Protecting Our Pets – Preparing for Emergencies

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Protecting Our Pets – Preparing for Emergencies

Pet Owners - Emergency Preparedness List

It's not a big undertaking and it will pay huge dividends if you ever need it.

In case you haven't prepared, please let this article serve as a reminder.  Our hope is to make the task easier so that it will get done.

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Vet Exam

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Vet Exam

Vet Exam

Our avian buddies should receive a check up from an avian vet once a year. In the wild birds hide sickness to avoid being captured by predators. A yearly checkup monitors the health of your bird and a longer life.  Here are a few things to keep in mind when going to the vet.

  • Feeding – Do not feed your birds any foods that may contain yeast prior to the visit. This may show an elevated yeast count in the test results which was caused by food and not a fungal infection.  
  • Carrier – Always put your bird(s) in a carrier or cage with a perch when traveling in the car.  Birds are safer enclosed in the event of a car accident. Place clean paper towels at the bottom of the carrier to capture fresh droppings for the vet’s exam. If possible transport multiple birds separately so the vet knows who made the poop.
  • Prior to the exam – When you walk into the exam room inform your vet staff if your birds are flighted, tame, or aggressive (i.e. don’t like males/females). This will help to keep your birds safe. I caution the vet tech to use a thick towel with my Caique since he does not like to be mummied (think of a Bulldog with feathers).  Additionally, remember you are your bird’s advocate so if there are any changes in your bird's behavior, inform the vet. This could be as simple as my bird is yawning much more than usual or showing nesting behavior in excess.
  • Car sick – If any of your birds became car sick and regurgitated on the way inform the vet since this might change the results of the oral sample.
  • Physical exam – Similar to a checkup at your doctor’s the vet will exam the bird’s eyes, wings, feathers, beak, nostrils, feet, and body condition. S/he may ask you questions about your bird’s condition, behavior, and whether s/he has cage mates. The bird’s weight will be recorded.
  • Gram Stain test - The fecal gram stain test provides a visual sample of the bacteria in your bird’s gastrointestinal tract. The vet may use the term gram positive or negative. Harrison’s Bird Food has a nice pdf about this topic (for reference only):  http://avianmedicine.net/content/uploads/2013/03/gramstain2.pdf
  • Lab tests – Routine lab work may consist of taking a blood sample from the bird’s neck, a swab of the throat, and a sample of droppings.  The tests may be run in house or sent to a lab. Lab work can be quite extensive. Some test results are known right away and the vet may call you with the results the next day. Your vet is there for you so take the time and ask questions for any results you don’t understand.  A good vet will not over medicate your friend and will take the time to share his/her knowledge. The following PDF is a little old but is comprehensive in explaining some of the lab tests (for reference only, copy and paste the url in your browser).  ·        https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Elliott_Jacobson/post/What_order_of_magnitude_are_protein_concentrations_for_zebra_finch_plasma/attachment/59d633b779197b8077991641/AS:375929705648128@1466640034028/download/Understanding-Avian-Laboratory-Tests.pdf
  • Trip home – Your bird may feel exhausted after the exam so let your buddy have a little quiet time at home.

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The Importance of Good "Parronting"

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The Importance of Good "Parronting"

We all know the situations. The middle school kid who lets the door shut in an elderly woman’s face. The cute guy/girl who won’t text you back after a fantastic date. The person who doesn’t give a courtesy wave after you let them into your lane. On and on and on. What do we say about these people?

Why didn’t their parents raise them properly?!”

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Bird Safe Holiday Decor

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Bird Safe Holiday Decor

Birds are playful and curious.  Let's do what we can to keep the holiday decor safe for them and young children too.

All natural and fun to make decorations

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Holiday Plants that can Poison Your Parrot

Holiday Plants Toxic to Pet Birds

Christmas and Holiday Plants that Can Poison Your Parrot

By Alyson Kalhagen

Pet Birds Expert

The holiday season inspires beautiful decorations that often include a variety of plants that are known to be poisonous to pet birds. Some of these toxic holiday plants can cause severe illness and death in parrots and other birds, and should be avoided by bird owners as they deck the halls of their homes during the holiday season. 

Check out the list of poisonous holiday plants below to make sure that your pet bird never comes into contact with them. Decorating for Christmas and other holidays can be fun, but keep it safe by making sure you don't take unnecessary risks with poisonous plants and your pets!

 Thomas Northcut / Getty Images

Thomas Northcut / Getty Images

Holly

Holly is a great decoration for holiday festivities, but its leaves and berries can be deadly for your feathered friend. Opt for synthetic holly in your holiday decorations to keep your pet bird healthy and safe.

 
 Stockbyte/Getty Images

Stockbyte/Getty Images

Mistletoe

Another popular holiday plant, Mistletoe can be deadly to pet birds. Both the leaves and berries are toxic to our feathered friends, so it may be best to skip the mistletoe and get our kisses the old fashioned way next time the holidays roll around.

 
   
  
 
  
    
  
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   Diane Macdonald/Getty Images

Diane Macdonald/Getty Images

Poinsettias

These beautiful plants are often the centerpiece of holiday festivities. If you own birds, though, you may want to opt for a safer decoration -- Poinsettias are not only poisonous to birds, but to other pets, and people as well.

 
 Juan Silva / Getty Images

Juan Silva / Getty Images

Christmas Trees and Live Wreaths

Your Guide to Veterinary Medicine, Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM, makes some very good points about the dangers that Christmas trees and other evergreen decorations can pose to cats and dogs in her article on Christmas trees and pet toxicity. Certain varieties of live evergreens have been known to cause problems in some parrot species, so it is better to play it safe than be sorry and opt for an artificial tree if you own pet birds. Even then, care must be taken to make sure that your bird isn't allowed access to any Christmas tree -- the shiny decorations invite curious beaks and can cause choking hazards, delicate glass lights can be bitten off posing a risk of cuts, toxins, and electrocution, or bits of artificial fibers can be ingested causing all manner of health problems for a bird.

 
   
  
 
  
    
  
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   C Squared Studios/Getty Images

C Squared Studios/Getty Images

Christmas Cactus

There are several cactus varieties that are poisonous to pet birds. While it can be difficult to find much information on the toxicity of the Christmas Cactus, this is another plant that falls into the "better safe than sorry" category. Don't let your bird be the one who proves whether or not the Christmas Cactus is indeed toxic -- as a bird owner, the best policy is to assume that any plant whose properties you are unfamiliar with is a potential hazard to your pet.

 
   
  
 
  
    
  
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 Maria Mosolova/Getty Images

Maria Mosolova/Getty Images

Lillies

There are many types of Lillies, all beautiful and popular in flower arrangements. The Christmas lily is a popular decoration that many families enjoy during the holidays. Bird owners should keep an eye out for lilies, however, as their flowers and leaves are extremely poisonous to pet birds. Make sure to remove all lillies from the areas that your bird has access to.

 
   
  
 
  
    
  
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  John Foxx/Getty Images

John Foxx/Getty Images

Ivy

Lush, green Ivy is popular as a year-round decoration in many homes, and even more during the holiday season. While it does add a beautiful accent to a room's decor, some types of Ivy can be deadly to any pet birds that share your home. Steer clear of any Ivy variety to make sure that your bird stays safe.


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Can Suffering be a Good thing?

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Can Suffering be a Good thing?

Two things I swore never to work with, primates and birds- both terrifying!

... how I can do what I do in such a dedicated manner and where exactly is the joy in being surrounded by so much suffering?

Don’t witness suffering and turn your back on it or that animal has suffered in vain.

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Behavior - 10 things your parrot wants you to know

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Behavior - 10 things your parrot wants you to know

We are big fans of Dr. Susan Friedman's work.

In recent years, as the teaching technology of applied behavior analysis has become more widely known and practiced, the quality of life for captive parrots has improved by leaps and bounds.

Although they may not tell you in quite this way, all parrots will benefit from caregivers who know these ten things about behavior.

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