How to Select an Antibiotic

Key Points

  • A variety of antibiotics are available for treating companion birds.
  • Drug selection should consider microbial susceptibility, nature and severity of disease, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and drug toxicity.
  • Also consider the cost of treatment and the ability of the owner to comply with the recommended treatment regimen.
  • This article provides a brief overview of drug selection. The reader is strongly encouraged to consult additional information in the references.


The first step in antimicrobial drug selection is to make sure treatment is necessary. Companion birds often display nonspecific signs of illness, and the avian clinician should be reasonably sure that an infection is present before using antibiotics. The presence of a pathogen on culture or Gram stain does not necessarily mean treatment is warranted. Small numbers of potential pathogens are frequently isolated from the choana and cloaca of healthy birds . . .

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