Ask Lafeber


June 4, 2021

Avian CBC and Chemistry Workup

Hi, I was wondering if you could shed some light on what the items in an avian blood workup mean and what they could be indicators of? Especially in conjunction with each other. Why is my white capped Pionus’s WBC lower than last year? Why did his absolute heterophilis, absolute monocytes, protein, glucose, and calcium in decrease? What do organisms in a gram stain mean?


Hi Shivani,

These are questions that your Avian Vet should answer for you. Bloodwork alone is not enough for a diagnosis. Blood values can vary for reasons that don’t affect health at all. But when there is a physical exam, other tests and the condition of the bird to go with it, then this tells the Vet what else to test for or it may show the bird is healthy. A gram stain is going to show what’s in the stool – it could be normal, harmless bacteria or “bad” bacteria. It can show if the bird may have too much bacteria or yeast. A few bacteria can be normal, but too many can mean the bird needs to be treated. The Vet would then usually do a culture and sensitivity to identify the bacteria as well as determine which medicine will work best against it. Please check with the Vet who did the tests and let them know that you would like a clear explanation of the tests. You are the paying client, and any Vet should be glad to provide more of an explanation when asked.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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