The first week in November is Bird Health Awareness Week. This initiative was started by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and focuses on the health of backyard flocks. Most people think about chickens when they think of backyard poultry. In actual fact, the USDA includes turkeys, ducks, geese, and guinea fowl in this category too.
As a bird veterinarian, I am fortunate to work with many different species. While the most commonly kept pet bird species are parrots, we are seeing an increasing trend of backyard poultry being kept as pets. The USDA have put together resources for backyard poultry owners. They have handouts on biosecurity (reducing disease transmission) and signs of illness in birds. Click here to find out more.
For Bird Health Awareness Week, I am putting together handouts covering a variety of topics. These include signs of illness in birds, diet recommendations, foraging and behavior information that will be uploaded in the coming weeks. Currently, the wellness examination handout is live on my website. It explains why we recommend birds go to the vet every year.
What to expect when you bring your bird to the vet
During the appointment we perform a thorough physical exam and obtain a weight. This allows us to track weight trends year to year as weight loss or weight gain can be early indicators of disease.
“Even if you feel that he or she is healthy at home, birds are very good at hiding signs of illness.”
Additionally, it discusses what you can expect during a visit, including what tests may be recommended to assess the internal health of your bird. Typically fecal testing and baseline blood testing are recommended for pet birds.
“Drawing a very small amount of blood from avian patients can reveal a lot of information about their overall health as well as the health of specific body systems.”
The annual exam is also an opportunity for us to discuss other important issues relating to bird ownership. These include appropriate nutrition recommendations, counseling for problem behaviors and general husbandry recommendations
Our goal is to work with you make sure that your bird lives a long, happy and healthy life and annual exams are the first step towards success!
Click here to read and download the article.