- Webinar recorded on Thu 25th February, 2016
- 1 hours 25 mins
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This presentation is given by a veterinary practitioner with over 40 years’ experience in the field of avian medicine and surgery, and illustrates the wide variety of bird species and their importance to their carers, while recognising that very little formal instruction in avian medicine is given during the veterinary undergraduate course. Those interested in treating avian patients, therefore, are required to learn for themselves, via publications, societies and seminars, and location work with experienced avian veterinarians or bird carers. Significant anatomical differences between birds and the more familiar mammals are discussed, linking those differences to avian-specific problems as well as diagnostic and therapeutic techniques. The unique avian feature of feather structure and function is discussed, together with some of the common conditions affecting birds’ plumage. Special facilities for the veterinary practice that wants to handle avian patients are described, and the importance of a detailed clinical history is emphasised. This will include species, age and sex of the bird, as well as length of time owned, housing and management, other birds or animals present, and DIET. Sexing techniques are briefly described, since many birds are sexually monomorphic, with internal gonads. The importance of diet as a cause of disease in birds is expanded – both deficiency and excess commonly resulting in morbidity or death. Observation of the patient whilst history-taking is followed by handling and examination, which is essential for complete diagnosis. Simple techniques such as claw and wing clipping are described, together with diagnostic sampling – phlebotomy, choanal and cloacal swabs, radiography, endoscopy. A catalogue of avian diseases is not given: that is what textbooks and further education courses are for. This seminar is intended to stimulate interest and set the enthusiast student on the right course.
Alan has had a lifelong interest in birds, stimulated by his grandfather Frederick. Qualifying as a Veterinary Surgeon from the Royal Veterinary College, London in 1970, his initial work in the south-east of England always included birds. In 1985 he established his own practice in West Sussex, and worked ever since with avian patients. He joined the international Association of Avian Veterinarians in 1987, and subsequently served on its Board of Directors for three years, as well as chairing its European Committee. He has been a regular attendee and presenter at AAV Conferences in Europe and the USA. He joined the Parrot Society UK also in 1987, and served many years on its Council and an earlier stint as its Chairman. He currently holds the post of Chairman once again, and is a life-member of the Society. He has contributed to many bird-keeping periodicals, and is co-author of the veterinary textbook ‘Avian Medicine II’. Having retired from general avian veterinary practice in 2013, he is enjoying more time for writing and photography. ‘Keeping Parrots – Understanding their care and breeding’ was published in 2011, while his autobiography ‘I Believe I can fly – my life as a Birdvet’ appeared in 2015.