Ask Lafeber


April 27, 2021

Avian emergencies

i live in major city (NYC) and there are a large number of avian diplomate vets, very fortunate BUT I have found that for after hr emergencies, there is only one hospital I have found that would even see a bird at 12 am. Ive tried to call several 24 hr emergency clinics, and was told again and again ” we dont see birds”. Even the Animal Medical Center which is a 24 hr teaching Hosp in nyc – they would see me but its a dog cat vet working. Sadly, Ive had avian emergencies just after biz hrs and had some really bad experiences w these dog cat vets; even at this prestigious teaching hospital. This requires your average bird owner to have to prep for emergencies and be as knowlegable as possible. Any more advice? i feel very badly for bird owners in areas with no avian vets.


Hi Nora,

Avian medicine has come a long way, but I agree there is still a huge gap when it comes to after hour emergencies. Some emergency clinics have exotics vets who rotate being on call. But this still often means the vet isn’t on site, but will have to be called in. It is a terrible feeling to not be able to get help for your bird. The good news is that the exotics vet field is growing, with more vet students pursuing a career in exotics medicine. It is unfortunate that it isn’t included in the average curriculum at Vet schools. One reason we held this webinar was to raise awareness for pet bird owners, so that they better understand just how specialized the field is and why the average cat or dog vet has little to no idea how to treat a bird. At best, they can stabilize a bird and that can at least by enough time until an avian vet can be reached. We have had webinars to help bird owners prepare and know what to do in an emergency, as well as knowing how to do a basic physical exam to be able to recognize an issue. An informed bird owner can help an emergency clinic vet with their bird if it comes down to it. I’ll give you the links to those webinars.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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