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Avian First Aid

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Avian First Aid
Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff

Unfortunately, it is impossible to anticipate and prevent every accident. With advance preparedness, however, you can certainly reduce pain and suffering, and may some day even save the life of your pet. First, you should establish a relationship with a local avian veterinarian who will advise you regarding routine care, and be available should an emergency arise. Second, you should assemble an avian first aid kit, familiarizing yourself with its contents and instructions, and practice procedures for the most common injuries.

First Aid Kit Contents

Your kit should include:

*Veterinary clinic number and directions to the clinic. Also, keep contact information for the veterinarian visible in your home, and carry a copy in your wallet. In an emergency, call ahead so your veterinarian will be ready when you arrive. Also, keep a back-up clinic number and directions should your regular veterinarian be unavailable.
*A travel cage.
*Phone number of your local poison control authority.
*Scissors or grooming tools to remove string caught on the bird or to cut bandage material.
*Sterile gauze or telfa pads to place over cleaned wounds to prevent contamination.
*Q-tips to clean wounds and apply ointments.
*Roll of gauze for wrapping an injured wing.
*An antibiotic ointment to apply to cleaned wounds.
*Betadine or chlorhexidine (Novalsan) to clean wounds.
*Styptic powder or sticks to help stop bleeding.
*Pliers or hemostats to help remove wire, string, or other foreign objects that may be caught on the bird, or to remove blood feathers.
*Heating pad, bottle, or lamp to help maintain the bird's body heat.
*Thermometer to measure the temperature of your bird's environment.
*Towels of appropriate size for the bird to provide padding or restraint. These can also be used as a cage cover if your bird needs to be calmed.
*Medicine dropper or feeding syringe.
*Serene-UM for Birds, an anti-stress formula to help calm your bird.

Click for details on what to do in many different situations
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