Milk thistle can be very good for livers, I have heard also.
Aflatoxicosis primarily affects the liver (including cirrhosis, cancer, and edema), so some symptoms that might result include jaundice (yellowing of the skin, whites of eyes, and gums). In gliders, the yellowing is most apparent in the palms of hands/feet, nose and sometimes ears. Loss of appetite and loss of an interest in water, lethargy/depressed behavior and *possibly* blood in the stools (from hemorrhaging) are all possible signs/symptoms of the toxin. Aflatoxins can also affect the kidneys, so not being able to urinate is a sign that the kidneys could be compromised. If blood work is drawn and can be tested, signs of liver damage/liver failure or kidney damage/failure *may* show up in the blood work but this does not absolutely indicate that Aflatoxin is the cause. Mostly, Aflatoxicosis is assumed in cases where a necropsy has been performed and there is liver damage along with a history that points to probable exposure. It is also important to note that in cases where it builds up in the system, it is possible that even if the current food supply is tested, it may not show positive for Aflatoxin because exposure could have been weeks+ earlier.
From my understanding, there are things, as Karen said to help slow or stop the progression of liver damage (like Milk Thistle, Vitamin K and similar liver supportive meds/supplements), but it cannot really be greatly reversed (so the glider will always have a more sensitive reaction to further exposure of Aflatoxin) and because these are rarely used in gliders, dosage and side effects are not well known or understood. In cases where Aflatoxin is strongly indicated as the problem, most people stop feeding anything
that could carry a risk of Aflatoxins (so NO more corn, nuts, grains, or insects at all
). One should also realize, however, since Aflatoxin is allowable in a certain percentage for grain feed, the risk is still technically present, at lower levels, in MANY, MANY things (including meat, eggs and dairy products).
As far as generalized supportive care with a sick glider, one of the things you can do are to learn how to give subcutaneous fluids from your vet
, and make sure you understand when it is appropriate to use them, and keep the supplies on hand. By giving your own subQ fluids in a crisis, you can sometimes give yourself a little added time to get to a vet
. BUT if a glider needs subQ, they will still always need to see a vet
ASAP as something had to have caused the dehydration in the first place and the cause needs to be treated rather than just putting a band-aid over the symptoms. Talk to your vet
about what to do in different situations to hold you until you are able to get to an emergency vet
. Learn how to use an e-collar and have them ready in case you need them.
But the reality is, even for experienced glider owners, all of these things that we learn how to do for our gliders is not a 'curative' or vet
alternative. They are to stabilize the glider until such time as we can get the glider seen by a vet
. Sometimes an experienced vet
is an hour or more away, these are the times that something like subQ fluids could mean the difference of being able to give the glider time to get to that vet