For the Birds: The Importance of Avian Wellness Exams
Most people understand the importance of bringing their dog or cat to the vet periodically to check in, even if their pets are healthy. Dogs and cats require vaccinations, need parasite prevention, and benefit from regular screening tests, physical examinations, and wellness care.
Bird lovers aren’t off the hook when it comes to preventive care! Ten West Bird & Animal Hospital thinks that those of the feathered persuasion are just as important as other pets. Avian wellness exams are essential for maintaining your bird’s health and well-being.
Why Your Bird Needs Avian Wellness Exams
Routine avian wellness exams for your bird are one of the most important things that you can do for your pet. Birds as well as many other exotic species are notorious for hiding signs of illness until things are dire. Bringing your bird to see us regularly allows us to accomplish several things:
- Monitor weight
- Be sure that feather growth is appropriate
- Assess diet and husbandry
- Auscultating the heart, lungs, and air sacs
- Examining the entire bird including the eyes, throat, crop, feet, and vent
- Be sure that the beak is in good shape
- Care for the claws
- Perform recommended screening testing
Most birds benefit from laboratory screening to assess blood cell counts and chemistries. This allows us to look at organ function and overall health. Routine fecal testing for intestinal parasites such as Giardia, coccidia, and roundworms is also essential to keeping a healthy bird. We also often take samples from our bird patients for culture and sensitivity to identify any abnormal yeast or bacterial growth on the body.
When we see bird patients on a regular basis, we are much more successful at helping to head off trouble.
Getting Your Bird to Us
For many bird owners, the actual task of getting their pet in to see us is where the trouble starts. It can be somewhat intimidating to try to transport a bird, although with a little knowledge it is a much less scary task.
When bringing your bird to see us:
- Transport your pet in a safely enclosed cage or ventilated box – choose a smaller vessel without perches or hanging toys for short trips.
- Pre-warm or cool your vehicle depending on the weather.
- Be sure that your bird has good ventilation, especially in hot weather.
- Consider covering the cage to decrease stress to your pet (although choose a covering that still allows airflow).
- Never leave your pet unattended in the vehicle.
- Place some used bedding or other familiar items in the transportation cage to provide familiar smells.
- Be sure that your bird’s cage is in a secure spot in the vehicle where it won’t slide or fall off of the seat.
- Bring along some fresh water to offer your bird on arrival.
- Remember that the safest place for your bird is in the cage.
Most birds do quite well for the trip with a little consideration and careful planning
Avian wellness exams are part of your duty to your pet as a responsible pet owner. We love helping birds, and we are even better at doing so when we see them on a routine basis. Give us a call right away to get your bird scheduled for a wellness exam.