Even the most steadfast and seasoned veterinary anesthetist can find themselves intimidated by exotic animal patients. Standard veterinary anesthesia monitors are not designed to read the extremely high (or extremely low) heart rates and respiratory rates of some exotic animal patients. Despite these challenges, valuable information can be gathered from monitoring tools as well as hands-on techniques. Essential vital signs, such as heart rate and rhythm, respiratory rate and depth, body temperature, and mucous membrane color should all be evaluated.
Reproductive emergencies are most commonly seen in small psittacine birds like the cockatiel, lovebird and budgerigar parakeet. This article reviews conditions commonly seen on an emergency basis such as dystocia, egg yolk peritonitis, cloacal or oviductal prolapse, and/or chronic egg laying. Pertinent anatomy and physiology as well as case management, including the reproductive history, physical examination, diagnostic imaging, and behavioral modification techniques are also discussed.
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 .
There are two types of seeds fed to pet birds: oil seeds and non-oil seeds. Oil seeds are a rich source of energy and vitamin E. Oil seeds such as sunflower seeds contain at least 50% fat and are low in calcium. Non-oil seeds such as millet are much lower in fat when compared to oil seeds and the energy present is stored as starch.
Detecting a shelled egg on physical examination is not necessarily a problem—birds lay eggs everyday! However palpation of a shelled egg is an important clinical finding that can be associated with dystocia. The egg is shelled in a distal part of the oviduct called the uterus or shell gland. Therefore a shelled egg would normally be palpable in either the…
“Normal Body Weights in Birds” is a collection of normal reported weights in common companion birds and birds of prey presented in table format. Keep in mind that reported normal body weights for a given species can vary significantly…
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 patients…
Cockatiels originate from the non-coastal regions of Australia. The free-ranging population is very large, and the IUCN lists this species’ conservation status of “least concern”. Cockatiels probably represent the smallest of the cockatoos, although there is some controversy surrounding this classification. Cockatiels are common as aviary birds and they make excellent pets.
Are you confident in your medical approach to pediatric health problems ranging from constricted toes to omphalitis, but hazy on the details of incubation and hatch? Many avian veterinarians deal with aviculturists only sporadically, which can diminish your ability to extract relevant patient history. Use Aviculture Vocabulary & Concepts to quickly review common breeder concepts and terms, so that you are better able to focus on your patient’s medical care.
Chronic egg laying is the production of an excessive number of eggs or repeated clutches (or collections) of eggs. Chronic egg laying often occurs in the absence of a normal…
Reproductive problems are a common problem in many small pet bird species, particularly cockatiels, budgerigars parakeets, lovebirds, finches and canaries. In this client handout donated by Dr. Eric Klaphake, egg laying problems from egg binding and egg yolk peritonitis to chronic egg laying are briefly explained to the companion parrot owner.
While there are more parrots than ever before in captivity, there are fewer parrots in the wild now than at any time in recorded history. In fact, psittacine birds are the most threatened group of bird species in the world today. The situation is particularly dire in the neotropics where at least 46 out of 145 species are at risk of global extinction. Although the cause of declining parrot populations worldwide is complex, the most important factors include habitat loss, culling, and capture of individuals for the pet trade…
Grooming in the bird can refer to clipping wing feathers, trimming nails, and smoothing and/or trimming the beak. Grooming can be performed by the veterinarian or an astute, skilled veterinary technician, however before the procedure begins one must always ask should the bird be groomed and should the bird be groomed at my practice?
Lafeber Company’s work isn’t always tied to our family farm and production facility. Lafeber Company has worked with Atlanta Zoo veterinarian, Dr. Samuel Rivera, to create Stick-A-Roos (Stickaroos), a diet designed for use in interactive parakeet and cockatiel aviaries. Stick-A-Roos provide maintenance nutrition and foraging enrichment.
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 when…
Cloacal prolapse is a serious and potentially life-threatening problem. Prolapses can originate from the cloaca, oviduct or intestinal tract. The cloaca normally prolapses during egg laying or oviposition, and normal retraction of the cloaca may be slowed or absent in an obese hen or one with hypocalcemia. Excessive abdominal contractions caused by an abnormal egg, dystocia, cloacal disease, gastrointestinal disease or chronic mastubatory behavior can also promote prolapse.
Fungi are among the most common causes of infectious disease in captive birds, and fungal diseases can be challenging to diagnose, as well as treat. Because fungi are typically opportunistic, causing non-contagious disease in susceptible individuals, prevention and treatment require an understanding of etiology as well as predisposing factors.
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.
After recognizing a dyspneic bird, the clinician’s initial response should be: Hands Off!! Dyspneic birds can die soon after presentation with the additional stress of restraint and handling. Therefore minimize handling and place the bird in an oxygen-rich cage. Humidify air and provide 40 to 50% oxygen. As in mammals, oxygen therapy is potentially toxic if given for prolonged periods at high levels.
The small, affectionate birds we call cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus) have undergone extensive modification through captive breeding. Color variations or mutations have increased in number over the years. The “Wild-type” or “Normal” cockatiel is the foundation of all mutations and is referred to as the “Grey” cockatiel. All other color variations, such as pearl, albino, lutino, and pied cockatiels, are mutations from this gene pool. In this client education handout, cockatiel types are described and recommendations for pet bird owners are discussed.