Bird Care

Little Critters Veterinary Hospital

1525 N Gilbert Road Suite 101C
Gilbert, AZ 85234

(480)696-7744

www.littlecrittersvet.com

 

Avian Vet Care at Little Critters Veterinary Hospital

Avian Care

Dr. Patt has extensive experience in keeping, raising, living with and treating a vast array of bird species. Birds are amazing, intelligent, long-lived and wonderful family members but have many special needs that only a veterinarian experienced in avian care can provide. At our avian examinations, we typically discuss environmental enrichment, nutrition, preventative care and avian behavior. Has your bird had a veterinary exam? If the answer is no, we encourage you to schedule one today. Help us keep them healthy.

There are many varieties of birds that make popular pets:  Parrot type birds: Psittacines, Finch type birds: Passerines, Nectar Eating Parrots: Lories, Birds of Prey: Raptors, Flightless birds: Ratites.

Before purchasing or adopting a bird, please remember:

  • Birds live a long time.  Their lifespan will vary greatly with the type of bird and can range from just a few years for our smaller finches to 100+ years for our parrots. Unfortunately, many birds do not live out their expected lifespan due to poor nutrition over their lifetime.
  • Housing.  All birds should be provided with the largest cage that you have space for. Even those with trimmed wing feathers will actively climb and explore their cages.
  • Toys: Numerous bird toys should be provided including those that can be chewed or destroyed.
  • Perches: should vary in size, shape and texture, to allow the birds to rest their feet
  • Location: In an area of the house where they can enjoy interaction but not be in the center of the action (they need rest too).  The kitchen should be avoided due to temperature fluctuation and potential toxins from non-stick cookware.  Immediately in front of a window is not ideal as there will be temperature fluctuations and stress if the bird cannot escape the view.
  • Environmental stimulation:  Enrichment toys, foraging activities & toys, and a radio or TV set on a timer to go off and on several times daily

 

Pet Bird Care at Little Critters Vet, Gilbert, AZ

Caring for a Bird Includes:

Bi-Annual Exams are Necessary for Birds

All birds should have at least a bi-annual examination.  The best way to keep your bird healthy is to catch diseases early, before your bird is showing any signs of illness.  Birds are masters at hiding illness and require an experienced avian veterinarian.  During your bird’s bi-annual examination, we may also recommend additional testing.  We offer full diagnostic screening such as fecal exams, x-rays, blood tests, skin scrapings and biopsy of growths.  We also offer soft tissue surgeries for growth removal and internal problems.  A bi-annual examination gives us important baseline records for future reference.

Diet

In general, you need to provide a large variety of fresh food for your bird. Ideally, offer a core diet of an organic, color free avian pellet and a large variety of vegetables daily. Seeds should be limited to treats except for the small birds such as budgies and cockatiels which should have a 50% seed diet. Clean sprouted seeds can also be offered and are a good way of introducing greens to the stubborn eater. Fruits should be limited as a treat only. Offer clean, fresh water at all times. Certain species have additional nutritional needs – please research your particular bird’s needs or give us a call if you have any questions.

Supplements

Generally are not needed for those birds on a good balanced diet and some supplements can create toxicity if overdone.

Medical Concerns

Numerous! Feather picking, skin mutilation, respiratory disease, eye infections, trauma, organ disease, malnutrition, reproductive problems and many more.  Call us if you notice any of the signs of a sick bird.

Sick Bird Care

As soon as illness is detected in your pet, please bring your pet to us for a thorough physical examination and diagnostic work-up including laboratory testing. We suggest rechecking the patient at variable intervals depending on the state of debilitation. The recheck exam allows us to assess your bird’s response to treatment and your compliance with instructions. Many times in the course of treating an exotic pet the treatment must be altered somewhat to ensure the best response. These rechecks are also used as a way of reinforcing the changes needed for the bird to remain healthy. Lab values may be rechecked to ensure that your bird is truly recovering and not just feeling well enough again to resume hiding any weakness.

Learn to recognize a sick bird.  It is common for the first signs to go unnoticed.  The first signs usually include:

  • Changes in behavior, such as decreased activity level or decreased vocalization
  • Decreased appetite - Remember that birds will pretend that they are eating, so don't be fooled
  • Diarrhea or persistent abnormal droppings
  • Too much fluid in the droppings (polyuria)
  • Fluffed feathers or changes in the feathers
  • Changes in general appearance and posture
  • Sitting on the cage bottom
  • Coughing, sneezing, abnormal breathing sounds
  • Nasal discharge
  • Frequent scratching at the nares or the side of the head
  • Tail bobbing
  • Weight loss
  • Regurgitating, vomiting
  • Change in water intake
  • Weakness

Serious signs of Illness

Please call us immediately if your bird is exhibiting any of these symptoms:

  • Drooping wing or wings
  • Falling off the perch
  • Eyes closed with long periods of sleepiness
  • Vomiting/regurgitation
  • Frequent sneezing with or without discharge
  • Discharge from nostrils, eyes, mouth or any part of the body