A Visit to the Vet
Copyright © Lisa McManus. Previously published in International Conure Association newsletters. Used with permission.
Avian Medicine is a fairly new science, still in its infancy. Each day new strides are made, and new discoveries help
advance the knowledge we have of our feathered friends. Only in the past 20 years have tests been developed for such
things as psittacine beak and feather, psittacosis and polyomavirus, as well as a vaccine for polyomavirus. Still, avian
veterinarians are very knowledgeable and can be extremely successful in helping to keep your birds healthy.
When acquiring a new bird it is advisable to have a well bird check performed. This gives your avian vet a base from
which to work; it allows him or her to know what your bird is like as a healthy bird. A yearly check up is helpful to detect
any changes in your bird and enables you to hopefully catch things in the developing stages. Since a bird instinctively
hides any signs of sickness or weakness it is often too late to save him once he openly displays his illness.
In preparation for your trip to the vet, be prepared to give a history for your bird. The things your vet will want to know
should include the following, which was prepared by the Association of Avian Veterinarians:
Bird's name, species, sex
How as the sex identified? Surgically; DNA; other
Identification (show number): tattoo; microchip; band
Bird is a pet; breeder: has produced young or eggs, describe
Source of bird: store; private party; breeder; other, describe
Date acquired: Wild-caught; domestic bred
Has the bird been quarantined? Commercial: Private: Length of quarantine:
Other birds kept in the same quarantine:
Did any of those birds die or become ill during that quarantine period? Give details:
Bird is kept in a cage; aviary; free in the house; wings trimmed.
Other birds in the same cage or aviary:
List other birds on the premises, indoors or outdoors:
Are any of those birds sick? Have any died? If yes, give details
List other pets in the home or yard:
List toys available to your bird:
What do you use on the bottom of the cage? Can the bird reach it?
Bird is kept: indoors; outdoors; in a separate room; with the family
Frequency of cage cleaning:
Method/frequency of cleaning of food/water receptacles:
How many hours of darkness does the bird have each day?
Diet: Pelleted food alone (brand); seeds; table foods; combination
Describe diet or eating habits:
Amount offered to the bird each day: Amount the birds eats each day:
How is water offered (cup, tube)?
Recently added food or dietary changes:
What signs have you noticed regarding this bird, this incident? Circle all that apply: diarrhea; blindness; vomiting;
constipation; tail-bobbing; breathing difficulty; perching difficulty; fainting; fluffed feathers; drooping or injured
wings or legs; eye/nostril/ear bleeding or injury; bitten by other bird or pet; feather picking or feather loss; skin
bleeding; lameness; change in personality; change in vocalizations; change in stool consistency; change in
appetite; excessive water consumption; coughing or hoarseness; describe any other:
What tests has the bird been given? Circle all that apply: Psittacosis, psittacine beak and feather disease;
polyomavirus; parasites; other:
List vaccines the bird has been given and date given:
Has the bird been seen by any other veterinarian: When/Why?
Has the bird been dewormed?
What treatment was used for deworming?
Additional comments: Your opinion regarding this illness/accident:
By going over this questionnaire, you might pick up on some things you had not noticed or considered previously. If you
have any concerns about the behavior or conditions of your bird, call your veterinarian's office immediately. It is far
better to be overly cautious than to hesitate and chance your friend's good health. When visiting your vet you have the
right to remain with your bird at all times and to know exactly what is being done and why. If you feel uncomfortable with
a suggested treatment or procedure, ask questions. If you are still unsure, seek a second opinion.
Do not be hesitant to ask questions. A dedicated, concerned veterinarian will be happy to talk with you and educate you
on your birds health and needs.
By developing a good relationship with your avian vet you can work together to maintain good health and many happy
years with your bird.