Birds often mask the signs of illness and may only show signs of being unwell when they are very sick. Depending on the bird, 6 monthly or yearly health checks are recommended to ensure that your bird is not masking any illness or injury.


The avian vet will conduct a physical examination of your bird to check for any obvious signs of ill health. Advice on diet, husbandry and behaviour will also be provided. Microchipping of your bird can also be performed.


Depending on this initial examination, the vet may suggest one or more of the following tests:

Bacteria, fungi and parasite screening

        crop and faecal smears Smears examined under the microscope to determine the presence of parasites and fungi (giardia, trichomonads, worms, coccidia, megabacteria) and bacterial infections. Faecal flotation may also be required for certain parasites.

        Gram staining for bacteria Bacteria are normally found in the gastro-intestinal tract in certain types and numbers. Special staining of the crop and faecal smear is done to determine some of the characteristics of these bacteria and fungi such as relative numbers and shape.

        Culture and sensitivity The vet may recommend sending a culture and sensitivity test swab of any abnormal bacteria or fungi to the laboratory to determine exactly which type of bacteria is present and which medication to use.

Blood tests

Infectious diseases

        Chlamydophila (chlamydia) test This determines the presence of the chlamydophila organism and/or previous exposure. This illness can also be transmitted to humans.

        Polyoma and Psittacine Beak & Feather Disease (PBFD) These are highly recommended in young birds to determine exposure to these viruses and the level of immunity.

Other laboratory blood tests available

        Haematology Red and white blood cell count;

1)     To determine the personal profile of your bird so that normal values for your bird are established. A change in these values at a later date can be used to diagnose any disease process; and/or

2)     To diagnose an underlying disease process. Any imbalance in the proportion of white blood cells indicates illness.

        Biochemistry This will provide information on whether the internal organs such as the kidney, liver, pancreas and intestine are functioning normally.

        DNA sexing



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