The Valuable Vet

One of the most important things you can do for your bird is to establish a good rapport with a certified avian vet immediately upon bringing your avian friend into your home. The reason for this is simple: You don't want to wait until there is a problem with their health to have the doctor see the bird. It is extremely valuable for your vet to have recorded data on an annual basis to compare with if ever a problem does come up.

The Well Birdie Check...

The "WELL BIRDIE CHECK" should be done within 2 weeks of bringing the bird into your home. During this check the vet should do the following:
1. Check the weight of the bird in grams
2. Do a physical examination, which should include examining the nares, vent, oral
cavity and ears of the bird.
3. A CBC (complete blood count) should be obtained.
4. Gram stains of oral cavity and fecal droppings.
5. Testing for Chlamydophilia, Polyoma and Psittacine Beak and Feather disease.
5. Vaccinations as deemed necessary.
6. Other suggested tests, depending on the birds age, species and health condition.
7. Discuss any behavioral/hormonal concerns or changes that you might have noticed.
8. Microchipping should be done, especially if the bird does not have a leg band. It is also our suggestion that any legband the bird has be removed.

There are several very important reasons why leg bands aren't the best form of identification. First, leg bands have a tendency of getting caught on toys, ropes, etc and have been known to cause serious injury--even death in some cases. Second, after continued wear, the pounding of the band on the birds digital flexor tendon can lead to tendonitis and loss of flexor function. Third, many birds object to something on their leg which leads to chewing on it causing behavioral problems such as featherpicking. Fourth, over time the numbers on the band wear off and are illegible making their identification useless. Fifth, if the bird is lost or stolen the first thing the new owner will do is to "remove" the leg band making identification proof impossible. Tatooing, another form of bird identification, is permanent but not unique or able to be registered.

Microchipping a bird just makes sense...it is a piece of silicon with a unique 12-digit alphanumberic code that is read by a reader that emits an electronic signal and sends the code back to the display. The tiny implant is planted into the birds chest musculature while it is fully awake. This form of identification has been being used for years with no known side effects.

The Annual Vet Check...

The Annual check should essentially repeat the above items (with exception of the testing for the 3 diseases, microchipping and the vaccinations) to have a comparison of the birds health for future referencing. Don't count on "My bird doesn't look sick...".

Most humans "appear" well and then suddenly succumb to heart attacks, seizures, cancer and other incurable diseases. Birds, being wild animals are able to hide their symptoms of disease better than humans or even dogs and cats. It is imparative to have this yearly checkup to catch any problem before it becomes fatal.

How to Choose a Good Vet...

Choosing a good avian vet is very important for your bird- and for your own peace of mind. We recommend the follow...

1. The vet should be a member of AAV as that promotes advanced avian medicine. Beyond this...
2. Ask for references from local pet stores and clubs.
3. Call the clinic to see how many "bird" visits they have per month. IF they have only a few occasionally then it is very difficult for the veterinarian to stay current on avian medicine.
4. Set up an appointment for you and your bird to meet the vet to see if you and your bird both have a good "rapport" with the vet. This is very important. Don't wait until something happens to get to know him.

Something no one wants to think about...

The importance of having a Necropsy done.
A necropsy is the examination of an animal after death. When one of our beloved pets die it is a great loss, but sometimes the reason for the death can give insight, closure and often save the life of other pets or even humans in the home. A necropsy is a full internal and external examination of all the birds organs which will tell us the cause of death.

To gather the most valuable information from a necropsy please do the following immediately after the bird is found:

1. Place the birds body in a Ziplock bag.
2. Place just a few drops of water in the bag.
3. Remove as much air from the bag as possible and seal.
4. Refrigerate (do not freeze) the body.
5. Bring the body to the vets office within 24 hours of death. If later a necropsy can still be done however some organs might not be of diagnostic value. Remember, doing a necropsy will help you not only discover why the bird died but can give insight, which could save future animals or people from illness or death.

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