Articles

Birds

  • Crop infections are common in pet birds, especially baby birds that are being hand fed. While not usually fatal if treated early, crop infections can be serious and result in a complete loss of appetite.

  • Hospitals providing curbside care have restructured their practice to avoid the need for clients to enter the lobby and exam rooms. This is designed to promote physical (social) distancing and reduce the spread of COVID-19. Curbside care offers a number of benefits for you and your pet. By eliminating the need for you to enter the hospital, potential COVID-19 outbreaks are reduced. The veterinary team is protected under a curbside care model, and in turn, so is your pet. Even in curbside care, you will have an opportunity to speak with your veterinarian in order to discuss findings and recommendations. To help the curbside appointment go smoothly, bring a written list of concerns or fill in any forms your practice has sent to you prior to the appointment. Curbside care truly is in the best interests of you and your pet.

  • Cytology is the microscopic examination of cell samples. Cytology can be used to diagnose growths or masses found on the surface of the body, and also to assess bodily fluids, internal organs, and abnormal fluids that may accumulate, especially in the chest and abdomen. Cells can be collected using various methods including fine needle aspiration, skin scraping, impression smear, cotton-tipped swabs, or lavage. A biopsy is the surgical removal of a representative sample of tissue from a suspicious lesion. The most common biopsy techniques are punch biopsy, wedge biopsy, and excision biopsy. The tissue is then processed and is examined under a microscope via histopathology. Histopathology allows the veterinary pathologist to make a diagnosis, classify the tumor, and predict the course of the disease.

  • Diazepam is given by mouth, injection, or into the rectum and is used off label to treat anxiety, seizures, tense muscles, or decreased appetite. Give as directed by your veterinarian. Side effects include sleepiness, increased appetite, incoordination, weakness, agitation, drooling, and aggression. Do not give to cats by mouth, and do not use in pets that are allergic to it or other benzodiazepines, or in pets with severe liver disease. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Diphenhydramine is given by mouth or as an injection and is used on and off label to treat allergic reactions, motion sickness, and to induce sedation. Side effects include sleepiness, and less commonly dry mouth and gastrointestinal upset. Diphenhydramine should not be used in pets that are allergic to this medication and should be used cautiously in pets with glaucoma, enlarged prostate, thyroid or heart disease, or are lactating. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Doxepin is given by mouth and is used off label to treat psychogenic dermatoses such as excessive grooming and psychogenic alopecia. Give as directed. The most common side effect is sleepiness. Do not use in pets that are allergic to it or other tricyclic antidepressants, in pets currently using an MAOI or flea/tick collar, or in pets undergoing skin allergy testing within two weeks. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Doxycycline is an antibiotic given by mouth in the form of a tablet, capsule, or liquid, used off label to treat certain infections. Common side effects include stomach upset, sun sensitivity, and increases in liver enzymes. Serious side effects include liver failure, seizures, and trouble swallowing. Do not use in pregnant pets, and use cautiously in pets with liver disease or in young pets. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Egg binding is not uncommon in birds and may be resolved easily if treated early. Egg binding occurs when the female bird is unable to expel the egg from her body. If a prolonged period has elapsed since the bird began attempting to lay the egg, she may become critically ill. Birds with egg binding may or may not have passed an egg more than 2 days ago, are usually weak, not perching, often sitting low on the perch or on the bottom of the cage, and are straining as if trying to defecate or to lay an egg. Treatment varies depending upon how sick the bird is, as well as the location of the egg and the length of time the bird has been egg bound. Critically ill birds are first treated supportively for shock, and then attempts are made to extract the egg. If your veterinarian cannot see the egg through the vent, surgery under general anesthetic may be necessary to remove the egg from the abdomen. A hysterectomy (removal of the oviduct and uterus) is typically the last choice therapy, when medical and egg extraction through the vent are not possible.

  • Egg yolk peritonitis is commonly diagnosed in laying hens when yolk from a developing egg or an incompletely shelled or ruptured egg is deposited within the body cavity rather than passing normally from the ovary, into the oviduct, and then out of the body as a fully shelled egg. The yolk material that is released into the coelomic cavity causes inflammation of the peritoneum and typically the development of fluid within the coelom. Affected birds will often stop laying, become less active, have distended abdomens, and have difficulty breathing. Veterinarians diagnose egg yolk peritonitis through a combination of physical examination findings, blood testing, and imaging with radiographs or ultrasound. Treatment is supportive, with supplemental feeding, anti-inflammatory medication, antibiotics, hormones to prevent further egg laying. With more advanced cases, oxygen therapy and fluid drainage from the abdomen may be necessary.

  • Following certain traumas, after some surgeries, or in the case of a self-mutilating bird or feather picking bird, various protective devices or collars (often called Elizabethan collars) may have to be employed to prevent a bird from further harming or traumatizing itself.

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