As soon as you can, schedule an
appointment with your avian veterinarian. Regardless of how you obtained
the bird, it’s important to have a vet-check right away to detect any
problems. Even if your bird comes to you from the most
reputable breeder in the country – or your closest friend, have the bird
seen by a vet. No one who truly cares about animals will
object to this or take it as a criticism.
If you have not worked with an avian
vet before, you will want to know that it is perfectly alright to ask about
the prices of a “new bird visit” or other procedures that you think you may
want done. Our vet in Ohio had his prices listed on a large board inside his
examination room, and no-one has ever looked oddly at me when I asked what
something would cost. Our vet in Victoria doesn't do this, but I have
asked him about prices (actually, he's pretty good about bringing it up, so
I don't usually have to). In both cases, the vets and their staff have the bird’s best interest
at heart, but they realize that my funds are not unlimited. It’s best to
ask up front rather than be surprised once the procedure has been done.
When we take our birds for a doctor
visit, we always try to take with us a sheet of newspaper that was placed
under the bird the night before. This collects one night’s droppings – and
can provide valuable information about the bird’s overall health. The vet
will obtain a fresh dropping from the bird during the visit, but knowing
what the droppings look like is extremely useful.
"Laka - Say Ahhhhhh!"
During a “new bird” visit, the vet
will weigh the bird, inspect its eyes, nostrils (“nares”), vent feathers,
and over all condition. He’ll note the amount of chest muscle and the
bird’s overall apparent health. He’ll look at the feet (and trim the nails
if needed), and carefully inspect the condition of its feathers. He’ll ask
you questions about where you got the bird, its age, what it has been
Checking the "other end"...
Even a little gynecological look (is
He’ll listen to the bird’s heart and
will also use his stethoscope to listen to its sinuses.
Once these external examinations are
done, the vet will take a fresh sample of droppings (I
have yet to take a bird to the vet who failed to supply plenty of THAT
during the visit!), and will swab the bird’s mouth and throat
to obtain a culture from there. He will also do a blood test (taking blood
by clipping a nail slightly shorter than normal). This is a very good
time to ask about DNA sexing, if you want to know for certain whether you
have a "boy" or a "girl".
The vet will talk to you generally
about the bird, and will provide you with a great deal of useful information
about diet, exercise, and appropriate housing.
After the exam, the samples taken
are tested for evidence of parasites and disease. Some test results may be
available immediately, but some will take a few days to develop. The vet
will indicate how long before complete results are ready.