Monday, November 2, 2009

Finding the Best Avian Vet for Your Cockatiel

It is very important to have an avian vet for your cockatiel that you like and trust.
Just as you need to feel comfortable with your own medical doctor, so too does your bird need to feel comfortable with her vet.

Your avian vet could save your cockatiel's life so it is important to chose someone both you and your bird trust.

It is essential that you find an avian vet ASAP. It is better to have a vet's number on hand before an emergency happens, rather than to have to frantically search for a vet after something awful has happened to your bird.

I learned this lesson the hard way; I had no avian vet, let alone a number for one when I had an emergency with Loki.

I had just returned from a trip and saw a feather that had blood by Loki's cage. I immediately FREAKED out because I had never seen anything like this before.

I quickly went to the computer and typed in "cockatiel feather with blood on it" and of course this is when I learned about the severity of broken blood feathers.

I was crying uncontrollably and in a panic for my bird. I did not have an avian vet at this time; Loki had never even been for a check-up yet.

I searched the web for an avian vet nearby and called the number of the Bird and Exotic Animal Hospital.

It was about 10p.m. and the office was closed; however, the phone was answered by an after-hours emergency responder who told me she would alert Dr. Rolfe and have her call me.

No more than five minutes after I got off the phone with the responder, Dr. Rolfe called me. She reassured me that Loki would be fine and told me how to handle the situation.

Dr. Rolfe was so patient, calming, and knowledgeable that I knew right away she was the vet for us.
I went in to see her the next day and got Loki's first check-up.

You should look for a vet that is:
  • Knowledgeable
  • Patient
  • Comforts your bird
  • Look for an avian vet that is certified by The Association of Avian Veterinarians.
Most regular vets will not treat birds because of the special certifications and training needed to become an avian vet.

Another reason it is so important to have a number on-hand before an emergency is because often the nearest avian vet may be five or more hours away; avian vets can be sparse in certain areas.

Before an emergency strikes you should:

  • Call the nearest avian vet and ask them where you should take your bird in an emergency. You should call them even if they are five hours away because they may have worked with a non-avian vet in the area (this vet may know more about birds than other non-avian vets).
  • Call non-avian vets in your area and ask if they treat birds. If they do not, ask if they know anyone in the area that does.
  • Call your local parrot clubs, breeders, pet stores, animal or wildlife protection or rehabilitation services, especially bird of prey centres, and ask them where they take their birds.

Below are some great tips from Duddle on what to do before your bird has an emergency:

  • Make a list of all avian vets within a few hours' drive (you may not think you'll drive two hours to the vet, but if your bird is bleeding or has another serious injury, you will suddenly feel very motivated to make that drive!).
  • Make a list of all animal emergency clinics, or 24-hour animal clinics within a few hours' drive.
  • Make a list of all regular vets in the area that deal with birds.

In case of a poisoning call:

ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center 24-hour emergency phone number: 1-888-426-4435(Vets are available to help 24-hours a day, but you are charged a fee for the call).

You may not be able to prevent an emergency, but being prepared for one by having an avian vet could save your bird's life.

The lobby of The Bird and Exotic Animal Hospital run by Dr. Rolfe

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