This year, the Spring Equinox falls on Tuesday, March 20. Since this is such an auspicious occasion, we couldn’t imagine a more appropriate time for FloridaWild Veterinary Hospital to ring in Spring by proclaiming March as Avian Awareness Month!
March is the perfect time for bird lovers, especially those whose hearts beat a little faster while enjoying the company of their fabulous feathered companions. After all, our avian friends contribute so much pleasure and joy – making them such remarkable pets.
However, much in the same way that our mammalian furry friends require their own special care, the health and treatment of the avian species necessitate their own exceptional veterinary and nutritional demands. Since their health care and nutritional needs are so different, in order to keep your bird in tip-top condition, it is strongly recommended to seek the care of a veterinary avian specialist.
These veterinary specialists have undergone extensive training in the field of avian medicine. Additionally, they keep up-to-date with all the most recent information about the species. Their special skills and expertise enables them to help assure that your bird receives the most appropriate care to maintain your bird’s robust health.
It is highly recommended that following the purchase of a new bird, a first visit to the practice is made and a health baseline and assessment is performed. It is advisable for even seemingly healthy birds to undergo a thorough overall examination, including blood work and other tests to enable the practitioner to accurately evaluate the bird’s health. The veterinarian will, of course, explain the reasons for each of these tests to the owner and why they are so important. An experienced avian specialist can teach owners about preventative health care right from the very first veterinary visit.
Since birds instinctively hide outward signs of physical illness, it is important for owners to keep a watchful eye for anything, even subtle symptoms that may indicate their bird may not be feeling well. These signs include abnormal sleeping habits, sitting at the bottom of the cage, irritable or overly passive behavior, coughing, sneezing, labored breathing, puffed up appearance, or discharge or excessive moisture running from the nares, eye swelling, color changes or white content in the stool, black stool, diarrhea, scaling or crusting of the skin, poor appetite and increased temperature of the beak or feet. If your bird exhibits any of these signs prompt veterinary attention is necessary.
Even though your bird may not appear ill, it may in fact be harboring a serious disease which is not readily apparent. Since many avian medical conditions don’t show outward signs, blood work is the most reliable and accurate way for your veterinarian to detect any hidden conditions, which can save your bird’s life. Test results and the physical examination enable your veterinarian and you to work together in partnership to help optimize your beloved avian companion’s health.
It goes without saying that excellent and species-appropriate avian nutrition is the building block to your bird’s radiant health. Your avian veterinarian specialist will spend a significant time discussing your bird’s diet and how often it should be fed.
Feeding your pet bird the best possible nutrition is but only one of the essential parts in keeping your bird healthy and happy. Many of the foods we consume are delicious, nutritious and healthful – they may also be the same for your birds. In fact, many birds enjoy eating healthy dried fruits, veggies, herbs, greens and even bee pollen. However before you feed any of these foods, it is crucial to consult your veterinarian. Be aware, however, that there are some foods and plants that are toxic to birds. To avoid any accidental poisoning, it’s wise to keep this list handy.
To help keep your feathered friend happy, her mental and physical stimulation is a priority. Birds are social animals and they thrive in the company of their owners. To enhance her emotional health, set aside daily time for play and let her out of her cage; allowing her to fly-free in a safe environment. Check out: Keeping your pet bird happy for some suggestions that will be fun for you and your bird.
Although the expression, “It’s for the birds” generally has a negative connotation, we firmly believe that for passionate bird lovers, it is truly their motto! Why not join in our avian celebration, by making an appointment this month to get your bird checked out by your veterinarian!
For the month of March, FloridaWild will be offering $10 off all avian packages.
By: Jo Singer, MSW, CSW, LCSW (Ret.)