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Pigeon Disease Primer

The “Pigeon Disease Primer” explores important differential diagnoses for common clinical problems observed in pigeons and doves. Although the clinical approach to the columbiform relies on the same concepts of “One Medicine” used in all species, many of the infectious diseases of pigeons are relatively unique to this taxonomic group, or at least much more prevalent when compared to psittacine birds or songbirds.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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…

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Gastrointestinal Disease in the Ferret

The ferret is a carnivore with a short, simple gastrointestinal tract and a relatively rapid gastrointestinal transit time. Diarrhea is the most common clinical sign in ferrets with gastrointestinal disease, with the exception of gastrointestinal foreign bodies where anorexia and weight loss are the primary presenting complaints.

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Raising Orphaned Raptors

Imprinting is an important, natural part of a young animal’s development where it learns to recognize its own species. Imprinting utilizes the senses of sight, touch, and sound. Imprinting via sound probably begins in the egg during the pip-to-hatch stage when the parent and chick vocalize back and forth. After hatching, sight becomes an important factor in imprinting as the chick’s visual ability improves. The chick associates the images it sees with the sounds and tactile sensations with which it is already familiar.

It is not enough to prevent imprinting on humans…

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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…

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Ten Tips for Evaluating Chicks in the Exam Room

When approaching a baby bird for physical examination, keep the following facts in mind:

First, this may be your patient’s first veterinary visit. Set the stage for a positive veterinary relationship. Puppies and kittens are obviously juveniles, but a fully-fledged baby bird can look a lot like the adult bird to the uninitiated. Nevertheless this fully feathered creature is a baby and should be approached as such. Strive to create a benevolent, protective atmosphere, and never…

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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…

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Diseases of Songbirds: A “Cheat” Sheet

Approach to the passerine bird relies on the same concepts of “One Medicine” used in all animals. Nevertheless many of the infectious agents diagnosed in songbirds are relatively unique to this taxonomic group, or at least much more prevalent when compared to psittacine birds or birds of prey.

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Songbird Housing Checklist

When hospitalizing any wildlife patient, the goal should always be to transfer the animal to an experienced, licensed wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible. In the meantime, it is imperative that the passerine bird be housed appropriately to promote recovery and prevent injury.

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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?

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Backyard Poultry Primer

Order Galliformes consists of heavy-bodied, ground feeding birds like the chicken, turkey, quail, and pheasant. Backyard or hobby flocks consist of meat and game birds; or ornamental or show birds. Conditions commonly encountered in backyard chickens and turkeys often include endoparasites like Eimeria spp., pasteurellosis or fowl cholera, mycoplasmosis, staphylococcosis, and colibacillosis. Another common presenting problem is trauma, which can typically be categorized as…

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Waterfowl Diseases: A “Cheat Sheet”

Although the rare veterinarian routinely deals with large numbers of waterfowl on a regular basis, many avian veterinarians encounter waterfowl only sporadically as wildlife rehabilitation cases, backyard poultry, and/or zoo specimens. When consulting textbooks for help, often a dizzying array of waterfowl diseases are encountered. Some conditions such as “angel wing” and predator trauma are important in captive populations, while infectious diseases like fowl cholera can cause massive die-offs in free-ranging birds…

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Understanding the Avian Egg: From Outside to In

The bird egg, sometimes called a “miracle of packaging”, can be intimidating for the avian veterinarian. This amazing structure comes with a plethora of new vocabulary terms, complex anatomy, and intricate physiology. LafeberVet’s “Understanding the Avian Egg” describes the basics of egg anatomy from the eggshell to the embryo with a brief description of hatch.

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Crop Burn in Birds

Crop burns are commonly caused by thermal injury in young birds and, in rare instances, by ingestion of caustic chemicals in adult birds. Crop burn is generally caused by feeding formula that is too hot (>110ºF or 43.3ºC) or less commonly, contact with a heat lamp or heating pad. Damage typically occurs in the gravity dependent right ventral region of the crop where the weight of the food bolus presses heated material against the skin. This increased thermal exposure can lead to necrosis of the crop wall and skin forming a fistula that can leak food.

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…

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 

Prepare Your Home For Your New Baby Bird

The more prepared you are as a new owner, the easier your baby bird’s adjustment will be to his new home. Use this checklist to smooth the transition.

Client Education Handout 

Avian Polyomavirus

Avian polyomavirus is one of the most important viral diseases seen in the companion parrot.

Rabbit Reproduction Basics

The prolific nature of the rabbit has linked them with fertility and the cycle of life and death since ancient times. In fact the idea of the Easter bunny probably arose from the medieval belief that rabbits, as a creator of life, ushered in the dawn. Rabbit Reproduction Basics reviews key vocabulary terms, important anatomy and physiology, as well as other important related concepts such as sexual behavior and common pathologic conditions.

Client Education Handout 

Avian Polyomavirus Client Handout

Avian polyomavirus infection is a disease in psittacine birds or parrots of greatest concern in chicks. This client handout briefly explains this important disease from signs and transmission to diagnostic testing and control or prevention.

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10 Tips for a Great Baby Bird Visit

For most veterinarians, chicks are seen only sporadically in clinical practice–which can shake your confidence.
Use LafeberVet’s NEW Ten Tips for Evaluating Chicks in the Exam Room as a clinical aide to start your pediatric visit off right.