Article 

External Coaptation in Birds: Bandages and Splints

Traumatic orthopedic injuries are relatively common in the avian patient. Although bird bones are strong when intact, they tend to shatter on impact as the cortices are thin and brittle. A lack of abundant soft tissue coverage often leads to open fractures…

Article 

Feeding the Hospitalized Bird of Prey

All raptors consume a meat-based diet ranging from the specialist diet of the fish-eating osprey (Pandion haliaetus) to a generalist diet that can include insects, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and even carrion. Other than poultry, the exact nutritional requirements of birds are unknown, however the natural raptor diet is always relatively high in protein and fat and low in carbohydrates. Whole prey diets have a calcium/phosphorus ratio of 1.5:1 as the bird actually consumes the bones as well as the meat…

Article 

Raptor Gastrointestinal Anatomy and Physiology

Raptors are a diverse group of birds consisting of order Strigiformes or owls and diurnal birds of prey such as falcons, hawks, and eagles. Order Falconiformes, traditionally considered a broadly defined, polyphyletic group, has recently been divided into two orders with only family Falconidae (falcons and caracaras) remaining in Falconiformes. Other diurnal raptors belong to order Accipitriformes …

Article 

Avian Bornavirus and Proventricular Dilatation Disease: Facts, Questions, and Controversies

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…

Article 

Raptor Ophthalmology: Anatomy of the Avian Eye

A bird is a wing guided by an eye… Rochon-Duvigneaud: Lex Yeux et La Vision Des Vertebres

The avian eye is a large structure that takes up a significant portion of cranial mass. Raptors depend heavily on vision in order to compete successfully for survival. The posterior aspect of the eye fits snugly within the large bony orbit. The globes are separated by a thin interorbital septum, which measures significantly less than 1 mm in some areas…

Article 

Fungal Disease in Avian Patients

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.

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Oropharyngeal Plaques in Birds

Oropharyngeal lesions tend to be asymptomatic until lesions are quite advanced. Clinical signs associated with oropharyngeal disease vary, but may include anorexia, dysphagia, drooling, halitosis, head or food flicking and rubbing the beak. Diffuse disease or large focal lesions or diffuse disease can obstruct the choanal slit and/or glottis leading to wheezing, open-mouth breathing, dyspnea or in extreme cases suffocation…

Article 

Raptor Ophthalmology: The Ophthalmic Exam

In many birds, the eye is the most important sensory organ, and even partial impairment of vision has far-reaching consequences. Unfortunately, ocular lesions are a common finding during ophthalmic examination in birds of prey.

Article 

Raptor Ophthalmology: Ocular Lesions

The large size of the raptor eye and its relative lack of orbital protection superiorly and laterally means any form of head trauma frequently involves the eye and its associated structures. In one report, ocular injuries were most commonly caused by vehicular collision, gunshot and leghold traps. The most common clinical finding in birds of prey presented for medical attention is hyphema. Trauma may also lead to…

Article 

Raising Orphaned Raptors

Imprinting is an important, natural part of a young animal’s development where it learns to recognize its own species. Imprinting utilizes the senses of sight, touch, and sound. Imprinting via sound probably begins in the egg during the pip-to-hatch stage when the parent and chick vocalize back and forth. After hatching, sight becomes an important factor in imprinting as the chick’s visual ability improves. The chick associates the images it sees with the sounds and tactile sensations with which it is already familiar.

It is not enough to prevent imprinting on humans…

Article 

Falconry Vocabulary Terms

Is your comfort level with free-ranging raptor medicine and surgery growing, but you feel a bit unnerved by falconers and falconry lingo? Although the definitions for some falconry terms are intuitive, many modern falconry words are French in origin and their meanings may not be immediately obvious. You will feel more comfortable “talking the talk” after you review our falconry vocabulary list…

Article 

Raptor Anatomy: Ten Key Facts

If you are comfortable with psittacine anatomy and physiology, then you are well on your way to understanding raptors, however there are countless features that make this taxonomic group unique. LafeberVet has focused on ten amazing and clinically significant facts on bird of prey anatomy.

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Upper Respiratory Signs in the Bird

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…

Article 

Crop Stasis in Birds

The crop or ingluvies is a diverticulum of the esophagus present in many but not all, bird species. The crop serves as a food storage organ, regulating the flow of food through the gastrointestinal tract. Food within the crop is also softened by mucus glands. Crop stasis is a common clinical sign in which the crop fails to empty in a timely manner…

Article 

Normal Body Weights in Birds

“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…

Article 

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 patients…

Client Education Handout 

Avian Bornavirus Infection

Avian bornavirus was identified as a cause of proventricular dilatation disease or PDD in 2008. Avian bornavirus infection is one of the most frustrating diseases encountered in avian medicine…

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Anticoagulant Rodenticide Toxicosis in Free-Living Birds of Prey

Why is this bird bleeding? Anticoagulant rodenticide exposure in birds of prey has been documented in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Anticoagulant rodenticides have been commonly used over the past decades for control of rodent populations and these rodenticides can cause toxicosis in birds of prey via consumption of poisoned prey.

Anticoagulant rodenticides are divided into two categories: first generation rodenticides like warfarin and second generation rodenticides, such as brodifacoum. Second generation anticoagulant rodenticides are more toxic and also have…

Article 

Austral Peregrine Falcons in Patagonia, Argentina

The Austral or Patagonian peregrine falcon is one of the less known subspecies of this falcon worldwide, found along the Andes Mountains, Patagonian steppes and seacoasts of southern South America. The current conservation status of this falcon in Argentina is completely unknown and studies about its health status are lacking. Many species of raptors, including peregrine falcons, are globally threatened by human persecution, reduction in the availability of prey, use of pesticides, collisions with power lines and illegal commerce…

Article 

Restraint of Wild Birds

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.

Article  Video 

Avian Respiratory Emergencies: An Approach to the Dyspneic Bird

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.