Educational Articles

Birds

  • Diphenhydramine is given by mouth or as an injection and is used on and off label to treat allergic reactions, motion sickness, and to induce sedation. Side effects include sleepiness, and less commonly dry mouth and gastrointestinal upset. Diphenhydramine should not be used in pets that are allergic to this medication and should be used cautiously in pets with glaucoma, enlarged prostate, thyroid or heart disease, or are lactating. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Doxepin is given by mouth and is used off label to treat psychogenic dermatoses such as excessive grooming and psychogenic alopecia. Give as directed. The most common side effect is sleepiness. Do not use in pets that are allergic to it or other tricyclic antidepressants, in pets currently using an MAOI or flea/tick collar, or in pets undergoing skin allergy testing within two weeks. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Doxycycline is an antibiotic given by mouth in the form of a tablet, capsule, or liquid, used off label to treat certain infections. Common side effects include stomach upset, sun sensitivity, and increases in liver enzymes. Serious side effects include liver failure, seizures, and trouble swallowing. Do not use in pregnant pets, and use cautiously in pets with liver disease or in young pets. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Egg binding is not uncommon in birds and may be resolved easily if treated early. Egg binding occurs when the female bird is unable to expel the egg from her body. If a prolonged period has elapsed since the bird began attempting to lay the egg, she may become critically ill. Birds with egg binding may or may not have passed an egg more than 2 days ago, are usually weak, not perching, often sitting low on the perch or on the bottom of the cage, and are straining as if trying to defecate or to lay an egg. Treatment varies depending upon how sick the bird is, as well as the location of the egg and the length of time the bird has been egg bound. Critically ill birds are first treated supportively for shock, and then attempts are made to extract the egg. If your veterinarian cannot see the egg through the vent, surgery under general anesthetic may be necessary to remove the egg from the abdomen. A hysterectomy (removal of the oviduct and uterus) is typically the last choice therapy, when medical and egg extraction through the vent are not possible.

  • Egg yolk peritonitis is commonly diagnosed in laying hens when yolk from a developing egg or an incompletely shelled or ruptured egg is deposited within the body cavity rather than passing normally from the ovary, into the oviduct, and then out of the body as a fully shelled egg. The yolk material that is released into the coelomic cavity causes inflammation of the peritoneum and typically the development of fluid within the coelom. Affected birds will often stop laying, become less active, have distended abdomens, and have difficulty breathing. Veterinarians diagnose egg yolk peritonitis through a combination of physical examination findings, blood testing, and imaging with radiographs or ultrasound. Treatment is supportive, with supplemental feeding, anti-inflammatory medication, antibiotics, hormones to prevent further egg laying. With more advanced cases, oxygen therapy and fluid drainage from the abdomen may be necessary.

  • Elizabethan collars are designed to help prevent self-mutilation and as a supplementary therapy for feather-destructive birds. Collars may be designed and made by the staff at the veterinary hospital/clinic or commercially made. Collars should only be used when prescribed by an avian veterinarian. Collars are not always safe for every bird.

  • Enalapril is used on and off label and is given by mouth or injection to treat heart failure, high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, or proteinuria. Common side effects include loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and tiredness. Do not use in pets that are allergic to it, have an acute kidney injury, or have certain heart conditions. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Enrofloxacin is an antibiotic given by mouth or in the muscle commonly used to treat bacterial infections in cats, dogs, and off label in small mammals, birds, and reptiles. Common side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, and lack of appetite. It should not be used in growing or dehydrated pets, or in cats with kidney disease. Use cautiously in pets with seizures, liver, or kidney disease. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Erythromycin is given by mouth or injection and is used off label to treat bacterial infections and gastrointestinal motility problems in many animal species. Common side effects include diarrhea, lack of appetite, and vomiting. Do not use in pets that are allergic to it, have liver disease or dysfunction, or in pets such as rabbits, gerbils, guinea pigs, or hamsters. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • A feather cyst is a malformation of a feather follicle whereby the feather(s) do not exit the skin, and instead become buried in a cyst under the skin. They can become quite large and be painful to the pet. These cysts require veterinary attention and if injured, may bleed extensively.