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I know there are differing opinions on the subject of well-bird check ups. Some people believe in having your apparently healthy parrot checked out once a year by a qualified avian vet, while others claim that taking a healthy bird into a vet office exposes them to germs they might not otherwise be exposed to. I am not going to lecture you on either. That is your choice. I am lucky enough to have a mobile avian vet that visits my house and I do have my parrots checked out once a year. But, you do what you think is right.
If you do take your bird in for a well bird check-up, here are some things that should be included:
Visual check: Looking at the ears, eyes, nose, mouth, etc. and making sure things appear as they should.
The touchy feely test: Feeling the bird to see if there are any lumps or other abnormalities the vet can feel.
Weight: Weight should be taken, in grams, every time.
Grooming: Wing and Nail trims, if needed.
Gram stain: The poop test - to make sure there are no bad things in the poopie.
Blood Work: Maybe. Possibly a chlamydia blood test and a complete blood panel. You don't have to have these done every time. Ask your vet their opinion. Sometimes the vet may recommend more specific tests. And, just for the record, the bird does not have to be given anesthesia or "put under" to take a simple blood sample.
Ask Questions: Be sure to discuss any changes in behavior, health or diet related issues.
If your bird is not acting right, is tired a lot, lethargic, isn't eating like normal, has a nasal or eye discharge, or just sits there all "poofed" out, you need to get to an avian vet as fast as you can. I mean today - not tomorrow. Better to be safe than sorry. So, repeat after me, "If my bird looks or acts sick, I will RUN not walk to my avian veterinarian." Birds generally do not look or act sick until they are REALLY sick. They can take a turn for the worst very quickly.
Finding a vet
If you do not already have an avian vet, look in your local phone directory. Give them a call and see how many birds they treat. I know of several that advertise that they treat birds but only see a few per year.
You can also use these site to find an avian vet in your area.
The Association of Avian Veterinarians - Searchable http://www.aav.org/vet-lookup/
The Association of Avian Veterinarians - more complete listing http://www.aav.org/activemembers.html
The directory at Birds n Ways American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, Certified in Avian Practice: http://www.birdsnways.com/articles/abvpvets.htm
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