VCA East Mill Plain Animal Hospital treats all species of birds from pet parrots to backyard chickens and waterfowl. During an avian exam, our veterinarians will assess the overall health of your bird, address any concerns (including behavior), and provide consultation on diet and housing.
Yearly examinations with a veterinarian are highly recommended for all birds to ensure they are healthy at all life stages. When bringing your bird in for an examination, it is best to bring him or her in a small carrier, cage, or box that they are used to traveling in to reduce stress while in the hospital. Please place paper under your bird so that your veterinarian can assess the droppings. It is important to also bring a sample of the main diet you are feeding your bird, as a nutritional consult is an important part of your bird's health assessment.
Beak, Wing, and Nail Trims
Beak trimming (coping) is an important part of maintaining your bird's health. Overgrown beaks are a health concern because they can make it difficult for your bird to eat and move around his or her environment. Overgrown beaks are also more at risk for fracturing. It is normal for captive birds (especially psittacines and raptors) to need routine beak trims because they do not wear their beak in captivity the same they would in the wild. Abnormal beak growth can be attributed to diet or previous injury. At VCA EMPAH, all beak trims are performed by a veterinarian.
Wing trims are important maintenance for your bird to restrict flying activity to prevent escape and/or injury. Depending on the species, wing trims may need to be performed yearly (waterfowl), or more frequently. Performing wing trims at home can be dangerous for your bird, especially if the feathers are "in blood," and can sometimes make your bird appear to have a "bad haircut." This is why our doctors and technicians are more than happy to provide this service for you and your bird.
Feather Destructive Behavior
A national survey found that feather picking disorder in parrots was the number one presenting complaint to avian veterinarians from clients about their bird. If your bird is a feather picker.....you are not alone! A complete medical work-up including blood work, fecal, skin scraping, and occasionally radiographs is always recommended for the feather picking bird. Once medical conditions have been ruled out for a cause to the feather picking, behavioral adjustments suggested by your veterinarian can be made for your bird. It is important to remember that these adjustments take time, patience, and perseverance to be effective.