PET BIRD CARE
Annual Health Check
An annual health check is recommended to ensure your bird remains perfectly happy and healthy. We believe this check is an integral part of developing your bird's innate potential as a companion pet, because without good health your bird is unable to respond fully to your affection or concentrate during training sessions.
Microscopic testing of the droppings (and sometimes other tests) are required as part of this health examination since birds are masters of hiding signs of illness. As part of the examination Dr Marshall and Tailai will also assess your daily routines and the progress of your bird's personality and intellect. This is a most important part of the annual examination as it allows us to tailor a programme specific to your bird's individual needs.
The tests recommended for a health check each 12 months are as follows:
Faecal Wet Smear: Microscopic analysis of the dropping gives an immediate overview of the health of the bird. It is used to identify worms, parasites and infectious organisms.
Faecal Gram Stain: The Gram Stain is used to identify bacteria and yeasts.
Faecal Culture: The faecal culture takes 24-72 hours to process and identifies specific bacteria, yeasts or fungi that may be present in the droppings.
Choanal Culture (throat swab): This picks up subtle health problems, nutritional deficiencies and evidence of stress that may be detrimental to breeding outcomes.
Psittacosis Test from Faecal Sample: Psittacosis is a serious disease of pet birds that may be transmitted to humans. We highly recommend an annual Psittacosis test for birds in homes with young children or the elderly.
Blood tests may be necessary if there are signs of unwellness and for birds with as history of cholesterol problems.
Worm, lice & mite treatments are given at the time of the health check. It may be appropriate to give these treatments by crop needle.
Timing of Health Check
It is preferable to have a health check towards the end of the annual moult. The moult is an extremely important process for parrots and by examining the progress of the moult we are better able to assess the true health of your pet bird. During the health check Dr Marshall will examine the wing flight feathers to determine the stage of the moult. An underlying health problem is likely to be present and further tests may be recommended when a delayed moult is identified. A delayed moult occurs when the wing feathers have failed to grow according to the natural moult sequence.
A successfully completed moult and good feather quality are good indications of a healthy bird. The end of the moult is an ideal time for wing clipping for those birds who are taken outdoors.
Moult times vary between species and the following lists the best time for your bird's annual health check.
Budgerigars: February to March is a good time for an annual health check for both male and female budgerigars.
Cockatiels: February to March is a good time for an annual health check for cockatiels. This species is susceptible to breeding problems and a second health check is advisable. Females are prone to egg laying problems between June and July and a health check at this time ensures they are fully prepared for the breeding season. Male cockatiels are prone to abnormal chewing behaviour and bowel blockages when breeding activity continues into the moult period. A health check is recommended between September and October for male cockatiels with a female partner.
Eclectus: December to January is the best time for an annual health check for Eclectus Parrots as the annual moult should be completed by this time.
White & Pink Cockatoos: February to March is the best time for an annual health check for cockatoos as the annual moult should be completed by this time. Cockatoos are susceptible to breeding problems and a second health check is advisable. Females are prone to egg laying problems between June and July and a health check at this time ensures they are fully prepared for the breeding season. Male cockatoos are prone to abnormal chewing behaviour and bowel blockages when breeding activity continues into the moult period. A health check is recommended between September and October for male cockatoos with a female partner.
South American Parrots (Macaws, Conures, Amazons, Quakers): The moult period for these birds is difficult to determine in Australia although December to January may be an ideal time for an annual health check. These South American parrots are capable of a moult in either Spring or Summer and Dr Marshall will help identify the moult pattern of your individual pet bird during the annual health check.
Asiatics: February to March is the best time for an annual health check for Asiatic Parrots as the annual moult should be completed by this time.
Dr Rob Marshall and bird trainer, Tailai O'Brien have developed a complete system of care that ensures health and happiness in your pet bird.
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