic over the few weeks sand we had him at the vet today and blood was taken.

The vet called back and said that they thought that there was a high enzyme count but dont know if its liver or kidney. I am really worried i now have to take in a urine sample.

Got the result of the urine test. It shoew blood and was very watery which means that the kidney is not functioning properly, had him back atthe vet today and he was in most of the day for tests i dont know what to do next.

Well, My dog has been diagnosed as having the early stages of Cushings and has been given vetoryl 60mg once a day. Is there anything else i should do regarding diet? Where the immune system attacks the cornea part of the eye, I thought it was cataracts.

He has been eating holistic dog food for over 8 years. He is a sensitive nature. He has plenty of room to run. He walks daily as we live in the country. Vet wanted him on steroids, but liver enzymes were elevated. I hope this helps, I will find out at next blood work. The vets need to learn nutrition instead of putting a band aid on it with chemical drugs that are toxid to the liver to begin with. Next season, I will be using an organic parasite remedy instead of the chemicals they push that contain ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate, engine degreaser in their so called arthritis meds.

My shih tzu, 5 years old is in very bad condition. We noticed that his abdomen was very bloated and took to the vet. Blood tests were done and shows that he has liver disease.

He is taking meds, but he still the same. I would like to know if i can make some homemade food for him that would replace the one he is supposed to eat. My yr old schnauzer has survived pancreatitis at the age of 8 and the doggie equivalent of vertigo about three months ago. After noticing an enlarged stomach, lethargy,and not eating, I took her in to the vet. Vet said two scenarios…either IS improving or liver not functioning at all. I guess time will tell. My little man had a seizure about 4 days ago.

I have seen dogs have seizures before and my dog Zorro had a bad one, HORRIBLE shaking with wide eyes somewhat rolling around, with a blueish-gray tounge, and lasted for about min. He started gagging towards the end and then finally puked and the seizure was thankfully over. He is not even 2 years old but will be in a month and only 15 pounds!!! He went to the vet several hours later and I had them take a blood test. The test results came in the next day with the results that his liver enzymes were highly elevated.

The vet continued to tell me that this was highly unusual and his liver issues have nothing to do with his random seizure… she is dumbfounded and is not quite sure why his liver is in the condition that it is. I have done a decent amount of research online and I decided to add a little milk thistle to his diet in hopes that it will improve his liver funtion but I feel as though he might be a canidate for liver disease…?

I wish I could afford to send him to any vet and get as many tests done as possible, but quite honestly I really cannot… I am trying to research everything myself to try to find out what is going on so I can afford the most important treatments for him. Tucker has always eaten Science Diet food and has been fairly healthy…he does have PRA which is hereditary where he has gone blind.

He started vomiting so I took him to his vet and found out he was dehydrated and have high liver count. He eats it fine and has gotten better. The problem i am having is when I take him outside…he finds anything he can to eat. Is he not getting enough to fill his belly from eating this food? Kylie Batt on Tue, 20th Apr 3: Faye Saville on Thu, 20th May 9: My Dachshund 9 yrs.

Came back with high enzyme level. She is going on meds tomarrow. And a special diet. She loves to eat. She was a sick puppy for two days. First time Molly has been ill and did not eat for two days. This is all new to me,glad to have this website. I am glad to have found this site. She has been diagnosed with liver disease. When the vet ran the blood work on Monday her ALT was He started her on an antibiotic IV and did an ultrasound and needle biopsy. No cancer or tumors found, but her kidney was enlarged.

He ran bloodwork after 48 hours and her ALT went up to ! Any information would be appreciated. I have a 9 year old pit bull, she walks around in the house in a circle ,following the same path. Like she is dioreinted. She has walked in to things, and has also has some sort of parlizies. Sometimes on her left side her feet turn under and she walks on her knuckles, back legs give out at times.

Ran several tests, shows high levels with her liver one is over , the other over Had xrays done shows no signs of tumors or masses. She has been the best dog ever, I do not want her to suffer, but vet feels as though she has a chance.

Like I said she is the loving dog, and I feel so sad for her,she seems somewhat better when I am home for awhile, she at least is trying,can someone, let me know if they have had a similar problem and what they did. Webmaster on Thu, 10th Jun Please e-mail me your contacts. I have a question webmaster spottovo. Katie on Tue, 22nd Jun 2: My dog was just tested at and I am working to getting it lowered.

How is Jake doing now? Roger on Thu, 28th Oct Just returned from the vet with my 11 year old Bichon. Her liver count was He said it was probably liver disease, liver cancer, etc. Gave her about 2 years to live. He also has her on Denosyl mg per day. Thought she was about to die. Asymptomatic for anything liver related, but has off the chart-unmeasurable liver enzymes.

Course of antibiotics got her feeling fine in a day. Giving her SAM-e daily as well. History-chen profile showed high liver enzymes about 3 years ago, also asymptomatic. Thank you for your email. I am sorry that you are having to go through this situation. I know from personal experience how terrible it can be. I think you are on the right track with the antibiotics some dogs remain on those for life and the supplements.

I would encourage you to ask your veterinarian about a few other medications and supplements as well that are liver-specific:. Lactulose — Lactulose works in the large intestine to minimize the production of ammonia by bacteria. It does this by changing the pH and converting ammonia to a form that is not readily absorbed into the bloodstream. It also stimulates normal colon bacteria to absorb ammonia, which is then passed in the feces. Finally, it stimulates the intestines so that ammonia passes through faster, which means there is less time for absorption.

Corticosteroids — Cortisone is used if there is evidence that the immune system is implicated as a cause of the liver problem. Certain homeopathic remedies can also be very helpful when treating canine liver disease.

Natural herbs and substances such as burdock and greater celandine have properties that assist with the purification of blood, the stimulation of digestive enzymes, and the protection of the liver from toxic substances. Also, some such substances have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Milk thistle is another natural ingredient that is known to be very effective in cases of canine liver disease. This natural substance acts as an antioxidant like vitamin E, stimulates production of new liver cells, and helps to prevent certain toxins from attaching to the liver.

I would also recommend making some dietary changes as well to help her liver function more effectively. Dogs with liver disease need to be fed smaller amounts of food more frequently small meals per day if your schedule allows.

Here are some links from our website on liver-friendly diets:. There are many reasons why there may be high liver enzymes. It is important to try to get as firm of a diagnosis as possible in order to design a treatment plan. Often times diet and supplements and medications are necessary regardless of the diagnosis so those are good places to start. Here is a little bit more information on the specific liver enzymes:. Important Liver Enzymes Traditionally the medical practitioner has measured the relative concentration of several enzymes which may indicate alterations in liver health.

The following enzymes typically change values in the face of liver failure. ALT — Liver specific. Cell damage will cause elevations of ALT due to leakage. The elevation of the enzyme correlates with the number of cells damaged. Falling levels of ALT may indicate recovery or may indicate a failing number of functional liver cells. Rapid increases in ALT may indicate an acute process, while slow increases may indicate bile duct obstruction.

AST — an enzyme seen in the liver, heart, kidney, skeletal muscle and brain. ALP tends to be slightly more specific in the cat, but not quite as sensitive.

Liver ALP is released from the liver when many anticonvulsant drugs are administered to the dog. This must be taken into account when evaluating ALP levels. ALP levels typically are greatly elevated in the young, growing animal and therefore a veterinarian should not mistake any elevations as disease in a young animal.

Also, have you had a bile acid test done? That is usually the next step after enzymes are found to be high. It is a simple blood test and is non-invasive and VERY sensitive to test the functioning of the liver.

This will determine if the liver is indeed damaged or if something else more superficial is causing the high enzymes:. Bile Acids These series of organic acids circulate almost entirely in the localized blood flow between the intestines and the liver a. The flow is typically from the liver, into the bile duct system, then excretion into the intestines to aid digestion after a meal, to be re- absorbed into the portal system and recycled by the liver.

Very little of the bile acids escape from the portal circulation system into the rest of the body. Leakage is considered abnormal and is a sure sign of a liver abnormality.

This is one of the most sensitive tests available to diagnose liver disease. While the liver does actually manufacture this product, it has tremendous reserve capacity and can easily meet the bodies demand for bile acids despite severe disease. As a result of this reserve, the bile acid levels do not typically drop due to liver disease.

I would also recommend joining a couple different online groups that I am familiar with that were created specifically for owners of dogs with liver disease. The people on these groups are VERY helpful and often times have more direct experience treating dogs with liver disease than a traditional vet.

They are knowledgeable and happy to share their information with anyone who asks. The links for those are:. I hope some of this information is useful to you and that you can get some answers and help treat your pup and make her healthy again.

I will be keeping you in my thoughts — please keep me updated as to what you find out! I feel so bad for those who have posted about losing their furry kids. We all go thru this but it never gets easier. You are a jewel for statring this website. I agree with Richard. At some point, if the dog is not eating, going downhill, and suffering, the decision must be made for humane euthanasia rather than letting the dog die a painful death. Too often, I think we hold on for our own needs, not the needs of the dog.

It is disturbing that not enough vets help make that difficult but necessary decision. It is also inportant that sick dogs be on pain medication in appropriately high doses. A dog in pain means added stress that detracts from getting better. Providing a painless end is one of the most important things we can do for our dogs qwhen the time comes, instead of waiting too long while the suffering continues. For example, when we take our dogs for a walk, they walk down the street where cars were parked or driven and have leaked oil, gas, antifreeze, which is either ingested through paw licking or through the skin.

Also I see people have these lawn service companies or do it themselves dumping chemicals all over lawns and gardens, then allowing their dogs to romp on these poisons. But it is common sense that these chemicals are toxins. Even if we choose not to use these chemicals, fertilizers, and herbicides, when we walk our dogs, they may walk right through grass or gardens treated with these poisons, or on a sidewalk or street that has a residue thanks to run off.

Environmental poisons are so prevalent in our society. Add in bug spray treatments, having a pest control company spray your house or garden or using rodent poisons, drift from farm spraying, a neighbor having trees sprayed. Someone I know came to spray her house for ants. The guy had rodenticide from another job in his work bag, and the dogs found it. Emergency treatment saved them because she happened to catch them, but who knows what long term damage has been done.

A dog can swallow poisons like this in the blink of an eye, for example when visiting or romping off leash, and no one knows it happened. There are so many alternatives to some of these chemicals such as organic safe lawn fertilizers or sealing up food sources and entry ways instead of poisons for rodents, etc. My 9 year old shih-tzu had her regular check up with blood work. Her reading on her liver was but everything else was normal.

My question is would it hurt to put her on Sam-E and Liver a natural glandular supplement along with the two things she is on through her vet? Just would like some feed back from you all, it seems like you all know alot about this particular subject. Thank you ahead of time. I just found out my 4 year old Cavalier has liver problems. Xray shows she has a small liver. The dr gave me that Sam-e stuff but for some reason i cant get my dog to swallow the pill.

I really appreciate all the information listed him from everyone. Especially Lisa at the bottom. My Cookie has had high liver enzyme levels for the last 5 years and they have gotten higher in the last year.

Ultra sound was done and no tumors found. I am going to have further tests done for she is bloated and my vet said it is not related but I have read here several owners saying it was. Thank you all again. We started her on milk thisle after about 6 wks of SAM-e. Also cooked her meals-the recipes are great. We are eternally grrateful at any rate, and credit this website for most of the success.

My dog Jess is my baby. She is 11 years old and last week I had to take her to the vet as she was in season and sometimes the blood was clots instead of her normal spotting. They thought she had an infection in the uterus as she hadnt been spade. They told me to take her back the following day and booked her in for the proceedure.

My phone went 2hours after to say they had taken blood tests before the op and her liver enzyme levels where elevated. They did a scan and nothing showed up but did say there could be a small tumor in the liver. They gave me some anitbiotics, prednisolone and tab to help with the digestion. I have to take her back this wed and i am dredding it. She is my baby and friend and I talk to her all the time. I have started her on milk thistle and burdock root.

This was devastating news as she is eating and drinking and seems her notmal self. She is panting but thats all. I pray each night that she will not die yet. I love her so much. Hi all, My 10 year old Scottish terrier has an Alk Phos of 9,!!! Not sure what direction to take. Hi, I have a 9 year old yellow lab that has grand mal seizures. He has had them for 6 years. Has been on Pheno barb and his liver enzymes are high.

Recently we took him off pb because he started having Ataxia and weakness in hind legs and started him on Zonisamide. He has quit eating except for some chicken. What can I feed him? I also want to give some positive remarks and encourage you to see a good vet, as soon as possible.

My 14 year old terrier was getting a bit lethargic but I put it off to age. Then she was limping a bit and the local vet found a sore in her foot and put her on some powder to improve it, which it did a bit. But she continued to get more quiet, picky eater. Finally I found her one morning last November, shivering, which my dogs never do unless they are in pain. I rushed her to a specialist, an internist, nearby that I have used before and are VERY good, for tests and an xray.

Suggested the liver was abnormal. Very high liver enzymes. So we did a biopsy. It is not that intrusive, as they use a mild sedative and they can reverse it quickly.

The results of the biopsy were bad. She had a liver like swiss cheese, very toxic liver. I actually was relieved because I had lost two dogs to liver cancer recently and was afraid it might be in the line.

But still a serious disease, perhaps caused by something toxic she got in the environment? By now her feet were so sore she would not walk on them, all four involved with rough scaly sores. And some scabbing around her eyes. Specialist recommended IV of Amino Acids flushing the liver. The liver is fortunately one organ that can heal itself if not too far gone.

So Katie spent a day at the vet on IVs. It made her nauseous so we had to give her reglan and an appetite stimulant, mirtazapine? I made all kinds of things to entice her, and had to vary them, but she did eat. Two weeks later she had another day on the IVs.

Each time she came home exhausted and very tired, but I kept at it and it only took two treatements in her case. I was told adding egg would add amino acids as well, but she would not eat them. I took her off the silamarin as the holistic vet felt it was of minimum help.

Finally, after noticing a lot of water consumption and urination the vet put her on baytril for a week or so. That was the final push and she started to get well quickly.

Her enzymes are still somewhat elevated, and she does now have very mild diabetes but a small shot of insulin 2x daily is a small price to pay for keeping my girl around for a while. Her feet are totally healed and she got a great checkup yesterday at the vet.

Her energy is back and she is eating well tho still picky …so miracles do happen. Your dog can recover with the right treatments. If you would like a referral to my holistic vet, Dr. Chalmers in Santa Rosa,CA let me know.

I think she is great, affordable and she treats by phone. The absence of age-dependent tooth wear might even be a contributing factor to the slower onset of senescence in birds as compared to mammals. On the other hand, the use of a gizzard requires the intake of suitable grit or stones—an action that represents, in the few studies where this has actually been quantified in birds, a relevant proportion of feeding time Fritz et al. Gastrointestinal tracts of a carnivorous hawk, an omnivorous chicken, and 4 herbivorous birds.

Note larger size of crop in omnivore and herbivores, and particularly in hoatzin. Ceca are small in hawks and relatively large in grouse. Although ceca are relatively small in Hoatzins , Emus, and Ostriches, an expanded foregut Hoatzins , a much longer midgut Emus , or a much longer colon Ostriches compensates for this From: Stevens and Hume Over-reliance on the passive pathway provides metabolic advantages and ecological constraints.

It does provide birds with an absorptive process that can deal with rapid and large changes in intestinal sugar concentrations. The passive pathway is also energetically inexpensive to maintain and modulate.

However, passive absorption through the paracellular pathway is dependent on concentration gradients. In the absence of a transport system that selects which materials to absorb, this non-discriminatory pathway may also increase vulnerability to toxins, and thus constrain foraging behavior and limit the breadth of the dietary niche of the birds. Another problem is that when luminal sugar concentrations are lower than those in plasma, glucose may diffuse back into the lumen.

Cross-section of the intestine ileum of a Spotted Tinamou Nothura maculosa. Villi are lined with columnar epithelium EP , including goblet cells arrows that secrete mucus. The muscle layer includes longitudinal fibers MI on the perimeter, circular fibers Mc , and additional longitudinal fibers at the base of the villi muscularis muscosae; MM From: Chikilian and de Speroni Blue-headed Parrots at clay lick.

Meyer-Rochow and Gal determined that the pressures involved could be approximated if they knew the 1 distance the feces traveled, 2 density and viscosity of the material, and 3 shape, aperture, and height of the anus above ground.

How penguins choose the direction of defecation, and how wind direction factors into that decision, remain unknown. Avian Pancreas tissue Source: The Avian Digestive Tract. Avian geophagy and soil characteristics in southeastern Peru. Luminal morphology of the avian lower intestine: Histological aspects of the stomach proventriculus and gizzard of the Red-capped Cardinal Paroaria gularis gularis. Comparative study of the digestive system of three species of tinamou.

Crypturellus tataupa, Nothoprocta cinerascens , and Nothura maculosa Aves: Journal of Morphology Journal of Experimental Zoology Rictal bristle function in Willow Flycatcher. Dysplastic koilin causing proventricular obstruction in an Eclectus Parrot Eclectus roratus. Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery Anatomy and physiology of the digestive system in fowl. Pages in Proc. An histological and histochemical analysis of the inner lining and glandular epithelium of the chicken gizzard.

American Journal of Anatomy An ecomorphological study of the raptorial digital tendon locking mechanism. Dietary and developmental regulation of intestinal sugar transport. Digesta retention patterns in geese Anser anser and turkeys Meleagris gallopavo and deduced function of avian caeca.

Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A Histological and global gene expression analysis of the 'lactating' pigeon crop. Vultures of the seas: Evolution of the structure and function of the vertebrate tongue. Journal of Anatomy Light and scanning electron microscopic study of the tongue in the cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo Phalacrocoracidae, Aves. Functional morphology of the tongue in the nutcracker Nucifraga caryocatactes.

A tropical horde of counterfeit predator eyes. Instructed learning in the auditory localization pathway of the Barn Owl. The morphology of the bill apparatus in the Steller's Sea Eagle. Wild Bird Society of Japan, Tokyo. Use of dung as a tool by burrowing owls. The integration of energy and nitrogen balance in the hummingbird Sephanoides sephaniodes.

Does gut function limit hummingbird food intake? Physiological and Biochemical Zoology Pressures produced when penguins pooh—calculations on avian defaecation. Scare tactics in a neotropical warbler: Gliding flight and soaring. Theoretical Ecology Series, vol. Modelling the flying bird C. Structure, form, and function of flight in engineering and the living world.

Phenotypic flexibility and the evolution of organismal design. Trends in Ecology and Evolution The hummingbird tongue is a fluid trap, not a capillary tube. Between air and water: Use of prey hotspots by an avian predator: Structure and mechanical behavior of a toucan beak.

Movement and direction of movement of a simulated prey affect the success rate in Barn Owl Tyto alba attack. Musculoskeletal underpinnings to differences in killing behavior between North American accipiters Falconiformes: Accipitridae and falcons Falconidae. Journal of Morphology, online early. Le Bohec, and Y. Adjustments of gastric pH, motility and temperature during long-term preservation of stomach contents in free-ranging incubating King Penguins.

Journal of Experimental Biology A tough nut to crack. Adaptations to seed cracking in finches. Cost-benefit analysis of mollusc-eating in a shorebird.

Optimizing gizzard size in the face of seasonal demands. How do woodpeckers extract grubs with their tongues? Why do woodpeckers resist head impact injury: Functional morphology of raptor hindlimbs: The turning- and linear-maneuvering performance of birds: Canadian Journal of Zoology Hummingbird jaw bends to aid insect capture. A mechanical analysis of woodpecker drumming and its application to shock-absorbing systems.

I - Introduction to Birds. VII - Circulatory System. Back to Avian Biology. Drawings of the digestive tracts of A a Greylag Goose and B a Wild Turkey and retention times of a solute, 2-mm particles, and 8-mm particles in the goose and turkey digestive systems Figure from Frei et al.

The closed, air-filled spaces reduce overall weight without loss of rigidity. The capillary ratchet mechanism Surface tension transport of prey by feeding shorebirds: The serrated leading-edge feather of an owl Norberg Vortex generators on an airplane wing. Fish-eating species like cormorants below - typically have small, undifferentiated tongue because fish are often swallowed whole. Representative caterpillar false eyes and faces.

In some, like woodpeckers, the 'sticky' saliva aids in capturing prey. In others, like swifts, saliva is used in nest building see photo below. The muscular walls of the esophagus produce wave-like contractions peristalsis that help propel food from the oral cavity to the stomach. Anhinga swallowing a large fish. HCL and pepsinogen are secreted by the deep glands see photomicrograph below. Pepsinogen is converted into pepsin a proteolytic, or protein-digesting, enzyme by the HCl.

The cuticle is secreted by simple tubular glands see photomicrograph below. Grinding action may, particularly in seed-eating birds, be assisted by grit and stones deliberately ingested. The avian gastrointestinal tract, unlike that of mammals, executes distinct reverse peristaltic movements that are critical to optimal digestive function Duke The gastric reflux allows material in the gizzard to reenter the proventriculus for additional treatment with acid and pepsin.

Villi are projections from the intestinal wall that increase the amount of surface area available for absorption. Further increasing the surface area are the numerous microvilli of the cells lining the surface of the villi.

Inside each villus are blood vessels that absorb nutrients for transport throughout the body. Caeca are histologically similar to the small and large intestines and found in a wide variety of birds. In these large ceca, food particles are acted upon by cecal secretions, bacteria, and fungi and nutrients can be absorbed.

Lymphoid ceca are not important in digestion but contain lymphocytes white blood cells that produce antibodies Clench At various times and under various conditions, ceca are the site for 1 fermentation and further digestion of food especially for the breakdown of cellulose and absorption of nutrients, 2 production of antibodies, and 3 the use and absorption of water and nitrogenous components Clench The bursa is most prominent in young birds and serves as the area where B-lymphocytes the white blood cells that produce antibodies are generated T-lymphocytes are generated in the Thymus.

Bile emulsifies fats or, in other words, breaks fats down into tiny particles. Emulsification is important because it physically breaks down fats into particles than can then be more easily digested by enzymes lipase produced by intestinal cells and the pancreas. This 'juice' contains a bicarbonate solution that helps neutralize the acids coming into the intestine from the stomach plus a variety of digestive enzymes.

The enzymes help break down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. The pancreas also produces the hormones insulin and glucagon which regulate blood sugar levels cells that produce these two hormones make up the 'islets of Langerhans', one of which is represented by the light-colored, circular structure in the photomicrograph below.

Hit 'Reload' or 'Refresh' to View Again! Particle retention time hr. Flamingos use a series of projections, or lamellae, to filter tiny food items from debris in the water. Wrens use their thin, probing bill to capture small insects. Curlews use their long bill to probe mudflats for small invertebrates. Finches do not simply bite the seeds; instead; the lower mandible is moved toward the tip of the bill in a slicing motion. When most of the coat has been cracked or removed, the lower mandible is moved from side to side to remove the rest of the shell, thus releasing the kernel.

Some large finches also have raised hard surfaces in the upper palate that function as anvils so large seeds can be held firmly while the lower mandible slices and cracks the sides of the seed.

As tricky as nutcracking sounds, most birds accomplish it rapidly, shelling small seeds in a few seconds and large finches can crack open and devour a large seed or nut in less than twenty seconds. Big mouths get hummingbirds an in-flight meal - Hummingbirds have bendy lower beaks to help them catch insects Yanega and Rubega The flexibility allows long-beaked birds to open their mouths wide enough to hunt on the wing.

Hummingbirds use their long, narrow beaks to probe flowers for nectar, but they also need insects for essential nutrients. It wasn't clear how they could catch them; birds that hunt flying insects usually have short beaks to help them open their mouths wide. Pilcher, Nature Science Update. The force produced by talons may be related to time of activity.

Owls hunt when light levels are low so if an attacking owl misses its prey, relocating it may be difficult. Hawks are diurnal hunters and can use visual cues during and after an attack. If unable to subdue prey initially, they can relocate prey visually and catch it. Given the morphological differences and hunting behaviors of these raptors, how well do those characteristics relate to prey-size selection?

Eastern Screech-Owls prey on insects, small birds, and small mammals. Red-tailed Hawks subsist primarily on rodents and larger mammals such as skunks and rabbits. Red-shouldered Hawks , like Barred Owls, subsist mainly on medium-sized mammals such as squirrels and chipmunks, but also prey on frogs and salamanders. American Kestrels , like Eastern Screech-Owls, eat mostly insects and small mammals. Bristles occur most prominently around the eyes "eyelashes" , the lores, the nostrils, and around the rictus corners of the mouth.

Not all birds have bristles. Rictal bristles are prominent in many insectivorous birds, particularly aerial insectivores like nightjars Order Caprimulgiformes and flycatchers Family Tyrannidae , and may be used as sensory organs to help locate and capture prey, much like mammals use whiskers.

In addition, bristles around the mouth may help protect the eyes from food items a bird is trying to capture Conover and Miller The photo to the right shows the rictal bristles of a Hooded Warbler. Goose tongue -- The dorsal surface of the tongue of Middendorff's Bean Goose Anser fabalis middendorffii has an anterior region that extends for five-sixths of its length plus a posterior region. Large conical papillae indicated by arrowhead to the right are located in a row between the anterior and posterior regions.

On both sides of the anterior region, lingual papillae are compactly distributed, and small numbers of large conical papillae are found between the lingual papillae. The dorsal surface of the tongue is covered by numerous fine processes, which help hold food on the tongue's surface. The taste buds of birds may be located in the upper beak epithelium, in the anterior mandible, and the mandibular epithelium posterior to the tongue.

Some taste buds are also located ventrolaterally on the anterior tongue. Arrows show lingual hairs on the lateral sides.

Lingual papillae arrows are compactly distributed on the tongue, and large conical papillae arrowhead are scattered among them. Energy and nitrogen balance in a hummingbird -- Keeping fit and healthy on a low-fat, fiber-free diet isn't easy, but despite the nutritional disadvantages of life on a liquid lunch, hummingbirds flourish by supplementing their nectar intake with tiny arthropods.

But the beneficial snacks come at a high metabolic price; flies don't sit still, so hummingbirds work hard chasing their protein. Back in the lab, the team prepared nectar solutions with different concentrations of amino acids to see how much protein the birds needed to maintain a stable body weight. By filming the birds as they sipped from feeders, they measured the amount of energy and nitrogen that the birds consumed.

To calculate the bird's nitrogen uptake, they also needed to know how much waste nitrogen the birds lost. So, they collected all of the birds' feces, making sure that none dried out, and measured the nitrogen content.

Not surprisingly, the birds that were fed small amounts of protein began losing weight quickly, even though they were able to sip as much high-energy nectar as they wanted. However, the birds that were fed 1.

What does that translate to in terms of flies? The birds that had a reduced nectar supply also maintained a stable weight, although they went into torpor overnight to conserve energy. But the birds fed flies alone began losing weight, no matter how hard they worked to feed themselves. She suspects that although the flies should supply all of the hummingbirds needs, the birds simply have to work too hard to catch flies to rely on them as their soul food source.

Flush—pursuit foragers use exaggerated and animated foraging movements to flush potential insect prey that are then pursued and captured in flight. The Myioborus redstarts comprise 12 species of flush—pursuit warblers found in montane forests of the American tropics and subtropics.

All members of the genus have contrasting black-and-white tail feathers that are exposed by spreading the tail during foraging. Mumme examined plumage pattern and tail-spreading behavior to see how they affected flush—pursuit foraging performance of the Slate-throated Redstart Myioborus miniatus in Costa Rica. Although flycatching was the most common foraging tactic used by Slate-throated Redstarts, flush—pursuit prey attacks occurred more frequently following hops in the spread-tail foraging posture than hops in more typical warbler-like posture, suggesting that tail-spreading behavior assists in startling and flushing potential insect prey.

The hypothesis that the white tail feathers enhance flush—pursuit foraging was tested by means of a plumage-dyeing experiment. After locating nests, Mumme captured the male and female and assigned one member of each pair to the experimental treatment group; its mate served as a control.

For experimental birds, a permanent marker was used to blacken the white tips of the three outer retrices. For experimental birds, only 7.

These results indicate that white tail feathers are critically important in startling potential prey. The owls ate 10 times more beetles when the dung was present, suggesting the waste did not build up by accident.

Burrowing Owls make their nests in small tunnels, and place a variety of debris, including dung, at the entrance. After finding that Burrowing Owls also had a high concentration of dung beetles in their diet, Levey et al. To test this hypothesis, they cleared all nest entrances at two colonies of owls of debris, then one owl colony had a typical littering of dung applied while the other was left bare. After four days each entrance was again completely cleared and the situation was reversed.

Analysis of the owls' waste clearly showed that when dung was present, the owls feasted on ten times more dung beetles. As Levey says, "this experiment demonstrates that tool use makes a difference to a wild animal". Although it may be tempting to conclude the owls are clever enough to devise this trap, Levey explained: Instead, the baiting may simply have evolved, as owls who happened to collect more dung had a better diet and therefore bred more successfully.

A Price Worth Paying -- Birds don't need teeth to grind their food; they solve the mashing problem with a powerful gizzard. But not all gizzards are equal. In fact, Red Knots' gizzards grow larger when the birds put on weight preparing for migration.

But they also change size throughout the year. What causes such changes in gizzard size? Long-term preservation of stomach contents in incubating King Penguins -- Male King Penguins Aptenodytes patagonicus are able to store undigested food in their stomach for up to 3 weeks during their incubation fast. Such an adaptation ensures hatchling survival if their mate's return is delayed. Using small electronic recorders, Thouzeau et al. The pH could be maintained at values as high as 6 throughout the incubation fast, a pH unfavorable for avian gastric proteinase activity.

Gastric motility was markedly reduced for most of the incubating birds, with lower motility probably associated with a better conservation of stomach content. The fact that stomach temperature of incubating birds did not show a daily rhythmic fluctuation as seen in non-breeding birds could be due to temperature constraints on embryo development. Thus, this study demonstrates substantial adjustments of pH and gastric motility in incubating King Penguins, which may contribute to the inhibition of digestive gastric processes.

Glucose transport in birds -- In contrast with regulation of intestinal glucose transport in mammals, amphibians and fish, intestinal glucose transport does not change with dietary carbohydrate in most birds.

This is interesting, because the diets of many birds change with seasons, and the levels of carbohydrate in those diets also vary with season. The absence of dietary modulation of glucose transport in birds may be due to the predominance of passive glucose transport, probably occurring through the paracellular pathway i.

If transport were largely passive and dependent on transepithelial concentration gradients, then there would not be any need for specific changes in carrier-mediated active transport. For example, passive absorption of nutrients such as fat-soluble vitamins is not subject to modulation by diet.

Brightsmith and Muñoz-Najar observed ten species of psittacids, three species of columbids, and two species of cracids consuming soil from banks of a river in Peru. They found that preferred soils were deficient in particles large enough to aid in the mechanical breakdown of food and help digestion. Percent clay content and cation exchange capacity CEC , both predicted to correlate with adsorption of toxins, did not differ between used and unused sites as had been found in a similar study.

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