The Well Bird Check-up

When you bring home a new Feathered one, the first thing you need to do is set up a visit with your avian veterinarian. All Parrots need regular Avian checkups and not just when they are sick! Parrots naturally try to hide illness, since in the wild if they are ill their flock will abandon them. They can be sick and still eating and playing. Having regular annual checkups will help you to catch any underlying illness, before it is too late. Should your parrot start showing signs of illness, it can sometimes be too late to even help them at that point.

A Well Check Up exam will help you to determine if your Parrot is healthy, and if you should expect any health problems in the near future. Until that first visit you want to make sure that you keep your parrot quarantined away from all other Parrots in your home. Here is a link to an article that explains proper quarantine and why it is necessary Quarantine for Parrots

Veterinary visits can be expensive, especially for exotic animals such as parrots. Expect to pay roughly $150-$250 a visit with tests and cultures, per bird. And that’s when your bird is healthy. An ill bird may require medication, x-rays, even surgery. A sick bird could cost you thousands of dollars.

What to expect at your well bird check-up, here are some things that should be included:

  • Visual check: Looking at the ears, eyes, nose, mouth, etc. and making sure things appear as they should.
  • Body exam: Feeling the bird to see if there are any lumps or other abnormalities the vet can feel.
  • Weight: Weight should be taken, in grams, every time.
  • Grooming: Wing and Nail trims, if needed.
  • Gram stain: The poop test – to make sure there are no bad things in the poopie.
  • Blood Work:  Possibly a chlamydia blood test and a complete blood panel. You don’t have to have these done every time. Ask your vet their opinion. Sometimes the vet may recommend more specific tests. And, just for the record, the bird does not have to be given anesthesia or “put under” to take a simple blood sample.
  • Microbiology: Your avian veterinarian may recommend a culture of the choana (throat), cloaca (vent), crop (esophagus), or some other tissue/fluid sample to determine abnormal growth of bacteria or yeast. At the same time, antibiotic sensitivity tests may be used to determine an appropriate antibiotic if the bacterial growth requires therapy.
  • Virus Screening:  Tests are constantly being developed to screen birds for existing and emerging avian viruses. The detection of viruses is especially important for aviary birds or birds that have come from pet stores. Some viral agents do not appear as clinical disease until the bird is under stress, such as laying eggs, feeding young or weaning, or being moved to a new home.
The lab screening will vary depending upon what the veterinarian feels is important but typically includes a fecal panel, complete organ panel, and a look at the red and white blood cells.

Ask Questions: Be sure to discuss any changes in behavior, health or diet related issues.

If your bird is not acting right, is tired a lot, lethargic, isn’t eating like normal, has a nasal or eye discharge, or just sits there all “poofed” out, you need to get to an avian vet immediately. Better to be safe than sorry. Birds generally do not look or act sick until they are REALLY sick. They can take a turn for the worst very quickly.

Find an Avian Vet in your area – Association of Avian Veterinarians

I keep detailed records on each of my Angels that include weight, likes, dislikes, daily foods, new things learned, toys preference etc. Sometimes changes are subtle and we don’t always notice them quickly. If you have detailed records, you are more likely to notice any sudden changes. I also make a list of all the things I need to discuss or question on my Vet visits.

I keep my Angels in the car (and in their carrier) until they are called in. This reduces any stress or nervousness in the waiting areas. You also want to make sure that the trip to the Vets is a pleasant one also. Traveling in the car is something that needs to be practiced beforehand. You can read my advice on how help your parrot travel comfortably in this link Feathered Angels Car Sickness

Deborah

Copyright © 2011 Deborah FeatheredAngels
All rights reserved
(My articles are free to repost, just do so in their entirety)

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