Dr. Greg Burkett
Board Certified Avian Veterinarian
Maintaining your bird's health with proper nutrition, suitable environments, and mental stimulation is vitally important. The general health of your bird should also be a concern. Avian medicine is advancing rapidly. It has been recently estimated that our knowledge of avian medicine and surgery is doubling every five years. This means that avian veterinarians are more equipped with cutting-edge technology, more blood tests, better diagnostic tools, and access to more reference material than ever before. If your bird becomes ill, the chances are better than ever that a cause will be found and treatments can be prescribed. We have advanced medically to lengthen the pet bird's life by many years. However, you should not wait until your bird is ill to see your veterinarian. The key to a long healthy life for your parrot is regular preventative checkups.
The recommended schedule for good-health maintenance is once annually. Regular visits will establish normal parameters for your bird. It is important that your veterinarian be familiar with your bird in a state of good health to more easily recognize problems. An important part of an annual examination is the physical exam. A physical will provide your bird's body weight, a critical gauge in measuring health status. When a bird is sick, the body weight will decrease before any other clinical signs appear. The physical exam will also provide visual clues to a trained professional that reveal subclinical signs a bird may be trying to hide. The physical exam is only part of the annual checkup. Blood work, bacterial cultures, and fecal gram stains provide the necessary information to establish normal values and to screen for subclinical disease. The most important part of a preventative maintenance program is annual vaccination against polyomavirus. Annual visits are also a good time to get wing clips and toe nail trims.
A preventative maintenance program will provide our pet bird with the longest, healthiest life possible. A good program consists of a balanced diet, a clean environment, a roomy cage, proper handling techniques, and proper veterinary care including annual checkups and vaccinations.