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Salt

Information and Technology Report 1999-0001

By:
and ORCID iD

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Abstract

Animals become victims of salt poisoning or toxicosis when toxic levels of sodium and chloride accumulate in the blood after they ingest large amounts of salt or, in some species, are deprived of water. For birds, salt sources may include saline water and road salt.

Normally, the salt glands of birds (Fig. 47.1) excrete sodium and chloride to maintain the proper physiologic chemical balance. However, when there has been insufficient time for acclimation of the salt gland to the saline environment, or when salt gland function is compromised by exposure to certain pesticides or oil, the electrolyte balance of the blood may be upset by the excess sodium and chloride, resulting in toxicosis. Salt accumulation on the outside of the body, or salt encrustation, is a greater problem for waterbirds that use very saline waters than is salt toxicosis. Salt encrustation can lead to exertion, acute muscle degeneration, and eventual drowning during the struggle to escape entrapment.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
Federal Government Series
Title:
Salt
Series title:
Information and Technology Report
Series number:
1999-0001
Year Published:
1999
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
National Wildlife Health Center
Description:
2 p.
Larger Work Type:
Report
Larger Work Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title:
Field manual of wildlife diseases: General field procedures and diseases of birds
First page:
347
Last page:
348