Many veterinarians have not taken the coursework necessary to provide sound medical care to our avian companions. Avian medicine is a specialty and a bird's anatomy and physiology is vastly different from that of dogs and cats. If you own a bird, one of the most critical things you can do to ensure their health is to find a qualified avian veterinarian to provide advice and specialized care.
There are a few organizations that provide look-up services to find an avian vet in your geographical area.
- The American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP) provides a listing of board-certified avian veterinarians and the list can be searched at http://www.abvp.com/diplomate .
- The Association of Avian Veterinarians maintains a list of vets who practice avian medicine at http://www.aav.org
- Lafeber and Zupreem also have a lookup services which are very helpful.
If you can't locate an avian veterinarian in your geographical area using these services then you will need to contact your local vets and interview them as to their training and experience in treating birds. Another good approach is to ask local bird owners, breeders or pet stores who they would recommend. Just because a vet isn't listed on these sites doesn't mean they aren't capable of treating your bird. They may have years of experience in treating birds and kept up on the many advances by reading journals or attending conferences.
When considering establishing a relationship with a vet ask the following questions:
- What is the depth of their experience in treating birds?
- Have they taken any specialized training in avian medicine?
- Have they had a bird as a pet?
- Can they provide after hours emergency care?
Remember, if your bird becomes sick or injured, time is always of the essence. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you:
- locate an avian vet long before you ever need one.
- have your vet's office number posted in a convenient spot known to all in your household.