Holiday Concerns

Have Parrot – Will Travel!

By Avian Care, Holiday Concerns No Comments

Travelling with Parrots is relatively simple – but your & your family need to plan things well in advance.

Desensitization – this situation is simplified if you are going to drive with them in my experience. Typically, parrots travel very, very well-as long as you prepare them and, then yourself. Begin to desensitize them to their traveling “crate” as soon as you can.

Carrier choice – You need to place one or two perches across an appropriately sized plastic cat carrier. A simple “dowel” likely won’t do for proper grip so, finding Dragonwood or other perches through online bird stores that have more of a grip-texture that would be better for your birds. You’ll also need to place a towel in the bottom of the carrier and have extras with you on the road to change out daily. You can also purchase (online) appropriately sized stainless steel water and food bowls that will attach to the doorway of the kennel. I strongly recommend you do not use plastic bowls with birds like this-while you will think they may not destroy them-the moment you leave them unattended in the carrier and look elsewhere/take your eyes off of them- they usually will. also is an excellent company who makes carriers that are soft sided, easily secured, very easy to clean, mobile & light to carry. They already have perches in them with appropriate water bowls that come with them as well. However, they are little more expensive-if you do decide to purchase one of these for your bird – Ensure you get the stainless steel mesh and not the plastic mesh! While the latter is cheaper, for the same reasons noted above-stainless steel is better-the birds really have to try hard to get out of them. My Caique made easy work of chewing the plastic mesh once during a 20 minute commute to my practice with her – this was well after she was used to the carrier! Finally, Celltei carriers are also very convenient for travel-I move my birds exclusively in these carriers. Also- the company is very good about the occasional repair from one of my more robust parrots.

If you are traveling the winter or colder months – Celltie also makes fleece covers for the carriers that are absolutely perfect. If you don’t have towels over the carriers or have the ability to towel them-you will need to consider this depending on the length of time your on the road and in keeping with the birds 12 hour light cycle.

Tolerizing your bird to the carrier & travelling – Once you “desensitize” your bird by placing them in the carrier and rewarding them for perching, do some interactive enrichment as well and possibly even some foraging exercises which are “self-rewarding” activity for them to actually play in the carrier and get used to being in an enclosed space. And you increase the time in the carrier over days and weeks until your hundred percent comfortable that they are 100% comfortable in them or as best as they can be. Consider taking your bird on short day-trips for progressively longer times.

You’ll also need to bring bottled water with you and try not to change the brand while you’re traveling. You will also likely need to bring some form of suction cup perch also available online from various distributors so that you can have them perch at points in the hotel room or, more appropriately in the bathroom tub and if needed, you can shower them.

Ensure that you also bring their favorite food and treats but, you must be certain that every night they eat and drink well and try to keep them on their light cycle as much as possible. Of course you can leave some water and food in the carriers while you’re traveling.

Jeff Goodall, DVM

Owner/Medical Director
Sunnyview Animal Care
36 Duke Street, Unit #6
Bedford, Nova Scotia
B4A 2Z5

Corn Cobs & your Dog – watch that your Green Bin is secure!

By Holiday Concerns, Safety (Pet & Family) Concerns No Comments

With the fall weather closing in, and thoughts turning to Thanksgiving, one of our staff had a scare today that led me to write this blog. This entry is meant to remind all of us to be extra careful – not only our food waste in the garbage, but also what we put in our ‘Green Bins’!

Kim’s dogs got into some dried corn cobs that were in her Green Bin. Corn Cobs are one of the most problematic of all things dogs can eat, as they are difficult at times to see on X-Ray, and even the smallest portion of the cob can result in an intestinal blockage requiring emergency surgery! (See the picture of a cob portion that required surgical removal) Too many times, our clients don’t know what their pet has gotten into, but they present to our practice vomiting, depressed, and have an inability to hold water or food down.

The dogs ate some drying cobs that were thought to be out of reach, and thank goodness; Kim knew that it had happened, Knew the time that they had been able to get to them was less then an hour, and most Importantly – Knew that it was an emergency. Dried Corn Cobs are less likely to cause the blockages then those that ‘fresh’ cobs will lead to if eaten.

Treatment can be as simple as what happened with Kim’s dogs – we X-Rayed them, figured out that the cobs were very well chewed up, and that we could likely resolve the situation by inducing vomiting. It appears to have worked. (see comments below)

However, with Thanksgiving coming up – Sunnyview Animal Care wants to remind our clients to be extra careful in disposing of not only Turkey or Chicken bones safely, but also watch that your Green Bin is not accidentally accessed. Too Many cases of Corn Cob ingestion – Sunnyview has about one a year – result in the need for emergency surgery to remove them. Fresh Corn Cob is less likely to be broken up in the stomach to allow your Veterinarian to safely induce vomiting, let alone for the pet to safely vomit the cob(s) up. Some cobs can be removed with an endoscope, but not many Vet practices have them, and sadly there are some cases of pets going into cardiac arrhythmias as the cob is pulled back up the esophagus – leading to their passing. Also, if the cob or it’s fragments have moved into the small intestine, then the ‘scope’ may not be able to reach nor extract them – meaning exploratory surgery is needed anyway.

In many cases, and in our opinion – the timely exploration of the abdomen is the safest option for your pet’s recovery from Corn Cob ingestion; To allow your Veterinarian to fully asses your pet’s intestines & stomach and, To allow for the timely removal of all the fragments. Please note, that even if you attempt to induce vomiting and, not have your pet examined and X-rayed at your veterinary clinic – there is still a risk if your pet may NOT actually vomit all the fragments up – there may still be some cob fragments left in the stomach, or they may have already migrated into the small intestine. There is also the significant risk of the vomiting leading to impaction of the foreign body within the esophagus.

So we are clear – Sunnyview is NOT recommending you induce vomiting for any foreign body ingestion without your Veterinarian’s direct involvement.

Please, have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving from the Staff at Sunnyview.Vet Let us also give Thanks not only for time with our families, but for the companionship our pets give us everyday, in addition to the love of all of those in our daily lives!