Acadia Vet Clinic is proud to be one of the few Veterinary clinics in Saskatoon who are trained to treat your pet birds. Budgies, cockatiels, parrots, and songbirds tend to live longer, healthier lives when they receive regular veterinary care. We can provide nutritional counselling, health assessments, grooming assistance, sexing, faecal parasite testing, medical and surgical services, and annual physicals. In addition, we can discuss general care, disease prevention, safety, appropriate housing and toys, and breeding.
The Vets and staff at Acadia Veterinary clinic love birds and want your feathered companions to live long & healthy lives. We recommend that you bring your bird in for an initial checkup, then stop by once a year to ensure that he or she remains healthy and isn’t hiding signs of illness. During the exam, we will check your bird’s beak, nails, and feathers to determine if they require any attention. Regular exams can help catch diseases and problems early, when they tend to be easier and less expensive to treat.
A bird that doesn’t groom itself correctly, appears ruffled, or has unkempt or missing feathers is probably sick. Other signs that your bird might not be well include changes in eating or sleeping habits, difficulty breathing, and abnormal droppings. Birds are good at hiding signs of illness, so if you notice that your bird is acting unusual or if something just doesn’t seem right, call us as soon as possible.
Does my bird really need a check up?
It is common for people to have personal annual physical examinations or to take the dog and cat in once or twice yearly so why not the bird in your family? It is most important to have any new bird examined within the first couple of days after purchase. A routine veterinary examination is recommended at least twice annually. Your veterinarian may have very important reasons to see your bird on a different schedule so discuss it. The most important job a veterinarian has is to help ensure your pet stays as healthy as possible and hopefully never gets sick. This is called preventive medicine.
“A routine veterinary examination is recommended at least twice annually.”
In the wild, a bird will endeavor to display a strong outward appearance even when sick. This is called “survival of the fittest”. By the time a bird actually shows an owner that it is unwell, it has likely or often been sick for some time. During the examination, the veterinarian may pick up subtle signs of disease.
What will the veterinarian do?
If possible, bring the bird in its cage so the veterinarian may assess the bird’s environment, food, feeding arrangement and some of the droppings on the bottom of the cage. If this is the bird’s first visit to the veterinarian, then a lot of information will be gathered initially pertaining to you and more importantly, your bird. The age, sex, species, previous background the bird may have had, diet and length of current ownership will be recorded in the bird’s permanent medical record.
Your veterinarian may discuss or give you information regarding proper diet and care of your particular species of bird.
From the time you walked into the exam room, your veterinarian has been observing the bird in the cage. Attitude, posture, feathering, vocalizing and physical condition are all noted before the bird is out of the cage. The bird will then be securely restrained to prevent injury to person or pet and examined in depth physically. Any abnormal changes in the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, skin, feathers, beak, wings, legs, nails, vent, chest or abdomen will be noted.
The beak and nails may be trimmed, ground down or groomed as necessary. Wings are clipped at this time if requested by the owner.
Finally, before the bird is released an accurate weight in grams is recorded. With all these observations documented, a complete and current database is available to reference any time in the future to monitor changes in your pet.
Will any tests be done?
Your veterinarian will discuss the need for testing with you depending on what has been found on the examination. Wellness testing will provide further information important in assessing your pet’s condition. Some tests are performed routinely on apparently healthy birds to monitor the current state of health of the bird and keep the database up to date. Your veterinarian will discuss wellness testing with you.
Services for Your Pet Bird
Clipping a bird’s feathers can protect your bird and your home. Wing clipping is a nonpainful procedure that ensures the safety of your bird in its environment and keeps your bird from chewing holes in your doors and window frames. It limits your bird’s ability to fly, removing the risk of injury from flying into a ceiling fan, onto a hot stovetop, or into (or out) a window.
Having your bird’s feathers professionally clipped helps ensure that the right feathers are removed without irritating the skin. Improperly clipped wings can cause your bird to pluck or chew its feathers. In addition, inexperienced wing clipping can result in a blood feather being accidentally trimmed, a situation that can become life-threatening. We can perform this procedure safely while preserving the aesthetic appearance of your bird. Please feel free to call us to discuss this option, as well as any concerns you might have, or to set up an appointment.
Beaks continue growing throughout birds’ lives. Although birds’ beaks usually wear evenly, some birds develop beak problems and require veterinary assistance. Trimming its beak incorrectly can cause your bird pain and may prevent it from eating, which is why we recommend having your bird’s beak professionally trimmed. Do not attempt to trim your bird’s beak at home. Call us to schedule an appointment.
Most birds need to have their nails trimmed regularly. However, the process can be detrimental to your bird if its nails are trimmed too short. We can take care of this procedure for you so that you don’t have to worry about nicking the blood vessels inside the nails. Call us if you’d like to schedule an appointment.
Be careful if you perform this procedure at home. In fact, we only suggest that you attempt this at home if your bird is small and has white nails (which allow you to see the blood vessels). We also suggest you keep a caustic agent, such as styptic powder, on hand in case a nail bleeds.
Providing perches with rough surfaces can help reduce the frequency of nail trimming, but do not use sandpaper perches. They don’t wear down the nails and can cause skin problems.
When necessary, our veterinarians at Acadia may preform surgery on their avian patients. Due to the delicate nature of the avian respiratory system, surgery is often very risky and there for rare, but it is possible. Similar to exotic surgery, avian patients under anesthetic are monitored carefully by machine and manually by a technician during the procedure to ensure the success of the surgery without complications.
For complex problems and certain emergencies we can refer you to the VMC at the WCVM where they have veterinarians that are board-certified in avian and exotic care and have equipment that is specially made for your feathered friends.
For more information about your birds health, visit: www.acadiavetclinic.com/pet-health-resources/pet-health-articles/articles/