Emergency First Aid
What to do when you're not at the vet's yet...
Reprinted by kind permission of Dr. Dan Jordan
Animal Avian Hospital of the Village
2422 Robinhood, Houston, TX 77005

  • Handle the sick or injured bird as little as possible.
      When the benefits of aid outweigh the risks of stress, plan ahead. Have everything ready beforehand, and handle the bird as gently and quietly as possible.

  • Call your veterinarian BEFORE leaving the house
      This ensures that you don't show up when the vet is gone, and allows the staff the opportunity to make preparations.

  • Don't panic!

First aid for various problems:
  • Breathing difficulties - keep bird warm, and wipe any discharges from the nostrils if the bird can be easily handled.

  • Seizures - Prevent injury to the bird by removing any perches, dishes, and toys from the cage/surroundings. Put padding (towels) in the bottom of the cage, and cover and keep quiet and dark.

  • Bleeding - If it is a feather, nail, or beak, carefully apply styptic powder and pressure. If it is skin, gently apply direct pressure, and styptic powder (or flour) if necessary. If bleeding doesn't stop quickly, avoid handling the bird and stressing it.

  • Broken bones - Address any other problems, such as bleeding. Place the bird in a towel-lined box for transport to a veterinarian. If transport is not immediately possible, keep the bird in his cage with no perches, and with the food and water within easy reach.

  • Burns - Spray the affected area with cool water. If possible with minimal stress, immerse the burned area in cool water. For acid burns, apply a light coating of baking soda paste. For alkali burns, apply a light coating of vinegar. For hot grease burns, apply a light coating of cornstarch before rinsing with water.

  • Oiled feathers - If no veterinary help is available, CAREFULLY follow these steps: dust the oiled feathers with cornstarch or flour. Keep the bird warm and allow powder to stay on 30 minutes. Fill a sink with warm water with a small amount of mild dish soap (Dawn). Protecting the eyes, immerse the bird in water, and gently wet all affected feathers. Dip the bird slowly in and out of soapy water for 1-2 minutes. Rinse gently with warm water. Blot dry (do not rub) with towels. Wrap the bird loosely in a towel and place it in a warm place (85-90 degrees). The above steps may need to be repeated.

What is an emergency?

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