Avian Expert Articles

Susan Orosz, PhD, DVM, Dipl ABVP (Avian), Dipl ECZM (Avian)

Susan Orosz, Ph.D., DVM, Dipl. ABVP (Avian), Dipl. ECZM (Avian),  received her Ph.D, in human neuroanatomy from the University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine and her DVM degree from Ohio State University. She is a board-certified specialist in avian medicine and surgery, both in the United States (ABVP, Avian) and in Europe (ECZM, Avian). She is known internationally through the advances made for the health care of birds, books and articles she has written, and her lectures to veterinarians and bird owners alike.

After practicing in California, she went on to become a faculty member of the University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary Medicine from 1986 to 2000, where she taught avian medicine and surgery to veterinary students and residents. While there, she developed the Avian, Exotic Animal and Wildlife Service in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and an avian residency program leading to board certification in avian medicine through ABVP. This service was recognized for having the largest caseload of exotic animals at any American veterinary teaching hospital. She has a number of areas of concentration including avian nutrition, anatomy, fungal diseases, neuroanatomy and herbal medicine.  She consults for the Lafeber Company as needed.

Dr. Orosz is past president of the Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV),  has been a scientific editor for the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery and a recipient of the Dr. T.J. Lafeber Avian Practitioner of the Year award.  She is owner of Bird and Exotic Pet Wellness Center, an exclusively exotics veterinary hospital in Toledo, Ohio.

Articles by Susan:

close up of cockatiel face

Psittacosis: What Bird Owners Need To Know

Psittacosis is a disease that can be transmitted to people from birds and vice versa, so learn all you can to protect your bird from it.

mini macaw, yellow collared macaw, macaw parrot

Inside The Mighty Avian Heart

A bird’s cardiovascular system must provide adequate delivery of oxygen to vascular beds that are taxed by extreme metabolic demands.

Blue fronted Amazon eating

What Is a Geriatric Parrot?

What exactly defines a “geriatric” bird? Discover the physiological signs of aging in birds and the steps to take to help ward off the afflictions associated with advanced age as well as see what studies reveal on birds’ secret to a long life span.

Caroline Efstathion crouching on ground holding parrot chick in towel

Parrot Conservation Surprise Challenge: Bees

When Dr. Caroline Efstathion learned that a major problem for parrots in South America and Africa is Africanized honey bees taking over their nesting cavities, she seized the opportunity to combine her passion for parrots and knowledge of entomology to help find a solution.

two cockatoos flying free in blue sky

Flight & Exercises To Keep Your Bird Moving

To truly be healthy and fit, our birds need regular exercise in addition to a wholesome and balanced diet. Of course, for birds, flying is the optimal form of exercise. But is free flight a safe option for every companion bird? Are there alternatives?

scarlet macaw flying in blue sky

Free Flight: Lessons from ExoticsCon

One trending topic among avian veterinarians is the correlation between flight and bird health. Specifically, having a companion bird fly can help maintain cardiac, vascular, muscular, and mental health.

Dr. Scott Echols stands with Drs. Nico Schoemaker and Yvonne Van Zeeland at the Lafeber booth at ExoticsCon in Portland, Oregon.

Bird Vets Flock To Portland For ExoticsCon 2016

Exotic medicine was in the spotlight recently when the Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV), Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV) and the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians (ARAV) met in Portland for ExoticsCon 2016. One trend seen among avian veterinarians is an increase in pet birds presenting with metabolic bone disease, one form of which includes osteoporosis.

Hyancinth sitting at entrance to a tree cavity

Beyond the Olympics: Birding in Brazil

Brazil boasts over 1,825 species with others being discovered or named continually. Brazil is considered one of the planet’s richest centers of biodiversity and represents 60% of the species found on the South American continent! As you root for our young athletes at the Olympics, you can think about — and maybe participate in — Brazil’s vast ecotourism to help parrots continue to live in its wilds.

head shot of yellow and blue macaw

Complex Intelligence Defines Bird Brained

It appears that the part of the brain that corresponds to the forebrain, the pallium in birds, has a much higher concentration of neurons or the brain cells packed in the same amount of space than many primates.

Rosemary Low standing with Susan Orosz in a room with a brick wall, painting and furniture

Rosemary Low Teaches Us Parrot Enrichment

Get to know Rosemary Low, British aviculturist, ornithologist and conservationist. Plus, learn her tips for presenting fresh food and foraging to parrots.

Blue herring standing on a perch outside

Bird Conservation Yesterday & Today

It is time to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty, which essentially put bird conservation in motion in the United States and changed how we treat our native birds.

African grey parrot

Rethinking What “Bird Brained” Means

Find out how some birds evolved to be more intelligent than we humans initially thought.

1 day old African grey chick with eyes close being held up by someone's fingers; no feathers but it does have fuzz

An Egg’s Incredible Journey

From the ovaries to ovulation, trace the path of a bird egg and what happens at each stage to result in the fragile casing of new life.

head and shoulder shot of a Bald Eagle

How America’s Bird Came To Be

Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson all wanted a say in in creating a seal that would represent the newly founded United States of America. That honor, of course, ultimately went to the bald eagle … but why did Benjamin Franklin want a different bird?

Sun Conure

A Healthy Year Ahead For Your Pet Bird

This is the time of year to make New Year’s resolutions and many involve fitness and health. So what about your bird friend? What type of resolution for them? We want them to be fit and healthy as well, so what are the bullet points to achieve that goal?

Blue Jay on a snowy branch

The Christmas Bird Count

The annual Christmas Bird Count began in 1900 and provides important information on wild bird population trends. And you can volunteer to be part of it!

Two Wild Turkeys stand together among tall plants and fallen leaves

Fill Up On Turkey Trivia

Turkeys rule the month of November, but there’s more to this magnificent bird than being the main course! Learn what foods attract wild turkeys and get your fill on other turkey trivia.

blue crowned conure

Protect Your Pet Bird From Mold

Ventilation, heat, humidity, cleanliness and other factors affect the possibility that your bird might suffer a respiratory infection caused by mold.

group of people at ExoticsCon 2015

Avian Vets Flock To ExoticsCon

Exotic medicine’s super powers — the Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV), Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV) and the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians (ARAV) — gathered in San Antonio for ExoticsCon 2015.

head shot of Dr. T.J. Lafeber Sr.

How Lafeber’s Helping Hands Changed Avian Medicine

Meet the man who — with budgie in hand — inspired up-and-coming veterinarians to take an interest in avian medicine and helped turn the veterinary world’s focus to avian medicine.

head shot of blue-fronted Amazon parrot

Vaccines & Pet Birds

Do pet birds need vaccines? See what the latest avian research reveals.

African Grey Parrot

Avian Medicine Gets The Spotlight In Paris

Dr. Susan Orosz reports on some exciting developments in avian medicine at the second International Conference for Avian, Herpetological and Exotic Mammal Medicine (ICARE) conference recently held in Paris.

double yellow headed Amazon parrot

Healthy Gut, Healthier Bird

Good digestive health can hinge on the balance of good microbes vs. bad microbes, with a balanced immune system at stake. See what researchers at Texas A&M found when they compared the microbiome of wild parrots with that of companion parrots.

Blue fronted Amazon eating

Nutri-Berries vs. Standard Avian Diets

In the 25 years that Lafeber’s Nutri-Berries have been part of the food spectrum for parrots, more and more pet bird enthusiasts have offered them as a surefire way to get their birds on the path to good nutrition. You know your bird likes them, but are you curious to know how Nutri-Berries stack up against standard parrot diet offerings?

Congo African Grey Parrot on a cage

Bird Brains are Not that Simple!

Check out this scientific look at the mind of parrots, and learn a whole new meaning for “birdbrain.”

Two green winged macaws in the wild

Parrot Breeding Biology In The Wild & In The Home

Knowing what in-home conditions can inadvertently mimic breeding season in the wild can help us lessen or deter hormonal behavior inside the home. Find out how cage placement and the food you offer can affect your bird’s behavior.

white capped pionus sitting on food dish

Is Your Pet Bird A Healthy Weight?

Ever stop to think what type of shape your bird is in? Is he or she underweight, overweight or within normal weight … not sure? Find out what you can do to check your bird’s muscle mass.

close up of cockatiel face

Winter Prep For Your Bird

Inspecting the cage, adding safe new toys and seasonal food, and keeping the environment healthy make your bird’s cage a cozy home for winter.

Two green winged macaws in the wild

A Special Place For Green-Winged Macaws in Brazil

Dr. Susan Orosz takes us on a journey to Brazil’s Pantanal region, home to macaws, Amazons, conures, toco toucans and other birds. This time around, we learn about a special oasis for green-winged macaws called Buraco das Araras. Find out what sets this unique preserve apart — and why it’s nicknamed the “Macaws’ Hole.”

Hyacinth macaw eating while standing in grass (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus)

Macaws & Other Parrots of the Pantanal, Brazil

Avian veterinarian Dr. Susan Orosz takes us on her journey to Brazil’s Pantanal region, the world’s largest tropical wetland and home to myriad species of parrots living in the wild, including the hyacinth macaw.

African grey parrot flying indoors

Is Your Bird Ready To Fly?

Birds are the ultimate flying machines, with truly remarkable aerial feats. Part of what draws us to birds is the fact that they can fly; it is part of a bird’s unique makeup. While parrots can fly, there are certainly differences in the way they fly, and not all parrots are equally adept at flying.

macaw standing with one foot lifted

A Veterinary Conference for the Birds

Imagine a gathering of veterinarians rubbing elbows, picking each other’s brains about their complex cases, sharing research and developing strategies to conquer avian diseases and conditions. AAV’s conference is a week of just that. See what hot topics avian vets were talking about.

head and shoulder shot of yellow-naped Amazon parrot

Feather Trims & Other Summer Safety Info

While we all want to get out of the house this time of year, how should we do that successfully with our companion birds? These tips help you enjoy safe summer fun with your pet bird.

African grey parrot chick walking

How Egg Laying Affects Your Pet Bird

It is that time of year for the hatching of chicks – those from the wild and those in our homes! While they can be cute and fun, chicks are a lot of work and require proper care to survive and thrive.

Liz with black Palm Cockatoo

A Retreat All About The Bird Brain

The Phoenix Landing Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting and protecting the welfare of parrots, recently hosted a Wellness Retreat for pet bird enthusiasts. The event focused on bird brains. It also honored the late Liz Wilson, who was a pioneer in parrot behavior and spent a large part of her life teaching what she knew to bird owners, her fellow vet techs, and avian veterinarians.

Dr. Susan Orosz beside Dr. Giacomo Rossi

Pet Bird Research: PDD

Dr. Susan Orosz recently traveled to Rome, Italy for the AIVPA conference (Italy’s Association of Small Animal Veterinarians annual gathering). See what Dr. Orosz and her colleagues from both the U.S. and abroad are learning about PDD and how this “meeting of the minds” can lead to significant advances in treating this disease.

Green Parakeet

Psittacosis & Other Zoonotic Diseases

A zoonotic disease is a disease that can be passed between animals to humans. Zoonotic diseases can be caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi. As pet bird owners, we all need to know about the zoonotic diseases of our birds so that we can guard against them — to keep both them and us healthy and happy!

Green cheek Conure

Why You Need An Avian Veterinarian

Unfortunately, many people forgo taking their bird to the vet until it is too late, as in, “Now I should take my bird to the vet because it is down on the bottom of the cage.” When a bird is that sick, it is very difficult (for anyone, no matter their knowledge or expertise) to bring the bird back from the brink of death.

close up of face of senior orange-winged Amazon parrot

Amazon Parrot Still Going Strong at 100!

I have had a couple of old hens that have taught me a lot about birds. They were both orange-winged Amazon parrots. I am at the end of the generation of veterinarians on the first line where all of our patients were wild-caught.

bird on pumpkin

Share These 4 Healthy Thanksgiving Foods

November is a month of harvesting the great bounty of the earth, including fall-season foods that are good for our companion birds to eat! Let’s start with the foods that are good for our birds at Thanksgiving!

face of Amazon parrot

Why Birds Live So Long

Parrots live much longer than they are supposed to live! In fact the large macaws live on average four times their predicted life spans! So what’s their secret?

Green Parrot

Fall Pet Bird Health Check: Hormones & Respiratory Concerns

Fall is the time of change – particularly along the northern tier in the United States. While we often think about how autumn affects us, a change of seasons also brings out changes in our pet birds.

Raven, Australian raven standing on pavement

Birds In Halloween Folklore

Birds have been part of the Halloween tradition for a long time — even before the demonic few from Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” in 1963! The birds most commonly shown are crows and ravens, which are members of the corvidae family.

Nanday Conure perched on wire cage door

The Bird Beak Inside & Out

The beak is derived from a cornified specialization of the skin and has the same components.

macaw standing with one foot lifted

Parrot Feet

When we think of birds, we often imagine these fascinating creatures flying through the air. Yet, what goes up must come down. Let’s focus on birds’ feet, which allow birds to maneuver and rest while taking a break from flight.

illustration of a parrot heart

Journey Inside The Hearts of Birds

In this part two of her “Anatomy of the Avian Heart” series, Dr. Susan Orosz gives us a microscopic look at our birds’ hearts. Find out why a bird’s super-fast heart rate necessitates a souped-up electrocardiogram machine, among other fascinating avian heart facts.

hyacinth macaw standing on branch with sky in background

Anatomy of the Avian Heart

The most striking features of birds is their ability to perform very rigorous functions in harsh environments, such as diving deeply in cold water, flying at high altitudes and running in hot deserts. This requires that their cardiovascular system (CVS) be able to meet the demands of providing adequate delivery of oxygen to vascular beds that are taxed by extreme metabolic demands.

How Liz Wilson Helped Avian Veterinarians

I remember the first thing that Liz wanted all parrot owners to do when they first got their bird and especially if they were having a problem: she wanted them to take it to their avian vet!

Why Birds’ Eyes Are So Different From Ours

Enhanced visual acuity, seeing ultraviolet light, and changing focus rapidly are some of the fascinating abilities of birds’ eyes.

The Female Reproductive System: Along Comes The Egg!

It is important for bird owners to understand the female bird’s reproductive system. Here is a detailed account of exactly what goes on during the egg-laying process

rainbow lorikeet

4 Easy Ways To Deter Breeding Behavior

Find out why you might want to rethink your pet bird’s cage setup, how long you leave the lights on, the type of foods you feed, and even the way you pet and interact with your bird.

parrot flapping wings

See How They Fly

Birds have solved the problem of flight through an aerodynamic design of their own, streamlined bodies, reduced weight, a powerful heart, and an efficient respiratory system, among other adaptations.

Military Macaw

The Miracle of Flight

We talk about miracles, particularly during the holiday season, but one that we as bird owners often marvel at is the miracle of flight! The adaptations necessary for birds to fly are considered among the most intriguing puzzles of all in biology.

wild turkeys

Gobble Up These Fun Turkey Facts

I love Thanksgiving, in part because I am an avian vet and this is a bird holiday involving a very special bird – the wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo). Here are some fun turkey facts to pass around your Thanksgiving table.

Dilated crop

Unraveling the Puzzle of Avian Bornavirus & PDD

We must expand our view of clinical ABV disease to that of a continuum of a wide range of clinical symptoms. Many clinically infected birds show only mild clinical signs of disease.

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