Avian First Aid Information
Veterinarian Phone Number: Keep in a handy place
Emergency After Hours Veterinarian Clinic Phone Number: Keep in a handy place
Basic Items in First Aid Kits for Birds includes the following:
- A pair of nail trimmers (for clipping toe nails)
- A pair of surgical forceps (for pulling bleeding feathers)
- Saline Solution (for irrigating eyes)
- Styptic Powder (used to stop bleeding from trimming nails too short - not to be used on
skin or feathers)
- Vet Wrap
- Hand Wipe (for cleansing your hands before handling injured bird)
- Betadine Swabs (for cleansing wounds)
- Cotton balls
- Disposable Syringes (for flushing eyes and wounds dispose of needle point before
using on bird)
The most important factor in keeping your bird safe from harm is prevention. Avoid:
- unsupervised freedom
- sources of lead
- oils and ointments not approved by your Veterinarian
- cigarette smoke
- chocolate, coffee (and other caffeined drinks)
- sugared and salted foods
- use of non-stick cookware including self-cleaning ovens and irons
- hazardous objects in or near cage
- contact with other animals or small children
- poisonous plants
- standing water (toilet bowls)
- scented candles and plug-in air freshners
- sparkle fire logs for making colored flames in the fireplace
- Christmas trees and decorations
Emergency First Aid
- Bleeding from Nail:
Minor bleeding from nails cut too short can easily be managed by using Styptic Powder.
Place a small amount of Styptic Power on your finger and gently press into the end of the
bleeding nail. Hold the toe applying a small amount of pressure until the bleeding stops.
If bleeding is profound and does not stop take the bird to see a Veterinarian.
- Bleeding from a Feather:
Prevent flapping by placing your bird in a towel. Use surgical forceps to apply a slow steady
pressure in the direction of the feather growth for removal of the entire effected feather.
Follow with a slight pressure at the site. Ensure that the entire feather is removed.
If in doubt or bleeding persists take the bird to the Veterinarian. Observe the bird for several
hours to ensure bleeding does not re-occur.
- Lacerations and Cuts:
Use a pressure bandage to control bleeding. Any serious injury, especially those caused by
animal bites, should be seen by a veterinarian.
Place a clean paper on the bottom of the cage to collect droppings for the Veterinarian to
evaluate. Contact Veterinarian.
- Eye Abnormalities:
Flush with Saline Solution. Do not use Visine, Murine or antibiotic drops/ointments.
- Egg Binding:
Keep warm. Be sure that calcium is available. Do not give oil orally or via vent.
In all cases contact Veterinarian immediately. Heat: Within seconds of burn apply cold compress.
Chemical: Immediately flush with large amount of cool water.
- Respiratory Symptoms:
Coughing, sneezing, wheezing, running nose, clicking or other difficulty breathing may be caused
by many viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites. Provide warm environment 85-90 F and contact
- Loss of use of Limb:
Remove all perches from cage and provide a warm and quiet environment. Contact Veterinarian as
soon as possible. For broken wing you can slip a snug but not tight stocking over the body.
(With the toe cut out for the bird's head)
Keep Cool, not hot or cold Contact Veterinarian.
- Prolapse of Cloaca:
- Vomiting/ Regurgitation:
It is normal for regurgitation to take place to feed mate but it can also be caused by
obstruction by foreign bodies, infection or poisoning. Remove food and water and contact
Place feet and legs in cool water, mist feathers down to the skin with water. Contact
- Passing Whole Seed or Undigested Food:
Can be caused by gastrointestinal irritations or disturbances Contact Veterinarian.
In all cases contact Veterinarian.
Provide warm environment 85-90 F
Provide fresh air, ventilation
General Conditions Requiring Veterinarian Care:
- Loss of Appetite, Weight Loss
- Weakness, Loss of Balance
- Unusual Droppings
- Regurgitation (note some regurgitation is normal so find out situation)
- Abdominal Swelling
- Prolapsed Cloaca
- Breathing Difficulties, Coughing, Sneezing, Wheezing
- Favoring One Leg or Wing
- Any sign of Burns
- Bleeding or Other signs of Trauma
Traveling and Carrying Your Bird:
Even if you are only traveling across the city it is important that you carry your first aid kit with you. Bring additional water and food with you. If your car breaks down or worse if you are in an accident the first aid kit and additional supplies may save your bird's life.
Recognizing Signs of Illness:
As a responsible pet owner you should constantly monitor your bird for signs of illness.
Most birds instinctively hide illness as long as possible. This is a survival tactic in the wild.
Familiarity with your bird's healthy behavior, feeding habits and droppings are the key to early
detection and treatment of illness.
Additional items to keep on hand:
- A towel: for wrapping and securing your bird.
Some experts believe that choosing a color that is closest to your bird's natural coloring
makes the bird less nervous during the process of toweling. It is suggested that a towel be
used during regular play and training time for the bird to become accustomed to being toweled.
Peek-a-boo and other games can be played so that the bird is not fearful of the towel which
can be an asset during a time when an injury is present.
- Scissors: Used to cut Gauze, Vet Wrap
- All Purpose Cutters: Used to remove wire, string or any item your bird may get tangled up in.
Plants Harmful to Birds
- amaryllis, azalea,
- baxom pear, baneberry, bird of paradise, black locust, blue-green algae(some forms toxic),
boxwood, buckthorn, buttercup,
- calla lily, caladium, castor bean (castor oil), chalice vine, cherry tree, christmas candle,
coral plant, caphne,
- daffodil, datura, deadly amanita, death camas, delphinium, deiffenbachia (dumbcane),
- eggplant, elephant's ear, english ivy,
- false henbane, foxglove,
- golden chain,
- hemlock, poison, hemlock, water, henbane, holly, horse chestnut, hyacinth, hydrangea,
- indian turnip, iris,
- java bean, jerusalem cherry, jimsonweed, juniper,
- lantana, larkspur, laurel, lily of the valley, lobelia, locoweed, lords & ladies(cuckoopint),
- marijuana mayapple, mescal bean, mistletoe, mock orange, monkshood, morning glory,
- narcissus, nightshades (all types)
- oak, oleander,
- philodendron, poison ivy, pointsetta, pikeweed, potato, privet,
- rhodedendron, rhubarb, rosary peas,
- skink cabbage. showdrop, show on the mountain, sweet pea,
- virginia creeper,
- yam bean, yew (american, english, Japanese)