Just as you visit your health care provider once a year for a check up, it’s important to have your bird’s annual physical exam on a regular basis. Many serious diseases are not visually apparent with birds, and they are masters at hiding any sign of disease from even a careful observer.

By bringing your bird to see us while they are well, we can prevent and detect any small problems before they become serious.

Components of an Avian Wellness Exam

Much of the time spent in an avian wellness exam is spent in discussing your bird’s behavior and history at home. We want to get to know your bird, and gathering this information helps guide our time together. We’ll ask about:

  • Where and how your bird was obtained
  • Your bird’s diet and supplements
  • Caging and environment
  • Previous health problems
  • Recent exposure to other birds
  • Any of your current concerns

Other components of the avian wellness exam include:

Initial evaluation – We’ll first observe your bird in the enclosure, and make sure the bird is bright and alert. We’ll talk about and make a plan for proper and gentle restraint and handling to ensure your bird’s safety and comfort.

Physical exam – Using a digital gram scale, your bird will be weighed. Your bird will be carefully examined from tip to toe, including evaluation of the eyes, ears, nares, beak, oral cavity, choana, neck, crop, pectoral muscling, wings, plumage, belly, spine, legs and feet, and preen gland (if present). Your bird’s air sacs, lungs, and heart will be auscultated with a stethoscope. If your bird has a band or microchip, the number will be recorded.

Diagnostics – Depending on your birds age, gender, breed, and condition, the following diagnostics may also be recommended as a part of the avian wellness exam. Screening tests allow us to determine more precise information and establish a baseline of health.

  • Fecal diagnostics screen for parasites and other potentially harmful microorganisms common in birds.
  • Blood Work can be used to detect such health problems as anemia, infectious disease, and infection.
  • Psittacosis testing is a common test that screens for a bacteria common in birds that can be spread to humans.
  • Microbiology (Bacterial, Yeast, and Fungal testing) cultures may be recommended based on your bird’s overall health and physical exam.
  • Gender determination can be done using a simple blood test sent to the lab.
  • Viral screening may be recommended after discussion with your veterinarian. There are several viral diseases common to birds that can make them very sick, but that aren’t always apparent in their appearance.
  • X-rays can be performed if your bird is sick or injured in order to view areas of concern.

Quarantine – Depending on when and where you got your bird, we may recommend a quarantine period to protect your bird and others in your household. Any new birds should be quarantined for at least six weeks after purchase. Many highly contagious and airborne bird diseases can be prevented from spreading with a quarantine period.

Birds require careful evaluation on a regular basis in order to stay healthy and well. At Bayshore Animal Hospital and Avian Practice, we want to be your partner in helping you care for your bird. If you have any questions about our avian wellness exam or any concerns about your bird’s health, please contact us.