Second hand smoke and Birds

???Did you know second hand smoke can be very dangerous to your pets, but especially birds?

Secondhand smoke contains over 4000 chemicals, including 69 compounds that are known to cause cancer and the concentration of these carcinogenic chemicals is actually higher in secondhand smoke than in the fumes directly inhaled by smokers.

Your parrot has a very different respiratory system to humans, birds have lungs, which are not lobed like our own. They also have air sacs which extend into their bones, which are hollow, lightweight which enables them flight. Air is drawn in and expelled by the contraction of muscles. Because there is no diaphragm, and the air sacs extend into the bones, which means respiratory infections also can extend to the abdominal cavity and the bones. Because the respiratory system of a bird is more efficient than ours in transferring oxygen, means that toxins inhaled are delivered equally as well. Because of this efficiency, a parrot (who is much smaller than us) will succumb to the same level of toxic fumes that would be tolerated by a mammal.

– Feather destruction and plucking can result from smoking around your birds!

Cigarette smoke rises into the air because it’s heated. When it’s cools, gravity brings it back down. It lands on your birds, their perches, their cage bars, toys and food. If your hands are coated with chemicals from holding the cigarette, it is easily transferred to your bird.
When you bathe a parrot that lives in the house with a smoker, the water that rinses off them is often a brownish-yellow colour. Their feathers will pick up the odor and birds will try to rid it by plucking out the feathers!

Another concern is that where there are smokers, there are nicotine products. Nicotine poisoning can occur when your parrot finds and chews apart a cigarette like a shredder toy. The butt of a cigarette alone contains 25% of the nicotine of the original cigarette. Signs of nicotine poisoning include: twitching, excitedness, panting, salivation, vomiting, increased heart rate, collapse, coma and cardiac arrest.

Please be mindful when smoking around your pets – just like you, we want to see them live a long and happy life

For more information please contact our clinic, Booval Vet Hospital on 07 3282 6722.