Dr. Petra Schnitzer presented this distance-learning event for the veterinary medical students at the University of Georgia at Athens College of Veterinary Medicine as part of the Lafeber Company Student Program. Stay Tuned: This program is being submitted for approval by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards Registry of Continuing Education for 1 hour of continuing education credit.
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Dr. Lorenzo Crosta will present this live, interactive, webinar on the clinical perspectives of avian anesthesia. After briefly reviewing clinically relevant avian anatomy and physiology, Dr. Crosta will touch upon injectable anesthesia, then discuss in detail preanesthesia and inhalation anesthesia in clinical practice. The discussion will then move onto monitoring the avian patient, from vital parameters to capnography, doppler, electrocardiography, and pulse oximetry. Dr. Crosta will also discuss analgesia, intra-operative fluid therapy, as well as specific concerns related to avian anesthesia, such as positioning the patient, hypocalcemia, air sac cannulation, as well as management of diving birds. This seminar will conclude with practical tips for safe and uneventful patient recovery.
Dr. Heather Barron presented this webinar on avian critical care. View a recording of the live, interactive event, then take the brief post-test to earn 1 hour of continuing education credit. The goal of wildlife medicine is always eventual release and therefore triage of avian wildlife may vary based on case load, regulations, and the presenting situation. Dr. Barron examines the guidelines used to set triage policy and the reasons a bird may not be releasable or have a good quality of life in captivity. She then discusses practical measures intended to alleviate suffering and improve the odds of patient survival, such as fluid support, analgesia, evaluation of blood volume, and transfusion. This presentation concludes with a brief discussion on assessing life and euthanasia.
Dr. Susan Orosz presented this live, interactive webinar event on the clinical perspectives of avian nutrition. How can veterinary health professionals best address the nutritional needs of the companion bird in the exam room?
This 1-hour, R.A.C.E.-approved webinar recording is designed to impart a basic understanding of avian nutrition for the veterinary health professional as well as students in these fields. Viewing of this recorded is strongly recommended before viewing the recording of the live webinar event Clinical Avian Nutrition for Veterinary Health Professionals by Susan Orosz, PhD, DVM, DABVP (Avian Practice), DECZM.
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.
Although the principles of emergency medicine critical care are universal for all species, this approach must be balanced with an understanding of the unique aspects of avian medicine. Use this summary page to review the basic approach to the avian patient and select additional links to supplement your knowledge base.
Objects are often not fully visible in everyday life. Human beings are capable of processing the complex visual information related to “incompleteness” because our visual environment is primarily composed of opaque objects that can overlap and partially hide each other. Scientists believe that many nonhuman species are also able to deal with “incompleteness”…
“Griffin”, a grey parrot in Dr. Irene Pepperberg’s animal behavior and avian cognition lab, could wait up to 15 minutes for a better quality reward, even though both treats offered were preferred food items. Griffin displayed delayed gratification for longer than any previously tested avian subject including Goffin’s cockatoos. Fifteen minutes was the longest time evaluated, not necessarily the longest length of time Griffin could wait.
Explore the history of similar research in children and animals as well as the specific results of the study led by Adrienne E. Koepke of Hunter College and Suzanne L. Gray of Harvard University. Also learn more about Dr. Irene Pepperberg and the fascinating work of The Alex Foundation.
Proventricular dilatation disease or PDD is one of the most frustrating avian conditions encountered today. The recent discovery of a causal relationship between PDD and avian bornavirus has not simplified the challenges that are faced. The detection of avian bornavirus infection is common in birds with PDD but is also detected in birds with other chronic diseases that are not diagnosed with PDD. Proventricular dilatation disease was first reported in the late 1970s…
There are a number of potential nutritional problems that can promote renal disease. Excess dietary protein, excess dietary calcium, hypovitaminosis A, or hypervitaminosis D may lead to nephritis or other degenerative renal changes…
In 1998, an expert committee met to discuss the nutritional needs of companion birds. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and develop nutrient profiles for companion birds, focusing on profiles for formulated feed.
The expert panel developed maintenance guidelines for two broad groups of birds: psittacines and passerines (regardless of size or genus). These conservative, generalized guidelines are extrapolated from the National Research Council requirements for poultry and…
Hemochromatosis, “iron overload”, or “iron storage disease” is the excess accumulation of iron within parenchyma, especially in the liver and eventually in the heart and spleen. Elevated iron stores eventually lead to hepatocyte damage and fibrosis.
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.
Rhinitis or sinusitis in the bird can include a host of clinical signs including congestion, sneezing, oculonasal discharge, exophthalmos, as well as non-specific signs of illness such as reduced appetite, lethargy, and weight loss. If disease extends lower into the lower respiratory tract, cough, tachypnea, and…
Change in bird song or loss of voice can be valuable diagnostic clues. When a bird is presented for a change in or loss of voice, this will localize lesions to 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…
Perching birds or songbirds belong to order Passeriformes, which makes up the largest taxonomic group of birds. Passeriforms make up nearly 60% of all birds with over 5,000 species belonging to this group. If you are comfortable with psittacine anatomy and physiology, then you are well on your way to understanding passerines. LafeberVet has listed ten interesting, clinically significant facts about passerine anatomy and physiology…
It is important for animal health care professionals to recognize the potential hazards of working with passerine birds so that appropriate measures can be taken to minimize the risk of contracting disease. Wild bird isolates of Salmonella enterica serotype typhimurium may not represent a large zoonotic risk to the general population, however the vast majority of sick and dying songbirds harbor this microbe.
Approach to the passerine relies on the same concepts of “One Medicine” used as in all animals. Nevertheless many of the infectious agents diagnosed in songbirds are relatively unique to this taxonomic group, or at least much more prevalent when compared to parrots or birds of prey.
Signs of avian polyomavirus type 1 in the budgerigar parakeet can be quite variable. Feather dystrophy or abnormal feather growth can lead to deformed flight feathers. Affected birds are unable to fly and are called “runners” or “creepers”. “French molt” is a term sometimes used for this slow, debilitating disease in parakeets characterized by progressive development of abnormal feathers. Bleeding is another hallmark of clinical avian polyomavirus infection…
Approach to the passerine bird relies on the same concepts of “One Medicine” used in all animals. Nevertheless many of the infectious agents diagnosed in songbirds are relatively unique to this taxonomic group, or at least much more prevalent when compared to psittacine birds or birds of prey.
When hospitalizing any wildlife patient, the goal should always be to transfer the animal to an experienced, licensed wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible. In the meantime, it is imperative that the passerine bird be housed appropriately to promote recovery and prevent injury.
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…
Finches are found worldwide. The Zebra finch, Owl finch and Gouldian finch are originally from Australia where large flocks may be found, mainly in arid grassland areas. Owl finches are also found in woodlands and scrublands. The Bengalese or Society finch is a cross between the sharp-tailed munia and striata munia and was never found in nature. Of family Fringillidae, only the Red Siskin and the Yellow Siskin are listed in Appendix I and Appendix II of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) listings respectively. Appendix I species are threatened with extinction, and commercial trade is prohibited and importation/exportation for scientific research requires special permits. Appendix II species are not necessarily threatened with extinction, but may become so unless their trade is strictly regulated.
Originating from the Canary Islands, the canary’s song captured the attention of Europeans, who started importing these birds in the late 1500’s. Although breeding for desirable traits has produced many variations, the wild canary is a small, green bird. Free-ranging populations are strong and are found in a wide variety of habitats, which is why the canary was placed in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List category of “Least Concern”.
Psittacosis is an infectious disease of birds and people caused by Chlamydia psittaci. This client education handout discusses types of birds commonly associated with human psittacosis, persons at risk as well as details of psittacosis in humans and birds and measures to prevent disease.
This Association of Avian Veterinarians client education handout discusses avian bornavirus, which was experimentally confirmed to be the cause of proventricular dilatation disease or PDD in 2008. Avian bornavirus (ABV) infection is one of the most frustrating diseases encountered in avian medicine today. Since its initial recognition in the United States, ABV has been reported worldwide and infection poses a significant threat to the captive breeding of endangered psittacine (parrot) species. At least eight different psittacine bornaviruses have been identified in captive parrot populations worldwide, and researchers around the world are working on learning more about ABV infection.
Although nectar is considered a nutritional reward for pollination, it is probably the most nutrient-dilute food consumed by birds. Nectar meets less than 15% of essential amino acid requirements and is particularly low in methionine. In fact nutrients other than sugars, such as protein, vitamins, trace minerals, and lipids are present in nectar at levels considered inadequate for growth, reproduction, or even maintenance activity…
Just in time for Halloween, get fun facts on the much maligned, much misunderstood, but always interesting family Corvidae.
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.
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…
Manual restraint is required for virtually any medical procedure in the songbird or passerine. Warn owners of the inherent risk of handling the critically ill bird. Minimize handling time so the bird does not overheat or become overly distressed, and monitor the bird closely for any change in strength, breathing, or attitude. Use this video clip or text with still images to review equipment needed as well as handling and restraint techniques.
Little is known about the nutritional requirements of companion bird species. Dietary recommendations for pet birds are extrapolated from domestic poultry nutritional requirements; however these parameters are generally calculated to minimize cost while maximizing meat and egg production.
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.
In the best of captive situations, wild birds are still subject to significant stress. This is particularly true during phases of rehabilitation that require frequent capture and treatment. Experience with individual patients will dictate your approach to capture and restraint, but be aware that a slow, careful approach to capture followed by restriction of vision during restraint will generally yield best results.
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.