Birds differ from mammals in many medical respects: they don’t have a diaphragm, they have feathers and they have different diseases. This also means that the vet has to approach this group of animals in a particular way as regards handling, diagnosis and treatment. More and more animal owners enjoy the company of feathered friends so veterinary medicine has also made great progress in this area in recent years and there are many specialist vets for birds.
Blood samples, X-rays, treatment of infectious disease or surgical procedures under anaesthetic are just as possible for birds today as for dogs and cats. Since not every vet treats birds, we would like to explain what an avian vet does when examining your pet.
Avian vet – how does the examination go?
An avian vet will first observe your sick bird attentively:
- How does the bird move?
- Is it on a bar or on the ground?
- Is the bird in an abnormal position?
- Does it stand freely or does it hold onto the cage with its beak?
- Is its tail bobbing?
- What is the condition of the plumage?
- Can swellings be seen?
- Does it keep its eyes closed for a long time?
Conclusions about the bird‘s health can be drawn from its behaviour and appearance. It therefore makes sense to bring your bird to the vet in a suitable transport crate that you can look into, if possible with seating.
The avian vet will also ask you specific questions about your bird and would like to find out, for instance, when the symptoms were first observed and how the bird normally behaves. Your avian vet will gather as much information as possible for the diagnosis so that an individual treatment plan can be made for your bird.
To hold the bird for examination and treatment, we use only towels and not gloves so that it does not shy from the hand and injure itself. We always take plenty of time to examine your bird. However, if you know that your bird gets very stressed, you are welcome to request additional time when you make the appointment (billed according to the GOT veterinary fee schedule). That way we can extend the appointment and give your bird to get accustomed to the new surroundings.
What is the best way for me to transport my bird to the vet?
We try to make the visit to the vet as stress-free as possible for your pet. Ideally, accustom your bird beforehand to a transport carrier. Bring the favourite partner along as moral support. If inpatient hospitalisation is a possibility, bring a small amount of the usual feed with you.
The best thing to use for transport is a cage that is as small as possible or a special small transport crate. This can be carried easily and can be readily secured in the car. The vet can also grasp the bird more easily and without stress as a small crate, unlike a large cage, does not offer any means of escape.
You should accustom your bird to being put into the transport crate so that this can be done in a serious case. Place the transport crate in the room with the door open so that your bird can see it in free flight. Leave the crate door open so that your bird can enter it and leave it as it likes. If you put a treat in the crate, your bird will associate it with something positive in future. If the situation arises that an avian vet has to examine your pet, it will be familiar with the crate and can be put in it easily.
Avian vet – conclusion
Birds are sensitive animals. Handling as well as diagnosis and treatment require particular knowledge and great caution. An avian vet specialises in dealing with, examining and treating these sensitive creatures.