One of the most important aspects of bird ownership is good veterinary care and you should locate an avian veterinarian before you bring your bird home. The importance of having one available cannot be emphasized enough. Birds are not like humans. Because they are prey animals, they tend to hide their symptoms until it is often too late. It’s up to you, the bird owner, to monitor your bird daily so you can spot problems before it’s too late. Not all veterinarians are familiar with avian medicine and only a handful of vets in any given state will even accept birds as patients. Sure, most vets will help out with nail or wing feather trimming but cannot treat a more serious problem.
If you are unaware of any local avian veterinarians, there are several resources you can utilize. Unlike human medicine, veterinary medicine offers only a few specialized practiced. The American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (www.abvp.com) offers a certification in avian medicine. Veterinarians who complete the requirements are “board certified” in that specialty. Over the years, the number of board certified avian vets has grown considerably. Their website offers a list of all diplomats .Narrow down your search to avian medicine and look for vets in the area (http://resource.abvp.com/index.php/component/sobipro/?sid=2:Avian&Itemid=0).
The Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV) is a professional organization for veterinarians who have an interest in avian medicine. While it does not offer a certification, membership in the organization indicates a veterinarian does treat exotic birds beyond the cosmetic manicures. This group holds an annual multi-day convention which includes an aviculture track geared towards pet birds and their owners. Membership is voluntary but most practitioners who treat exotic birds are members. Their website offers an option to search for a veterinarian-by state- and can be accessed at http://www.aav.org/search/index.php. The AAV is an excellent resource. Bird clubs can sign up and for a small fee can receive monthly news releases and short articles for newsletter. They also offer the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery, their quarterly publication. Although a bit pricey at $155.00 per year, the journal is an incredibly interesting magazine of you have an interest in the finer details of avian health and diseases.
If you live within driving distance of Athens, Georgia, the University of Georgia, www.uga.edu/, has an outstanding veterinary school and has veterinarians who are extremely knowledgeable in avian medicine. Exotic birds can be seen in the Exotic Animal, Wildlife and Zoological Medicine service of the Department of Small Animal Medicine & Surgery at the College of Veterinary Medicine. This clinic not only treats your basic cats and dogs, it’s also equipped to treat exotic birds, reptiles, zoo animals and even fish. Because it is a teaching hospital, not only is the care and treatment top of the line and cutting edge, it has the benefit of generally being less expensive than a private practitioner as well.
If none of these options is appealing, you can use the word-of-mouth system. Most bird owners know the avian vet in their area and, if they are satisfied with the treatment given their bird, they should be willing to give you a referral. If you know of no one in your area who has a bird or a flock of birds, contact a local bird club and ask for their input. Independently owned pet stores that offer pet birds for sale may also be a good resource when searching for a vet to care for your feathered friends.