Avian Medicine

Budgies, cockatiels, parrots, and songbirds tend to live longer, healthier lives when they receive regular veterinary care. We can provide nutritional counseling, health assessments, grooming assistance, sexing, fecal parasite testing, medical and surgical services, and annual physicals. In addition, we’d be happy to discuss general care, disease prevention, safety, appropriate housing and toys, and breeding. We recommend that you bring your bird in for an initial checkup, then stop by once a year to ensure that he or she remains healthy and isn’t hiding signs of illness. Some birds require more frequent visits.

During the exam, we will check your bird’s beak, nails, and feathers to determine if they require any specialized attention. Regular exams can help catch diseases and problems early, when they tend to be easier and less expensive to treat. A bird that doesn’t groom itself correctly, appears ruffled, or has unkempt or missing feathers is probably sick. Other signs that your bird might not be well include changes in eating or sleeping habits, difficulty breathing, and abnormal droppings. Birds are good at hiding signs of illness, so if you notice that your bird is acting unusual or if something just doesn’t seem right, call us as soon as possible.

Wing Clipping

Clipping a bird’s wing feathers can protect your bird and your home. Wing clipping is a non-painful procedure that ensures the safety of your bird in its environment and keeps your bird from chewing holes in your doors and window frames. It limits your bird’s ability to fly, removing the risk of injury from flying into a ceiling fan, onto a hot stovetop, or into (or out) a window.

Having your bird’s wing feathers professionally clipped helps ensure that the right feathers are removed without irritating the skin. Improperly clipped wings can cause your bird to pluck or chew its feathers. In addition, inexperienced wing clipping can result in a blood feather being accidentally trimmed, a situation that can become life-threatening. We can perform this procedure safely while preserving the aesthetic appearance of your bird. Please feel free to call us to discuss this option, as well as any concerns you might have, or to set up an appointment.

Nail Trims

Most birds need to have their nails trimmed regularly. However, the process can be detrimental to your bird if it’s nails are trimmed too short. We can take care of this procedure for you so that you don’t have to worry about nicking the blood vessels inside the nails. Please call us if you feel we can be of service to you, or if you would like to schedule an appointment for this delicate procedure.

Please be very careful if you attempt to perform this procedure at home. In fact, unless your bird is small and has white nails (which allow you to see the blood vessels) we strongly recommend against performing this routine avian care at home. If attempting this at home we suggest you keep a caustic agent, such as styptic powder, on hand in case a nail bleeds.

Providing perches with rough surfaces can help reduce the frequency of nail trimming, but please do not use sandpaper perches, as they don’t actually wear down the nails and can cause skin problems.

Beak Trimming

A bird’s beak continues to grow throughout it’s life. Although their beaks usually wear evenly, some birds develop beak problems that require veterinary assistance. Trimming a beak incorrectly can cause your bird pain and may even prevent him or her from eating, which is why we recommend having your bird’s beak professionally trimmed by our veterinary staff. Do not attempt to trim your bird’s beak at home. Instead, please call us to schedule an appointment at 310-328-3733.

Sexing Benefits

  • Medical: In an emergency, time could be wasted developing gender specific diagnoses.
  • Behavior: As birds enter adolescence, their personalities can drastically change. Knowing their gender can help us predict and re-direct many kinds of unwanted behavior. Understanding our pets’ behavior helps us build and maintain better long-term relationships.
  • Bonding: gender is one of the first things we use to get to know an animal. When we meet animals for the first time, people typically want to know if it’s a boy of a girl. Gender impacts our feelings and helps us define our relationship with him or her.

Unfortunately, relying on physical appearance is not an accurate method of determining the sex of most birds. We recommend DNA Sexing which determines the gender of a bird by analyzing the DNA from it’s sex chromosomes. All that’s needed is a small sample of your bird’s blood which we can collect while you wait. We then send the sample to the lab where it is analyzed and the results are usually back to us within one week. DNA sexing has for the most part replaced surgical sexing procedures done under anesthesia with a laparoscope. This procedure can still be done for breeding birds when we want to check on the health of the genitals.