March is Avian Awareness Month

Spring flies in this year on March 20, 2017. In celebration of the spring Equinox, FloridaWild Veterinary Hospital is commemorating the event by proclaiming March as Avian Awareness Month. This gives bird lovers, who are sharing their hearts and homes with these delightful winged wonders, the opportunity to have something about which to warble. Our feathery friends give so many people an abundance of pleasure and joy - making birds truly remarkable pet companions.

But just like our furry familiars, when it comes to the care and health of pet birds, avians have their very own special veterinary needs. Since their healthcare needs are different, 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 studied extensively about this branch of veterinary medicine. Their expertise helps to assure your birds robust health. Avian veterinary specialists keep abreast of the latest species information.

Avian veterinary specialists highly recommend that following any new bird purchase that during the initial visit to the practice that blood work is done which both creates a health baseline and assesses the state of your bird's health.

Did you know that most birds may instinctively hide any overt signs of physical illness? Therefore it's important for their owners to be on the lookout for anything that might indicate their pet bird may be feeling under the weather.

Included in these signs are: abnormal sleep habits, acting unusually irritable or overly passive, sitting at the bottom of the cage, puffed up appearance, labored breathing, coughing or sneezing, discharge or excessive moisture running from the nares, swelling of the eyes, changes in color or white content in the stool, diarrhea or black stool, scaling or crusting of the skin, weight loss, increased temperature of the feet or beak. Any of these signs should be promptly attended to by your veterinarian.

Although at first glance your bird may appear to be perfectly healthy, it may in fact, be harboring a serious disease that is not readily apparent. Many avian diseases do not show outward signs. As a result, blood work is the most reliable way to detect any hidden medical conditions and/or problems which can mean the difference between a birds life and death. Depending on the results of these blood tests and physical examinations, bird owners and their veterinarians can work together to optimize the health of a beloved avian companion.

Feeding your pet bird with the best possible nutrition is just one of the essential parts to keep your bird healthy and happy. Generally speaking, if many of the foods we are eating are nourishing and healthful, they will also be nutritious for your birds. Much in the same way that we enjoy eating healthy dried fruits, veggies, herbs, greens and even bee pollen, so do many of our beloved birds.

However, it is very important to check with your veterinarian before feeding any of these food items. There are foods and plants that are toxic to birds, so it is crucial to keep a list of them handy.

Keeping your bird both mentally and physically stimulated is crucial. These amazing creatures are social animals and greatly enjoy their guardians company. Spending time playing with your bird, giving her time out of the cage to free-fly in a safe environment is essential to her emotional health.

For a list of activities that are fun for you and your bird, check out: Keeping your pet bird happy.

In celebration of Avian Awareness Month, Floridawild Veterinary Hospital is waiving the enrollment fee for birds and is offering 10% off on bird toys!

Bird guardians; please leave a comment to share with us about what you love most about living with these beautiful animals.

By Jo Singer, MSW, CSW, LCSW (Ret.)