Birds + Care & Wellness

  • This handout summarizes the differences between brand name and generic medications. Included is an explanation as to why both forms of medications exist, as well as things to watch out for when opting to use or request a generic medication. Cost savings for generic medications are also discussed.

  • Secondhand smoke is not just detrimental to people but also our pets and animal friends. In fact, they are likely more sensitive due to their enhanced smell and different anatomy and physiology. Cancer risks are significantly higher in pets and should be a motivation to help you quit smoking.

  • Complete and accurate medical records are like a medical diary for your pet. The ability to review your pet’s medical history before the first appointment will allow your new veterinarian to provide exceptional care that is tailored and timely. You can request that your previous veterinary clinic send your pet's records to your new veterinarian.

  • There are approximately 35 (or more) species of toucans and toucanets, including the smaller, slender aracari. Their most outstanding feature is the large, elongated, hollow beak that varies in coloration from black to multicolored. Hand-raised babies that are well-socialized make charming, affectionate pets, whereas wild toucans are very challenging to tame. They require a large horizontal cage with lots of perches, as they are very active, curious, and enjoy hopping from perch to perch. However, they can be aggressive with other birds and are known to occasionally kill and eat smaller species, such as canaries and finches. Toucans and toucanets require regular, routine veterinary health check-ups.

  • Toucans and toucanettes have a high moisture diet and a relatively short digestive tract, which make for a very quick transit time of food through their digestive tract. Hemochromatosis, or iron storage disease, in toucans and toucanettes has long been suspected to be related to high dietary iron. Current dietary recommendations are for diets low in iron. In addition to a low-iron containing pellet, toucans and toucanettes should be offered a large variety of diced fruits. Fresh clean water must be available at all times.

  • Birds are highly intelligent animals and toys are an important part of their mental health, as well as their mental and physical agility. Toys encourage exercise and provide good wear for the beak and nails. Certain toys are ideal while others can be dangerous to your bird.

  • Birds can be great travelers. Most tolerate cars and airplanes very well, and some actually love the excitement of travel; however, some birds may be very stressed by travel. It is not safe (for you or your bird) for your bird to be roaming freely in the car while you are driving. Airlines vary in their regulations for travel with birds. You must contact the airline you are using to determine their specific policies regarding pet travel. Tranquilizers or sedatives should not be used during travel due to potential risk of reaction. Before making any travel plans, contact the consulate or border authorities of the country you are planning to enter to determine the kind of health certificates and medical testing your bird will need prior to travel. Your bird will likely need a physical examination and written health certificate from a federally accredited veterinarian within a certain number of days of travel, depending on the airlines and on the destination.

  • The uropygial gland (preen/preening gland or oil gland) is a normal part of most bird's anatomy. The preen oil is formed by the gland and helps coat a bird's feathers. Infections and tumors may affect the uropygial gland.

  • New birds should be examined by an avian veterinarian within the first couple of days after purchase or adoption. Pet birds should receive routine annual veterinary examinations. A physical examination allows a veterinarian to pick up subtle signs of disease before they are obvious. From the time you walk into the exam room, your veterinarian will observe your bird in his cage and note his attitude, posture, feathering, vocalizations, and physical condition. Your bird will then be gently but securely restrained in a towel to prevent injury and physically examined. Your veterinarian will discuss the need for testing with you depending on the findings of the physical examination. Tests, including blood tests and fecal analysis, are performed routinely on apparently healthy birds to monitor the current state of health of the bird. The specific tests your veterinarian suggests will depend on your bird’s age, size, species, and health status.

  • The physical examination is a crucial part of assessing the health of a new pet bird. Avian veterinarians may perform special test along with a complete physical examination to determine the bird's true health status. The visit should also include a thorough discussion of proper nutrition, housing, care, grooming and training/socialization of your new bird.