GliderCENTRAL

Galvanized metals.

Posted By: Dancing

Galvanized metals. - 09/19/09 09:46 PM

For those that don't know, Zink coated metal IS galvanized metal.

The reason we don't use bare galvanized wire to make cages is that glider's urine reacts with the zink used to "galvanize" it.

Be sure when making your cages or toys that you do not use galvanized wire or parts.
Posted By: sugarglidersuz

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/20/09 01:41 AM

Teresa, thanks Thanks for the reminder and also for the information about the zinc coated metal. I'm going to add your post to the Sticky about Hazardous Toys or Toy Parts & Cage Parts List thumb
Posted By: hushpuppy

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/20/09 10:44 AM

With all due respect, I would like to challenge this. Do we know that zinc plating is hazardous, or is this another one of those old unsubstantiated claims? With all the contact that gliders have had with it, who has had a glider hurt or killed from it?
Posted By: Dancing

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/20/09 03:30 PM

Here are some links that discuss heavy metal toxicity. While not glider specific, they are bird specific and since most things that are unsafe for birds are also considered unsafe for gliders, it shouldn't be chanced.


http://pet-birds.suite101.com/article.cfm/zinc_toxicity_in_pet_parrots

http://www.libertywildlife.org/pdf/Citizen%20Steward%20Sep%2007%20ziff.pdf

http://www.isrvma.org/article/61_1_6.htm

http://www.holisticbird.org/pages/hmetal.htm

Even Caroline MacPherson has info about zink toxicity in her sugar glider book. While I disagree with her in that she says to just wash the galvanized metal with vinager. I believe if washing it in vinager was enough to remove the toxicity factor, then the bird people would also know of this "trick" and more bird cages would be made out of galvanized metal and less birds would have died from zink toxicity.

If this isn't enough info, you can Google Galvanized Metal Toxicity and get even more links.
Posted By: hushpuppy

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/20/09 05:09 PM

Thanks for the links but that doesnít really answer the question that I asked. What you have posted is a theory that because some birds with their powerful beaks can in some circumstances break off pieces of galvanized metal and INGEST it, that the same is true for gliders. Metal toxicity comes from INGESTING the metals; not merely from being exposed to it. Currently gliders are exposed to zinc in much of their everyday life and so are a lot of other animals.

It is not uncommon to find galvanized out door aviaries (not hardware cloth, there is a difference) in warmer climates. Most other metals would quickly rust. And most bird owners have used them for years without incident. I actually have my flying squirrel in a galvanized cage. And you are correct; the vinegar rinse is something that has been used by bird owners without problems.

So if zinc plating is hazardous, and we already know that glider are being consistently exposed to it Ė hog rings, door locks, metal zipper pieces, paints, and split rings just to quickly name a few exposures, where are the death by metal necropsies? Where are the my glider got sick reports?

This has been placed on the hazardous toy parts list. I am just requesting clarification on how that was determined and what glider specific incidents have been reported?
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/20/09 05:51 PM

I know of a person that has used galvanized cages to house gliders for a long time and they've never had a problem. This isn't someone new to the community either and has nursed a many sick and injured glider back to health, not her own gliders, rescues that she has taken in.

I've often wondered about this subject because of that and how it was determined that gliders can get a UTI from galvanized wire when there are many that suffer from UTI's and NEVER been housed in a galvanized cage.
Posted By: sugarlope

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/20/09 11:22 PM

There is a thread in the archives relating to this, but I don't know how to validate the information contained;
http://www.glidercentral.net/ubbthreads/...lvaniz#Post8715
Posted By: sugarglidersuz

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/21/09 12:09 AM

Until this discussion has run its course, I am removing the information from the Sticky. Admin will determine if it should be added at a later time.
Posted By: hushpuppy

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/21/09 03:29 AM

Tammy, yes I know a few that use or have used plain ol' hardware cloth without any problems. I wonder if they are the same ones that you know. And I guess that I forgot to post that I myself kept gliders in galvanized cages for a couple of years. No sickness, no mutilation, no problems at all. One of those gliders turned 11 a few weeks ago and another will be 10 in January.

Gretchen, you are a doll for taking the time to look that up. But I was hoping for something a little more definitive. But it was nice to see the names of some of the old timers.

Suz, thank you. I can always count on the folks here at GC to do what is right for gliders. And if anyone has knowledge of glider specific sickness or death, I would still like to know.
Posted By: Srlb

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/21/09 01:52 PM

Ok, so I sent over an email to Tristan and asked him about this. I will post both my question and his response.

Quote:
On galvanized cages for gliders? Is there truly a concern or is it just a myth? If it is a concern, why?

Peggy Brewer


His response:

Quote:
yes they are a concern because they contain zinc. Animals may chew on the bars and ingest the zinc....zinc toxicity.
Tim


Hope this helps.
Posted By: hushpuppy

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/21/09 01:58 PM

Peggy, ask him how many cases of zinc toxicity he has seen in gliders. Thanks for the help.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/21/09 02:24 PM

Originally Posted By: hushpuppy
Tammy, yes I know a few that use or have used plain ol' hardware cloth without any problems. I wonder if they are the same ones that you know. And I guess that I forgot to post that I myself kept gliders in galvanized cages for a couple of years. No sickness, no mutilation, no problems at all. One of those gliders turned 11 a few weeks ago and another will be 10 in January.


Probably is Anita! grin

And from what I've heard, her cages are beautiful. They are older as she has had them for many years but I was told they still look brand new.

I've heard so many instances where powder coated cages rust after only a year and gliders are still housed in them. Also, I've only had one glider that ever chewed on the cage and she was a rescue and ate the coating off the cage cause that was all she had to eat. (Before she came to me) Other than that, I've never had a glider chew on the cage bars.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/21/09 03:04 PM

Does chewing on fingers through the bars count? grin
Posted By: Srlb

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/21/09 03:27 PM

Anita, just got off the phone with him. He said he has personally not seen the first case of it in gliders, however, that doesnt mean it doesnt exist. Also he said it is advised not to use it and this is a preventable risk. Personally, he wouldnt risk it himself because although he hasnt seen it in gliders (he feels because people dont use galvanized), he has seen it many times in birds. thumb
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/21/09 03:33 PM

This is very interesting... I have read many of the old stickies here and many have also been proven wrong.. like the Lima bean etc... I am not educated on this particular subject enough to comment.. I just love seeing new things evolve and the Facts turn to Myths.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/21/09 04:08 PM

Just doing a little research on galvanized wire. Interestingly enough, there are 2 kinds. The zinc coated and there is what is called hot dipped galvanized and they are very different.

Most sites I've looked at warns of INHALING the zinc from the wire while cutting or burning it, that is how you become poisoned from it.

Another interesting thought, I grew up in an older home and ALL the plumbing pipes, including the water pipes were all galvanized pipes. Also, in my line of work, we rehabb older homes for elderly people and almost always, they have galvanized water piping!
Posted By: KarenE

Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/21/09 04:18 PM

From the moment I picked up my first glider I was told never to use a cage made with galvanized wire because it would kill my glider. The metal would give off a toxic reaction if a glider urinated on it. Later I read it would more than likely give them a UTI and not kill them.

So just how dangerous are galvanized products or is this something they have passed down to all the newbies.

I am going to merge an ongoing discussion from Housing here to determine if this is indeed

Fact or Fiction thumb
Posted By: sugarlope

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/21/09 08:36 PM

I should have been more specific in my posting, Anita - I meant to draw attention to this part;
Quote:
the Preston Road Clinic in
Dallas discovered this in several gliders a few years back.


Does anyone know/go to that clinic that they could ask them about it?

As far as galvanization, I have also heard that it depends on how the cage is galvanized as to the level of risk (dunno). If it is galvanized after it is welded it is supposed to safer - again, dunno
Posted By: hushpuppy

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/21/09 09:15 PM

Dang Gretchen, I sat and typed out a long responce where I said that there hasn't been one documented case and now there MIGHT be. If anyone has contact with this place I would sure be interested in the who, what, where, when and how.
Posted By: hushpuppy

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/21/09 09:20 PM

Ok, this is delayed so I will go ahead a post the long responce.

Several times Iíve asked glider specific documentation. And so far there isnít any even though our gliders are exposed to zinc all the time.

So let me see if I can explain it. Steel Rusts. No doubt about it. And it can happen pretty quickly. So to stop the rust metal is galvanized. The term galvanizing simply means that a coat of zinc has been placed on the outside of the metal. Nothing more, nothing less. But as Tammy said, there are several ways to galvanize.

One way to galvanize metal is to dip the metal into the zinc and dry it. This is the way most hardware cloth is made. With this you get the dull, gray, rough, porous looking surface that you see on hardware cloth. You might also see little drips and blobs on the surface and it is usually those drips and blobs that birds break off and swallow. But think about the anatomy of a glider and how small their esophagus is. My gliders canít swallow chicken much less metal.

One of the other ways to galvanize metal it what is known as zinc plating; same steel, same zinc. But with zinc plating they use an electrical charge. This changes the zinc to a rock hard surface that is as smooth as a babyís behind. This is the kind of galvanized metal that is used in so many things that our gliders come into contact with each and every day.

You got a PVC coated cage? What about the rings and clips that holds it together? Unless you asked for and paid extra for stainless, they are zinc plated. The same is true for the locks on the doors.

Zippers in some cages and pouches; even if they are plastic, the stops and pulls are probably metal. Since the people who make the zippers know you want to toss them in the washer, metal parts would be zinc plated.

Nichol plated bells in the toys? What about the clapper, more than likely itís galvanized.

Now look around your house. What about all the metal stuff you see? Zinc? Look at your lamps. No, not the brass parts or the pretty shades, but the other metal parts. Zinc? Screws that hold your furniture together? The zipper in your jeans? If it doesnít rust and it isnít one of the special metals like stainless, copper or brass, itís galvanized.

What about metal grommets? Zinc? What about split rings?

Ok, I could go on and on, but I think it is clear that we are exposing gliders to zinc and lot of it, and still no one can show where it has harmed a glider.
Posted By: princessmegi

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/22/09 01:45 AM

I don't have any proof one way or the other, but I will say that when I built my cages, I did pay extra for the stainless door handles and j clips. I can't say that none of my toys or pouch zippers don't have zinc because I didn't make them and I don't know what brands were used. A cage exposure would be much higher than a zipper exposure for my gliders. And they're never exposed to lamps or anything like that. So, even if there is zinc in them, they wouldn't be in contact with it. I had always heard that the concern wasn't death, but a Urinary Tract Infection when the gliders urinated on the zinc and the zinc reacted with their urine. There are many cases of UTI's in gliders, but whether or not those have been proven to come from zinc exposure, I don't know. None of my gliders have ever had UTI's. I would think it would be simple for someone with a scientific background to apply urine to galvanized wire and see if there is any "reaction" like is so commonly thought.
Posted By: tlkngfethrs1

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/22/09 02:57 AM

clap Well put!
I also would like to know the true danger behind this as I have made cages from hardware cloth (HC) for years and was crushed to hear I could not use it for gliders..
but to stay on the safe side I have never used it with my gliders.. but it seems odd to hear about birds.. I have Had lots of birds in HC over the years in fact we still have a senior love bird in it right now!! my Mom and I have had her since she was born.. A friend had a female hatch her and reject her so she was feed and rasied by me.. and we put her in that due to the fact she will chew out of most all cages made.... so it was a lot cheaper to make her new ones every 6-8 months than to by her a $100.+ cage. but my point here is she has been in them most of her life.. and she is OLD...
I would LOVE to see more on this!!!!
Posted By: KattyM

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/22/09 03:15 AM

Originally Posted By: princessmegi
I would think it would be simple for someone with a scientific background to apply urine to galvanized wire and see if there is any "reaction" like is so commonly thought.

I would think a layperson could run a test, taking galvanized wire and the type of wire that is commonly purchased to make glider cages and apply urine to it to see how much/how often the urine would have to be applied for a reaction (if any) to occur. I would think that gliders, like people, would have different compositions in their urine, so you could try samplings from different gliders.

It seems the gist of the argument is that galvanized wire could corrode like uncoated steel, so even though it is zinc coated, it may not be as safe as pvc- or powder-coated wire because rubbing against it could lead to UTIs (either because it is corroded or because of a reaction with the zinc)? So repeated exposure to the clocoa area is the issue? dunno Smaller parts used in toys and pouches might not be a concern if that were the case since gliders wouldn't be rubbing against those the same way. And then it seems another argument is that the zinc itself can somehow be ingested (gliders chewing on the bars, or holding the bars and licking their hands) and it could be toxic to gliders as it is in birds? dunno

I just want to make sure I have a handle on the debate. This is interesting!
Posted By: jacknsally

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/22/09 03:22 AM

Originally Posted By: sugarlope


Does anyone know/go to that clinic that they could ask them about it?



That's the name of one of the clinics I've used for gliders. One of the vets that practices there has been highly recommended. In my experience they are very knowledgeable with gliders. I'll put out a phone call to them tomorrow or so.
Posted By: hushpuppy

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/22/09 11:40 AM

What the OP posted was true. Zinc Plated is galvanized, but that is a very simplistic view. It's kind of like saying that Powder coating is Paint. Which it is. But once that powdered paint has had an electrical charge added to it, it is extremely different. Likewise, once the zinc has been charged, it is very different.

Megi, I'm glad that you took all those precautions, but I'm not sure how that is relevant. The point is that gzillions of gliders are exposed daily, without it being a problem.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/22/09 05:45 PM

I have a theory about UTI's in gliders, and I stress it is just my theory!

UTI's are caused by bacteria and 90% of the time, E coli is the culprit. That is a fact in humans.

I've watched my gliders urinate on the side of the cage as most of us have. Their cloaca opens up when the urine comes out and repeatedly closes as they are finishing up. HERE is the theory part, what are the chances that they are picking up a bacteria when they urinate and bringing it into their bladder when they are finishing?

I wondered so many times about this because EVERY UTI I've heard about, I know those people DON'T have galvanized cages.

Honestly, I cannot see a UTI being caused by galvanized metal because zinc is NOT a bacteria and that IS what causes UTI's. Gliders get a UTI and it is antibotics that clears it up, that is bacterial.

Also, I've read the same thing Anita, it is the little globs/drips on the galvanized metal that the birds will peck off and eat and the zinc will continue to build in their system until it reaches toxic levels. BUT not all galvanized wire will have the drips, the cheaper stuff will but not the more expensive galvanized wire.
Posted By: wildlifeangel

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/23/09 08:37 AM

That makes sense to me about the bacteria.

Because the power coated cages are actually akin to plastic (right?) in that the outside is a carbon based compound. Plastics are known to not encourage the growth of bacteria... meaning that bacteria will not grow on plastic alone. But... plastic actually will not kill bacteria, so the bacteria will go dormant until something comes along... such as the glider urinating on that spot. If there was e-coli on that spot, the glider would pick it up when the tried to urinate on that spot.

Also, metals are known to kill/inhibit/stop the growth of bacteria. That is why some of the new bandaids have silver in them, to kill bacteria. So the galvanized steel would actually be more hygenic than the coated steel because the zinc is killing bacteria that could be infectious. This would actually benefit the gliders, because you wouldn't have to be quite as worried about UTIs and wiping down cage bars, because the metal would help with sanitization.

This is just what I know from microbiolgy and working at the hospital, put into glider contexts. I use coated cages...
Posted By: princessmegi

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/23/09 01:30 PM

It's relevant because most people who have built cages go to the trouble of asking for stainless. A huge amount of people get their building plans from PixTrix and she always says to go for stianless. At least she made it clear to me when she helped me with my building plans. And as far as all the little bits of zinc in other things around my house, my gliders cloaca' do not come into contact with them. On the boards the issue has always been UTI prevention through not using galvanized because it was thought to react with urine at the cloaca. The worry was never ingestion, as it is with birds.
Posted By: Srlb

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/23/09 01:46 PM

Ok, so I was talking with Dr.Raphael yesterday (he is our dog vet) and I asked him if it is possible for an animal to get a UTI from a galvanized cage, he said the SAME thing Tim did, the problem with galvanized cages would be the zinc toxicity from the animals chewing on the cage, not so much the UTI's because UTI's are caused from bacteria, not zinc...He did say if you had a dirty cage you could get a UTI from that, however, it doesnt HAVE to be galvanized cage, any dirty cage could cause that.
Posted By: hushpuppy

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/23/09 04:59 PM

Dang, I was hoping yaíll would go easy on me and I would have to do this. HaHa I should have known better.

Common household item containing zinc:

Nearly all nail, screws or metal building parts, pennies, fake jewelry, decorative adornments used on purses (including hardware) and clothing and crafts, batteries, curtain stays and rings, curtain rods, closet rods, computers, printers, tvís, remote controls, cell phones, paints and varnishes, some glues, aerosol cans and aerosols, Some food utensils, Picture frames, Toilet parts, Shower doors, Candles, Washer and dryer, Fridge, window blind parts, cabinet door and dresser knobs, lamps including the brass, paper clips, coat hangers, clothes pins, handles and hinges, ink pens, springs, some flower post, notebook binding, metal ladders and stools, light bulbs, decorative chains, holiday decorations, sewing machines, metal screensÖnot a complete list but now Iím getting tired of typing.

Zinc Oxide is used in many skin preparations such as lotions, ointments, powders, and antiseptics and some shampoos.

Zinc is also used in many alloys such as brass, aluminum solder, and nickel silver.

All that exposure yet we still donít have one case of glider related illness or death. All we have is a maybe from over six years ago...interesting.
Posted By: princessmegi

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/23/09 05:08 PM

Anita,

I'm not saying that it is true. I haven't seen proof either. But regardless, all those items are not urinated on by my gliders like a galvanized cage would be. That is my point. As far as the beauty products, zinc oxide is only in 6 products that I come in contact with. So it's possible that the gliders could come into minute traces of zinc oxide, but not nearly as likely as them being in contact as a zinc coated cage. Now, I tend to agree with you that there has been no proof, but I think instead of posting back and forth we need to come up with a way to prove it true or false.
Posted By: hushpuppy

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/23/09 05:53 PM

Meggi, many of the things I listed get urinated on by sugar gliders regularly. Maybe yours donít but mine just donít give a hoot where they go. They donít care if it is a flat screen TV or the old one that needs a digital box. They donít care if it is a designer purse or a cheap Walmart bag. And anything that doesnít smell like them needs to be rubbed on until it does. So yes, I would like to see proof that galvanizing causes UTIís as the OP claimed. Iíve been asking for it since this post started.

But letís get to the real issue here. Iím not naÔve enough to believe that this is about hardware cloth cages and I doubt that you are that naÔve either. This is about the heads (just the heads because the rest is covered) of six zinc plated screws and one zinc plated bolt that Iím using in the new wheel. We knew there would be resistance and we knew pretty much where it would come from. Unlike some, we donít toss something together and hope for the best. We knew before we put the wheel out that there has never been a glider illness or death from galvanized much less zinc plating which is much harder. So I guess I am still asking for proof; not old wives tales or speculation. Proof.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/23/09 05:54 PM

Also, zinc is a mineral that is in alot of food we eat. Just looked at my grandson's rice cereal and it contains zinc.

I don't have a box of Wombaroo, but I can almost bet ya it has zinc too.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/23/09 06:02 PM

Just found vitamin and mineral content of Wombaroo Powder and it contains 25mg of zinc. Infant rice cereal has 25% of the daily recommended value for children of zinc.
Posted By: princessmegi

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/23/09 06:04 PM

Anita,

I didn't realize that was what this was about. Now that I do, these posts sure are making a lot more sense though. lol. I saw your new wheel and love the idea of it. I haven't been on the boards as much as usual though, so apparently missed the drama somewhere.

My gliders have their own room with a walk-in play closet, so I am able to regulate what they come in contact with. They don't play in the rest of our house. I can see where gliders in general though would come in contact with those things.

I don't know how to prove it other than to take some galvanized wire, or one of the pieces you are using in your new wheel and soak it in glider pee and watch to see what happens. Possibly have a vet test it afterwards to check for the same bacteria that are present in a UTI. I do tend to agree with you though that it probably isn't a cause as we've been taught and teaching for some time.
Posted By: princessmegi

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/23/09 06:05 PM

Tammy that makes me curious as to what amount of zinc is in the diet I feed. I'll have to check into that.
Posted By: princessmegi

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/23/09 06:07 PM

For a long time we have been comparing gliders to birds. We base what plants are safe for gliders on what is safe for birds. How was it decided that birds are the best animals to compare gliders to??? I've seen it a lot and always wondered.
Posted By: hushpuppy

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/23/09 06:08 PM

Thanks Megi. There hasn't been any drama. What you see here is all there is. I think my drama days are over. LOL You don't really need drama when you have confidence.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/23/09 06:16 PM

Originally Posted By: princessmegi
For a long time we have been comparing gliders to birds. We base what plants are safe for gliders on what is safe for birds. How was it decided that birds are the best animals to compare gliders to??? I've seen it a lot and always wondered.


I was just wondering the same thing Megi, and also thinking about the digestive system of birds too.

Birds have to have gravel to ingest to break down their food, if they swallow a chunk of zinc and the way they digest food with the gravel, it would grind that zinc down and put all of it into their system.

That doesn't happen with other animals, we and other animals (my dog for instance) will swallow something and it will just pass through their system.

Again, just thinking here.
Posted By: Dancing

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/23/09 08:01 PM

Quote:
For a long time we have been comparing gliders to birds. We base what plants are safe for gliders on what is safe for birds. How was it decided that birds are the best animals to compare gliders to??? I've seen it a lot and always wondered.


Probably because birds have the most delicate digestive and respritory systems in animals that HAVE been studied in depth. Especially respritory systems (why miners used finches or canaries to detect gasses in the tunnels).
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/23/09 08:15 PM

Quote:
why miners used finches


poor poor finches!! shakehead
Posted By: Dancing

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/23/09 08:17 PM

Kris, I agree but I guess better a finch or canary instead of a handfull of human lives. Good thing they have electronic detection gizmos now and don't have to use the birds.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/23/09 08:32 PM

Hey you guys can get a research study going..LOL
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/23/09 08:44 PM

I'm the one that actually bought the first whirl wheel Anita listed.. I was telling a friend I didnt even read the description.. dont need to... I've trusted Anita and Charlie with my gliders lives for 3 years, dont feel the need to doubt them now. With that said... I have no idea what zinc even is other than a mineral.
Posted By: KarenE

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/23/09 09:51 PM

Originally Posted By: hushpuppy
But letís get to the real issue here. Iím not naÔve enough to believe that this is about hardware cloth cages and I doubt that you are that naÔve either. This is about the heads (just the heads because the rest is covered) of six zinc plated screws and one zinc plated bolt that Iím using in the new wheel. We knew there would be resistance and we knew pretty much where it would come from. Unlike some, we donít toss something together and hope for the best. We knew before we put the wheel out that there has never been a glider illness or death from galvanized much less zinc plating which is much harder. So I guess I am still asking for proof; not old wives tales or speculation. Proof.


Anita, I can assure you moving the thread from Housing to this forum was to discuss whether or not there was any truth to UTI's being caused by galvanized metals, in particular cages as we were all warned when we were newbies and still warn newbies today.

If someone else had another motive for starting the thread in the first place in Housing, seems to me from the posts in this thread, it is pretty clear UTI's are the result of a bacterial infection.
Posted By: hushpuppy

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/23/09 10:11 PM

Yes mayam I agree. I'm glad that this topic was put here. I think we all learned a lot and I look forward to participating in more of these kind of conversations in the future. I think this new forum will be wonderful for knocking down or verifing some of the old rumors.
Posted By: Lucy

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/24/09 01:15 PM

I need to check in more often! This is a GREAT idea to have a forum about these things, because mostly, we don't know. I think what happens is that people post a thought, and then it becomes a "fact" and then it becomes "this will kill your glider." I've said for a long time that the only way we can know for sure is through empirical studies isolating that one variable that we're looking for. Other ways that you can try to find out is to find out the longevity of the glider's life and then try to see how that glider lived - but then you can only have correlations and not really causes because there are SO many factors to consider!

So I love the de-bunking of unsubstantiated claims. Given that, I usually follow the old suggestions anyway. My cages will probably never be galvanized, but I also haven't seen anything that would suggest it's shortened a glider's life.
Posted By: Akane

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/24/09 11:55 PM

There is one way I could think of that galvanized metal could lead to a higher chance of UTI. Irritation can often allow infection to thrive where it wouldn't or cause an animal to want to rub an area more increasing the chance of bacteria being spread to that area. If for some reason (urine reaction, the oxidization of older galvanized cages, or just a sensitivity to it by gliders) the galvanized cages were causing a bit of mild irritation that isn't obvious to us but bothers the glider or the sensitive internal tissue a little it could then make it easier to get an infection. I would think it would take repeated contact with a substance like that to cause enough irritation or give enough opportunities for an infection to happen which would explain why having them around a few galvanized metal objects or occasional exposure would do nothing but an entire cage made of it would. Metal allergies are common in my family. My mom can pick up nickel. She can rub it across her arm. Nothing will happen. If she wears sandals with nickel buckles or nickel jewelry all day her skin breaks out.

Entirely a random theory but I've found even when there is no concrete proof if something cannot be traced back to one source and instead is being reinforced by lots of people there tends to be some type of truth to it. Maybe not exactly what we expect or as severe as we think but it's worth trying to find an explanation why it could be true instead of only trying to find why it isn't.

The fact zinc is in food really doesn't mean anything. Of course it's in supplements and food. It's a necessary mineral to keeping them and us alive. We also have a tendency toward zinc deficiency not excess. Just because you can ingest a tiny bit of something as needed to stay alive doesn't mean you can't be sensitive to it, particularly a contact allergy, or have a reaction to a lot of it. While zinc sensitivity is rare in humans gliders aren't humans.
Posted By: Srlb

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/25/09 01:44 AM

Well, I know I started taking zinc supplements, 50 mg and the first three days was fine, now if I take one I literally get sick to my stomach and as soon as my body removes it, I am fine...so guess I have enough in my body!! LOL!
Posted By: Berg

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/26/09 12:46 AM

I'm fairly new to this forum (still a joey) smile , but we have been researching gliders for some time now, and taking in a lot of information on GC. We will be getting our first gliders in about three weeks.

I have a physical science background (but I'm not a chemist or biologist), and tend to look at statements such as "galvanized cages kill gliders" (or give them UTI) with healthy skepticism until I can determine what is the basis for making such a claim.

As someone pointed out, zinc is a necessary part of our nutrition and that of other animals. So why do birds, in particular, seem to have a problem in galvanized cages? Three of the four links that Dancing provided pretty much say why - the birds ingested the zinc. The swallowed pennies (copper plated zinc), or screws, or pieces of galvanized metal they pecked/bit off of toys or cages. If I swallow enough pennies, I will get zinc poisoning. The zinc has to be ingested. I have found no source that indicates mere proximity to zinc causes any harm to birds or anything else. Where some
articles refer to zinc "exposure" for animals, if you read further you discover that by "exposure" they mean exposure through ingestion.

Galvanized cages don't kill birds - eating galvanized cages (or metal pieces) does.

Here's the Wikipedia link to zinc toxicity, which has references to some scientific/vet/medical journals and web sites on the subject.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zinc_toxicity

Unless your gliders continually and habitually chew on the cage wires or like to eat bright shiny objects, I don't think you should have anything to worry about as far as zinc toxicity from a galvanized cage is concerned.

Galvanized metal causing UTI makes no logical sense. UTI is caused by bacteria (as Peggy's vet pointed out). A dirty cage is a dirty cage, PVC coated or galvanized.

As for wiping down new galvanized cages with vinegar, the vinegar is acidic and probably helps remove any residue from the galvanizing process that might remain.

__________________________
-Steve-
Posted By: hushpuppy

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 09/28/09 02:40 PM

Berg, that is exactly what I said. But you said it so much better.

I just wanted to drop by here and give a big HELLO to Lucy. Girl! Where ya been? We miss you around here.
Posted By: Lucy

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 10/01/09 12:52 AM

Thanks, Anita - I'm trying to do better about coming by more often!
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 10/18/09 06:25 PM

YIKES!!

I have read through all 2 pages of this debate, and to be totally honest, I still cannot decide which is more accurate information! I really hope we can get some more concrete evidence as to whether or not galvanized metal is hazardous or not. I do agree however that it doesn't seem to make much sense that it would cause a UTI, but then again, I have no vet/science background, so I can't really judge. I will probably stick to some other material until I know for sure...just to be on the safe side. I really hope that we can (very soonly :P) put this whole issue to rest. =]

Thanks for a great debate everyone! It really gave me something to think about!
Posted By: ValkyrieMome

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 10/20/09 05:39 AM

The theory that birds "ingest more because they swallow gravel" isn't true. Almost all of the zinc toxicity I have seen in birds has been in psittacines, which do not use grit to grind their food. And yet, many die from zinc toxicity.

Yes - we need some zinc in our diet. However, it is one of the necessary elements that *can* be overdosed in the body. Too much of a good thing causes symptoms very similar to lead poisoning, and then death.

Additionally - the zinc coating used in galvanized cages is a different consistency and prepared differently than zinc used in the some of the other parts listed here. The zinc in galvanized cages is particularly soft.

I'm not risking it. Like I said - I've seen the birds who die VERY PAINFUL deaths from zinc toxicity! Don't need to see that in my gliders!
Posted By: Berg

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 10/23/09 06:08 PM

It appears most zinc toxicity in psittacines results from ingestion through food, water, or other means. There are a lot more ways to "ingest" materials aside from swallowing pieces of something. See this link:

http://www.exoticpetvet.net/avian/zinc.html

Google "psittacines zinc" for a lot more.

I haven't seen anything to suggest that the digestive systems/metabolism of psittacines and sugar gliders are comparable.

There are differing qualities of galvanized wire, and some of it probably isn't suitable for a cage. The oxidation of some galvanized coatings does contain zinc, and that could end up on your glider's feet if it isn't cleaned off of the wire.

Frankly, I prefer the PVC coated wire because it looks better and is easier to keep clean. However, I wouldn't balk at using good quality galvanized wire for a cage. Even with the PVC cage I thoroughly cleaned it before the gliders took up residence.

The bottom line is to do what you feel is best for your gliders.
Posted By: oakley

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 11/16/09 04:38 AM

I wanted to revive this post with a little bit of actual history.

Before I heard the rumor/fact/myth? that galvanized steel was bad for gliders ALL of my gliders were in cages made of this. I had two of my breeding pairs in galvanized cages for at least 3 years before I switched. Not ONCE did ANY of my gliders contract a UTI.

Furthermore, 2 of the gliders that I had in the galvanized cages have passed on. One due to a bacterial infection that lead to jaundice, the other simply of old age. I had a necropsy done on Pepito, my male, and he was determined to have been in good health prior to death and was roughly 9-13 years of age (I got him as an adult). Pepper, my sweet little girl, was around the same age and died due to old age complicated by a bacterial infection and the jaundice.

I LOVED my galvanized cages, they never rusted and were easy to build and clean.

I would love to see some actual research done on this. I personally doubt that any glider could ever ingest a piece of the wire, so if that's the only concern, it should be considered ok to build with.

The fact that people don't use it and go out of their way to use stainless has NOTHING to do with whether or not it is safe.

I think this is a very interesting subject.
Posted By: sugarlope

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 11/16/09 11:30 PM

Originally Posted By: oakley
The fact that people don't use it and go out of their way to use stainless has NOTHING to do with whether or not it is safe.

I may be misunderstanding here, I'm sorry if that is the case - but people not using galvanized wire has had everything to do with whether or not it is safe. I am not stating here that we know for certain that it is unsafe, as that is why this thread exists, to try to flesh out where the idea came from. But the reason people have actively avoided ZP wire is for fear that it is unsafe or can cause health issues.

That has always been my understanding, are there other reasons people avoid ZP cages?
Posted By: oakley

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 11/17/09 12:21 AM

I'm sorry, maybe I didn't write that the best way I could.

What I meant is this:

1) Galvanized wire may or may not be unsafe
2) People avoid using it due to the potential risk
3) This does not mean that ZP cages are definitely unsafe, this means that it is unknown


Is that any clearer? Just because we avoid it doesn't make it unsafe. I agree that we should avoid ZP cages until data and research prove otherwise.

Thanks!
Posted By: Judie

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 11/17/09 11:02 AM

I am one of the few that has been around in the glider community for almost 13 years.

So.... many many years ago... all gliders were housed in galvanised cages. And with it came the problems of UTI infections and especially in the male gliders. Often these gliders self mutilated themselves due to the pain from severe infections. Remember, back then most vets and owners had no idea what was causing this problem.

Thus... when the PVC wire cages came about... hmmmn something like nine to ten years ago... within a short time.... the incidents of UTI's and self mutilation began to drop. This decline was attribited to better cages the gliders were being housed in. Galvanized cages became a thing of the past and were replaced with PVC wire and Flight cages that were Baked Enamel. These newer cages were also much easier to clean, had more visual appeal, and most importantly did not smell after they were cleaned.

Look at a well used galvanized cage and then a glider's anatomy.

Galvanized cages do become pitted over time. Not only will a rough wire harbor bacteria... the male's penis would become irritated and the stage was set for a UTI to develpe inside the urinary tract of the male glider. Females could also become infected with UTI's but the UTI's and self mutilations were the highest among males. Why? Because of their territoral marking behavior.

With the Replacement of better housing such as PVC cages and Baked Enamel cages... the chances of a glider becoming ill with a UTI or Self Mutilation has been greatly reduced.

So.... is galvanized wire safe for Sugar Gliders? In my book it certainly is not.

Posted By: GliderFun

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 11/22/09 11:23 PM

Are you sure that it was the galvanized wire that caused the UTI's?

I mean, you have been around about 13 years. Have you not changed anything else besides the wire of the cages 9-10 years ago?

Was there a different ingredient in the food you were using?
Were you using a different cleaner for the cages?
Were you washing your hands before playing with the gliders?
What soap were you using?
Did that soap change it's ingredients 10 years ago or did you switch soaps?
Were you washing the pouches/etc with a different detergent?
Did the detergents have a different chemical in it that was removed 10 years ago?
How were the cages galvanized? I think there are 2 ways aren't there?

Did you Change ANYTHING else besides the material of the cage because it's unscientific to claim one thing is the cause of another when there are so many variables at play.

It's like saying, my daughter was at your house so she must have gotten sick from your kids (when she goes to school and hangs out with other people who are sick as well)

*shrug* people have used this metal for a long time with no adverse effects. You used it for 3 years and saw UTI's

Another person who posted used it for 3 years and had no problems.

were the 3 years the same 3 years or was her 3years more recent which could mean the wire was galvanize differently or something else even.

just throwing some other things out there
Posted By: oakley

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 11/23/09 08:51 PM

Judie,

Thank you for your input. I definitely take your experience to make sense as to why the galvanized metal could cause UTI's.

In fact, it's not the galvanization that does it, it's the bacteria build up. Older galvanized wire DOES start to pit and take on a beat up appearance. I can easily see how bacteria could build up very easily on the surface of the older wire.

I would also have to argue that the same is true for cheaper (non powder coated) bird cages that get older and rust... the rust itself presents a problem, but I'm sure that metal could harbor UTI causing bacteria as well.

I like to think that my relatively short term experience with galvanized cages resulted in to UTI's because my wire was not yet old enough to break down and harbor bacteria.

I think we might be getting to the bottom of this.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 11/23/09 09:52 PM

We know that UTI's are caused by bacteria, question is does the galvanized wire harbor the bacteria more versus pvc or powder coated wire.

Older galvanized wire will pit, it takes a long time to do so though, but even with pitting a bleach solution will reach the interior of the pits and kill any bacteria. Metal is not porous, therefore bacteria cannot seep into the pits.

Thank you for your input Judie, your time in the glider community is valuable when looking back at how things were when gliders were very new here.

The first cages you said were galvanzied and male gliders were having issues with UTIs. May I ask what size these cages were? What were the size requirements back then?

Also, what contents were inside the cage? Did they have the things that are in most cages today?

Reason I ask is, with the powder and pvc coated cages, most of them are at least 3ft. tall thus giving the glider more area to mark in. Also, with all the toys, hammocks, shelves, and wheels that are in cages now, those are things that gliders have to mark also.

With a broader area to mark instead of a concentrated area, along with many items to personalize :), the knowledge of a clean environment is benefical to good health, could these be the reasons of declining UTIs?
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 12/10/09 08:26 PM

Wow! So much information going on here!
Let me start off by saying that I own a powder coating company and the sister company we split off from after 15 years does Zinc and Nickle plating (electrolytic not hot dip). This is just to let you know where I'm coming from in the conclusions I have come to reading this thread.

#1- If you are against galvanized products due to the zinc poisioning from ingestion I understand. Hot dip galvanize is applied about .020 of an inch thick (about 6 hairs or 7 sheets of copy paper thick). This is VERY thick in regards to metal plating and is sloppy and messy hence the "drips" that can be caused. Yes, bad to eat! Electrolytic zinc plating goes on .0002 of an inch think (200x LESS thick than hot dip). This usually also has a chromate coating over it which technically means that no zinc is actually exposed. Still, it is metal and bad to eat!
NOW...powder coating. MOST powder(unlike wet paint)is full of inert compounds that remain that way once they are baked. On the other hand the powders that look like metal look that way because they ARE made of metal particles. The cages that come in the silver vein or copper vein or any other color that looks metalic have metal flakes in the powder. Granted the metal concentration in the powder is much less than say the hot dip but still....there it is.
Please, please understand I'm not trying to make people flip out and toss metal color powder cages now. I am just trying to inject a little perspective into this topic. I feel that if my babies are not massive chronic destructive chewers I have little to worry about in most cage choices although to be honest the hot dip would NOT be my first choice( I think it looks garbage-y too!). Saying that, I also think if you feel better not using these products because you have other alternatives and you feel better to be safe than sorry then, Great, go for it.

#2- Galvanized causes UTI's.
This is where I think the information is sketchy at best.
If we are worried about the cage rusting and causing UTI's why are we also not worried about Tetnus??? Tetnus IS a horribly painful way to die and is caused by the same "sort" of bacteria that causes UTI's yet noone is having an issue or ever had an issue with tetnus from a galvanized cage??
Both UTI's and tetnus are caused by bacteria and NOT zinc or rust. A rough rusty metal only creates a prime surface for anerobic bacteria to grow on and a UTI is not a cause of the rust or metal itself. Example: How many of you girls out there have had a UTI yourself? I have and I'm pretty sure it was NOT caused by my rubbing myself on anything rusty or galvanized!
All items can get old and break down. Even a powder coated cage can break down over time with enough vigerous cleaning,especially the chinese stuff! (and no offence but in doing powder coating there IS a HUGE difference in the mass produced chinese stuff and the stuff I do!!)Poorly powder coated items can chip, flake and then rust and then you are in the same boat as the galvanized.
Old and dirty is old and dirty! No matter what kind of material you are working with.
We are always telling people to inspect pouches and toys for defects all the time, why does this not apply to cages as well?? If your cage is old and rusty it's probably unsafe for a million more reasons than just because your glider MIGHT get a UTI. If your cage is yucky, fix it, Toss it out, get a new one, strip it and get it re-powder coated! Let's not use galvanized metal as the scapegoat for refusing to fix unsanitary cage conditions.

At any rate, this is just my 2 cents worth on the whole thing. I have stayed away from galvanized metal JUST because someone said to. I never really reaserched the why(?) behind it for myself. I suppose from now on I will listen openly to the things I hear and then look into it for myself and come to my own conclusions.
I mean after all it wasn't that long ago that you were allowed to SMOKE in hospitals. So by that reasoning because doctors did it it must be safe and healthy right???
Same difference.
Posted By: oakley

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 12/10/09 09:10 PM

Wow, great input! It's nice to see someone with knowledge about metals put in their opinion.

You're right... ANY old cage (even PVC coated) will break down and eventually rust. I myself have seen a pvc coated cage that rusted where the corners met and rubbed the PVC coating off... Also, it isn't good for gliders to ingest ANY cage material...

I suppose I'm more likely to use coated wire, pvc, vinyl, powder, or otherwise, because it looks sharper and is relatively easy to clean.

Let me say again that in my time using galvanized wire, I didn't have a single UTI... maybe I am a good cage cleaner?

At any rate, this discussion really peaks my interest because of the fact that possibly incorrect information could be influencing people's cage decisions. I would say that a new galvanized cage is more safe than an old, cheap, flaking powder coated one... even PVC cages have their problems... I have 2 K&D cages (Which I LOVE) and I can't help but notice that the PVC is wearing off where the doors latch...

Should we all run out and build galvanizes cages? No, but I also believe that we may have jumped the gun a bit too soon.
Posted By: Berg

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 12/11/09 05:33 AM

CalamityAnnie, well stated! Your point about being open to the things you read here or other places is right on the mark. There are sometimes far too many statements of "You must do this" or "Don't do this" without anything to back them up. Actually, there may be evuidence to back some statements/ideas but it's never presented. Good or bad, they tend to perpetuate themselves.
Posted By: sugarlope

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 12/12/09 04:31 AM

Thank you, CalamityAnnie, for your post. This is exactly why this forum was created, to get to the root of where these long term ideas came from, if there is any truth to them and see the research and knowledge base on all sides so we can all make more informed decisions.

And you are absolutely correct, although it is not discussed nearly as much as pouch safety, if your cage (regardless of the kind) is old, worn, and unsafe (even repts can get a 'fuzziness' to the mesh that can easily catch up toes and nails) it needs to be replaced. This is true for everything your glider comes in contact with, toys, food dishes, water bottles - everything eventually needs to be replaced.
Posted By: oakley

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 01/04/10 04:43 PM

I recently had to build more cages to replace older ones, and once again I was stuck having to hunt for pvc coated mesh... galvanized is so readily available, and pvc coated is pretty rare to find in a store.

However, I will testament that PVC coated cages last much longer than galvanized ones. They really only start to deteriorate where the wire rubs together and exposes the wire underneath the pvc... my K&D Exotics cage is beginning to do this, and I have to monitor that exposed wire for rusting or pitting.

Here is my K&D cage:


Here is a close up of one of the doors and where the metal is exposed:





Now I love my K&D cages, I think they are some of the sturdiest, well-built PVC coated cages you can find, however, like Sugarlope reiterated, ALL cages will eventually wear down and need maintenance or even replacement.

Perhaps this is why galvanized cages got a bad rap... people were using them for too long, and did not replace them once they began to deteriorate... My huge galvanized outdoor cage (now a plant house) started to pit after only 1 year. Now it was exposed to the elements, but I can see how glider urine could cause rapid deterioration as well.
Posted By: jag

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 05/13/10 03:16 PM

hmmm very interesting im more worried about the galvanized hardware cloth harming their feet it does feel kind of rough
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 07/19/11 02:35 AM

I always wondered if the galvanized metal somehow "attracted" or "isolated" bacteria more than other types, so maybe that's why people think they can "cause" UTI's? No idea, but it wasn't worth it to test it out, for me, we just stick to the cages we are recommended to.
Posted By: eshaw

Re: Galvanized Products Cause UTI's - 07/20/11 10:50 AM

I've worked in the metal trades for years and this is my experience. Galvanized parts are normally steel parts that have been coated with a layer of zinc. It is done because zinc is a oxide inhibitor for the steel, thus it's not supposed to rust. Someone stated that if you do any hot work with it the fumes are toxic, that is correct also. Lots of plumbing in homes is done with galvanized pipe but this isn't a health hazard. The only way for zinc to become a hazard is to inhale the fumes or ingest it and be unable to pass it. Lots of parts are coated with zinc because it's a cheap way to prevent rusting. Will it cause a UTI? I do believe that since it normally has a rougher finish when compare with PVC coating, bakelite finishes or powder coating that it lends itself to harboring bacteria, more so than other types of cage material. Since the males do mark their territory they probably tend to have more problems than females when using this type of material. That's just my personal opinion from working with metal. One other thing I'd like to bring to everyones attention while we're on this topic of cage material. If by chance you make a cage from aluminum and it has steel parts incorporated, such as latches, hinges, etc., you'll notice after a while that you get a white powder where the two metals meet. This is a form of galvanic corrosion and should also be avoided.
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