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Pionus Online - Health Care for Pionus

Health Care is always an issue when keeping any type of parrot. It's basically an added expense that we sometimes have to pay up front when least expected. Annual checkups for each of your birds should be an important part of keeping and maintaing a pet bird.  It's something that we don't want to think about having to do but it's important that you keep aware of their health.

There is pet insurance that you can buy on a pet bird, I am not one that goes that route but it is available but can be costly. You must weigh out the differences as vet bills can actually add up into thousands of dollars if anything is vitally wrong with the bird. There is usually a deductable to pay as well, it may be fairly similair to health insurance that we people have on ourselves... they are vary widely though. You do have to know what areas the insurance plan covers. It's your choice to have an insurance plan on your pet bird and each one that you want covered has to be on the plan that you will be paying for.

A good avian vet is important to have on hand, you should have chosen one on the onset of acquiring your pet bird, if you have not, then you should seriously think about which one you would like best and a vet for a bird should always be an avian vet, which is a vet that knows about birds.  Some vets that primarily do dogs and cats do not usually know much of anything on birds. Some may know just simple things but when it comes down to the most inner workings of a bird, they fail to really know what makes them tick!

Some people choose a vet that is the closest to where they live but often as it goes, your better vet could live further way from you than one that is closer to you... you can usually get good references of who is good and who is not so good and usually too you will get a gut instinct of who you like and don't like. Ask around and ask other people if you can on who is the best and lots of online resources are available as well in finding a good avian vet. I travel at least 60 miles each way to 2 of the vets that I use... I bounce back and forth between the two as I have found that they are both good and yet in some things they do, I like how one vet is over the other for certain things. One charges more than the other but to me it's not always about the cost because its usually not that much more to speak of. The one vet that is a little less over all is also the one that gives me a discount because I am a breeder as to where the other one is more expensive and gives me no discount. The one vet will do things as where the other vet may not and will refer me to elsewhere on more serious stuff... so you never know and I find it best to have at least two vet to use plus you may not be able to get into one vet on a particular day and can with the other vet... for me they are in about equal distance to me but one I prefer to drive to more so due to the traffic is not as bad getting there and back as the other one!

Avian Vets really are a must to have on hand. Outside of annual checkups, you may not ever have to use one for something more vital but its a better secure feeling in knowing should something arise, you know right where to go. Should you not have to use them then that's great but you should know exactly where they are located at and how to get there as well.

I am often asked what is a "well-bird exam"? It is usually a visual exam to where the vet will look and feel the bird over, looking into the nostrils, mouth, weighing, spreading out the wings and some will look in the rear end with a scope. The vet will feel the body for signs of things and can tell perhaps feel for any abnormalities. More extensive if you are willing to pay would be cultures and blood tests, these two areas are not included in part of the well bird exam and always cost extra money. You could be looking anywhere from an easy $100 to $200 easily for a blood panel and depending upon what you request will play a part in the cost as well. Vaccinations are also an added cost, there are a few vaccines for a few avian diseases and are not usually all that expensive considering it will help prevent your bird from the possible disease. Like in children the vaccines must be updated every so often.

Should you leave your bird in the care of others like while you go away or on vacation, always leave the phone number and address with the person who is caring for your bird, as you know it always seems that things happen when you least expect it.  A bird sitter does not know much of anything in birds unless they have birds of their own. Lots of people have neighbors that come in and feed and water their pet bird and they are not aware of what birds are about they only are there to feed them. You should go over routine things with the pet sitter too, even have that pet sitter come in a few times before you leave so the bird is use to seeing the stranger for a few times before you leave on your vacation. You should have a nearby carrier for the bird should the bird need to make a trip to the vet while you are gone.  Should the pet sitter have to take the bird to the vet, how will they get the bird into the carrier? Unless you know your bird actually likes the person and can easily hold your bird it may not be a problem but again usually not the case so have a bird net handy and more less teach the person how to catch a bird in the net and how to put the bird into the carrier. Toweling a bird is not always easy to do, as most people are afraid of getting bit. A bird will not into the carrier on their own, you generally have to physically put them in.

All in all - the healthier your bird is, the longer life can be expected! Feeding the right things can add years to the life of a pet but as in anything living, we never know why some die sooner than others even though good care was given. Life is not always fair to all living beings, but we try to do the best we can!

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Oct. 2008