Article  Video 

The Parrot Brain On Shapes: Similarities with Human Visual Processing

Objects are often not fully visible in everyday life. Human beings are capable of processing the complex visual information related to “incompleteness” because our visual environment is primarily composed of opaque objects that can overlap and partially hide each other. Scientists believe that many nonhuman species are also able to deal with “incompleteness”…

Article 

Wait For It…A Grey Parrot Demonstrates Self-Control

“Griffin”, a grey parrot in Dr. Irene Pepperberg’s animal behavior and avian cognition lab, could wait up to 15 minutes for a better quality reward, even though both treats offered were preferred food items. Griffin displayed delayed gratification for longer than any previously tested avian subject including Goffin’s cockatoos. Fifteen minutes was the longest time evaluated, not necessarily the longest length of time Griffin could wait.

Explore the history of similar research in children and animals as well as the specific results of the study led by Adrienne E. Koepke of Hunter College and Suzanne L. Gray of Harvard University. Also learn more about Dr. Irene Pepperberg and the fascinating work of The Alex Foundation.

Article 

Calcium Content of Selected Foods

The following chart shows the calcium content in 1 cup of selected foods. Select treats for adult rabbits and rodents that are high in fiber, low in calcium, and low in carbohydrates and sugars.

Article 

Avicultural Medicine: Visiting the Facility

The site visit allows the veterinarian to appreciate intricate facility details. Unless there is an emergency, schedule visits during the non-breeding season and only visit one site daily to prevent potential iatrogenic contamination of facilities. I usually schedule appointments in the morning prior to going to the clinic. An aviary map or blue print of the aviary layout will help you visualize where birds are in relation to each other.

Article 

Fungal Disease in Avian Patients

Fungi are among the most common causes of infectious disease in captive birds, and fungal diseases can be challenging to diagnose, as well as treat. Because fungi are typically opportunistic, causing non-contagious disease in susceptible individuals, prevention and treatment require an understanding of etiology as well as predisposing factors.

Article 

Calcium in the Avian Patient

The most widespread mineral in the body, calcium is required for normal metabolism and bone mineralization.

Physiology

Calcium homeostasis is under the control of calcitonin, which is produced by the ultimobranchial gland, vitamin D, and parathyroid hormone. In laying hens, most dietary calcium is used for egg production. Rising estrogen levels promote increased intake of calcium supplements like cuttlefish bone and calcium-rich foods, however the quantity of calcium ingested daily is insufficient for the massive deposition of calcium required for eggshell calcification.

Article 

Physical Examination of the Chick

Pediatrics is one of the most fascinating and rewarding fields of avian medicine. The key to hand raising healthy psittacine chicks is a strong preventive medicine program based on sound husbandry practices. Physical examination is an important part of preventive health care.

Article 

Pediatric Avian Medicine: Infectious Diseases of the Psittacine Chick

Avian polyoma virus is the most devastating disease that can affect the psittacine nursery. Depending on age and species, the clinical picture may include peracute death, coelomic distention, subcutaneous hemorrhage, abnormal feather formation, non-specific signs of illness, delayed crop emptying, regurgitation, diarrhea, dyspnea, posterior paresis or paralysis, and polyuria…

Article 

Diagnosing and Treating Avian Neurologic Disease

The cranial nerve exam differs little from that of mammals, however there are differences in innervation. As in mammals, menace and pupillary light response (PLR) require use of cranial nerves II (optic) and III (oculomotor), however menace is difficult to interpret in birds. Also, PLR may be overridden in birds due to the presence of striated iridal muscle. Evaluate PLR early in the exam using a sudden, bright light directed toward the medial canthus. Consensual PLR is absent due to…

Article  Video  Webinar 

Grey Parrot Anatomy Project Veterinary Webinar

When Dr. Michelle Hawkins of the Companion Exotic Animal Medicine & Surgery Service of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine expressed interest in an encore presentation of the Grey Parrot Anatomy Project for veterinary medical students, Dr. M. Scott Echols and LafeberVet were happy to oblige. Veterinary medical educators and their students were invited to attend this free, interactive, web-based seminar featuring incredible avian anatomy images, video clips that enhance our understanding of anatomy, and an exciting research update…

Article 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Atherosclerosis in Birds

What is atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis is characterized by fibrous plaques between the tunica intima and the internal elastic lamina of the vasculature. The heart, great vessels, and peripheral vessels of all sizes can be affected. Atherosclerosis begins with the formation of fatty streaks, which can eventually progress into fibrous plaques and complicated lesions…

Article 

Normal Body Weights in Birds

“Normal Body Weights in Birds” is a collection of normal reported weights in common companion birds and birds of prey presented in table format. Keep in mind that reported normal body weights for a given species can vary significantly…

Article 

Grooming Companion Birds: A Review

Grooming in the bird can refer to clipping wing feathers, trimming nails, and smoothing and/or trimming the beak. Grooming can be performed by the veterinarian or an astute, skilled veterinary technician, however before the procedure begins one must always ask should the bird be groomed and should the bird be groomed at my practice?

Article 

Physical Examination of the Avian Patient

Be prepared for your next bird patient. Review the basic approach to the avian physical examination, including history, review of signalment, and visual examination. Key parts of the exam will vary, but generally include a body weight in grams, the oropharynx, crop, sternum, coelom, and vent. The fundus should be routinely evaluated in trauma patients…

Information sheet 

Basic Information Sheet: African Grey Parrot

African grey parrots are among the most familiar of all parrots. Originating from central Africa, many African cities now have feral populations. The Timneh grey parrot is localized to the Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone. Habitats for grey parrots include savannahs, coastal mangroves, woodland and edges of forest clearings. African greys are listed under Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Appendix II, which means these species are not necessarily threatened with extinction, but may become so unless their trade is strictly regulated…

Article  Quiz 

Basic Aviculture Vocabulary & Concepts: Images and Facts to Help You ‘Talk the Talk’

Are you confident in your medical approach to pediatric health problems ranging from constricted toes to omphalitis, but hazy on the details of incubation and hatch? Many avian veterinarians deal with aviculturists only sporadically, which can diminish your ability to extract relevant patient history. Use Aviculture Vocabulary & Concepts to quickly review common breeder concepts and terms, so that you are better able to focus on your patient’s medical care.

Client Education Handout 

Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease

Donated by Dr. Eric Klaphake, this client education handout describes psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD), an important disease of parrots. This handout discusses the cause of PBFD, bird species at greatest risk, transmission, as well as diagnosis or testing. Recommendations for removal of PBFD from a collection or aviary are also described.

Article  Video 

Fascinating Facts on Foraging and Enrichment

Foraging, the act of searching for and finding food, makes up a significant part of the wild parrot’s day. In the wild, most animals, including psittacine birds, spend a significant part of their daily activity on foraging. In fact, many free-ranging parrots regularly travel several miles between feeding sites in search of food. Once wild parrots arrive at a feeding site, a wide variety of foraging behaviors are observed including searching, manipulating, as well as consuming food. Depending on the species and the season, time invested on these behaviors can range from…

Article  Video 

Parrot Handling and Restraint

Manual restraint and handling is required for most medical procedures in the companion parrot, also known as the psittacine or hookbill. Warn owners of the inherent risk of handling the critically ill bird and minimize handling time so the bird does not overheat or become overly distressed. Also monitor the bird closely for any change in strength, breathing, or attitude. Parrot handling also carries potential risk for veterinary medical staff since even friendly birds may bite if they feel threatened.

Article  Video 

Foraging as a Means of Behavior Modification

Foraging is the act of searching for and finding food. Many wild birds spend more than 50% of their day foraging and feeding, particularly in the morning and evening. Because foraging occupies a significant portion of a bird’s daily activity, it likely has social and behavioral importance.

Bird behaviors can be divided into four categories: foraging, socialization, grooming or self-preening, and sleeping or resting. In a captive situation, normal behaviors are likely disrupted including foraging. If the ability to forage is removed, that leaves socializing, grooming, and rest…

Article  Video 

Avian Respiratory Emergencies: An Approach to the Dyspneic Bird

After recognizing a dyspneic bird, the clinician’s initial response should be: Hands Off!! Dyspneic birds can die soon after presentation with the additional stress of restraint and handling. Therefore minimize handling and place the bird in an oxygen-rich cage. Humidify air and provide 40 to 50% oxygen. As in mammals, oxygen therapy is potentially toxic if given for prolonged periods at high levels.