AAV Veterinary Technician Q & A
Our panel of highly experienced avian technicians are here to answer any questions other technicians may have regarding avian medicine. Please feel free to submit your questions by email and we will do our best to help you!
Email questions to: Lorelei Tibbetts, LVT, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Example questions follow:
What should owners expect as part of a New Bird Exam?
- Complete Physical Exam
- Body weight
- Fecal testing (Gram stain, direct smear, float)
- Routine screening bloodwork (CBC, Chemistry Profile)
- Viral Testing
- Client education & counseling
- Quarantine (when applicable)
- Annual veterinary health exam
How much blood can I safely withdraw from a healthy avian patient?
- 1% of a patients body weight in blood can be safely withdrawn for diagnostic testing.
- 30g Budgerigar, 0.3mls of blood can be safely withdrawn in a healthy patient.
- 1kg Blue & Gold Macaw, 10mls of blood can be safely withdrawn.
- In the larger birds, although you may be able to take 10mls of blood, one should only withdraw the amount needed for testing.
- Always be sure to gather your required tubes and sampling supplies prior to venipuncture to avoid clotting.
What are suitable venipuncture sites in the bird?
- Jugluar vein (right is generally larger than the left)
- Basilic vein (wing vein)
- Medial metatarsal vein (inner distal leg)
How do I triage a bird emergency?
- Do not touch the bird! Be calm and quiet, as the less panicked you are, the less stress the patient (and the owner) will feel.
- Escort owners and pet to quiet exam room, if not already done.
- Observe the bird for obvious signs of respiratory distress:
i. Open beak panting
ii. Tail bobbing/pumping
iii. Wide leg stance
- If bird is in respiratory distress, inform the veterinarian and request permission from them and the owner to place the bird in oxygen before any handling. Ideally, keep the bird in it’s travel carrier and put it into an oxygen chamber without handling the bird.
- If the bird is bleeding, try to assess where the blood is coming from without handling the bird. Inform the veterinarian and obtain appropriate cautery tools which the veterinarian may need to stop the bleeding: Electrocautery, styptic powder, gauze, silver nitrate sticks, or even some suture material and a laceration pack. Be prepared!
- Obtain a brief history from the client. Some questions may help the veterinarian before they are able to get in the room: How long have they noticed the problem, have they seen any bleeding, irregular feces, regurgitating/vomiting, seizures?
- Inform the veterinarian of your observations and history.