Putting Together a First-Aid Kit for Your Bird

Putting Together a First-Aid Kit for Your Bird

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Accidents occur when you least expect them: Your bird injures a wing, develops an infection or burns himself. While you should call your veterinarian as soon as you realize there’s something wrong, you should also keep a well-stocked first-aid kit handy. Here’s what to keep inside:

  • Heating pad or hot pack to keep the bird warm or treat shock or exposure. (Note: if a bird is very ill, do not leave her unattended on a heating pad; she may overheat.)
  • Balanced electrolyte solution for dehydration, such as Pedialyte®. These solutions should be given warm or at room temperature.
  • Small, sharp scissors to cut damaged feathers or free a bird entangled in toys, fibers, etc.
  • Gauze and first-aid tape used to bandage abraded areas and burns as well as open cuts.
  • Plastic eye droppers for medications and eye washes.
  • Cotton balls and swabs to clean wounds. Clean first with warm water after gently removing feathers around the wound.
  • Nail file (blunt end) used to help stop beak bleeding if the tip of the beak is cracked.
  • Nail clippers to cut overgrown nails. Be sure to look for the vein and clip below it (note: vein is not visible on black nails).
  • Tweezers for pulling out broken blood feathers.
  • Hydrogen peroxide to clean wounds. Use full-strength only the first time a wound is cleaned. Afterwards, dilute 1:10 with water, as full-strength peroxide will inhibit healing.
  • Eye irrigation solution.
  • Kwik Stop® or other styptic remedy, used to stop bleeding of the bird’s nails. Caution: Don’t use Kwik Stop® in soft-tissue wounds or feather follicles; it may severely damage a feather follicle leading to infection or abscess. Instead, stop bleeding by cleaning up and applying pressure on broken blood feathers. Pull the feather with gentle, steady pressure in the direction feather grows.
  • Penlight to see inside the bird’s mouth.
  • Antibiotic ointment (such as Neosporin®) used to avoid infection in cuts. Apply very lightly and wipe off excess.
  • Feeding tubes/pipettes. Make sure you have been properly instructed in use of feeding tubes before you attempt this procedure.
  • Clean soft towel.
  • Hand-feeding formula. Mix according to package instructions. Adults can usually be fed 5 percent of their body weight at a feeding once or twice daily.
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