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Your Bird and Surgery


Your bird is about to have surgery. Although we have been doing surgery on birds for more than 20 years, there are still risks involved because they are so small. The main risk is blood loss and reaction to the anaesthetic, but we take great care with all of our bird patients. Your bird will be anaesthetised with a special gas anesthetic called Isofluorane. This is the safest anaesthetic for birds. A heated operating table is used during the surgical procedure to maintain body heat and a drip is given prior to surgery to counteract any dehydration. The surgery time is minimised by evaluating the exact problem beforehand. This means that the time spent under the anaesthetic is shortened but the surgery is not rushed.


I take every care with surgery and the nurses are trained to monitor the anaesthetic. I will immediately abort surgery if I feel the bird patient is behaving abnormally under the anaesthetic or if I am worried about any potential bleeding complications. Over the years, with these special innovations, deaths under anaesthetic have been kept to a very low 5%. In a very small percentage of bird patients, blood clots that move to the brain or heart and cause a failure to recover from surgery may occur within 72 hours of surgery. This is a poorly understood condition and one which is difficult to predict or prevent.

Instructions Before Surgery


  • Leave water in the cage.


  • Remove the food 2 hours before surgery. Bring the feed container with you so that we can use it immediately after your bird recovers from the anaesthetic.

  • Bring a hot water bottle with you if possible, so that we can place it in the cage after surgery.

  • Write down any questions you may have to ask us concerning the surgery, since you may forget them because of concerns for your bird.


Instructions After Surgery
  • Keep your bird warm for 72 hours following surgery. Use a hot water bottle or bar heater (no fan heaters) to keep the temperature around 28-30°C.


  • Give fresh water and food to your bird, and check that he is drinking and eating.

  • Clean the cage floor and if possible place paper on the floor so that you can count the droppings. If there are no droppings over night then your bird needs force feeding because it has not eaten.

  • Take all of the grit, and seed bells, seed sprays out of the cage for 2 weeks.

  • Full recovery from surgery takes 3 days. Contact me if your bird is not back to normal within this time.

  • Contact me if there is blood in the cage the night of surgery.

  • Check that your bird is not biting at the wound. If so a collar may be used, but this is rarely necessary.

  • Return after 10 days for the sutures to be checked. The sutures are taken out if they are worrying the bird but usually they self-dissolve within 3 weeks.


Quik gel is a broad spectrum first aid treatment that is given whenever you feel your bird is tired or unwell.

Emergency rescue formula is best administered using a crop needle, but it can also be given by spoon or syringe.

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