Article 

Avian Emergency & Critical Care Summary Page

Although the principles of emergency medicine critical care are universal for all species, this approach must be balanced with an understanding of the unique aspects of avian medicine. Use this summary page to review the basic approach to the avian patient and select additional links to supplement your knowledge base.

Article  Video  Webinar 

What Parrots Want: The Importance and Use of Foraging and Environmental Enrichment for Birds

This webinar has been R.A.C.E.-approved for 1 hour of continuing education. Despite parrots being popular pets, much of the information regarding their nutritional and behavioral needs is still unknown. Unlike dogs and cats, most psittacine species are not domesticated and have therefore likely retained most, if not all, of their wild instincts and behavioral needs. In captivity, however, most parrots have little to no opportunity to perform these species-typical behaviors. This will not only reduce their welfare, but can also result in the onset of abnormal repetitive behaviors, including feather damaging behavior, and oral or locomotor stereotypies.

Quiz 

Feather Destructive Behavior in Psittacine Birds Post Test

Categories: Avian, Parrot,
The Feather Destructive Behavior in Psittacine Birds webinar was reviewed and approved by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) Registry of Approved Continuing Education (R.A.C.E.) program for 1 hour of continuing education, in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB R.A.C.E. approval….

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 

External Coaptation in Birds: Bandages and Splints

Traumatic orthopedic injuries are relatively common in the avian patient. Although bird bones are strong when intact, they tend to shatter on impact as the cortices are thin and brittle. A lack of abundant soft tissue coverage often leads to open fractures…

Product information 

Lafeber’s Offer to Replace Product

Our customers expect and depend upon us to provide the highest quality products possible for their beloved feathered family members. We are offering to replace the Pellet Berries listed below.

Article  Video  Webinar 

Anatomy and Physiology of the Avian Gastrointestinal Tract: Clinical Applications

As a part of the Encore ICARE Lafeber Symposium Lecture Series, Dr. Susan Orosz provided an introductory presentation on anatomy and physiology of the avian gastrointestinal tract. View a recording of this AAVSB R.A.C.E.-approved web-based seminar, then take the brief post-test to earn 1 hour of continuing education credit.

Article  Video  Webinar 

Medical Management of Psittacines with Bornavirus Ganglioneuritis (PDD)

Did you attend the Lafeber Symposium at the 2015 International Conference on Avian heRpetological and Exotic mammal medicine in Paris? View a recording of this encore, web-based seminar: “Medical Management of Psittacines with Bornavirus Ganglioneuritis (PDD)” by Susan Orosz, DVM, DABVP (Avian Practice), DECZM (Avian). This presentation on avian borna virus contains medium to advanced level content. The novice is encouraged to view the first hour of Dr. Orosz’s presentation “Anatomy & Physiology of the Avian Gastrointestinal Tract: Clinical Applications”, which includes a helpful review of avian gastrointestinal anatomy and physiology.

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  Video  Webinar 

Feather Destructive Behavior in Psittacine Birds Webinar

The AAVSB R.A.C.E.-approved webinar “Feather Destructive Behavior in Psittacine Birds” was presented by Lynne Seibert, DVM, MS, PhD, Dipl. American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. View a recording of this web-based seminar, then take the post-test to earn 1 hour of continuing education credit.

Article 

Exotic ICU: Nursing Care For the Avian Patient

It is 10 p.m. in your veterinary emergency hospital and a dreaded call comes in. A panicked owner is in tears because their beloved pet is in crisis. In most cases, your team will quickly gather supplies and move swiftly to prepare for the emergent patient. This patient may strike fear in many veterinary professionals, however, because it is the dreaded avian patient presenting to a general veterinary practice.

Released for National Veterinary Technician Week 2014, Tips and Tricks for the Avian Patient is part of an Exotic ICU series that provides advice on the management of birds in a critical care setting.

Article 

Avian Bornavirus and Proventricular Dilatation Disease: Facts, Questions, and Controversies

Proventricular dilatation disease or PDD is one of the most frustrating avian conditions encountered today. The recent discovery of a causal relationship between PDD and avian bornavirus has not simplified the challenges that are faced. The detection of avian bornavirus infection is common in birds with PDD but is also detected in birds with other chronic diseases that are not diagnosed with PDD. Proventricular dilatation disease was first reported in the late 1970s…

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 

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 

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 

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 

Nutritional Management of Renal Disease in Birds

There are a number of potential nutritional problems that can promote renal disease. Excess dietary protein, excess dietary calcium, hypovitaminosis A, or hypervitaminosis D may lead to nephritis or other degenerative renal changes…

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 

Expert Panel on Companion Bird Nutrition

In 1998, an expert committee met to discuss the nutritional needs of companion birds. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and develop nutrient profiles for companion birds, focusing on profiles for formulated feed.

The expert panel developed maintenance guidelines for two broad groups of birds: psittacines and passerines (regardless of size or genus). These conservative, generalized guidelines are extrapolated from the National Research Council requirements for poultry and…

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: Diagnostic Testing

Regardless of the initial cause of illness or injury, neonatal psittacine birds often develop secondary bacterial and/or fungal infections that can become serious primary problems. These infections are most commonly encountered within the gastrointestinal tract.

Article 

Pediatric Avian Medicine: Husbandry-Related and Developmental Conditions

The key to hand raising healthy psittacine chicks is a strong preventive medicine program based on sound husbandry practices. Hygiene, hand feeding protocols, incubation and brooder parameters, environmental temperature in the nursery, and pest control are just a few of the husbandry practices that; if mismanaged, can lead to serious adverse consequences.

Many experienced aviculturists follow strict husbandry protocols that result in few health problems. When problems do arise…

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 

Psittacine Behavior, Handling and Restraint

Behavior is the most direct tool a wild bird has to respond to its environment, and it ultimately determines whether it survives and breeds in its natural environment. There are two functional categories of avian behaviors: self-maintenance behaviors and social behaviors.

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  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Oropharyngeal Plaques in Birds

Oropharyngeal lesions tend to be asymptomatic until lesions are quite advanced. Clinical signs associated with oropharyngeal disease vary, but may include anorexia, dysphagia, drooling, halitosis, head or food flicking and rubbing the beak. Diffuse disease or large focal lesions or diffuse disease can obstruct the choanal slit and/or glottis leading to wheezing, open-mouth breathing, dyspnea or in extreme cases suffocation…

Slideshow 

Macaw ID Slideshow: Photos & Fast Facts

Which macaw is that? Use LafeberVet’s Macaw ID Slideshow for a review of species commonly seen in captivity.

What makes a parrot a macaw? Macaws possess very large beaks in proportion to the head with a fairly wide lower beak or gnathotheca in most species. Most macaws also have a bare facial patch with varying degrees of…

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  Product information 

Nutri-Berries and Foraging: A Neuroanatomic Perspective

Foraging for food is a basic behavioral repertoire for birds in the wild. The lack of opportunities for companion birds to engage in this behavior may play an important role in the development of abnormal behaviors. For example, Snyder et al documented that Puerto Rican Amazon parrots spend approximately 4–6 hour per day foraging and that they routinely travel several miles between sites. In contrast, companion birds in our homes like the orange-winged Amazon parrot spend approximately 30–72 minutes per day eating a pelleted diet without traveling, manipulating food items, and not attempting to balance their own diet. It has been suggested…

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 

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 

Zoonotic Avian Infections

An average 250 human cases of Chlamydophila psittaci are reported annually in the United States. Clinical signs typically follows a 5 to 14 day incubation period. Disease ranges from subclinical to systemic illness with severe pneumonia. Most people demonstrate sudden onset fever, headache, malaise, and myalgia with a non-productive cough that can be accompanied by breathing difficulty and chest tightness. Splenomegaly and…

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  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Upper Respiratory Signs in the Bird

Rhinitis or sinusitis in the bird can include a host of clinical signs including congestion, sneezing, oculonasal discharge, exophthalmos, as well as non-specific signs of illness such as reduced appetite, lethargy, and weight loss. If disease extends lower into the lower respiratory tract, cough, tachypnea, and…

Article 

Crop Stasis in Birds

The crop or ingluvies is a diverticulum of the esophagus present in many but not all, bird species. The crop serves as a food storage organ, regulating the flow of food through the gastrointestinal tract. Food within the crop is also softened by mucus glands. Crop stasis is a common clinical sign in which the crop fails to empty in a timely manner…

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 

Heavy Metal Poisoning in Birds

Heavy metal poisoning in birds most commonly occurs from ingestion of substances containing lead, or less commonly zinc. Acute heavy metal toxicity is occasionally seen in companion parrots that ingest or chew on objects containing metal because of their curious nature and innate desire to forage. Chronic lead poisoning most frequently affects free-ranging wildlife such as ducks, geese, swans and loons and is most commonly seen during migration in the late fall and early spring. Lead toxicity also occasionally occurs in upland game birds such as mourning doves, wild turkey, pheasants and quail. Lead poisoning has also been reported in raptors, presumably from the ingestion of lead-contaminated prey.

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…

Client Education Handout 

Breeder Checklist

How to Question the Source of Your Future Lifelong Companion:

By the time you are ready to select the breeder or shop to purchase your companion parrot, you have hopefully done your homework…

Client Education Handout 

Lories and Lorikeets, Care of

Lories and lorikeets are some of the most colorful members of the parrot family. Native to Australia, Tasmania, and the South Pacific islands, many species are threatened or endangered in the wild due to habitat loss or trapping. This educational handout will help your client understand how to care for and maintain these beautiful birds in captivity. Recommendations for diet, housing, and bathing are described as well as common problems seen in the pet lory and lorikeet.

Information sheet 

Basic Information Sheet: Lovebird

Lovebirds live in flocks among the woodlands, savannah and forest edges of sub-Saharan Africa and Indian Ocean islands.

Information sheet 

Basic Information Sheet: Lory and Lorikeet

Lories and lorikeets live in large flocks in the wild.  Depending on the species, lories and lorikeets originate from the southeast Asia archipelago or parts of Australia.  These birds will fly from island to island in search of food. Lories and lorikeets will eat coconuts and grapes and they are considered a pest to farmers.  The nomadic Rainbow lorikeet follows eucalyptus flowers blooming along the Australian coast. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the conservation status of most lories and lorikeets as “least concern”, although some species are considered vulnerable or “near threatened”. The Red-and-blue lory (Eos histrio), Rimitara lorikeet (Vini kuhlii), and Ultramarine lorikeet (Vini ultramarina) are endangered.