Article 

Reproductive Emergencies in Birds

Reproductive emergencies are most commonly seen in small psittacine birds like the cockatiel, lovebird and budgerigar parakeet. This article reviews conditions commonly seen on an emergency basis such as dystocia, egg yolk peritonitis, cloacal or oviductal prolapse, and/or chronic egg laying. Pertinent anatomy and physiology as well as case management, including the reproductive history, physical examination, diagnostic imaging, and behavioral modification techniques are also discussed.

Article 

Body Condition Scoring in Birds

Body condition scoring or BCS is a useful tool for assessment of a patient’s general health status and evaluation of a patient’s food supply. The BCS system described below is based on scores between 1 and 5, with 1 being emaciated and 5 being obese for the “generic” bird. Currently there is no universally agreed upon BCS system for the avian patient due to…

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 

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 

How to Select an Antibiotic

The first step in antimicrobial drug selection is to make sure treatment is necessary. Companion birds often display nonspecific signs of illness, and the avian clinician should be reasonably sure that an infection is present before using antibiotics. The presence of a pathogen on culture or Gram stain does not necessarily mean treatment is warranted. Small numbers of potential pathogens are frequently isolated from the choana and cloaca of healthy birds.

Article 

Nutritional Management of Obesity in Birds

Unfortunately the sedentary lifestyle of the companion bird makes obesity one of the most common forms of malnutrition seen in clinical practice. Pet birds are fed too much food or they are fed diets rich in sources of fat, such as sunflower seeds .

Article 

Seeds Commonly Fed to Companion Birds

There are two types of seeds fed to pet birds: oil seeds and non-oil seeds. Oil seeds are a rich source of energy and vitamin E. Oil seeds such as sunflower seeds contain at least 50% fat and are low in calcium. Non-oil seeds such as millet are much lower in fat when compared to oil seeds and the energy present is stored as starch.

Article 

Evaluation of Bird Droppings

Normal bird droppings consist of three components: feces, urine, and urates. Urine and urates are the products of the avian kidney. The medullary or mammalian nephron of the bird kidney produces urine. The more numerous cortical or reptilian nephron produces a soluble form of uric acid or…

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Shelled Egg Palpable

Detecting a shelled egg on physical examination is not necessarily a problem—birds lay eggs everyday! However palpation of a shelled egg is an important clinical finding that can be associated with dystocia. The egg is shelled in a distal part of the oviduct called the uterus or shell gland. Therefore a shelled egg would normally be palpable in either the…

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 

Avian Polyomavirus Primer

Signs of avian polyomavirus type 1 in the budgerigar parakeet can be quite variable. Feather dystrophy or abnormal feather growth can lead to deformed flight feathers. Affected birds are unable to fly and are called “runners” or “creepers”. “French molt” is a term sometimes used for this slow, debilitating disease in parakeets characterized by progressive development of abnormal feathers. Bleeding is another hallmark of clinical avian polyomavirus infection…

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…

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 

Chronic Egg Laying

Chronic egg laying is the production of an excessive number of eggs or repeated clutches (or collections) of eggs. Chronic egg laying often occurs in the absence of a normal…

Client Education Handout 

Egg Laying Problems Client Handout

Reproductive problems are a common problem in many small pet bird species, particularly cockatiels, budgerigars parakeets, lovebirds, finches and canaries. In this client handout donated by Dr. Eric Klaphake, egg laying problems from egg binding and egg yolk peritonitis to chronic egg laying are briefly explained to the companion parrot owner.

Article 

Understanding the Illegal Parrot Trade

While there are more parrots than ever before in captivity, there are fewer parrots in the wild now than at any time in recorded history. In fact, psittacine birds are the most threatened group of bird species in the world today. The situation is particularly dire in the neotropics where at least 46 out of 145 species are at risk of global extinction. Although the cause of declining parrot populations worldwide is complex, the most important factors include habitat loss, culling, and capture of individuals for the pet trade…

Article  Product information  Video 

Lafeber in the Field: Stick-A-Roos at Zoo Atlanta

Lafeber Company’s work isn’t always tied to our family farm and production facility. Lafeber Company has worked with Atlanta Zoo veterinarian, Dr. Samuel Rivera, to create Stick-A-Roos (Stickaroos), a diet designed for use in interactive parakeet and cockatiel aviaries. Stick-A-Roos provide maintenance nutrition and foraging enrichment.

Article 

Basic Cytology of the Avian Gastrointestinal Tract

Historically, routine Gram’s stains were performed in apparently healthy birds. As our understanding of avian medicine has grown, avian veterinarians have questioned the reliability and validity of Gram’s stain cytology as a screening test. Cytology is indicated when specific problems are reported during a detailed medical history or when…

Information sheet 

Basic Information Sheet: Parakeet

“Parakeet” is a broad term for a small parrot with a long tail. There are many parakeet species, however the most popular pet parakeet is the budgerigar parakeet or “budgie”. Free-ranging “budgies” live in large flocks in a variety of habitats such as woodlands, open grassland, and dry scrub throughout non-coastal Australia and Tasmania. Another popular species is Bourke’s parakeet, which is from the southern and eastern regions of Australia.

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Cloacal Prolapse in Birds

Cloacal prolapse is a serious and potentially life-threatening problem. Prolapses can originate from the cloaca, oviduct or intestinal tract. The cloaca normally prolapses during egg laying or oviposition, and normal retraction of the cloaca may be slowed or absent in an obese hen or one with hypocalcemia. Excessive abdominal contractions caused by an abnormal egg, dystocia, cloacal disease, gastrointestinal disease or chronic mastubatory behavior can also promote prolapse.

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.