Birds

We offer veterinary, boarding, and grooming (beak, wing, and nail trims) services for most birds, especially large birds such as parrots, macaws and cockatoos. Veterinary services include thorough examinations specific for avian patients. We provide diet and nutritional counseling specific to your pet.  Testing of blood, feces, and other samples can be performed to look for diseases and other causes of illness. We can perform many tests on patients as small as parakeets. We can perform endoscopy to look inside birds to look for certain problems that do not show up on X-rays, ultrasound, or other testing. If your bet needs surgery, we have special tools and equipment specific for avian patients. We have deslorelin implants available to manage chronic egg laying and other reproductive problems. We have climate controlled incubators with oxygen for critically ill patients.

Below are resources we've gathered that relate to birds and bird ownership. Drill down into specific breeds for more detailed information.

Screaming

Screaming is the second most common problem noted by parrot owners.  Normal parrot vocalizations include alarm calls and contact calls.  Alarm calls occur when the parrot is feeling as if it is in danger or distress.  Contact calls are vocalizations used to identify where other members of the bird’s flock are at any given time.  Both of these types of calls are normal.  It is also normal for some parrot species to call and scream for 15 to 20 minutes several times a day, especially in the morning, and may be a way that wild parrots tell other parrots from another flock to stay away.  When a parrot begins to repeatedly vocalize for prolonged periods of time this is considered to be abnormal and may indicate stress or boredom.  Studies on parrot behavior have shown that one cause of problematic screaming may be a lack of physical interaction between social partners (i.e., other birds or its human companions).

PDD & Bornavirus

PDD, which is short for Proventricular Dilatation Disease, causes regurgitation, weight loss, and death in macaws and other parrots.  This condition has recently been linked with a poorly understood virus known as bornavirus. Bornavirus has been linked with feather-plucking, toe-tapping, and other conditions in parrots. 

Getting a New Bird

You need to plan ahead before you bring a bird into your home.  Part of that planning should include a same-day wellness visit to a reputable veterinarian since there is no way to be sure a bird is completely healthy just by looking at it.  After a physical examination, the veterinarian may discuss screening your new bird with laboratory tests.  Simple tests can be done at the hospital, such as looking at droppings and oral secretions for abnormal bacteria using a Gram stain or checking the droppings for parasites.  However, additional tests are often needed particular for birds that have been around many other birds.  The importance of this additional testing cannot be ignored -- one study using protein electrophoresis, a kind of blood test, revealed that 30% of seemingly healthy birds had undetected infectious or inflammatory disease.  Specific tests for psittacosis (also known as parrot fever or chlamydophilosis), Pacheco's virus, and psittacine beak and feather disease may be important especially if you have other birds at home.  If the Gram stain suggests abnormal bacteria are present then microbiological cultures and sensitivities should be performed so that the right antibiotic can be chosed to treat the infection.  Your new bird can have its sex determined by saliva, blood, or feather samples to confirm that you got what you paid for or to learn what you got.  When you are budgeting for a new bird, make sure you remember to include money for a thorough health check!

Feather Plucking & Self-Mutilation

Behavioral disorders are a frequent issue identified in companion parrots and one study revealed that 36% of owners felt their bird had a behavioral problem. Feather destructive behavior, more commonly known as feather-picking or feather-plucking, was the most common behavior problem seen by veterinarians and the fourth most common behavioral problem identified by owners. This issue can result from both medical and behavioral causes.

Feather Loss and PBFD Virus

Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD) is a viral infection that is spread easily through feathers and feces.  It affects parrots and other psittacine birds and causes the loss of feathers, usually on the chest or thighs. . In some birds, such as Eclectus, king parrots, and lorikeets, the early signs may be a change in color, with affected feathers showing streaks of white, yellow, or black. Cockatoos and parrots often show loss of the powder down first since powder down is replaced often; it may take a few molts to see changes in coverlets and other feathers. With time, the feather loss involves the wings and the rest of the body.  Early in the infection, feathers may grow in to replace the missing ones. These regrown feathers are abnormally-shaped and easily break at their bases.  As the infection progresses, new feathers do not grow and old ones are not replaced. Infected birds may show excessive abnormal growth of the beak and toenails.  The beak and nails curl in unusual shapes. The beak and nails may flake, crack, and develop soft areas that are weak and may break. Yeast and other infections may develop in cracks of the beak and nails. Beaks can become so severely affected that the bird can no longer feed on its own.

Lorikeets: Low Iron Diets

Lorikeets, also known as lories, are able to extract almost all of the iron present in their food which leads to iron storage disease (hemochromatosis).  Life-threatening levels of iron build-up in the cells of liver and other organs, which leads to profound liver damage and organ failure.  Affected lories have difficulty breathing, a fluid-filled swollen belly, depression, paralysis, or may suddenly die.  Treatment of hemochromatosis includes phlebotomy

Trauma

Birds can injure themselves quite easily in the typical household.  It is important to "bird proof" your home so that you lessen the chance of serious accidents.

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