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Avian Vet Won't Cut Eclectus' Nails

StarTrick

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Hello once again everyone! My eclectus is in desperate need of a nail trim, but I've been putting it off for so long.

When we first got him, we took him into the only one within a 3 hour drive and our avian vet was very lovely and had loads of experience. We got him to do a full health check, and then he asked if we wanted a quick nail trim while we were at it. He held him on his back, and tried to dremel his nails - before he started making the most ear piercing screams that made the whole staff team come running in. It was terrifying, my poor baby. He managed to get 2 done, then stopped and refused to do any further because he was very certain that he'd hurt him and Luca (our eclectus) would hurt him back. He told us to use a file at home to do it, and I agreed without really knowing much else.

Of course, now he's absolutely terrified of head touching and I've been having to work with him really hard over the past few months to get him to accept my hand there once more. We have no other issues besides that he's so traumatised. This is a decent sized bird.
He's a rehome, and the previous lady did a horribly butchered wing clip on one side and lied to us about it... which still hasn't grown back in a molt yet. This definitely started the trauma.

I don't want a dremel near my bird. I find it revolting, it's so big and loud and I'd really prefer my bird to not go into shock? Thanks. I've had people tell me so many different things about heart attacks, and that it's only from trauma or blood loss - etc. But surely something this traumatic would lead to some complication? I'm worried about death.

From everything I've read, nail clippers really don't work on larger birds, and destroys their nails. I cannot get anywhere near him with a nail file, and I've been working with him gently each day for over 4 months now. My avian vet won't do them again, and I don't want him to - but I have no other options? No, towelling will not work for him and I will not do anything that will risk his life or make anyone lose a large amount of trust and traumatise him further. And no again, putting him under with gas is absolutely not an option.
 

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expressmailtome

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I do not mean to sound negative, but you have just said no to all of the standard, regularly used methods of trimming a birds nails. The only possible option that I can think of going by what you said is to try manicure perches and/or flagstone perches ( Bird On The Rocks - Flagstone Perches from Seriously Nutz ). Just keep in mind that such perches are better at keeping a bird's nails from growing too long rather than trimming them once they are too long.

Separately, are you sure that this is an avian veterinarian? I have never heard of an avian veterinarian that is unwilling to clip a bird's nails. That is probably the most basic part of treating a bird.
 

Shezbug

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I’m confused why you say towelling won’t work for a quick nail trim as it’s a fairly harmless way to restrain even wild injured birds as it’s not harmful, the nails don’t actually look in desperate need of clipping to me anyhow so you maybe do have a bit of time to keep working with the file yourself.
I do totally agree with the whole comment made by expressmailtome. There’s not many options left for medical care and nail trimming with all you’ve mentioned not being approved/appropriate for your bird.
I’d ring around more vet clinics (especially those with avian vets) to find someone who does them regularly- my local vets (who are not avian vets and won’t see birds for regular bird things) frequently trim bird nails and beaks but won’t do anything other than that with birds, many pet stores and other animal groomers will also do them but I’d personally never have anyone but myself or a vet do my birds nails. I’m personally not a fan of the dremels so I use a file even though we do have dremels here at home.
Towelling works for many procedures and if done correctly by experienced people it’s not a terribly difficult or dangerous thing to do.
My bird was screaming so loud he evacuated the clinic staff last time he was in getting examined and having nails trimmed but he was not hurt or traumatised- just angry at being turned into a bird burrito by the mean vet lady lol.

I hope you can find a solution that you’re comfortable with to keep your birds nails in check.
I do have pedi perches for my birds but they only really keep the nails from getting too sharp so my arm isn’t ripped to shreds.
 

StarTrick

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I’m confused why you say towelling won’t work for a quick nail trim as it’s a fairly harmless way to restrain even wild injured birds as it’s not harmful, the nails don’t actually look in desperate need of clipping to me anyhow so you maybe do have a bit of time to keep working with the file yourself.
I do totally agree with the whole comment made by expressmailtome. There’s not many options left for medical care and nail trimming with all you’ve mentioned not being approved/appropriate for your bird.
I’d ring around more vet clinics (especially those with avian vets) to find someone who does them regularly- my local vets (who are not avian vets and won’t see birds for regular bird things) frequently trim bird nails and beaks but won’t do anything other than that with birds, many pet stores and other animal groomers will also do them but I’d personally never have anyone but myself or a vet do my birds nails. I’m personally not a fan of the dremels so I use a file even though we do have dremels here at home.
Towelling works for many procedures and if done correctly by experienced people it’s not a terribly difficult or dangerous thing to do.
My bird was screaming so loud he evacuated the clinic staff last time he was in getting examined and having nails trimmed but he was not hurt or traumatised- just angry at being turned into a bird burrito by the mean vet lady lol.

I hope you can find a solution that you’re comfortable with to keep your birds nails in check.
I do have pedi perches for my birds but they only really keep the nails from getting too sharp so my arm isn’t ripped to shreds.
That makes me feel a lot better that you’ve had a similar experience with the screaming, so thank you! I’ve said no to towelling myself, as I personally don’t feel comfortable with doing that to my bird and will definitely mess it up. I mainly just don’t want a dremel to be used, but if I do manage to find another vet that trims bird nails and I feel they‘re decent, I’ll let them give it a shot. It’s so much stress to put on him, but I do just need to let them do their job if they feel comfortable. I obviously don’t want him to be put under because of all the risks involved - and I do have the proper perches for keeping them short, but his nails were already getting to a point that made it hard for him to walk when we first got him. He’s a certified Avian Veterinarian, just apparently very traumatised himself by how distressed Luca was in his hands. .
Again, sadly, I’m very much not able to get far with a nail file. I’ve finally gotten to the point where I’m able to have it near his feet - but the second it touches him he screams and struggles away. I won’t put him through any more, I really don’t want him to injure himself.
 

Kassiani

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It hurts my heart to have to put my birds through a vet visit because I know they get mad at being restrained and it stresses them. So, I'm working to train them to be handled more here at home--or at least to make certain things more routine and less stressful. Getting in their travel carriers, accepting a syringe for medication, being OK around towels at least and maybe someday allowing one to be draped over them without stress. Frankly, making their lives less stressful is the primary reason I do any training. And my Opie--he's a screamer, too. Like @Shezbug's Burt, he's just an angry burrito, lol!

Unfortunately, taking care of our birds sometimes means having them go through procedures they do not want to go through. I suppose it's like children. We make decisions about taking them to the doctor or having shots that they would rather not have--and sometimes they scream and cry, too.
 

Mizzely

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Use cat nail clippers. They are perfect for parrot nails.

My Jardine's screams like a seagull that is being murdered when he has his nails done.
 

Chomskypom

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Animal nail clippers do get dull over time and can eventually do more crush than cut. This will not be a concern until they’ve been used at least a few dozen or hundred times, so while the set they have at the vet or groomer might be dull from frequent use, if you buy your own personal one it’ll probably stay sharp for years.
I do dog nails regularly, and when people request clippers rather than dremel I’m happy to oblige for the animal’s comfort. It’s never come up, but if someone also requested I use their personal set of clippers, I’d make that happen too. That might be a potential solution for part of your problem.
 

Lady Jane

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There are several kinds of metal files that will shorten a birds nails. It will take longer though. What I suggest is that you get this bird accustomed to you simply touching the foot several times in a day. No equipment in sight. It may take a long time for him to relax. Give treats when he no longer is in fear or lets you touch foot. Then lay a file nearby so the bird can get used to seeing it. Then bring closer and closer. If you do this slowly it may work.

Here is an example of a nail file that may work Amazon.com : ForPro Pro Fusion Stainless Steel Pedi File - Coarse, Double-Sided Professional Quality - Blue Handle Pedicure File for Heels and Feet - 8.25” L : Beauty
 

Hankmacaw

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And no again, putting him under with gas is absolutely not an option.
I don't know where you are getting the information about temporary sedatives, but the information is highly inaccurate and dangerous to uninformed owners. My bird is a clinically active PDD bird. Stress is one of two major detriments to PDD birds and my bird stresses (I'll bet,
as bad or worse than yours) at the vet. She needs medical care - has to have it.

Kitty is given a nasal puff of Midazolam upon entering the exam room and she goes sleepy bye. The Dr. performs the procedures he needs to on her and then gives her a little puff of Flumazenil which reverses the sedative. In 10-15 minutes she is fully awake and doesn't know a thing that went on. I have had three deathly ill birds in my life and between the three they have been sedated at least 100 times in the last 25 years. That is actual information.

There are a couple of members on this forum who routinely have their bird sedated at the vets - it is far, far better for them than the extreme stress these particular birds go though without sedation.
 

Hankmacaw

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I do totally agree with the whole comment made by expressmailtome. There’s not many options left for medical care and nail trimming with all you’ve mentioned not being approved/appropriate for your bird.
I hope you reconsider all of the restrictions for your bird's medical care. If the day comes when you have a life and death emergency or a serious chronic illness, your bird will need all of the help he can get without all of the rules.
 

ZekeZack

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Zack got traumatized before I got him and he would scream BLOODY MURDER at the mere thought of the nail clipper touching his precious toe nails. The sound of a Caique screaming that way is traumatizing in and of itself, they are very good at convincing the world they are being brutally murdered in the most horrendous way possible - via nail clipper. You would think someone was ACTUALLY chopping off his toes one by one. But nail trims are quite necessary and I started off toweling him and doing very short trims. I would cut a few of the most problem nails and I was careful to never go too far or draw blood. After about four nail trims he now doesn't need a towel and holds still (no clenched toes) and on the very last run he even stayed relatively quite. Maybe only one bloody murder scream.

Birds are smarter than we give them credit for and if you can show them that there's nothing actually harmful about this thing they are afraid of, then with time (repeatedly proving that to them) the fear goes away and trust forms. At least if you continue to build that positive relationship with them. That's been my experience anyway.
 

Lady Jane

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I think that desensitization plays a roll in any procedures for your bird. You get them used to whatever it is and its much easier on them. Same for humans. You are much more nervous if you don't know what is happening to you.
 

Lady Jane

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I cannot get anywhere near him with a nail file, and I've been working with him gently each day for over 4 months now.
Keep working with him. Four months is not going to be enough. Exactly how are you doing this? Did you get him used to seeing any equipment for cutting nails in a slow, gradual way? If he was traumatized by the previous owner you may have to use sedation by a certified avian vet. It now big deal as @Hankmacaw wrote.
 
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