Preparing Polly: Three Smart Ways A New Parrot Owner Can Be Ready For An Avian Emergency

During your parrot's lifetime, a situation may occur that warrants treatment at the emergency vet hospital. Therefore, if you are a new parrot owner, you need to be prepared in the event of an emergency. Rather than waiting until a serious or life-threatening event occurs, take action now to be ready if your pet requires emergency intervention. Here are three measures to take before an unforeseen situation arises:

1. Locate a Certified Avian Veterinarian

As many bird owners discover, not all veterinarians treat exotic pets. Don't assume any veterinarian is able to treat your parrot in the event of an accident or sudden illness. It's best to find a board certified avian veterinarian in your area before you experience an emergency. One of the best ways to do so is to consult a bird breeder or an exotic bird store or bird farm. Word of mouth and recommendations from other parrot owners may help as well.

When choosing your avian vet, ask if the clinic has on-site diagnostic and emergency equipment. Equally important, you'll want to inquire about emergency hours and keep the hospital's telephone number on hand.

2. Purchase a Parrot Travel Carrier or Cage Designed for Transport (and Acclimate Your Pet Before an Emergency)

  • Choosing the Right Carrier: During transport to an emergency vet hospital, you'll need to place your parrot in a transport carrier. An injured or ill parrot needs to be kept warm and free of drafts, and safely secured during transport. There are various styles to choose from, suitable for all sizes and species. You might choose a transparent acrylic carrier, a nylon and mesh bag-style or a plastic crate design. In any case, make sure there is adequate space for your parrot to stretch its wings, and if there is a low perch attached, be sure that the bird's tail does not hit the bottom of the cage or carrier. Also, check for weight accommodations set by the manufacturer.

  • Getting Your Pet Acclimated: Once you select a transport carrier and bring it home, you must get your parrot accustomed to being placed in it. Don't wait for an emergency only to learn your pet is terrified of being inside. Doing so may cause further stress on a sick or injured bird. It's a good idea to slowly introduce your bird to its travel/transport cage when you first bring it home. Place the carrier in plain view and allow your parrot to become used to seeing it near the bird's environment. Once your pet shows no signs of fear, allow the bird to investigate.

    If possible, leave the carrier hatch/door open. Curiosity may lead your parrot to venture inside the carrier or at least peak inside at close range. Once your pet becomes comfortable with the carrier in its presence, gently place the bird inside. If your pet is calm, leave the bird inside the carrier for several minutes. Repeat these sessions daily until your pet is used to its new transport carrier, ensuring the bird won't become too stressed if an emergency vet trip is necessary.

3. Assemble an Avian First Aid Kit

If your parrot experiences an accident, you'll want to take measures that may prevent further trauma and stabilize wounds before arriving at the emergency veterinary hospital. You can assemble the first aid items yourself or buy a ready-made kit from a supply store. Either way, here are a few of the first aid supplies you should have on hand:

  • Styptic Powder: Apply this powder on a bleeding toenail or blood feather to control the flow of blood. It can be purchased at most pet supply stores.

  • Eye and Skin Wash: Used to flush the eyes or for minor skin wounds.

  • Locking Forceps or Needle-Nosed Pliers: Tools to be used for removing a bleeding or broken blood feather.

  • Gauze Pads: Apply to minor wounds to control bleeding.

  • Antiseptic Swabs or Towelettes: Used to disinfect minor wounds.

Keep these first aid items in a small case and keep the name and phone number of an emergency vet inside the case.

As a final consideration, you shouldn't attempt to remove a broken blood feather without instruction from a veterinarian or qualified individual. Consult with a vet from a clinic like Animal Emergency Clinic to learn the proper steps before emergencies arise.