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“Polly want a doctor?”

As intelligent as birds can be, there’s little chance that your pet parrot or other breed will be able to answer that question. When it comes to pets, you need to look to their appearance and behavior to determine if they’re having a health problem. Read on to learn about common symptoms that your bird needs an experienced exotic pet vet.

Is Your Bird Off His Feed?

Lack of appetite is probably the number one sign of sickness with any pet, so when a bird stops eating, it’s time for concern. You can tell if it’s more than just your bird being picky by offering a favorite treat. If he or she still turns up their beak, a checkup is in order. Any bird that stops drinking water needs immediate medical attention.

Is Your Bird More Moody Than Normal?

Birds can be squawky and particular even when they’re feeling well. If you’re annoying them and they want to be left alone, they’ll have no problem showing you that you need to back off. However, if they become extremely aggressive or seem overly agitated, it may be a signal that they’re in distress. This can also be a sign of hormone fluctuations of you have males or a breeding pair, but it’s better to have your bird seen just to be sure it isn’t something more serious.

Is Your Bird Less Active Than Usual?

Birds are flighty to say the least. Occasionally, they’ll become less active and look kind of raggedy when they’re molting. But, when you notice that your bird seems tired, if he or she isn’t hopping around their cage or singing, it’s a sign that they’re not feeling well. It’s especially important to get immediately medical attention if you find them lying on the bottom of the cage or nest, or if they cling to their perch even after prodding.

Do You Notice Signs of Favoring or Protecting Certain Body Parts?

It’s easy for birds to become injured even in the relative safety of their cage or enclosure. Although many birds have an ingrained habit of masking symptoms of injury to discourage predators in the wild, favoring one leg or wing over the other is a definite sign of trouble. Does your bird shy away or nip you if you try to pick them up or approach them? That’s another potential sign that they’re in pain.

Is Polly as Bright-Eyed as Usual?

You’ll often notice your bird sitting with it’s eyes closed, just chilling. But, if they are constantly squinting or keeping their eyes closed, it’s a symptom of a sick bird. This is especially true in combination with other symptoms like lethargy and lack of appetite.

Sudden Lose of Plumage or a “Rumpled” Appearance

It’s normal for a bird to slow down a little and look kind of ragged just before molting. But, if it isn’t his regular molting season or you notice feather picking and bald patches, this can be a sign of distress. Common causes are skin irritations, mites or anxiety.

The Importance of Regular Checkups

Most ‘traditional” pet owners know that puppies and kittens need vaccinations and annual checkups. But exotic pet owners are often clueless about preventative health care for their birds, fish and reptiles. Usually, they only look for an exotic vet vet when they notice signs of sickness or injuries. Before purchasing any exotic animal, learn about proper care and health maintenance. Many species require specific environments and room conditions to stay healthy and active. Once you bring your pet home, make an appointment for a first checkup with a vet who has experience treating birds.

Bird health can be very fragile. In addition to regular well animal checks, you can help maintain your pet’s health with good nutrition. Plenty of water and a seed mixture that’s formulated for your breed are a good start. You can also visit Vet Products Direct for supplements for birds to round off your care regimen.