BIRD EMERGENCIES – HOME ADVICE
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1. Is the bird an emergency case?
The problem is that birds hide or "mask" the signs of disease until they are very sick. So the key is that any bird which shows any obvious signs of change from their normal behaviour may be an emergency. Do not just wait and see how the bird is over a few days as, by the time a decision to take the bird to a veterinarian is made, it may be too late. Preferably take the bird straight to the veterinarian.
2. What are the most common signs of an emergency?
Sleeping all the time, laboured breathing, vomiting, diarrhoea, poor ability to stand or walk, and seizures (fits). Other obvious emergency signs are wounds on your bird or blood in the cage. Your bird needs veterinary care as soon as possible.
3. How should the bird be handled in an emergency?
It is important to handle the bird as little as possible. It is best to pick up a very ill bird in a towel to avoid any problems during handling.
4. Is the bird hypothermic (too cold and in shock)?
Most Australian parrots can tolerate the cold quite well. If a bird is "fluffed up" it is probably cold and ill. Being "fluffed up" is the most common noticeable sign of a bird emergency.
5. Treatment of hypothermia
6. What fluids and nutrition can be given to a bird in an emergency?
A "fluffed up" bird that is cold and in shock will also usually be low in blood glucose and, even if drinking and still eating a lot, will be dehydrated. At home give some warm sweet weak black tea or some warmed up non-fizzy electrolyte drink such as Gatorade or Powerade. Replace the bird's water with this and drop a little into its mouth every 1-2 hours. (To make up the tea use half a cup of warm water, add the corner of a tea bag till the water has turned light brown and then add a tablespoon of sugar.)
There are several commercially available electrolyte supplements for birds such as Polyaid or Spark from Vetafarm. Some of these supplements may need to be given by crop tube.
The ideal way to give fluids to a bird is by injection or by crop tube.
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