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Death by vet?

Has taking your bird to the vet made things worse?

  • Yes

    Votes: 3 11.5%
  • No

    Votes: 23 88.5%

  • Total voters
    26

SherLar

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I am from human medicine and sometimes you just don't get black and white clear answers. And with smaller animals, there is often less leeway. Some people and animals can go their entire lives and never see the inside of a hospital and never visit Drs, except for the delivery of a baby. Some go routinely for check ups, and others have problems from the moment of conception. Makes the marbles in my head rattle and my heart both rejoice and cry. All one can do is make the best decision they can at that moment and not second guess or blame themselves. Often easier said than done.
sherri
 

cassiesdad

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I've never had to sign a waiver for routine visits. Likewise never had a bird get worse after seeing the vet.
..never had either of those circumstances, either...and if a waiver like that would be presented to me, I'd take my bird and RUN OUT of the office.
Joining the AAV does not make one an avian specialist. Being an ABVP avian practice diplomate does.
...agree with both statements.
If you have even the slightest discomfort with how a vet handles your birds, find another one. That trust is far more important than certifications
..again, agreed...see my response to the first quote...
 

Princessbella

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I have taken my first bird to the vet for pneumonia and the vet knew what it was and gave me antibiotics. I recently had an bad vet experience with Bella a few months ago when she impaled herself but it was the vet's personality and not her skills that was the problem.
 

Laurie

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Hi everyone. I wanted to get people's feedback and experience regarding taking birds to the vet.

I have noticed in every vet office I've been to, there are always release forms that say there is a risk of the bird dying during a routine visit or any procedure. Is this a legitimate concern or are they just trying to legally protect themselves? What are some of your experiences?

I have had some traumatic experiences with two birds getting significantly worse (and later dying) after having taken them to the vet and at this point I am more scared of taking my new bird to the vet than not taking him. Especially when he seems healthy.
I do think that the release is for liability purposes.

Stress can be traumatic for a bird and any new situation is potentially stressful.

I think it comes down to a risk benefit analysis and the benefits of taking a bird to the vet when sick far outweigh the risks. Also the benefit of preventative medicine and check ups generally exceed the risk.

In cases were a sick bird goes to the vet and gets worse and dies, unless the death was a direct result of an exam or treatment then you really can not say that the death was a result of the vet. Sometimes a bird is obviously sick is beyond help and taking to the vet only increase the chance of recover, it does not guarantee it.

I have often heard people say they took an animal to the vet and it died. Often if you get the whole story they took the animal to the vet but did not have the tests or procedures that were recommended by the vet preformed. This too is not the vets fault.

After years of having birds my attitude has gradually changed. There are no guarantees but your bird has the best chance of healing and your vet has the best chance of helping if you take your bird in at the first notice of illness or behavior change. Some people like to let the vet decide on what should be done for their pet. Personally, I like to have the vet fully explain his recommendations along with all the reasons for them and then I like to work with them on the best course of action. As for test recommendations, I have the vet explain what each test is looking for and find out what the likely treatments would be and then based on all the information we make a decision what to do. You also need to follow all instructions, give all medicines and do the follow-up. If you do not follow through then you will not get the full benefit of your vet visit. If you do anything half way you chances of success will decrease.

In my personal experience, I have taken two birds to the vet and then later lost them because there was nothing that could be done. But I have also had vets save the lives of two baby caiques that I had taken in with slow crop, it was about $500 and we had two long weeks of intensive medicating, injections and supportive care to do at home. At one point I was feeding or hydrating ever two hours around the clock and massaging their crops. Had I not done all of those little things they would not have survived. This was a case were I had to make several follow up visits even to figure out what the problem was and we tried various things to get the birds back on track. Had I made one visit and then not followed up the birds would not have survived but because we (the vet and I) attacked the problem with a logical and determined method we sorted it out and the babies got the best care and were able to pull through. I raise caiques so for me figuring out the problem was especially important because I needed to make sure it didn't happen with the next group of babies. It was a long road and it worked out, I was dedicated to finding out the problem and helping the birds, the vets saw this and they billed me for each visit and procedure but they really worked with me to keep the costs as low as possible. More importantly, I learned a ton and now I am can better care for all my birds now and into the future.

Another time a vet saved one of caiques toes from dying and her losing it. I am so thankful for the skillful hands of that vet who was able to do surgery on a bird who weighed less than 20 grams.

Another time it was just a simple $4.00 antibiotic that was needed to turn a situation around and save my favorite bird.

I've had the best success when I acted quickly. Problems only get worse when you wait.

Just a few thoughts. I hope it helps.
 

Laurie

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All 3 of the vets I went to were avian vertified and at least 2 have birds of their own. The one that does cats, dogs and birds likely is spread too thin to have in-depth knowledge so I went with the one that specializes in exotics for my new bird. Outside of looking at reviews and certification, I'm not really sure what else I can do. I don't necessarily think it was the vets' fault that my bird died, but I question whether all the torture of the vet visits and tests was what did him in. If I left well enough alone, perhaps his body would have healed on its own. That sharp decline is what really weighs on my conscience.
It certainly sounds like you are doing your best for the bird.

Have you looked into training your bird so that it can be more cooperative in medical care. This is something you can do while your bird is healthy, it helps you bond with them and will then be super helpful when he needs it most. When he needs medical care.

Webinar Recordings | Barbara's Force Free Animal Training

You might like this webinar. Barbara is an expert in her field and very gentle. Scroll down to #9.
 

Laurie

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Yeah, they towel him. He just thrashes around like a loon and starts bicycle kicking as hard as he can. The cat and dog one didn't seem as knowledgeable as this one. He seemed like he cared and everything but I don't suspect he sees a lot of birds, whereas the exotics vet mostly sees birds.
I would try a different vet. A properly restrained bird should not be able to move around. That is purpose of restraint. If they are still moving you really can not do the procedure because it is dangerous to do and is stressful. The bird may be trying to fight but when properly restrain he should not be able to move like that.

Definitely look into training him to be comfortable with a towel. Take your own towel that he is used to and trained with to the vet with you. He may still be afraid but every little bit helps. My birds are only partially desensitized to towels but when I clip their nails I can tell a big difference in the amount of struggle the put up, the heart rate and how warm their feet get. Every little bit helps and it could be lifesaving when they are sick or need a test. I choose to do grooming at home now because I feel it is less stressful. I only took them to the vet for grooming until I learned how to do it myself.

Here is the trailer to that webinar Watch Stress Free Veterinary Care for Companion Parrots - Webinar Recording Online | Vimeo On Demand on Vimeo

Training is your best protection for you and your bird.
 

fashionfobie

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@Laurie Great links :) Thank you!
 

HolliDaze

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I have a bad vet horror story. When dex was about 6 months old, I used a piece of aquarium tubing (only an inch) to get the formula a little further in his beak. It was a very tight fit, but one day, two days before I moved to Indiana, the tube fell off the tip of the syringe. (Still mad at myself about it) he swallowed the tube with the formula. At the time, he was getting a comfort feeding every three or four days or so.
I panicked, but it was late at night I didn’t have any money to rush him to an emergency vet.

The next morning, my uncle, who I was staying with, took me to “Dublin animal hospital” in Colorado. They did xrays, And brought dexter back to me, claiming he must have regurgitated the tube because they’d couldn’t see it. I said okay, and took him back to my uncles house.

Dexter stopped eating his solid food entirely by the next day, refusing everything but his formula. His poop slowly turned black. I asked my mother, who had just finished the 16 hour car ride, if we’d could take dex back to the vet before we left. Her friend, who hadn’t driven her and would drive me, said that he needed to be back at work on time or he’d lose his job. I wasn’t happy, but decided to monitor dex constantly through the 16 hours drive.

When we were a few hours off, my mother had me call an avian specialty clinic in Indianapolis. They told me to bring him in at 8 am and to bring the xrays.

We hand him over at the clinic as they open, they rush him in the back for intensive care and take the disk with the xrays. They come out and ask me what’s the clinic said about the xrays (I had told them about the apparent lack of tube) and I repeated that they said they couldn’t find the tube. She says something along the lines of “I think you misunderstood them.” (“He’s fine and doesn’t need medical attention” is hard to misunderstand) and send me home while they do his surgery.

The surgery went well and Dexter was doing fine, they told me the tube was lodged between his ventriculus And proventriculus, adding that he’d only have been able to digest liquid foods safely. The tube had turned hard and black.

After bringing dex home, my mom and I hopped on the computer and put the disk in. It took me all of two seconds to find the tube. The xrays are somewhere on the forums, I’ll try to find them. To Be fair, the tub was nearly identical to the bones on the X-ray, but I’m pretty sure no birds have a third leg that ends abruptly in the middle of his abdomen. My mother and I both laughed at the first vets incompetence, thankfully able to relax now that I was sure dex was fine.

Edit! Here is the thread with the xrays: Umbrella cockatoo xrays... With a treasure hunt! | Avian Avenue Parrot Forum
 
Last edited:

Hankmacaw

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After years of having birds my attitude has gradually changed. There are no guarantees but your bird has the best chance of healing and your vet has the best chance of helping if you take your bird in at the first notice of illness or behavior change. Some people like to let the vet decide on what should be done for their pet. Personally, I like to have the vet fully explain his recommendations along with all the reasons for them and then I like to work with them on the best course of action. As for test recommendations, I have the vet explain what each test is looking for and find out what the likely treatments would be and then based on all the information we make a decision what to do. You also need to follow all instructions, give all medicines and do the follow-up. If you do not follow through then you will not get the full benefit of your vet visit. If you do anything half way you chances of success will decrease.

I have had the same vet for 20 years and he and I are still learning. Don't get me wrong, he is an excellent vet and has saved my birds' lives several time. He constantly educates me and corrects me when I have something wrong. He is well networked with the top vets throughout the US and even world wide - he never hesitates to consult with another vet. His techs (after going through many) are excellent as is his front desk staff. Dr. Driggers is pure gold to me.

The above by Laurie is very true - you need to know what is going on with your bird while at the vet. You need to stay involved and ask questions until you understand. If you do not allow the vet to do the tests, you are tying one arm behind them. If you don't do exactly as you vet tells you when you take him home, you should not have not taken you bird to the vet in the first place.

I have had some very bad vets and I didn't allow these people to work on my birds when I saw that they weren't competent or were blowhards.

It is a collaborative effort between you and your vet.
 

OwnedByBird

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Thanks for your advice everyone. It sets me more at ease. I guess I have just had really crappy luck.

I found an avian vet that's been recommended to me by someone who has owned and trained parrots for a while now. I'll call and make an appointment. Hopefully all will be fine.
 

OwnedByBird

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Regarding training so that he is more comfortable with being toweled - I have been working on him letting me pet him for probably over a year now. He lets my husband pet him all the time but with me, it's not something he is comfortable with. Even with my husband, he hates being restrained in any way. No hugging, no neck grabs, no laying him on his back. He has gotten MUCH better - I haven't had a nasty bite in close to a year - but I basically need to warn him and be in the middle of a training session for him to let me pet him. In the last month or so he has sort of let me pet him outside those parameters but it's a slow process. He has also recently entered his "terrible twos" so there are days he is sweet and days when he is nippy and doesn't want to come out of the cage. I think it will take a good 5 years to get him remotely comfortable with being toweled. I have prioritized harness training because I want to take him outside, but that has been going miserably. These little dudes are tough.
 

Hawk12237

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I lost my first bird to a vet claiming to have worked with exotics. We later found out that this was untrue. She aspirated him on medicine, I'll never forget her laughing and saying "Oh I forgot they're not like cats you have to do it slowly". He became very ill afterward and I had to say goodbye the next day after we took him to an actual certified avian vet, the doctor really did all she could but said they can unfortunately go fast when they're aspirated.

I still take my fids to the vet if I notice anything off and I think it's very important that they get yearly check ups. I am lucky to have 3 places near me with Avian Doctors.

Awww that's sad ! But gosh that's parrot ER 101rule number 1.....go slowly or they'll aspirate! My wife lives by that in prepping birds for surgery.
 

OwnedByBird

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Just looked at the xray images. What in the world were the first vets high on that they didn't see that thing? It's clear as day! Especially if they knew they were looking for a tube. I'm so glad your birdie is ok. Jeez.

I have a bad vet horror story. When dex was about 6 months old, I used a piece of aquarium tubing (only an inch) to get the formula a little further in his beak. It was a very tight fit, but one day, two days before I moved to Indiana, the tube fell off the tip of the syringe. (Still mad at myself about it) he swallowed the tube with the formula. At the time, he was getting a comfort feeding every three or four days or so.
I panicked, but it was late at night I didn’t have any money to rush him to an emergency vet.

The next morning, my uncle, who I was staying with, took me to “Dublin animal hospital” in Colorado. They did xrays, And brought dexter back to me, claiming he must have regurgitated the tube because they’d couldn’t see it. I said okay, and took him back to my uncles house.

Dexter stopped eating his solid food entirely by the next day, refusing everything but his formula. His poop slowly turned black. I asked my mother, who had just finished the 16 hour car ride, if we’d could take dex back to the vet before we left. Her friend, who hadn’t driven her and would drive me, said that he needed to be back at work on time or he’d lose his job. I wasn’t happy, but decided to monitor dex constantly through the 16 hours drive.

When we were a few hours off, my mother had me call an avian specialty clinic in Indianapolis. They told me to bring him in at 8 am and to bring the xrays.

We hand him over at the clinic as they open, they rush him in the back for intensive care and take the disk with the xrays. They come out and ask me what’s the clinic said about the xrays (I had told them about the apparent lack of tube) and I repeated that they said they couldn’t find the tube. She says something along the lines of “I think you misunderstood them.” (“He’s fine and doesn’t need medical attention” is hard to misunderstand) and send me home while they do his surgery.

The surgery went well and Dexter was doing fine, they told me the tube was lodged between his ventriculus And proventriculus, adding that he’d only have been able to digest liquid foods safely. The tube had turned hard and black.

After bringing dex home, my mom and I hopped on the computer and put the disk in. It took me all of two seconds to find the tube. The xrays are somewhere on the forums, I’ll try to find them. To Be fair, the tub was nearly identical to the bones on the X-ray, but I’m pretty sure no birds have a third leg that ends abruptly in the middle of his abdomen. My mother and I both laughed at the first vets incompetence, thankfully able to relax now that I was sure dex was fine.

Edit! Here is the thread with the xrays: Umbrella cockatoo xrays... With a treasure hunt! | Avian Avenue Parrot Forum
 

Rain Bow

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I'm sorry for all you've been thru but I agree w/ all that's been said. Check the A. Vet site. Then if you feel off about a vet get a new one.

I haven't signed a release for a normal vet visit, but have for a few human ones. I agree that's a probably a liability thing.

Before we got Buddy we had cats.

I lost my "son" to rabies cancer. Most people don't know this but their rabies vaccines can actually cause cancer. This was back in the day when they did it in the back of the neck. He ha d his 1st mass removed & the stapled it to let it heal. Before the staples came out 10 days later the mass was growing back. We lost him months later. I was happy to have that time w/ him. Mad as all get out @ the required vaccine to help in my state, killed him @ age 9.

Then a few years later they started doing these shots in their legs. The premiss was that the leg could be removed @ the joint & to also identify "What vaccine" was causing this spreadable cancer. I mean spreadable because if it gets surgery, when the scalpel cuts it, it can actually spread it, rapidly regrowing like in my " son".

I'm starting to cry @ the memory of this so pls, bare w/ me.

My husband & I always had our animals find us. Always they were strays that we took in, that needed a forever home.

We adopted a female kitty that was balls of fun. She was a scrappy little puff ball that was an instigating, little troublemaker who could do a cartwheel backflip in mid air.
I believe she was 6 when the mass on her leg was initially located. To guess what, rabies cancer again. Since she was part of the leg vaccinations we thought Thank goodness they only have to remove her leg. We can make it work, she can be thought to do things on three legs. We rushed her to the vet. Outcome, we can remove her leg, but we fear it will be a ton of money for you & it will rapidly come back. The cancer appears like it's all ready in the joint of the leg. It is rare when you hear this from a vet...

Take her home, keep her comfortable when it gets painful we can give her a shot & um well, she won't hurt anymore, she was 8.

This is a cancer that statistically happens to 1 family in an (obscene #) like every 100,000. We had 2 cats (unrelated) as my son came from another state & was indoors. In a ten year period & both outcomes just sucked.

I say if you feel like it's baloney & you're uncomfortable, find a New vet. If you're not onboard, you cannot approach it as a team. You, vet, & techs/nurse's. You need a group approach & if you have multiple fids even if you must look onto another state for a vet you are comfortable with, it'll be worth it!

:welcomeavenue: I hope you find a home here & maybe even a new vet!

:gbh: Rain
 

OwnedByBird

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Sorry to hear about your losses. That sounds traumatic. I can unfortunately relate. Hope your luck has been better since all this happened.

I'm sorry for all you've been thru but I agree w/ all that's been said. Check the A. Vet site. Then if you feel off about a vet get a new one.

I haven't signed a release for a normal vet visit, but have for a few human ones. I agree that's a probably a liability thing.

Before we got Buddy we had cats.

I lost my "son" to rabies cancer. Most people don't know this but their rabies vaccines can actually cause cancer. This was back in the day when they did it in the back of the neck. He ha d his 1st mass removed & the stapled it to let it heal. Before the staples came out 10 days later the mass was growing back. We lost him months later. I was happy to have that time w/ him. Mad as all get out @ the required vaccine to help in my state, killed him @ age 9.

Then a few years later they started doing these shots in their legs. The premiss was that the leg could be removed @ the joint & to also identify "What vaccine" was causing this spreadable cancer. I mean spreadable because if it gets surgery, when the scalpel cuts it, it can actually spread it, rapidly regrowing like in my " son".

I'm starting to cry @ the memory of this so pls, bare w/ me.

My husband & I always had our animals find us. Always they were strays that we took in, that needed a forever home.

We adopted a female kitty that was balls of fun. She was a scrappy little puff ball that was an instigating, little troublemaker who could do a cartwheel backflip in mid air.
I believe she was 6 when the mass on her leg was initially located. To guess what, rabies cancer again. Since she was part of the leg vaccinations we thought Thank goodness they only have to remove her leg. We can make it work, she can be thought to do things on three legs. We rushed her to the vet. Outcome, we can remove her leg, but we fear it will be a ton of money for you & it will rapidly come back. The cancer appears like it's all ready in the joint of the leg. It is rare when you hear this from a vet...

Take her home, keep her comfortable when it gets painful we can give her a shot & um well, she won't hurt anymore, she was 8.

This is a cancer that statistically happens to 1 family in an (obscene #) like every 100,000. We had 2 cats (unrelated) as my son came from another state & was indoors. In a ten year period & both outcomes just sucked.

I say if you feel like it's baloney & you're uncomfortable, find a New vet. If you're not onboard, you cannot approach it as a team. You, vet, & techs/nurse's. You need a group approach & if you have multiple fids even if you must look onto another state for a vet you are comfortable with, it'll be worth it!

:welcomeavenue: I hope you find a home here & maybe even a new vet!

:gbh: Rain
 

HolliDaze

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Just looked at the xray images. What in the world were the first vets high on that they didn't see that thing? It's clear as day! Especially if they knew they were looking for a tube. I'm so glad your birdie is ok. Jeez.
He's a perfectly normal, two year old cockatoo. I was suggested that vet by my zookeeping teacher, who had five rescue birds and suggested I get a cockatoo (I was torn between that and a grey) she had been taking her birds there for years, and told me she no longer would after I sent her the "perfectly normal" xrays.

The only justification I can think of is that I brought dex in on an emergency basis during the busiest time.of day for them, and the vets either took a cursory glance, or had a student look at it or something. Either way, laymen like you and I spotted it in seconds (at least for me it was), when the vets, the people meant to save my baby's life, didn't see it. and not only did they not see it, they sent me home saying he was fine. If I hadn't noticed the pitch black.poops, if I had assumed he reverted because he was stressed from the xrays, hed have died in less than three days.

HIs.next vet, though, was wonderful. I often get mistaken for a 15 year old (I'm 20 now, was 18 at the time) because I'm 5'2" and have baby face. When I brought dex to the first clinic, they forwarded every question to my uncle. This new clinic was friendly, and gave me videos about enrichment to watch before my pickup appointment (which was rich. My zookeeping class involved working in the loft, where I spent all day teaching children how we care for the animals and having them help me make enrichment). I brought him back for nail trims and a yearly checkup, and each time they were gentle, and I NEVER had to sign a waiver before the appointment. I did before the surgery, but that's to be expected.

If I understand correctly, did they have you sign before checkup/diagnostic (with the exception of one's involving anaesthesia, that's normal) appointments? Unless anaesthesia is involved, there should be little risk for the bird to did during the appointment, and it should be nearly impossible for them to die afterwards.

Birds can die of stress, but it takes A LOT of stress for that to happen. When I took dex in for a trim, they always out him down if he got too scared. And being the well socialized baby that he is/was, he would immediately step up for them again. It is pretty easy to avoid stressing a bird out so bad that it dies, but it's possible I misunderstood you.
 

Tanya

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Read their bio on the practice website. I found my vet because he actually mentioned his Macaw and Amazon in his bio. Avian certification is a good place to start, but actually having birds at home is another level entirely. It took me more than 5 hours of internet searching, but when I found out current vet Rhubarb was in dire health. He saved her life from the point of being so weak she could only stand by holding the side of there cage, through a year and a half of us giving twice-daily medication, to now when we have a happy and sassy 6-year-old girly bird who loves to dance for visitors. (Because she's trying to entice them to settle down and build a nest with her... she's healthy enough to be super weird.)

Edit/note: This was after the old vet nearly killed her because he was trying to convince me that her watery poops and vomiting were completely normal. When he said, on the second visit, that birds can't feel pain, I couldn't get out of there fast enough and spent most of the next day searching for a new vet. I found Dr. Huber and we went even though it was almost an hour drive from where we live, more when traffic is bad.
 
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sunnysmom

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The first vet I took my cockatiel to said he treated birds. It was a horrible experience. He was way too rough with my bird and the vet tech actually scratched his leg. My tiel was traumatized and I was traumatized. I cried on the way home and my tiel wouldn't come out of his cage for 3 days after that. But I knew there was something wrong even though the vet told me there wasn't. So although I was riddled with anxiety, I took him to another vet. This time a vet that really did treat birds. (He's not avian certified but birds are a large part of his practice.) It was a completely different experience. He was so kind and gentle with my tiel. He took all of my concerns seriously and figured out what the problem was. And my tiel was completely unphased by the visit. Eventually, the vet techs started telling me that my tiel was the waiting room floor sure because he would entertain everyone in the waiting room whenever we went. So finding the right vet is so, so important. And I think working with my vet added years to my senior tiel's life.
 
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