The Association Of Avian Veterinarians

The Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV) was founded in 1980 by a group of veterinarians who wanted to provide educational opportunities for veterinarians who worked with birds. Initially, 175 veterinarians from the United States and Canada joined the group, but the AAV now has more than 3,000 members in 43 countries around the world.

The AAV educates its members and the general public as to all aspects of avian medicine and surgery by offering conferences, practical labs, avicultural programs, client education brochures and a professional magazine devoted to all aspects of avian medicine. The AAV also provides funding for a variety of topics of interest to aviculture and avian medicine. Some veterinarians have taken and passed a special examination that entitles them to call themselves avian specialists.

If you don't have bird-owning friends or you can't locate a bird club, another good bet is the phone book. Read the advertisements for veterinarians carefully, and try to find one who specializes in birds. Many veterinarians who have an interest in treating birds will join the Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV) and advertise themselves as members of this organization.

Once you've received your recommendations or found likely candidates in the telephone book, start calling the veterinary offices to make an appointment for your bird to have an evaluation. This visit will provide the veterinarian with a chance to see your bird under "normal" conditions. Your bird's medical history can be taken and filed for future reference, and the veterinarian can conduct some diagnostic tests (if appropriate) to gather additional information on your pet's health.

When you're calling to set up the appointment, ask the receptionist how many birds the doctor sees in a week or month, how much an office visit costs, and what pay- Q

ment options are available (cash, credit card, check or your Avian lime payments). Veterinarian

If you like the answers you receive from the receptionist, make an appointment to have your bird evaluated. Make a list of any questions you want to ask the doctor regarding diet, how often your bird's wings and nails should be clipped or how often you should bring the bird in for an examination.

First Appointment

During the initial examination, the veterinarian will probably lake his or her first look at your bird while he is still in his cage or carrier. The doctor may talk to you and your bird for a few minutes to give the bird an opportunity to become accustomed to him or her, rather than simply reaching right in and grabbing your pet. While the veterinarian is talking to you, he or she will check the bird's posture and his ability to perch.

Next, the doctor should remove the bird from his carrier or cage and look him over carefully. He or she will give the bird a complete physical examination. The bird should be weighed, and the veterinarian will probably palpate (feel) your bird's body and wings for any 119

Plan to arrive a little early for your first appointment because you will be asked to fill out a patient information form. This form will ask you for your bird's name, his age and sex, the length of time you have owned him, your name, address and telephone number. The form may also ask you to express your opinion on the amount of money you would spend on your pet in an emergency, because this can help the doctor know what kind of treatment to recommend in such instances.

Your bird will be given a complete physical examination during his first visit to the avian veterinarian.

lumps, bumps or deformities that require further investigation.

After the initial examination, you can discuss the questions you have about bird care with your avian veterinarian. You should also receive a recommendation for when to bring the bird back for his next examination. As you are leaving the hospital, you may want to make a follow-up appointment to have your bird's wings and nails trimmed to help protect him from accidental injury.

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