By Margaret A. Wissman, DVM, DABVP - Avian Practice
Proactive pet bird care starts with you.
Be proactive when it comes to caring for pet birds. Offer a quality, species-appropriate, balanced diet and provide ample fresh clean water all the time, preferably from a water bottle, have your pet bird groomed periodically and take your bird in to see an avian veterinarian regularly (as recommended by your vet). I also encourage all owners to weigh their birds weekly, which is one of the best ways to catch something early, when it would be easier to identify and treat.
The physical examination is a very important part of your pet bird’s health assessment and may be very useful for uncovering problems, but it alone cannot be relied on for diagnosing many diseases, infections or conditions.
During the physical examination, your avian veterinarian will carefully evaluate your bird, first by observing it in the cage, assessing the droppings, feather condition, general attitude, posture, movement and mentation.
Once your bird has been caught up for the hands-on part of the examination, your bird will be closely examined (often using a focused light source and magnification, especially for smaller birds) from head to toe. The bird’s heart, lungs and air sacs will also be ausculted with a stethoscope. The bird will also be carefully palpated by the avian veterinarian, feeling the bones, muscles, joints, feathers, abdomen and uropygial gland.
Based on the history that you give your veterinarian, any changes or signs that you have noticed and the results of the physical exam, specific tests will be recommended. These tests may uncover a potential problem that, if otherwise left undiagnosed or untreated, could save your bird's life.