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When does my bird need to go to the vet? Female parrot photo.

When Do Birds Need to See the Vet?

OUR EMERITUS VETERINARIAN WITH SPECIAL INTEREST IN AVIAN CARE, AND DECADES OF EXPERIENCE, DR. ANALISE SPIRA, DISCUSSES THE SIGNS TO CONSIDER IN ANSWER TO THE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION, WHEN DO BIRDS NEED TO SEE THE VET?

There are many different signs birds exhibit when they are not feeling well, but the most consistent signal that something may be wrong and require a visit to the vet is in fact anything that is out of the ordinary for your bird.

  • If your bird is less active than normal, this could be a signal that it is not feeling well.
  • If your bird becomes less social than usual, again, this could be a signal something is wrong.
  • If your bird is more fluffed up than usual, puffing up its feathers more often, this is another sign that something could be wrong. Birds have to stay warm, and when they puff up their feathers it’s like putting on a fur coat for them. Continually fluffing behavior can happen when birds don’t feel well. A checkup is in order if this behavior is exhibited by your bird.
  • Some napping and some fluffing are OK, but a problem occurs, again, when the behavior is persistent. If your bird sits around doing little and is constantly fluffed up, it’s time to have it looked at by your veterinarian.
  • Change in droppings: if these become consistently watery, or show a change in color, and this becomes a persistent condition, this is another sign.
  • If your bird stops eating, this means he needs to checked.
  • If your bird starts to drink more frequently than it usually does, this could be a sign something is wrong.
  • If your bird regurgitates this is a sign something may be wrong. You can tell a bird has thrown up if the feathers over its head or on its neck are sticky. (The material tends to fly up and land on the head and neck, and creates sticky feathers.) Importantly, regurgitation can be normal during courtship. If you see regurgitation evidence and are in doubt, check with your vet.

MORE URGENT SIGNS YOUR BIRD NEEDS TO BE CHECKED BY YOUR VETERINARIAN OR AVIAN SPECIALIST:

If your bird is staggering, or off balance, if its head tilts to one side, it has convulsions, seizures, if it falls off its perch, exhibits labored breathing, these are signals the bird needs to go the vet as soon as possible.

BIRD BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS THAT REQUIRE ATTENTION, BUT MAY NOT BE SIGNS OF PHYSICAL ILLNESS

Birds, just like humans, need to have activities to keep them active and therefore mentally well. Perches are basic for all bird cages. More than one gives them an opportunity for play, as they can fly from one to another. Toys are helpful in keeping your birds in the parrot family happy: parrots, lorikeets, parakeets. If they begin to exhibit certain destructive behaviors, the problem can be non-physical health in origin, and changes in their environment, in the form of enrichment, may be the proper solution.

  • Feather problems: if your bird is losing lots of feathers, or is plucking feathers in a destructive way, this means they need enrichment in their environment.
  • Care and attention from their humans are also needed when birds start to display such behavior.
  • When parrots and other birds start screeching or biting, these are further signs that they need more variety and attention. Click here for more info on parrots.

As seen on:

NBC, Los Angeles Times, CBS and Animal Planet