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Airborne Toxin Exposure
Airborne Toxin Exposure Overview
A duck's respiratory system is particularly sensitive to exposure to airborne toxins. This is because the avian respiratory system is very unique to that of other species, for it's design had to be able to allow for birds to breath effectively while flying at higher altitudes; thus birds need to be able to absorb oxygen more efficiently than other species such as mammals. Therefore, the cross-current airflow and blood allows for the potential for the duck's blood oxygen levels to be higher than their oxygen levels when they expire a breath. The negative consequence of this is that with this ability comes the risk of absorbing higher amounts of toxins from the air, thus causing them to reach toxic levels quicker than other animal species, such as mammals. Clinical signs may be delayed several hours after the initial exposure.