Bird First Aid - Emergency

Bird First Aid  - Emergency
Always keep a carrier ready and large enough to contain and transport your bird. Put a towel on the bottom of the carrier to keep him calm. If he is ill or injured he or she needs to be kept warm and calm.

Birds will hide their injuries or illnesses so that they do not appear weak to predators. When a bird is injured or ill it is not a good idea to use a carrier with a fitted perch. They may fall, or panic and flap their wings and become seriously injured.

Also, it is invaluable to have this carrier nearby in case of fire, earthquakes, tornados, floods and other disasters.

If a bird is attacked by a cat wash out the wound with hydrogen peroxide and then Betadine (most of these products are much cheaper in a farm store or feed store) immediately, and get the bird to a vet for antibiotic shots. When a cat scratches or bites a bird it will pass on pasteurella a bacterium. That scratch or bite will be fatal in 24 hours.

If your bird should start convulsing place the bird in his carrier, keep the pet bird warm, call your vet.

If your bird is burned rinse the burn immediately with cool water apply Neosporin Ointment. Treat for shock. If the bird is burned badly get him to a veterinarian immediately.

Wounds that bleed - apply direct pressure until bleeding has stopped, clean with Betadine and apply Neosporin Ointment. If the wound is serious get to a vet. If the wound is a puncture wound take the bird to a vet; antibiotics may be administered. Use blood clotting agent Clotisol.

Broken blood feather use pliers to pull out flood feather that have been damaged. The broken blood feather will act as a suctioned straw and the bird will bleed out. Grip the feather firmly and pull the feather straight out. Clean with Betadine and use the blood clotting agent Clotisol If there is still bleeding, apply pressure, and get the bird to a vet. Birds don’t have a lot of blood, don’t waste time. Link for blood clotting agent at bottom of page.

Their nimble tongue can get them into trouble. Their tongue's have a lot of blood vessels hightail it to a vet; they will bleed out quickly.

Birds go into shock easily; keep the bird warm and calm.

Night terror – I have had quite a few calls about birds panicking at night. Birds do not see well in the dark. They start jumping around and flapping their wings. This can cause serious injury. If your bird should have night terrors keep a nightlight near the cage. Pull the cage cover up on one end near the night light. Talk to your bird calmly. I have seen this happen rarely with my own birds. Which leads me to believe that birds dream much as humans do? Dreaming is the way the brain processes information and puts it in the proper place for storage (much like defragging our computers.)

It sure wouldn’t hurt to consult an Avian Veterinarian and hopefully get to the root cause of the night terrors.

If you tape a bird with a Hook and Loop, Velcro tape, gauze tape or any tape make sure it is not too tight to prevent the bird from breathing. Bird’s breathe very differently than we do; same thing with holding a bird – not too tight.

If you have an emergency with your bird use common sense. If he is bleeding profusely grab something (sheet, shirt, men’s tie- anything to control the bleeding FAST), get the bird, apply direct pressure, and then call the vet while holding the animal. Hopefully, someone is around to assist. With a bit of luck, your medical kit as discribed below is handy, so that you can grab a clean dish cloth.

You can cite any “expert” sometimes emergencies come down to simple common sense. If I told you to call vet, then apply direct pressure would you do it? Or, would you apply direct pressure and then call the vet?

Emergency First Aid Supplies

If your bird has been injured or poisoned your veterinarian may recommend emergency first aid before you even transport to the clinic. Have these items on hand so they are ready when he instructs an emergency procedure.

Veterinarians phone number
Night, holiday, or relief veterinarian phone number

Gauze pads to apply direct pressure
Cotton swabs
Alcohol swabs
1" gauze tape
Hook And Loop or Velcro medical tape (or)
Vet wrap
Metal nail file
Tweezers or hemostats
Small scissors
Clean dish towels
1cc tuberculin syringes
Flexible tubing
12cc curved tip syringes
A net
Sterile saline solution
Hydrogen peroxide
Pedialyte – hydration and restoring electrolytes
Betadine – this is my personal favorite it is a broad-spectrum antiseptic. I buy it in farm supplies a gallon at a time we use it on our pets, wildlife rescues and ourselves.
Clotisol - blood clotting agent
Neosporin Ointment
Pepto-Bismol – to treat vomiting 2 drops by dropper
Benadryl*** (pink kapseals)
Magnifying glass
Good bottle of wine - calming effect on YOU after emergency.

How to Avoid Emergencies
Toxic Houseplants
Ceiling Fans
Unsuitable toys with small chain links, metal clips, lead weights, balsa wood, plastic, and small bells.
Sandpaper-covered perches
Toxic fumes from non-stick-coated cookware, insecticides, and air pollutants.
Open doors that lead outside or can be slammed on a bird
Sudden changes in temperatures
Toys or items with lead paint – will see this more often with so much stuff made in China
Boiling pots of food or water on the stove
Open toilets
Glasses of water
Toys or other things that can cause strangulation
Air freshener

*** Benadryl - If you look in Walmart in the sleep aid department you will find a generic sleep aid - read the back of the bottle/box it will say the only ingredient is Benadryl. These are far cheaper than buying Benadryl.

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Diana Geiger Birds Editoron

First Aid For Birds: An Owner's Guide to a Happy Healthy Pet

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