Description: These injuries can range in severity from a small dent to being ripped off entirely. Regardless of the amount of damage inflicted to the beak, it is a serious matter that is usually considered an emergency. The beak has an abundant blood supply, so any beak injury is likely to cause excessive bleeding. Amputated or torn off beaks will not grow back. Fractured beaks can often be repaired. Bone and nerve endings are connected to the beak, making an injury in that area painful.
Disputes between two birds resulting in one biting the other may lead to a beak injury. Because birds are so inquisitive, they may injure the beak on toys, and can even impale themselves on toy parts. Supervise playtime when birds are playing with toys. Do not house or leave birds together if one is significantly larger than the other or if they are known to dislike each other.
Immediate Care: With a puncture, fracture or amputated beak, apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Contact an emergency clinic or your avian vet, but if the accident occurs outside regular working hours, do not wait more than 24 hours. If the beak is torn off or the outer layers are damaged, the underlying tissues may begin to dry out. Because beak injuries are so potentially dangerous, it is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible and certainly within 24 hours. The wound can be rinsed with sterile saline (preservative-free contact lens solution is perfect for situations such as this) to attempt to flush out any debris and to help keep the tissue moist until your bird can be evaluated by your avian veterinarian. Do not be aggressive with flushing, and do not remove the beak if it is partially attached.
Long Term Care: With a minor beak injury, support care, appropriate antimicrobials and pain medication, plus the tincture of time, may be all that is necessary until the defect grows out. With larger defects, light cured composites or dental acrylic can be used to patch the area until the beak grows back. A fracture to the beak can be repaired, if the blood supply is still good. The beak will be pinned and wired together and covered with a beak composite “cast” until the new beak grows in. The bird may need to be fed at the hospital using a feeding tube and while the beak grows back your bird will need soft or moistened food. Some beak injuries result in permanent, disfiguring damage, requiring the bird to eat soft foods for the rest of its life, but other injuries may heal quite well allowing the bird to return to normal beak functioning.
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