Video – Sugarloaf Animal Hospital Interview on Birds

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– Hi, and welcome to another episode of “Under Sugarloaf TV.” Today, we are talking to Dr. Mark Simpson from the Sugarloaf Animal Hospital about birds. So stay tuned. With Dr. Mark Simpson today, and we’re just going be asking Dr. Mark a few questions in relation to the birds that he deals with in his practice. So, Mark, if you could please just start by telling us the most common bird that you deal with.

– The most common bird we deal with is the cockatiel, the little Australian native desert parrot, which lots of people have. There’s lots of mutations. They’re really, really quite excellent pets. They don’t have a complicated diet, but they’re very common and very popular and we see a lot of them.

– [Jon] Right, and Mark, what would be the most common question that you would be asked about birds in general?

– The most common question I get asked has to do with them with wings, with feather clipping, because lots of people like to take their birds out of a cage, I think that’s a growing thing. People don’t like to keep birds in cages, nearly as much as they once did. They like to interact with them more and of course, they’re worried that they’ll probably fly away if they get them out of their cage and so they contemplate cutting their wings. Those wing clips though are very, very significant events for the birds. And they have a number of complex health implications. The birds can crash and burn and break wings and they can injure their chest, they can develop psychological problems because flying is sort of like a get-out-of-jail free card for birds. And if they can’t fly, they panic about things. So there’s a whole lot of psychological and physical complications that happens when they can’t fly.

– [Jon] Right, and Mark, just in general terms with the cockatiel, what would be the most common thing that you would have the birds coming in here for?

– Well, the most, it’s probably a little bit surprising Jon, because the most common thing we get to see are reproductive problems. That particularly the female birds, the reproductive system of the cockatiel is very complicated and prone to problems. So things like egg binding or there’s even a condition where the eggs are laid internally, they pop out of the reproductive tract and end up in the abdomen like an ectopic pregnancy. But the whole system is really complex and reproductive problems are the main thing we see. So when we deal with those birds that have eggs that are laid in the wrong place, that are laid internally, they’re often laid without a shell. So the egg is just the membrane and the white and the yolk and it slips out of the oviduct and into the abdominal space, like I said, like an ectopic pregnancy. But then what happens is that the egg bursts, the bird moves around in the egg bursts, and there’s a huge reaction inside their belly. We’ve got to treat that inflammatory reaction. It’s often very difficult to try and surgically remove, so we’ve got to encourage the bird’s body to process that stuff inside, and we’ve got to stop the ovary from producing any more eggs. So it’s a real medical battle, it takes five or six different drugs to get the bird three or four days down the track and not be having any problem with that reproductive tract.

– [Jon] And Mark, just finally, when you’re doing those procedures with that particular bird, what sort of recovery time would they have?

– Well, the amazing thing about birds is that they are exceptionally tough. They give us the impression that they’re not particularly tough. They often look like they get sick and fall off the branch at the drop of a hat, but they often have been sick for a long time. And these birds that have reproductive tract problems, if they’re treated well and they might only take a week or two and be back to normal completely. And the good thing is that the vast majority of them end up doing that. It’s a wonderful thing to work with the cockatiels and see the vast majority of those female birds get back to normal.

– Well, that’s fantastic Mark. It’s been very informative and certainly learning something that I didn’t know about. And I thank you very much for the information tonight. Well, we hope you enjoyed today’s episode of “Under Sugarloaf TV.” Remember, if you have any news, articles, events, or business submissions, you can go to undersugarloaf.com and look for the Contribute tab and enter your details there. If you would like a video done or any event recorded, please contact me at info@undersugarloaf.com. So this is Jon Byrne, signing off for “Under Sugarloaf TV.”