Finding an Avian Vet Near You and Why You Need One

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Melika
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Finding an Avian Vet Near You and Why You Need One

Post by Melika » Mon Jan 07, 2008 12:22 pm

How To Find a Local Avian Vet

USA (and more)
http://aav.org/search/

UK
http://www.theparrotsocietyuk.org/veter ... avian-vets
http://aav.org/search/

AUS
http://www.aavac.com.au/find-your-local ... erinarian/
http://aav.org/search/


How do I know he/she is an Avian Vet?

Avians vets are special. They take extra time to learn about our feathered friends, as they are not taught avain medicine in school unless they want to learn. Avian courses are usually 'electives' (meaning it is NOT required) and even then if the school does not treat avians, the student will not gain invaluable hands-on experience. Avian vets are underpaid in comparison to dog/cat vets and have to spend more time with their clients as most are uneducated on basic care (proper diet, etc.).

A vet who 'sees birds' is NOT the same as an Avian Veteranarian. An Avian vet should be taking continuing education in the area of avian medicine. Avian medicine is young and there are breakthroughs every year that the vet should keep up with in order to give his clients the best veterinary care possible. A dog/cat vet that 'sees birds' does not have this education and cannot give you or your bird the proper care.

It is perfectly valid to ask what percentage of a vet's practice is made up of birds. That will tell you how much experience the vet actually has with birds. If he or she only see one or two birds per month, for example, you may wish to go elsewhere. However, if you find a veterinarian who tells you he or she knows little about birds but would like to learn, that's ok. That person generally knows when to ask someone more experienced for help, and most of the top avian vets in the country are accessible by phone. It's the veterinarians who won't admit they don't know that really scare me.

And an extremely important question to ask is "What was the most recent continuing education avian veterinary seminar the vet attended?" This is really important because it will tell you just how committed a veterinarian is to providing the highest quality avian medicine possible. There are plenty of who are happy to take your money to see your companion bird. There are fewer veterinarians that are willing to spend their own money and their own time to attend a continuing education seminar having to do with birds. My own parrot deserves state-of-the-art medicine, and yours does, too.



How To Tell If You REALLY HAVE An Avian Vet

So there are lots of vets out there who will "see birds" who have perhaps less knowledge than one might wish. The following are a few tips that may help you differentiate between these people and their more knowledgeable colleagues. You don’t necessarily have a REAL avian vet if:

1. When you call for an appointment for a sick bird, the receptionist tells you it's too cold to bring a bird out. The vet may be experienced with birds, but his or her support staff is not. There are plenty of easy tricks to keeping a bird warm in transit -- which is definitely preferable to allowing the bird to die at home without professional help.

2. When you arrive at the hospital for your appointment and nobody knows what kind of bird you have. If you have a rare species, be fair -- but if they think your cockatiel is a cockatoo, there's a problem.

3. Everyone at the hospital is afraid of your two month-old baby macaw. Many bird vets have difficulty finding experienced avian technicians -- but the vet must know how to handle the animals if his/her support staff does not. If everyone on staff is afraid of a baby, no matter how big, then they have little or no experience with parrots.

4. The veterinarian does not remove the bird from its cage to do a full physical exam. The days of diagnosing from the outside of the cage are gone. To do competent avian medicine, a vet has to do a proper physical exam, and to do that, a vet must TOUCH the animal.

5. The veterinarian does not weigh your bird. Properly equipped avian vets will have an accurate gram scale with which to get weights on their patients every time the bird comes in. A current, accurate weight is not only necessary to properly calibrate a medication dose, but also to help the vet evaluate the overall condition of the animal. From my experience, "Feeling the keel" does NOT provide sufficient information.

6. The veterinarian and/or support staff does not spend considerable time discussing proper diet with you. The most common cause of medical problems seen in avian medicine in this country is STILL malnutrition, therefore proper diet is crucial and should be discussed in depth.

7. They schedule bird appointments every 10-15 minutes. There is a tremendous amount of time involved when seeing birds -- the avian vets I know schedule bird appointments for a minimum of 30 minutes, with most lasting considerably longer than that.

8. They don't think annual check-ups are necessary. The AAV recommends annual visits, especially with very young or old birds. A vet in my area recently told the first-time parrot owner of an unweaned macaw chick that he didn't need to bring the baby back in "unless he thought there was a problem." As far as I am concerned, that is very bad advice. Weaning is an extremely stressful period in a parrot's life, and a brand new parrot owner often doesn't know there is a problem until it has reached emergency status. This is NOT the best thing for the bird!

9. They consider a beak trim to be just as routine as a nail trim or wing clip. Generally speaking, a normal parrot beak does not ever need trimming, whether the bird chews on a "beak conditioner" or not. A change in the growth pattern of a parrot's beak could be indicative of a medical problem.

10. With a new bird check-up, the vet does a physical exam and pronounces the bird "healthy" without recommending any diagnostic testing. A properly done physical exam can tell an experienced avian vet a great deal, but by itself it simply isn't enough. Diagnostic testing must be done to rule out the possibility of latent disease.



The Grand Tour
If possible, ask for a tour of the hospital. Schedule one for later if the hospital is busy. If your veterinarian is serious about avian medicine, you should see some basic equipment:

a gram scale capable of weighing even tiny birds with great accuracy (already mentioned)

incubator cages for hospitalized birds

proper diet for hospitalized birds -- not just "parrot mix" and pellets, but vegetables and fruits, also.

Ideally, a separate room for hospitalized birds, away from dogs & cats.
*



Why You Need an Avian Vet


According to a survey done in 1989 for PET AGE MAGAZINE, 60% of dog owners and 68% of cat owners have their animals checked by a veterinarian. However, the same survey found that only 7.6% of bird owners take their animals to avian veterinarians, and that 92% of their respondents take their sick birds to pet stores to be treated.*

How sad is it, that we will take a companion dog or cat of ten/twelve years to a vet and spend any amount of money on it- but we don't make sure our companions of 20+ years get the same level of care? Even a budgie can live 15 years with good care. Many will say they can buy a new bird for only ten bucks. I adopted my dog for $35 and I could get another for the same amount. But when it comes to his medical care, I make sure he sees a vet, right? My dog is NOT a "throw-away" pet; why is your bird one? When we take a living creature into our homes, we are responsible for ALL it's needs, including medical.

"You can't tell when a bird is sick..."

We've all read or heard this in our research. While it's true that an inexperienced bird owner may not be able to tell, a person who knows their bird's behavior will. Be sure to get to know your bird's normal behavioral patterns. If a change is present, and you are watching for it, you'll see it.

The sign of an ill bird can be extremely subtle- perhaps just eating a little less or being quieter than normal. Or maybe your bird isn't playing with it's favourite toy as much.

Sometimes the signs can be much more obvious, but bird owners attribute the problem to a behavioral issue- sudden aggressiveness or screaming.

Bottom line: you CAN tell if your bird isn't feeling just right. We can't always tell if they are sick, but we can tell when something is changing. It's our vets job to tell us if it's a illness or just a hormonal fluctuation.

If it's an illness, you could lose your bird within just a few weeks or even days. Chances are, if you wait until your bird is lying on the bottom of the cage, cold and breathing heavily, it might be too late to help him. Isn't it better to know he's sick in the beginning stages of the illness- when you can do something about it?

SIGNS OF POSSIBLE ILLNESS IN A BIRD

>Decrease in normal noise level.

>Decrease in normal activity level.

>Change in the droppings NOT related to diet.

>Decrease in the total number or volume of droppings.

>Change in bird's appearance and/or posture - i.e.
sitting lower on perch, wings drooping, sitting on cage bottom, etc..

>Bird fluffed and shivering when the room is not cold.
(Note: this can also be a sign of stress).

>A sudden change in appetite and/or water consumption (either decrease or excessive increase); sudden disinterest in some foodstuff normally loved.

>A change in respiratory effort; i.e. increased motion of the tail associated with respiratory effort.

>Decreased exercise tolerance.

>Abrupt personality change - i.e. normally unfriendly
bird suddenly wants to be cuddled.

>Nasal discharge.

>Frequent sneezing.

>Matted, soiled feathers around the nostrils, on the head or around the vent area.

>Equilibrium problems - even klutsy babies shouldn't fall constantly.

>Lumps, masses or swellings anywhere on the body.

>Inability to perch.

>Bleeding.
#








Further Reading and References:


Why Is Avian Medicine So Expensive?

DEMYSTIFYING VETERINARY MEDICINE; Especially Regarding Avians

Is Your Parrot REALLY Eating A Good Diet?

Discouraging mating behaviors in parrots

*Why Your Bird Needs an Avian Veterinarian, How To Find One, and How To Tell If You REALLY Have One....

#IS IT TRUE YOU CAN'T TELL WHEN A BIRD IS SICK??
Last edited by Melika on Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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bec
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Post by bec » Mon Mar 24, 2008 11:23 pm

i tried both the links for finding an avian vet in australia but the nearest on to me is about 60 kilometres away from me does anyone know of one closer to healsville or lilydale in victoria?

Lene
Posts: 289
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Location: Brisbane, Australia

Post by Lene » Tue Mar 25, 2008 8:08 pm

Hi Bec

You could try and phone one of the vets... they would probably know...
Cheers

Lene

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Lauren
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Post by Lauren » Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:45 am

Bec, I take my birds to the Knox Bird Vet Clinic, might be still a bit of a drive, but hes fantastic. Here is his website.. (the site focuses on pigeons, but he knows and treats, all birds.) http://www.auspigeonco.com.au/
"Jibby aka Gilbert" Indian Ringneck 13 years "Charlie" Rex Rabbit 1 year

AiSell
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Re: Finding an Avian Vet Near You and Why You Need One

Post by AiSell » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:23 am

Very helpful info, thanks you so much

Tea.cos
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Re: Finding an Avian Vet Near You and Why You Need One

Post by Tea.cos » Sat Nov 10, 2012 10:01 am

It has been very hard to find a specialized vet here in Cape Town, South Africa. Anyone else from my area have any recommendations?
Thank you

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Melika
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Re: Finding an Avian Vet Near You and Why You Need One

Post by Melika » Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:41 am

Tea.cos wrote:It has been very hard to find a specialized vet here in Cape Town, South Africa. Anyone else from my area have any recommendations?
Thank you
Either of these close? http://www.parrotforums.com/general-hea ... -area.html

Also, I wonder if you could call a local zoo and see if they know an avian vet. They must have one or use one, right? :)
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Re: Finding an Avian Vet Near You and Why You Need One

Post by Jen&Bug » Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:43 am

I've just found this thread and for some reason the link for Australia (Victoria) doesn't list the West Brunswick Vet Clinic, which also offers avian-specific care.

I've taken birds there, and have also tried the Burwood Vet Clinic in the past. Both have amazing knowledge of birds, although I found the West Brunswick clinic a little more easy-going and comfortable to visit. Those who know Melbourne might not be surprised by this (West Brunswick is a pretty laid-back suburb, whereas Burwood is a bit fancier!)

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Melika
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Re: Finding an Avian Vet Near You and Why You Need One

Post by Melika » Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:33 am

Jen&Bug wrote:I've just found this thread and for some reason the link for Australia (Victoria) doesn't list the West Brunswick Vet Clinic, which also offers avian-specific care.

I've taken birds there, and have also tried the Burwood Vet Clinic in the past. Both have amazing knowledge of birds, although I found the West Brunswick clinic a little more easy-going and comfortable to visit. Those who know Melbourne might not be surprised by this (West Brunswick is a pretty laid-back suburb, whereas Burwood is a bit fancier!)
Please give your vet the link and let him know his clinic isn't listed there- perhaps he can get his clinic added! :)
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Re: Finding an Avian Vet Near You and Why You Need One

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