Illustrated Articles

Birds + Pet Services

  • Cockatiels make excellent first birds for families. Larger than budgies and smaller than larger parrots, these entertaining birds are easy to maintain and provide endless hours of entertainment and companionship. They are beautiful flyers and enjoy lots of activity and play. Cockatiels love to chew; therefore, providing bird-safe toys will easily distract them from unwanted destructive chewing. They may be adopted from shelters or purchased from a pet store or a reputable breeder. They require annual, routine veterinary health check-ups to help prevent disease and aid in the maintenance of a long-lasting, healthy relationship between you and your bird.

  • Cockatoos are a suitable family pet for families with elementary school-aged and older children. Their jumpy nature and strong bite make them inappropriate for families with young children. Owning a cockatoo can be like having a small child. These birds are high maintenance both physically and emotionally, as they demand a lot of attention and a great deal of time outside their cages. Without adequate attention, cockatoos sometimes become excessively boisterous and are potentially destructive. Cockatoos need to chew; therefore, providing a continuous supply of non-toxic wood or cardboard bird-safe toys will afford it many hours of entertainment and likely save household items from being destroyed. Cockatoos may be adopted from shelters or purchased from pet stores or reputable breeders. They require annual, routine veterinary health check-ups to help prevent disease and aid in the maintenance of a long-lasting, healthy relationship between you and your bird.

  • Pet birds often become ill when they are not cared for or fed appropriately. Birds can develop infections with bacteria such as Chlamydia psittaci and parasites such as Giardia. They also commonly suffer from reproductive problems, such as egg binding and reproductive tumors. Many feather-pick when psychologically stressed or sexually frustrated. Birds on all-seed, high-fat diets may become obese and develop fatty liver syndrome. Older birds may develop cloacal papillomas or cancer. Your veterinarian familiar with birds will formulate an appropriate diagnostic and treatment plan if your pet bird becomes ill.

  • The complete blood count (CBC) assesses different parameters of the cells in the blood including total number, appearance, size, and shape. Red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets comprise the cellular component of the blood. Changes in the red blood cells can affect oxygen delivery from the lungs to the blood. Changes in the white blood cells can indicate infection, inflammation, and cancer. Platelets are needed for adequate blood clotting so decreased numbers can raise concern for spontaneous bleeding.

  • Conures are considered small- to medium-sized birds and are characterized by long slender bodies, long tapered tails, and large beaks. Tame conures can be very affectionate, social birds that demand a moderate amount of daily attention. Conures are not well known for their capacity to speak but often scream loudly. Some conures commonly kept as pets include the jenday conure, blue-crowned conure, nanday conure, mitred conure, sun conure, green-cheeked conure, and maroon-bellied conure. Young birds may be easier to tame and train than older, wild-caught, or colony- or parent-raised birds. New birds should be exposed early to different events to help them become calmer, more well-adjusted pets. After bringing your new bird home, you should have it examined by a veterinarian familiar with birds to help ensure that it is healthy. Like all other pet birds, conures require annual, routine veterinary health check-ups.

  • Crop infections are common in pet birds, especially baby birds that are being hand fed. While not usually fatal if treated early, crop infections can be serious and result in a complete loss of appetite.

  • Cytology is the microscopic examination of cell samples. Cytology can be used to diagnose growths or masses found on the surface of the body, and also to assess bodily fluids, internal organs, and abnormal fluids that may accumulate, especially in the chest and abdomen. Cells can be collected using various methods including fine needle aspiration, skin scraping, impression smear, cotton-tipped swabs, or lavage. A biopsy is the surgical removal of a representative sample of tissue from a suspicious lesion. The most common biopsy techniques are punch biopsy, wedge biopsy, and excision biopsy. The tissue is then processed and is examined under a microscope via histopathology. Histopathology allows the veterinary pathologist to make a diagnosis, classify the tumor, and predict the course of the disease.

  • Egg binding is not uncommon in birds and may be resolved easily if treated early. Egg binding occurs when the female bird is unable to expel the egg from her body. If a prolonged period has elapsed since the bird began attempting to lay the egg, she may become critically ill. Birds with egg binding may or may not have passed an egg more than 2 days ago, are usually weak, not perching, often sitting low on the perch or on the bottom of the cage, and are straining as if trying to defecate or to lay an egg. Treatment varies depending upon how sick the bird is, as well as the location of the egg and the length of time the bird has been egg bound. Critically ill birds are first treated supportively for shock, and then attempts are made to extract the egg. If your veterinarian cannot see the egg through the vent, surgery under general anesthetic may be necessary to remove the egg from the abdomen. A hysterectomy (removal of the oviduct and uterus) is typically the last choice therapy, when medical and egg extraction through the vent are not possible.

  • Following certain traumas, after some surgeries, or in the case of a self-mutilating bird or feather picking bird, various protective devices or collars (often called Elizabethan collars) may have to be employed to prevent a bird from further harming or traumatizing itself.

  • A feather cyst is equivalent to an ingrown hair on a human except it is much bigger (as a feather is a much bigger structure compared to a hair). The cysts form due to malformation of the growing feather within the follicle, which is located under the skin.

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