First broadcast on  

This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.

You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.

Haemochromatosis is caused by excessive iron deposition in the liver

Heaemochromatosis is a disease that affects various captive birds including :

  • Birds of paradise
  • Hornbills
  • Mynah birds

Clinical signs associated with the disease include :

  • Anorexia
  • Ascites
  • Dyspnoea
  • Liver enlargement
  • Weight loss
  • Sudden death

The disease is characterised by excessive iron deposition in hepatocytes and other organs. For these susceptible birds their daily ration should be low in iron content and foods high in iron content should be avoided. Fresh fruit should be provided rather than prepared fruits because the concentration of iron can vary greatly :

Fruit  Iron content (mg/100g) Fruit Iron content (mg/100g)
Apples  0.1 Lychees  0.5
Apricots  0.5 Mandarin Oranges 0.5
Apricots (ready to eat) 3.4 Mangoes  0.7
Avocado 0.3 Melon 0.3
Bananas 0.3 Nectarines 0.4
Blackberries  0.7 Olives 1.0
Blackcurrants  1.3 Oranges 0.1
Blackcurrants (canned in juice) 5.2 Passion Fruit 1.3
Cherries  0.2 PawPaw 0.5
Cherries (canned in syrup) 2.9 Peaches 0.4
Currants 1.3 Pears 0.2
Damsons  0.4 Pineapple 0.2
Dates  0.3 Plums 0.4
Dried mixed fruit  2.2 Prunes (canned in juice) 2.2
Figs (dried) 4.2 Raisins 3.8
Gooseberries  0.3 Raspberries 0.7
Grapefruit  0.1 Rhubarb 0.3
Grapes 0.3 Satsumas 0.1
Guava 0.4 Strawberries 0.4
Kiwi Fruit 0.4 Sultanas 2.2
Lemons 0.5 Tangerines 0.3

All values are based on raw fruit unless otherwise stated. Fruits with more than 0.5mg iron/100g are highlighted in red.

Reference :  The Composition of Foods 5th Edition by McCance and Widowson 1991 published in the UK by the RSC and MAFF


Updated October 2013