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FIRST AID & AVIAN DEATH

FAQ provided by rec.pets.birds

Comments, suggestions, chocolates to: Jodi Giannini (giannini@nova.umd.edu). This FAQ, as a collection of information, is copyrighted 1993, by Jodi L. Giannini, and distribution by means other than Usenet is by permission only. Removal of this copyright notice is not permitted.
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INDEX


FIRST AID AVIAN DEATH FEATHER JUNCTION INDEX
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AVIAN AID


*Note: ALL the A's in this section are what to do right then and there. Should the situation be serious, get to the vet, who will perform "Second aid" First aid is just to hold the bird over 'till the vet visit. IT IS NOT A CURE.


Q. Can I buy complete bird first aid kits?

A. Yes, you can!
Exotic Bird Care
Bird Aid
7514 Charmant Drive #923
San Diego, CA, 92122
1-619-793-2473
$14.95 plus $2.00 s/h
CA residents add 7.75% tax
Thief Of Hearts
First Aid Kit
421 N. Glenn
Wichita, KS, 67203
1-316-267-1656
$39.95 (loaded with stuff!)


Q. I would like to put together my own kit. What should be in it?

A. First get a toolbox to put everything in. Then you should get: Tweezers, scissors, clippers, long needlenosed pliers or a hemostat to remove broken bloodfeathers (hemostats can be purchased at RadioShack in the tool section), Styptic *powder* (pencils are too hard), Bird towel, masking tape or other tape that won't ruin feathers, rubbing alcohol (but don't use on head or vent), gauze and gauze sponges for cleansing wounds, Q-tips, Betadine scrub for washing feet, hydrogen peroxide, syringes for handfeeding a sick bird, and baggies for stool samples or storing a sample of poisons or other substances the bird may have ingested. Find a booklet of first aid procedures and put that in there as well!

Q. What shouldn't I do to the bird?

A. Never use oils or lotions which contain oils on your bird. They gunk up the feathers, and ruin their insulating properties. This means a chilled bird. Never wait out a cat bite--those require immediate veterinary attention--a bird can die within two days because a cat's mouth is so filthy and full of bacteri

A. Don't bother with over-the-counter medication. It really doesn't work, and in some cases, may upset the delicate bacterial balance in the bird's body, or even worsen the situation. Never try to treat a fracture at home.

Q. My bird is healthy. I don't need to go to a vet, do I?

A. Schedule a "well-bird" checkup. Prevention is the best medicine. Even though the bird might appear outwardly healthy, it may have a low-grade infection or something not so readily apparent. Your bird's health and your peace of mind will be worth it.

Q. My bird's leg is being rubbed raw by the leg band. Can I take it off?

A. No. Don't attempt this, especially if the leg is broken or swollen. The vet will be able to remove the band, and deal with whatever injury maybe lurking under the banded area.

Q. How do I pull a broken bloodfeather?

A. This is probably the most common mishap. The remedy is simple--yank! It's most easily done with two people. One to restrain the bird and the other to pull the feather. Use a plier, or a hemostat. Tweezers won't work on primaries. Make certain that the wing bones are firmly supported or you can break the wing. Clamp onto the feather and give a sharp tug in the direction of the feather. The feather will come out. Next, apply gentle, direct pressure to the follicle where the feather was to stop the bleeding. Dab some styptic powder on it, as it will help stop the bleeding as well. Let the bird rest. Ask your vet or breeder to demonstrate exactly how to pull a bloodfeather if you're apprehensive about doing it.

Q. My bird has broken its wing, what now?

A. Get thee to a vet! But take precautions to immobilize the wing. Using butcher, drafting, or masking tape (which isn't too sticky) tape the wing gently to the body.

Q. My bird can't lay her eggs. What can I do to help?

A. Put her in a hospital cage, and keep her warm. Sometimes this is all it takes. Never try to expell the egg yourself, it may break, and then the bird may get an infection. Call the vet, just in case. When the egg is stuck, the bird cannot relieve itself, and toxins build up.

Q. What can I do for a burn?

A. Rinse with lots and lots of cool water. A burn is a very serious injury because they are so prone to infection.

Q. My sick bird isn't eating!

A. Even eating treat foods is better than not eating at all. Try a hand-feeding formula if all else fails.

Q. My bird is wheezing, what could this mean?

A. The bird may have inhaled a seed hull or a bit of pellet. This is very serious. Also, the bird may have air-sac mites (Gouldian Finches are prone to these) or an infection. All these require vet care.

Q. I feel like this is all my fault, why did this happen?

A. Even with the best of intent and cautions, mishaps occur. That's exactly why they're called accidents.

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AVIAN DEATH


When you have a pet bird or a number of pet birds or an aviary, and a bird in your flock dies, you should have a necropsy done. A necropsy is simply a post-mortem dissection and perhaps some tests to determine what the bird died of. This is especially important if the bird died of a contagious disease. Most vets charge the cost of an office visit for a necropsy, more tests would be an additional cost.

How the body will be prepared for the necropsy is dependent upon the condition you find the bird in.

1. Immediately call your vet, who will advise you on exactly what they want done to the corpse.

2. If you cannot reach your vet, and the body of the bird is warm:

a. Take the corpse and run cool water over it, especially wetting down the area under the wings, where a lot of heat is concentrated. This cools the body.

b. Dry the body carefully, noting any damage (bites, etc). Wrap the body in a paper towel, and put the towel into a plastic baggie. Tie off the baggie, and place in the refrigerator.

If the body is cold:

a. Wrap the corpse in a baggie, tie it off, and place in the refrigerator.

It is imperative that the necropsy be done as soon as possible, not only for the most accurate results, but also for the reason that if a contagious disease is diagnosed, a program of quarantine and treatment can be started as soon as possible. Although it does seem horrible to have to have a dear companion's body subjected to such a routine, it really is in the best interest to have it done. It may just save your other birds.

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Copyright June 1996. All Rights Reserved.