Avian Emergencies

Bird Medical Emergencies in Ellisville, MO

Have an Avian First Aid Kit at the Ready

Your first aid kit should include:

  • Styptic powder (cornstarch or flour will work if these are not available).
  • Various bandage materials.
  • Triple antibiotic cream (ointments are oil-based and will make the feathers oily as creams are water-based and safe for the feather).
  • Eye irrigating solution.
  • Heating pad/heat lamp/swing arm lamp.
  • Pedialyte/Gatorade.
  • Small aquarium/box/plastic storage container.
  • Hot water bottle.
  • Small syringe or eyedropper (to force-feed Pedialyte, Gatorade, etc.).
  • Needle nose pliers/hemostats.
  • Super Glue

What to Do If Your Bird Has Blood in Their Feathers

Restrain the bird in a towel and find the bleeding shaft.  Apply styptic powder (flour, cornstarch) with a Q-tip or Super Glue to the bleeding area.  Several applications may be needed and you may need to hold pressure against the site for several minutes.  If the bleeding continues, the feather may have to be pulled out.  This should be done as a last resort.  Two people are needed to pull a blood feather-one to restrain the bird and one to pull the feather.  

If there is no one to assist you, it will be in the bird's best interest to bring him/her to the clinic.  Needle nose pliers or hemostats are needed at this point.  The person doing the pulling should hold the wing so that it is supported as they pull.  Grab the shaft with the pliers as close to the skin as possible without grabbing the skin.  Give a little twist from side to side and PULL!! The bird will probably scream so do not be startled.  If a remnant is left in the skin, that needs to be pulled out.  Just grab the remnant with the pliers and pull it out.  If there is any bleeding from the skin, just apply some styptic powder until it clots.  Put your bird in a dark quiet room in its cage to allow the bird time to recover.

What to Do if Your Bird Has Bleeding Nails

Apply styptic powder (flour, cornstarch) to the bleeding nail.  Several applications may be necessary; rubbing a nail file briskly over the bleeding nail may stop or slow the blood flow.  The heat and friction sometimes cauterizes the nail.  Another method is to stick the nail in a bar of soap.  A nail that has been torn off and bleeding is best handled by applying triple antibiotic cream and a pressure bandage.  A veterinarian should see the bird the next day.

What to Do if You Notice Wounds on Your Bird

As with most avian procedures, having two people to work on the bird is optimum--one to restrain and one to work on the bird.  If the wound is bleeding, apply some pressure until it has stopped or slowed.  Apply some triple antibiotic cream to the wound.  If the wound is small, just applying the antibiotic cream twice daily may be enough for healing.  If the wound is large or the bird is chewing at the wound, it should be temporarily bandaged until a veterinarian can see the bird.

Care That Stands Out

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  • Tri-city has a great team of doctors and technicians that truly care about the health of your animals and understand that a pet is part of the family. We appreciate their expertise, professionalism, and that they go the extra mile to connect with our pets.
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  • This has been our family vet for 23 years. We have seen many of the different vets on staff. They all have been friendly, knowledgeable, and compassionate, including the support staff. They even made a house call when our dog was too sick to make the trip. They offer grooming and have a full pharmacy.

  • Tri-City recently figured out a really difficult health issue affecting my pug. Looking for a vet that has all the answers. Stop looking. This is where you want to take your best friend.

  • This place is awesome, vet techs are professional, everyone is nice, Dr. King is incredible with animals. My dog has pretty bad anxiety and she always get down on the floor and makes them feel so comfortable. Prices are reasonable, and they offer online medical history now which is awesome.

General Bird Illnesses

If a bird is showing some signs of illness (lethargy, decrease appetite, watery droppings, puffed up), but is not an emergency, there are some things you can do at home to help the bird.  A sick bird needs extra heat.  A heating pad under a cage, aquarium, box, etc. can supply this.  Cover the cage except the front or place a cover on the aquarium or box.  Monitor the temperature so the bird does not overheat.  If a heating pad is not available, you can shine a swing arm lamp into part of the cage.  Only shine it in part of the cage because if the bird overheats, he/she needs to have an area to move away from the heat source and cool down.

Purchase some Pedialyte (in the baby section of grocery store of drug store) or Gatorade and use this as drinking water.  If the bird is not eating or drinking much, give the Pedialyte directly (a few drops given slowly several times) with an eyedropper or syringe.  A veterinarian should see the bird the next day.  Minimize the bird's stress by putting him/her in her cage and turning off the lights.  Call us the next morning so that we can schedule an appointment if needed.

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Your pets are out first priority! For emergency service information, please visit our emergencies page.