Health Care for Birds

The single most important thing you can do to keep your bird happy and healthy is to have a regular examination performed by one of our doctors and our experienced health team. Every pet bird should have an examination – semi annually is best, but at least annually. During this visit, we will check the bird’s body condition and weight; examine the eyes, ears, nose, and throat; the skin and feathering; palpate the abdomen; and listen to the heart, lungs, and airsacs. We watch the bird’s every move, note how they respond, test their alertness, and evaluate their strength. It is also important to carefully discuss the bird’s diet, how it interacts with people, and evaluate the bird’s strength.

If you think something might be wrong with your bird, something probably is wrong and we should investigate right away. The comment “You know, the bird really has not been acting right for a few weeks” usually foretells disaster. You should never miss an opportunity to have your bird examined. An examination today could find and allow us to prevent a problem tomorrow.

Wellness testing is so important in understanding your Bird’s health that we recommend it on a regular basis. Today’s pet birds really are not that many generations removed from their wild ancestors. In the wild if they act weak, they become lunch. Out of instinct; therefore, they hide symptoms from us and many times it is not apparent that they are ill until it is almost too late.

Because they are so good at hiding their symptoms, a bird’s appearance can be very deceiving. They may be doing the “There ain’t nothin’ wrong with me” dance. Don’t let them fool you. We have some really good hints on detecting symptoms on the illness and injury section.

The specific tests we recommend may vary, but are likely to include one or more of the following:

  • Fecal floatation to detect intestinal parasites
  • Fecal direct examination under high power magnification to detect protozoal infections, inflammatory cells, or blood, and some bacterial infections
  • Fecal Gram Stain to characterize bacterial and fungal populations in the intestine
  • Choana Gram Stain to characterize bacterial and fungal populations in the intestine
  • Cytology to detect abnormal cell types, inflammation, or infection
  • A Complete Blood Count to check for hidden infection, inflammation, anemia, or immune incompetence
  • A Complete Biochemistry Analysis to check your bird’s general nutritional health; electrolytes, calcium, and phosphorous; blood sugar; and to screen for liver, kidney, or pancreatic disease; as well as to check for normal physiological variations that might help explain a set of symptoms
  • Testing for specific diseases such as Polyomavirus, Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease Virus, Psittacosis etc.
  • Testing to determine if you have a girl or a boy bird