One of the best tools you can have for keeping your bird happy and healthy is an avian veterinarian.
If you have a medium or large parrot, this could be a lifetime relationship! Choose wisely, because not all vets are trained to treat birds.
And, choose a vet as soon as you can! You do not want to be stuck with a sick or injured bird and no vet to call!
10 Steps to choose an Avian Vet
Visit the website of the Association of Avian Veterinarians. This site will let you search for a board-certified avian veterinarian by area code, zip code, or state.
This site lists avian vets who have Avian Certification from the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP).
Certification is given by the ABVP when an avian vet has had six years of extensive,
documented avian experience or formal training and has passed a series of complicated exams.
Contact local bird clubs, bird breeders, other vet’s offices, or avian rescue facilities and ask for a recommendation.
When you do find an avian vet, feel free to do a preliminary phone interview.
Ask where they studied, what their specialty might be, and any additional training they’ve had.
If you’re comfortable with them after a phone interview, go and visit the clinic.
Is it clean? How do the technicians interact with the animals and with the owners? Can the vet be reached in an emergency?
What are the procedures for an emergency after the clinic is closed?
Who takes over the practice when the regular veterinarian is on vacation or ill? Make sure you can communicate with the veterinarian you decide on.
Do an in-person interview with the vet you are interested in. How often does she handle birds?
How long has she been treating birds? Does she continue to study avian and exotic pet medicine? Is she a member of the AAV?
What pieces of equipment do they have especially for birds? Do they have access to specialists?
If she is not avian certified, does she have access and a good rapport with one who is?
Make sure the vet is comfortable with your particular bird. If you hand over the potential veterinarian a large Macaw and she looks terrified, look a little further on your list. Make sure the vet is comfortable handling the bird.
A good avian vet will recommend certain magazines and publications for you to learn more about parrots.
She will be able to recommend a healthy diet, supplements, and other things to keep your bird healthy.
Does the vet’s clinic offer healthy bird foods for sale? Some clinics offer organic pellets and high-quality seed mixes and treat at their clinics.
While this isn’t necessarily indicative of a good clinic, it might be a convenience that you look for.
Unfortunately, you can’t go by price. Good avian vets are expensive. Since they must complete more schooling than non-avian certified vets, they are justified in charging higher prices. Prices will vary by region, and by their level of education.
If, after some time, you realize that you’re just not happy with your vet, do not be afraid to switch.
We’re talking about your bird’s health here, and it’s up to you to make sure she’s receiving the best care.
Tips in Summary
1. Get recommendations from people who already have birds.
2. Choose a vet with many years of experience.
3. Choose a vet you are comfortable with.