How do you find the right avian veterinarian? There are many ways, such as searching the Association of Avian Veterinarians’ website or by asking your local bird store or bird club for recommendations. When you find a veterinarian you might be interested in, it’s time to do your homework. Ask certain questions to determine if this veterinarian will be right for you and your bird.
Looking for a Vet
You’re looking for an avian veterinarian who you can build a relationship with over many years. If you get a recommendation from a bird owner or bird club, etc., ask questions like:
- What is the veterinarian’s personality like? (Personable, straightforward, knowledgeable, etc.)
- What is the veterinary staff like?
- Why did you choose this particular veterinarian?
- How did your birds react to the vet?
- Is the vet knowledgeable about a variety of bird species?
- If your bird was suffering from an ailment, did the veterinarian do follow-ups?
If you receive general positive feedback about the avian veterinarian in question, make an appointment.
At the Vet’s
They say first impressions are lasting impressions, so when it’s time for your appointment, go early to check out the veterinarian’s office. It should be clean and well-organized, and the staff friendly and ready to assist you.
The facilities should be well-equipped to treat birds, and have items like:
- A gram scale
- Radiograph machine (to take X-rays)
- A laboratory or works with an offsite laboratory
- Clean and organized surgery room, or works with an offsite surgery center
Don’t be afraid to ask for a tour of the facilities.
Questions to Ask the Vet
- How long have you been an avian veterinarian?
- Do you have birds of your own?
- Do you provide emergency care or have a reference to an emergency center?
- What are your rates?
- How often do you recommend checkups? (A vet should recommend checkups at least once a year.)
While you ask your questions, observe the veterinarian. Are they comfortable with your bird’s species? Even the most experienced of people can be wary of Amazon parrots. Do they handle with your bird with respect and confidence? According to the book “Complete Bird Owner’s Handbook,” by Gary A. Gallerstein, your veterinarian should fulfill the “three C’s … competency, communication and compassion.”
A well-bird checkup typically includes your vet asking for a complete health history of your bird followed by a physical examination. Your vet should be able to gently and easily handle your bird and explain any diagnostics and/or treatment options in layman’s terms.
Does the vet ask you questions? A good veterinarian wants an owner who will work with them on managing a bird’s health. Does the vet ask you about your bird’s health and lifestyle? A vet should be interested in your bird and make you feel confident in entrusting your bird’s health in their care.