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Updated by Jessica E. Claudio, DVM on Mar 27, 2015
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6 Tips for Safely Getting your Ill Bird to the Veterinarian

Is your bird having seizures? It is #EpilepsyAwarenessDay and the following list is to help prepare you for an #Epilepsy emergency with your bird. Please wear purple to celebrate the lives of those among us who are living with epilepsy today.

1

Place your bird in a quiet dark box and take immediately to a veterinarian.

This means try not to listen to the radio on the way over. Though this may be difficult when you are worried about Alfred, try to realize if you are speaking loudly. Quiet your tone for the sake of your feathery friend. Make sure your bird is not seeing daylight and cars passing by on the way there. The excitement may be too much to handle for the already stressed out bird.

2

Keep your handling of the bird to a minimum.

Keep your handling of the bird to a minimum, because in excess you will easily stress the bird out leading to shock and possibly death.

Birds are very easily stressed in general. In my opinion, when working with wildlife, wild birds with broken legs and wings are by far the worst patients. They were so easily stressed that you sometimes needed to put the bird back in the quiet dark box throughout your examination to avoid the bird dying from shock. When a bird is feeling ill it does a very good job hiding the signs. It makes sense, because when you are a prey animal you cannot show weakness. This means that if a bird is showing signs, the disease process may be fairly far along. Since birds are so easily stressed, on top of whatever disease condition that they have, it makes sense that their little hearts cannot handle much more.

3

Be a pet detective.

As you are getting ready to hit the road for the avian veterinarian, try to notice what was near and around your birds cage that may be abnormal, or even just snap a few photos on your camera phone.
Does the metal on the bird cage appear to be chipping in an area that you did not notice before? Did this happen shortly after a feeding time? Did this occur after he was eating a new food or playing with a new toy? Does the poop in the cage look normal? The better detective you can be for your pet, the better report you can give your veterinarian. This may lead to a quicker diagnosis and help Alfred to get better faster. Do not dawdle. If you have a camera phone just snap a picture or two of the cage and the contents of the cage to show the veterinarian. An abnormality may stick out quicker to a veterinarian who has worked on various cases like this one.

4

Check your bird's food and water.

Make sure he always has access to water and check to see if he has been eating.

Remember to have water on hand at all times for Alfred. Birds that are ill get dehydrated quickly. This makes sense because the body size of a bird is pretty small. If a bird has diarrhea or is vomiting the fluids are quickly moving through the sick little body of the animal. Look at his food dish before you go and take notice if he has been skipping meals. Tell your veterinarian if you are concerned about your bird’s appetite or hydration status.

5

When you are moving Alfred to a box, make sure the box or carrier is warm.

Body heat is lost quickly in an ill bird. Do not take him to the veterinarian’s office in a damp, cold box from the drafty attic. This would not help him feel any better. Make sure you have a heating pad set on low to set the box on while you are preparing to head out. Make sure the cord cannot be chewed by Alfred. Use an aquarium thermometer inside the cage out of reach from the bird to regulate the temperature. Make sure the temperature is between 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit and keep that box humid.

6

Have an emergency kit on hand

Transport box, heating pad, thermometer, towel. For emergency purposes a transport box should be kept close to Alfred from the moment you get him. Have a towel on hand to cover the carrier to keep in the heat and keep it dark inside the carrier. Manage and regulate the temperature inside that carrier. That early preparation can save a bird’s life.