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Chickens are highly sensitive to exposure to airborne toxins. This is related to the uniqueness of the avian respiratory system, which allows for birds to breath more effectively then mammals.
The cross-current airflow and blood allows for the chicken's blood oxygen levels to be higher than their oxygen levels when they expire a breath. The negative consequence of this is it increases their risk of absorbing higher amounts of toxins from the air, thus causing them to reach toxic levels quicker than mammals.
Clinical signs of toxicity may be delayed several hours after the initial exposure.
Case 1: Tea tree oil intoxication in a Cockatiel A one-year-old, male cockatiel was presented for clinical examination due to a serious despondency episode after the application of 3 drops of tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifoglia) directly on the cutis of his right wing. The subject was urgently hospitalized and blood tests were performed. Serum biochemical values showed severe liver damage and slight renal involvement, complete blood count (CBC) parameters indicated a moderate neutrophilia a moderate neutropenia. Warm subcutaneous fluids and vitamin (VIT) B12 were administered, and after 8 h of fluid therapy the clinical condition of the patient improved. The subject was discharged after 48h of hospitalization, in stable conditions. Ref
Case 2: Smoke-induced respiratory infection in a Parrot A 4-year-old female blue-headed pionus parrot presented repeatedly for acute smoke inhalation. The protracted clinical course and secondary respiratory infections with multiple pathogens represented characteristic sequelae to smoke inhalation and toxicosis seen in other species. Ref
Case 3: Aerosol toxicoses in a Two American kestrels Aerosol toxicoses were diagnosed in two unrelated cases. In one case, two American kestrels died within 30 minutes of each other after showing respiratory signs minutes prior to death. Both birds were housed in a room where an oven was used immediately prior to the onset of their respiratory signs. The oven had been repaired weeks earlier for a gas leak. Both birds had red, wet lungs on gross examination and no other gross or microscopic findings. The second case involved seven of seven indoor parakeets that died in a 24-hour period. The lungs of the two birds submitted were dark red and wet and histologically there was marked pulmonary congestion, hemorrhage and edema. The owner regularly used teflonn-coated cooking pans. Polytetratuoroethylene (PTFE) gas, the cause of teflon toxicosis, is released when non-stick surfaces are heated above 360oC, a temperature that can be attained when teflon-coated pans boil dry or food burns. PTFE sources include non-stick cookware, drip pans, irons, ironing board covers, self-cleaning ovens, the heating elements of some reverse-cycle heat pumps and heat lamps. Ref