Friday, July 31, 2009

Relationship with the Avian Vet

As you can imagine, with at one point giving Birdie several injections twice a day, and dabbing Betadine on his exposed skin and muscle, I was at the avian vet's office more than once or twice.

Birdie actually had two avian vets, a primary (a female - avian and exotic animal vet) and a backup (a male - avian and small animal vet). It is Birdie's primary avian vet that is the subject of this particular post. She had the greatest impact on us, and provided Birdie with the bulk of his world-class care. However, both were excellent professionals

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, Birdie and I relied heavily on those relationships. Perhaps even more because of my inexperience with parrots. The best choice I made was to surround myself with competent medical professionals, to complement the personal study and learning I was seeking on my own.

On a side note -

... As she gracefully jumps onto her soap box, usurping one of the privileges of a blog...

If I see one more person post a question asking if their bird has a "
common cold", I may need to buy a new monitor. This insinuates that the bird is suffering from something that will run its course and does not require treatment. One cannot equate a common cold that a human experiences, caused by the rhino virus which is not transmissible to birds, to the bacterial or other viral infections to which an avian is susceptible.

Very few things upset me as quickly as someone seeking medical advice for a seriously ill bird over the internet.

"What do you think could be wrong with my bird - he is vomiting, has diarrhea, is puffed up, on the floor of the cage and convulsing??? Oh, and he has tumors all over his body. Should I be concerned??"

Gosh, if your loved one (human) were in that condition, would you be on the internet asking complete strangers with questionable credentials that question, or would be seeking a real live medical professional?

Ok, I'm stepping down now... but I reserve the right to... jump back on it. Falling down is just so embarrassing.... the longer I am on the box, the higher the risk that I will skin my knees.

But - I just had to get that off my chest..... sorry!


Back to Birdie and his avian vet! Yeah!

When Birdie and I were in the waiting room, it was not unusual to be sharing space with very large snakes and spiders, and perhaps other animals that I was afraid to 'ask' what they were. It was an interesting place!

One day while back in the exam room, waiting for her to come in, I saw the door knob turning - every so slowly.. turning... turning...

Then, it stopped. After a moment, it began turning slowly again. Naturally, I was curious. I figured it was a small child. But I heard no noise. Even the door knob itself did not make a sound.

Taking a chance, I suddenly said, "You can come in!"

And - in she came! Daisy, who I believe was a spider monkey. I know she was a monkey of some sort, but I am not positive on her specific type. She was cute as she could be! She was unaccompanied, and I was not sure what to expect. She stood in the hallway, hand still on the door, looking in at Birdie and I.

For a moment, I chose to play the statue game. After what seemed like only mere seconds, in walked Birdie's doctor, taking Daisy by the hand, and leading her back into the doctor's private office!

Daisy was the resident in-office helper (or, so she thought), but she was not the only one. At the front desk a greyhound or three could always be found lounging on over-sized bean bags as clients checked out. Of course these were rescued greyhounds, and boy had they hit the lottery! Naturally, they were well taken care of, rightfully spoiled rotten, and profusely showered with love by both staff and clients.

It was a fun place. But more important, it was a place of learning.

It is my belief that:

The second most important relationship, between a companion and a parrot, is the one that includes their avian vet.

So, here are a few things that are important to me:

1. My avian vet is someone who I believe cares for the health and welfare of my bird as much, if not more, than even I do!

2. My avian is someone who partners with me in my learning; willing to teach and encourage me to provide the best life for my bird possible. Always having time for my questions (as long as I don't expect it to be a marathon session), or directing me to resources to learn about the areas that I may desire.

3. My avian vet is a source of new, innovative information on behavior, diet or husbandry that I may not yet have heard.

4. My avian vet is someone who surrounds themselves with caring, well trained, educated and experienced people who have skills both as people-people and animal-people.

5. My avian vet has the 'tools of the trade': birdie-sized instruments and diagnostic equipment. Hopefully these will never be needed.

6. It is ok that my avian vet treats animals other than birds! Most of them do!

7. My avian vet is someone who handles my birds gently, quickly, with care and expertise. No one wants to see their bird manhandled; wing-side manner is important to me.

8. My avian vet is someone who places the same value on her ongoing education as she does on mine. She stays on top of the latest research and employs an attitude of life long learning.

9. My avian vet is one who takes vacations from time to time (either for learning or for fun). We all experience burn out; we all need to get away from our jobs occasionally - even those we are called to and truly love. I like to see my avian vet willing and able to get away, having an experienced vet that she trusts on standby in case of emergencies. If she trusts her practice to another vet for emergencies, then I trust that other vet as well.

What are my responsibilities? They are many. Perhaps that will be the topic of a future post.

First and foremost, I must be willing to seek out education and answers. I feel that I cannot expect my avian vet to spoon feed me basic husbandry information. I must demonstrate my commitment by spending time learning and studying from many available sources, allowing my avian specialist to clarify, give opinion, additional information, state of the art research, provide me with new avenues or sources of information or suggested groups, and generally provide me expert guidance. It is not her responsibility to be my only source of information. It is her responsibility to provide my bird with expert medical care, and what I learn from her is truly a bonus. All of my avian vets have been generously forthcoming with their knowledge and guidance.

Click here to find a veterinarian that is a member of:
The Association of Avian Veterinarians

The second most important relationship, between a companion and a parrot, is the one that includes their avian vet.



Anneka said...

Another great post Robin.

Some might not realize that, if you have a good avian vet, not only you give your bird a chance to be properly taken care of in case he is sick but we also learn a lot during such visits.

Re: your side note: LOL, LOL, LOL! I might follow your footsteps, especially after reading and following a very recent thread on our forum ;)


Jamie said...

Very good post.
I find that my avian vets (there are a couple in the same practice who see my birds) are hugely supportive of me, my birds and my ventures in the avian community

Eriisu-chan said...

Excellent side note! I take solice in the fact that when Mav got injured, the ONLY reason I was on the internet (with you, I might add, you wonderfully supportive friend! ♥) before I got to a vet office is because I was waiting for the Emergency Vet to call me because it was close to midnight on a Sunday and all the actual offices were long closed.

I will also add that I ran to my online avian community for support, not medical aid (although I did recieve some advice) and they were WONDERFUL! ♥


But yeah... excellent side note! *giggles*

Robin said...

See, there's the difference, Elise - your online support was actually support - an din addition to what you were doing with your avian vet. Your care of Mav through that incident demonstrated the type of parront you are.;) Mav might not have made it if not for your excellent care and quick reaction. :)

Eriisu-chan said...

Awwwwwwww... ♥ What would I have done without you, Robin? =)

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