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Pet Bird Emergency Care and Problem Prevention

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Pet Bird Emergency Care and Problem Prevention


Although no avian owner ever wishes for anything bad to happen to their pet, sometimes birds become ill. This list of illnesses, injuries, preventions and immediate treatment suggestions may mean the difference between life and death for your bird.



This problem is mostly seen in African Greys between 2-5 years of age and is due to a lack of calcium. This condition may cause the bird to appear to be in a "drunken" state; it may also not be able to stand or may have seizures. In this case, get the bird to the vet as soon as possible for a calcium injection. To help prevent this problem be sure your Grey receives a balanced pelleted diet, as well as fresh foods that contain plenty of calcium i.e. romaine lettuce, cuttlebone, broccoli, hard boiled eggs with the shell, etc.



This can be caused many different ways, from falling or colliding with walls, windows or doors. The bird may be unconscious, have altered mental status or it may not show any symptoms at all. See a vet as soon as possible, even if the bird appears fine. Before transporting the bird for any medical attention, place it in a padded carrier to avoid any further injury. Bird-proof your home and have his wings clipped. Most traumatic accidents can be avoided by having a proper wing clipping



These usually happen in conjunction with trauma. They may not all be spotted in the same way because the signs depend on the type of fracture. If you suspect any type of fracture see a vet as soon as possible for an x-ray to fully assess the type of problem. Handle the bird very gently a to prevent further injury, and place it into a padded carrier before transporting it for medical attention.



Burns are usually caused by formula that is too hot, in cases of feeding babies, or other types of hot liquid accidents. Most burns involve tissue damage and many are life threatening if left untreated. It is imperative that all burns be treated by a veterinarian. All hand feeding should be done by experienced feeders only. Wings should be kept clipped to prevent a bird from landing in hot water on the stove or other areas of extreme heat.



Instances that involve bleeding are often associated with types of trauma. Catching signs of these may be tricky because the signs depend on the circumstances; this refers to volume of blood loss, as well as cases involving any serious internal bleeding. If the cut appears severe, see a vet as soon as possible. Birds can bleed to death in a very short time. Apply pressure to the site to slow the blood loss. In less severe cases, such as a nail bleed, you can usually easily stop it yourself with Quik Stop anticoagulant, a tea bag or some cornstarch pressed into the nail.



These injuries can occur when other pets such as dogs and cats have close contact with birds or if you have multiple birds and a larger one hurts a smaller one. Don’t try to treat the bird at home. Birds bleed out very fast and this can be fatal if not treated promptly and properly. Cats have a poison in their saliva and nails that can kill a bird even if the bird wasn’t bitten. If you do have other pets, keep them in another room while you are playing with your bird. Sometimes jealousy is all that it takes to provoke an attack.



These signs are very obvious, such as gasping, tail bobbing, and open mouth breathing. The causes can be aspergillus (fungal and mold), egg bound females, air sac mites, over heating and exposure to toxic fumes. If you notice any of the warning signs, get your bird to the vet as soon as possible for treatment.



Call your veterinarian in advance to check on night and weekend hours or emergency services if he is not available. Keep an emergency kit available with Quik Stop for minor bleeding, Gatorade or Pedialite to add electrolytes if it becomes dehydrated or to replace fluids in case of a bad burn, a pair of tweezers to pull a broken feather and some triple antibiotic creams for minor cuts and abrasions. Also, know where your carrier is to take your bird for help as soon as possible.

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