Posted: August 26, 2011, 11:30 a.m. PST
The opinion news blog will cover pet bird news and people in the United States and around the world, plus include opinions, tips and quips about everything bird, from finches and canaries to cockatiels, budgerigars (budgies), African greys, conures, Amazon parrots and macaws. Opinions expressed are the personal opinions of the author and in no way reflect the views of BirdChannel.com or BIRD TALK magazine. Please feel free to comment your own personal views at the end of the blog.
Melissa Kauffman looks at statistics for pet bird ownership and avian veterinarians.
Don’t Forget Pet Birds During “Take Your Cat To the Vet Week”
It is national "Take Your Cat to the Vet Week" as proclaimed by Petfinder.com for August 22 through August 28th. This week was started because believe it or not, compared to dog people, cat people just don’t take their cats to the vet as much. Apparently dog owners are twice as likely to take their dogs to the vet than cat owners are. I wonder what the statistics are for pet birds and their owners?
Now I have to be honest here. I am a pretty good dog and pet bird owner. I have two dogs and three parrots, and they get the best of everything. But, I do take my dogs to the vet more than I take my birds.
First of all, I have to take my dogs to the vet because they must have certain yearly shots. They must have these shots before they are allowed at the groomers or to a training class with other dogs.
My parrots don’t have the same issues. They don’t get yearly vaccinations as I don’t take them outside the home, except to my office. I groom them at home and I hire a house sitter to take care of them when I leave on a trip. And let’s not forget the biggest reason I am not so good at taking my pet birds to the vet for annual checkups – the bill. The last time I went, it cost me almost a thousand dollars for one pet bird. Granted, I had just adopted him, so many tests had to be run. But it took me awhile to pay it off. And with the economy the way it is today, I shudder to have to pay that kind of bill again. And I know that I am not the only one.
According to the American Pet Products Association’s 2011-2012 National Pet Survey, only 23% of pet bird owners had taken their birds to the veterinarian in the previous 12 months. Although that number seems very low, it is actually up from 19% in 2008. Six out of 10 of those pet birds that were taken to the vet by their owners were taken in for annual exam.
Now let’s take a look at those same APPA survey statistics for dogs. Hmm, the dogs have been taken to the vet an average of 2.7 times in the same previous 12 months. Can you imagine what a better place this world would be for our pet birds (and avian veterinarians) if we all took our pet birds to the veterinarian an average of 2.7 times in a year?
And how about cats? Cats, where the stats are so bad that Petfinder.com created a national "Take Your Cat to the Vet Week" in order to improve veterinary care compliance. The APPA survey states that 33% of cat owners have not taken their cat to the veterinarian in the previous 12 months. Let’s compare 33% to the 77% of pet bird owners that have not taken their pet birds to the veterinarian in the previous 12 months. There is no contest. So if we want to talk about a crisis of preventative health care for pets, I say we need to add the pet birds to this national "Take Your Cat to the Vet Week!" Come on Petfinder.com, add the pet birds to this push! And since I better put my money where my mouth is, I just called and made an appointment with my avian veterinarian.