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  • Transport to Surgery
  • Examination Protocol
  • Hospitalisation
  • Preventative Medicine

Transport to Surgery

Parrots can be transported in many ways depending on the species, their age and their socialisation.  The effect of the stress of travel will vary depending on how socialised the bird is to human contact and how ill they are, often if very ill they don’t appear to care where they are. Some birds appear to enjoy traveling especially those closely bonded to their owners. The aim should always be to minimise stress.

The ideal transport container should be

  • Escape proof
  • Made of materials the bird cannot easily destroy
  • Have a large opening so the bird can be easily restrained and removed
  • Allow the veterinarian to observe the bird before restraint
  • Have good ventilation (risk of greenhouse in hot weather)
  • Provide a degree of visual security for the bird (allow them to feel they cannot be seen)
  • Have a perch or something the bird can grip during transport to avoid sliding around
  • Spill proof food and water containers
  • Of a size that does not damage tail feathers

Containers with some of the sides partially occluded provide a degree of visual security for the bird. Good ventilation will help avoid big fluctuations in temperature and containers must be protected from direct sunlight especially if they have glass or perspex walls that could act as a greenhouse. Also make sure that the transport containers are not placed where the birds could be subjected to engine fumes or other noxious gases. Also keep away from any loud noises that may startle the birds. If the container is to be reused it should be easily cleaned and disinfected before being used for other birds. Plastic is the best material as it is impervious to water, easily cleaned, disinfected and dried. All transport containers used must be secure. In contrast some birds are happiest when they can see out the car windows and watch everything go by.

Examination Protocol

The clinical examination can be broken down into several parts.

Initially we will collect the history. This includes diet, environment and contacts. As we are collecting the history we will be observing the bird before handling. How are they standing? what is their mental status? what is their breathing rate and depth? This information cannot be obtained when we are holding the bird.

The next step is the clinical examination. This is much more important in animals than is people as they are not able to direct the clinician to the area where it hurts or where there is inflammation or swelling. The clinical exam should be done by a veterinary surgeon who is familiar with the species and their differences from other parrot species.

Then the findings are relayed to the owner and the diagnostic / treatment options discussed.

Samples may need to be collected for diagnostic testing or the required medication may be dispensed.


Hospitalisation facilities for parrots should be away from the stress of the sight and sound of dogs, cats and other potential predators. Disturbance of the patient should be minimised. The ideal avian hospital ward should have lighting that is dimmable to provide visual security. However, a similar effect can be achieved by covering the front of the hospital cage.

Important capabilities to have when providing intensive care for a parrot that has been hospitalised

  • Experienced avian vets
  • Nursing team trained and practiced in avian critical care
  • Appropriate hospitalisation enclosures
  • Oxygen availability
  • Ability to control temperature and humidity in some of the hospital enclosures
  • Avian specific equipment

Preventative Medicine

Parrots are long lived companions and should live for many years depending on the species. A preventative health plan is important to keep your parrot in good health. A post purchase health examination with an avian veterinary surgeon is an important part of this plan. This is when all aspects of your bird's care can be discussed. Annual health checks are recommended and we would agree that this is an important opportunity for the early detection of illness and to discuss again aspects of diet and care.

Training is very important but often this opportunity is missed. Well trained birds are happier and healthier and have owners who are more satisfied with their birds.

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