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Medicating your bird ... it's an art!

by Diana Uyen

Giving ANY medication should be done under the advice and guidance of your Veterinarian. Oh sure there are a lot of 'home remedies' and herbal concoctions for this or that but your first step should always, always, ALWAYS be your Vet. Ask what medications you are to give and in what dosage.

Understand the potential side effects and interactions with other medications and with foods. Look these medications up online and get a complete picture of what to expect and what to watch out for. Start getting your bird used to a syringe before you have to administer medication.

When medicating your bird,  you will need to know these things.  

  • Prescribed Dosage -  the dosage must be appropriate for your bird's weigh AND the severity of the issue you're trying to address. Please do not listen to lay people who try to remix the dose. If you are worried about the dosage contact your doctor or pharmacy!

  • Can the medication be diluted with juices or mixed with food? When you mix medications with 'delivery devices' these can affect the absorption rate and how the drug is metabolized.

  • How to administer it. Do you need to dilute or mix it yourself. Learn how to administer in the beak so as to not aspirate the medication.

  • Is it safe to give if giving other medications and can they be given at the same time or do they need to be spaced out?

  • How long to give the medication and if the bird is not better, what should you do? Can you get them to call in another prescription or do you need get the bird in for another appointment with the Vet. 

Delivery options.

  • Do you need to syringe? (This is where syringe training pays off by the way.) Ask your Vet to show you. The good news is that your bird will get used to the syringe over time if you make it a calm and methodical process. Try a reward immediately after the medication so they associate taking medicine with getting a reward. Avoid drama and anxiety if possible... don't rush.

  • Can you apply it to a piece of cracker (unsalted plain) or mix with a favorite treat like applesauce or almond butter? Whatever you do here, make sure the bird consumes ALL of the delivery mechanism.

  • Are you to mix it in water and how much of that does your vet want the bird to consume before being replaced?

  • Is this something you can spoon feed?

Ask your Vet these and any other questions that come to mind or preplan and come into the office with a list of questions. The more informed you are, the better equipped you will be to deal with the situation and care for your bird properly.


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