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Birds

  • The normal lens in the eye of any animal is clear and colorless. A cataract is an increase in the density or opacity of the lens; it is often observed as whiteness within the pupil. Cataracts are often seen in canaries and less often in Amazon Parrots, African Grey Parrots, and Macaws. Cataracts decrease the visual acuity of the bird and may eventually lead to blindness.

  • Chlamydophilosis (psittacosis, chlamydiosis, parrot fever, ornithosis) is a common disease of birds caused by a bacterial organism called Chlamydophila psittaci. While this disease can occur in any bird, it is especially common in cockatiels, Amazon parrots, and budgerigars. Birds with chlamydophilosis exhibit a decreased appetite, weight loss, lethargy, diarrhea, nasal or ocular discharge, a fluffed-up appearance, and breathing difficulties. Some birds can carry C. psittaci asymptomatically, spreading it to other birds (and people) through their droppings and respiratory tract secretions. Because tests for diagnosing chlamydophilosis in birds, are not 100% reliable, veterinarians will often rely on a combination of test results to formulate a diagnosis. Treatment is usually with oral or injectable doxycycline antibiotic for 45 days. In humans, this disease often causes flu-like respiratory tract signs such as fever, sweating, headache, fatigue, muscle pain, inappetence, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and a dry cough. Since chlamydophilosis is a zoonotic disease, all new pet birds should be examined by a bird-savvy veterinarian and have some form of testing for this disease.

  • Chlorpheniramine maleate is given by mouth and is used off label to treat allergic conditions or as a mild sedative. Common side effects include sleepiness, although other side effects are possible. Do not use in pets that are allergic to it or other similar antihistamines, or pets that are undergoing allergy testing within 2 weeks. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Chronic egg-laying occurs when a female bird lays one egg after another or lays repeated clutches of eggs. Chronic egg-laying may lead to malnutrition and egg binding. There are both behavioral and medical interventions to stop chronic egg-laying.

  • Clomipramine is given by mouth and is used on and off label to treat behavior disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorders, anxiety, aggression, and urine marking. Common side effects include lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, dry mouth, elevated liver enzymes, difficulty urinating, or tiredness. Do not use in pets that are allergic to it or other tricyclic antidepressants, in breeding males, in pets with a history of seizures, or concurrently with monoamine oxidase inhibitors such as amitraz flea collars. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Cockatiels make excellent first birds for families. Larger than budgies and smaller than larger parrots, these entertaining birds are easy to maintain and provide endless hours of entertainment and companionship. They are beautiful flyers and enjoy lots of activity and play. Cockatiels love to chew; therefore, providing bird-safe toys will easily distract them from unwanted destructive chewing. They may be adopted from shelters or purchased from a pet store or a reputable breeder. They require annual, routine veterinary health check-ups to help prevent disease and aid in the maintenance of a long-lasting, healthy relationship between you and your bird.

  • Cockatoos are a suitable family pet for families with elementary school-aged and older children. Their jumpy nature and strong bite make them inappropriate for families with young children. Owning a cockatoo can be like having a small child. These birds are high maintenance both physically and emotionally, as they demand a lot of attention and a great deal of time outside their cages. Without adequate attention, cockatoos sometimes become excessively boisterous and are potentially destructive. Cockatoos need to chew; therefore, providing a continuous supply of non-toxic wood or cardboard bird-safe toys will afford it many hours of entertainment and likely save household items from being destroyed. Cockatoos may be adopted from shelters or purchased from pet stores or reputable breeders. They require annual, routine veterinary health check-ups to help prevent disease and aid in the maintenance of a long-lasting, healthy relationship between you and your bird.

  • Colchicine is given by mouth and is used off label to primarily treat amyloidosis and Shar-Pei fever. Give as directed by your veterinarian. Side effects are not well documented and may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, skin rash, incoordination, severe tiredness, weakness, infections, bleeding, or bruising. Do not use in pets that are allergic to it or in pets with severe kidney, gastrointestinal, or heart disease. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Pet birds often become ill when they are not cared for or fed appropriately. Birds can develop infections with bacteria such as Chlamydia psittaci and parasites such as Giardia. They also commonly suffer from reproductive problems, such as egg binding and reproductive tumors. Many feather-pick when psychologically stressed or sexually frustrated. Birds on all-seed, high-fat diets may become obese and develop fatty liver syndrome. Older birds may develop cloacal papillomas or cancer. Your veterinarian familiar with birds will formulate an appropriate diagnostic and treatment plan if your pet bird becomes ill.

  • The complete blood count (CBC) assesses different parameters of the cells in the blood including total number, appearance, size, and shape. Red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets comprise the cellular component of the blood. Changes in the red blood cells can affect oxygen delivery from the lungs to the blood. Changes in the white blood cells can indicate infection, inflammation, and cancer. Platelets are needed for adequate blood clotting so decreased numbers can raise concern for spontaneous bleeding.

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