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Encyclopedia > Visceral gout

Visceral gout is a disease of birds in which kidney failure causes a build-up or urates in the internal organs, leaving a chalky white coating on them. Symptoms include anorexia and emaciation. Renal failure is when the kidneys fail to function properly. ... Uric Acid Uric acid is an organic compound of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen, with the formula C5H4N4O3 It is a minor end-product of nitrogen metabolism in the human body (the main product being urea), and is found in small amounts in urine. ... Anorexia (deriving from the Greek α(ν)- (a(n)-, a prefix that denotes absence) + όρεξη (orexe) = appetite) is the decreased sensation of appetite. ...

It is a problem common to caged birds. Vultures are particularly sensitivy to poisoning by diclofenac, which leads to renal failure, visceral gout and death to them.

Threat to vultures

The collapse of the vulture population in India and Pakistan, to about a twentith of their original numbers, has been caused by diclofenac, which is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Diclofenac is given to working and ill farm cattle to reduce pain so that they can work on the land for longer. Farmers leave dead farm out in the open for the vultures to tidy up, and the vultures then feed from the carcasses of the cattle that die, and are poisoned by the diclofenac contained in the flesh they eat. Orders Falconiformes (Fam. ... Diclofenac (marketed as Voltaren®, Voltarol®, Diclon®, Dicloflex® Difen and Cataflam®) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) taken to reduce inflammation and an analgesic reducing pain in conditions such as in arthritis or acute injury. ... Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, usually abbreviated to NSAIDs, are drugs with analgesic, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory effects - they reduce pain, fever and inflammation. ...

Vultures are now not present in large enough numbers to and tidy up all the dead animals. Instead, dead animals are now likely to rot in the open and be partly eaten by rats or wild dogs or other pests, causing major concern and human health hazards including risks of rabies.

Meloxicam (another NSAID) has been found to be harmless to vultures and should prove an acceptable alternative to diclofenac. The Government of India banned diclofenac, but it continues to be sold over a year later and is still a problem in other parts of the World. Meloxicam is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug used to relieve the symptoms of arthritis, primary dysmenorrhoea, pyrexia; and as an analgesic, especially where there is an inflammatory component. ...


  • Visceral gout in caged birds
  • "India's Vultures Fall Prey to a Drug in the Cattle They Feed On", New York Times, Amelia Gentleman, March 28, 2006.
  • NSAID effects on vultures (BBC website)



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