Even if you've read all the information on this web site, or perused any number of books on bird health, you'll still need to call your veterinarian at the first sign of any illness in your bird. Catching an illness early increases the chances for a successful treatment.

Knowing When to Call

Call the vet immediately whenever your bird is in pain, injured, bleeding, unconscious or unable to pass feces. You should also contact your vet about any major change in your bird's appearance or behavior. Your bird may need to go to the veterinarian's office if he:

  • Sleeps more than usual
  • Appears dull, lethargic or weak
  • Loses his appetite or appears to be losing weight
  • Appears to be gaining weight
  • Is unsteady on his perch or refuses to perch
  • Decreases his singing or vocalization
  • Seems to be having trouble breathing, is bobbing his tail, or has crusting or discharge from eyes, nose or mouth
  • Has a change in the quantity or consistency of feces, urine or urates (the creamy white waste from the kidney, usually suspended in the urine or wrapped around the feces)
If you haven't already done so, call your vet to find out about the procedure for calling her office when you need to report any unusual symptoms in your bird. Questions you should ask include:

  • Who will answer my questions, the veterinarian or an assistant? Assistants can give you information about common avian problems, or they may gather your information to relay to the vet, in case she is busy with another animal, which generally ensures a quick, efficient response procedure.

  • What, if anything, does the veterinarian charge for such calls? Most veterinarians do not charge a consultation fee, especially for regular clients. This is why it's important to establish a good working relationship with your vet -before your pet becomes sick.

  • Who should I call if the office is closed, or if the veterinarian is not available? Discuss after-hours options for emergencies. Most day clinics refer all nighttime emergencies to local emergency clinics on nights, weekends, and holidays. Emergency care clinics typically cost more, but that's because they're staffed 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays, with highly trained veterinary personnel who are prepared to handle the most complicated and critical animal emergencies at any time.