Article 

Transfusion Medicine in Birds

Because of a lack of identified blood groups in companion bird species, compatibility for transfusion is based on the use of major and minor cross matches. A major cross match is performed by mixing donor red cells with recipient plasma and a minor cross match uses recipient cells and donor plasma. The appearance of agglutination or cell lysis indicates incompatibility.

Unlike mammals, a single transfusion between different bird species can be safe and efficacious. Transfusions will be most effective if the donor is…

Article 

Trauma in Avian Patients

Head trauma may occur when a bird flies into an object such as a window or ceiling fan, or when falls occur secondary to an improper wing trim, neurologic disease, or severe weakness. Evaluate the bird for evidence of head trauma such as blood in the choanal slit, ears, or nares. Gently palpate the skull. A fracture of pneumatic skull bone can allow air to escape creating emphysema. The pupillary light response (PLR) should also be evaluated, although PLR may be absent in birds with a normal reflex path due to avian anatomic differences. Perform a fundic exam, particularly in…

Article 

Laboratory Assessment of the Bleeding Exotic Animal Patient

Hemorrhage in the critical patient can occur from a number of reasons. Before a blood sample is collected, carefully weigh the risk to the exotic animal patient against the clinical value of the test results. What will you do with this information? How will it affect your clinical plan? EDTA is the most commonly used anticoagulant in small mammals; lithium heparin is commonly used in birds and reptiles. Whenever possible, make a blood film immediately after venipuncture using fresh blood free of anticoagulant. Most adult small mammal hematocrits range from…

Article  Presenting Problem  Video 

Presenting problem: Hemorrhage in Birds

When a bird is presented for bleeding as with a broken blood feather, it is important to distinguish between frank hemorrhage and blood on the cage or bird without active bleeding. This brief presenting problem article on hemorrhage in birds reviews the key points of urgent care: Hemorrhage that has stopped is best left undisturbed initially, while active bleeding requires immediate intervention by applying firm, steady pressure.

Article  Presenting Problem  Video 

Presenting problem: Broken Blood Feather

Why is a broken blood feather an emergency? When the blood feather breaks, the feather shaft acts like a straw making the vessels bleed much longer than they would otherwise due to capillary action. The degree of blood loss can be significant, particularly in small birds. Use this video clip or article with still images to review the basic structure of the blood feather, key points of urgent care as well as follow-up care.