The Exotic Animal History

Although patient history is important in all species, improper diet and substandard housing are often major contributors to illness in non-traditional pets. This means that a detailed and accurate history is often one of the most critical diagnostic tools for the exotic animal patient. This review focuses on birds, reptiles, and small exotic companion […]

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Regurgitation in Birds

Regurgitation versus vomiting
The terms “regurgitation” and “vomiting” are often used interchangeably in the avian patient. Regurgitation is the passive expulsion of contents from the esophagus or crop (Fig 1). Vomiting is the expulsion of ingesta from the proventriculus, ventriculus, or intestines. It is not always possible to make a distinction in the clinical patient […]


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 […]

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: The Fluffed and Ruffled Bird

[…] database (if clinical status allows) and initiate supportive care.
Minimum database:

Complete blood count
Chemistry panel
Protein electrophoresis
Survey whole body radiographs

Additional tests based on clues gathered:

Serology &/or PCR testing: Chlamydophila psittaci, avian polyoma virus, aspergillosis, psittacine beak and feather disease, avian bornavirus, etc.
Gram stain cytology

If diagnosis remains inconclusive, consider referring the patient to an avian specialist.
Regardless of the […]

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Anorexia in Birds

Anorexia may be the only indication of poor health in the critically ill bird and by the time other clinical signs are apparent disease may be quite advanced. This means that all reports of poor appetite in the avian patient must be taken very […]

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Voice Change in Birds

[…] a complete history and providing supplemental oxygen, the bird may improve enough to handle an abbreviated physical examination. Although it is prudent to gather supplies for all avian exams, it is particularly important for the bird with respiratory disease. It is also wise to have oxygen available for the dyspneic patient. Always warn the […]

Information sheet 

Basic Information Sheet: Canary

[…] (BW)/day
Basal metabolic rate 65% higher than non-passerines.

Water intake
250-300 ml/kg BW/day
May die if water withheld for >48 hours.

Target environmental temperature
About 75°F (24°C)
Canaries can be acclimated to colder temperatures.

*Routine avian exam does not include measuring body temperature

Anatomy and physiology

Song canaries utilize both bronchial ends of the syrinx to produce two sounds at once. Canaries share the […]


Poisonings in the Avian Patient

[…] of toxic exposure. Photo credit: Richard via Flickr Creative Commons. Click image to enlarge.
Heavy metal toxicity
Heavy metal toxicity is the most common form of poisoning reported in avian medicine.
Lead poisoning
Lead is ubiquitous in the environment, and parrots seem to be attracted to its malleable nature (Box 1).
*Some large cities with old water systems may […]


Basic Cytology of the Avian Gastrointestinal Tract

Historically, routine Gram’s stains were performed in apparently healthy birds. As our understanding of avian medicine has grown, avian veterinarians have questioned the reliability and validity of Gram’s stain cytology as a screening test. Cytology is indicated when specific problems are reported during a detailed medical history or […]


Fast Facts on Family Corvidae

[…] their very own polyomavirus
Did you know polyomavirus has been characterized in the Eurasian jackdaw (Corvus monedula)? Called crow polyomavirus, or CPyV, this virus is closely related to avian polyomavirus. The clinical significance of CPyV is not yet known (Raidal 2012, Zielonka 2012).
Are crows a sentinel of avian flu?
When a dead or dying crow is […]


Use of Nutri-An Cakes for Weight Reduction and Maintenance

[…] obesity. This should be part of the plan tailored for their bird.
Metabolically controlled food
Nutri-An Cakes for Foraging and Weight Maintenance (FW) is a therapeutic diet designed for avian patients that need nutritional enrichment and/or weight reduction. Nutri-An Cakes FW provide high quality protein from a variety of sources but at normal levels for companion […]


Ferret History Form

History and physical examination forms donated by Dr. Tom Tully of Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine. Download Ferret History Form PDF.


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 […]


Pocket Pet History Form

History and physical examination forms donated by Dr. Tom Tully of Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine. Download Pocket Pet History Form PDF.

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Crop Burn in Birds

Understanding crop burn The crop, or ingluvies, is a diverticulum of the esophagus present in many but not all, bird species (Fig 1). The crop serves as a food storage organ, regulating the flow of food through the gastrointestinal tract. Figure 1. The crop (arrow) is a diverticulum of the esophagus present in many avian […]

Article  Information sheet 

Basic Information Sheet: Miniature Pig

[…] There are at least 14 recognized breeds of miniature pigs, including the Vietnamese potbellied pig, the Juliana pig, the KuneKune, and others. This information sheet reviews natural history and taxonomy, as well as a number of clinically relevant information including (but not limited to) diet, housing, behavior, normal physiologic data and anatomy, restraint, preventive […]


Otitis in Rabbits

[…] are rarely reported in dogs and cats and have not been described in rabbits.

Diagnosis of otitis
Obtain a detailed history:

Determine the onset and duration of disease.
Is there a history of any prior illness, especially respiratory disease?
Ascertain the possibility of exposure to toxins or parasites.
Is there a history of trauma?
How is the animal’s food and water […]

Information sheet 

Basic Information Sheet: Egyptian Tortoise

Egyptian Tortoise (Testudo kleinmanni) Testudo kleinmanni. Photo credit: Roy Winkelman via Clippix ETC Natural history The Egyptian tortoise (Testudo kleinmanni) is also know as Kleinmann’s tortoise or Leith’s tortoise. The native habitat of the Egyptian tortoise consists of desert and semi-desert scrub, although this species is also found in salt marsh margins, sandy gravel plains, […]

Article  Case Study 

AEMV-Lafeber Case Report: Multiple Drug Resistant Staphylococcus Infection, Post Spay in a Domestic Rabbit

History and physical examination A 9-month-old, 1.3 kg female miniature lop rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), with no remarkable medical history presented to be spayed. Prior to the spay, physical examination revealed mild bilateral pododermatitis of the hocks and moderate flea infestation. The rabbit had been vaccinated for calicivirus 1 week prior to the spay. The surgery […]


Ferret Physical Examination Form

History and physical examination forms donated by Dr. Tom Tully of Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine. Download Ferret Physical Exam Form PDF.


Five Features of Marsupial Anatomy: With Focus on the Sugar Glider Physical Exam

[…] forward. Epipubic bones are diminished or absent in sugar gliders (Fig 3)(Ness 2013).

Figure 3. Epipubic bones (arrow) in a kangaroo. Photo credit: 1901 American Museum of Natural History guide leaflet via Wikimedia Commons. Click image to enlarge.
Features of the sugar glider physical examination:
The sugar glider is a tiny marsupial native to New Guinea and […]