Avian Health Care

Avian Health Care


Birds often hide their illness which can make at-home diagnosis difficult. There is a common misconception that when birds get sick, they die very quickly. In fact, when most owners notice signs of illness in their avian friends, it is likely that the issue has been present for some time and has only recently reached terminal stages. This is why regular wellness exams and laboratory testing for birds is so important to maintaining the health of your pet.

Why do birds hide their illness?

Birds in the wild have learned survival instincts that protect them from predators. Signs of weakness indicate easy prey. These instincts have been retained and passed down to domestic birds, making detection of disease difficult for pet owners.

At Grafton Animal Hospital, we love birds. Know that your feathered family member will receive the very best in medical care at our clinic. We know what to look for and how to treat these special animals.

Learn more about Avian care at Grafton or schedule an appointment by contacting us online or at (757) 384-9399.

What to Expect


Below is a comprehensive list of avian medical procedures conducted by Grafton’s veterinarians. Realize that no amount of testing can 100% guarantee a healthy bird, but the more information we have the more likely we will be able to detect disease before it becomes fatal.

Physical Exam: We recommend a complete physical exam every 6 months to aid in advanced detection of common problems, such as respiratory disease, malnutrition, Vitamin A deficiency, sinus and/or eye infections, mites, feather disorders, etc.

Gram Stain on Choana (mouth) and Feces: This test checks for abnormal bacteria and yeast in the intestines and upper respiratory tract. It involves taking swabs from the mouth and the vent, applying these samples to a slide, a staining process, and microscopic examination. This procedure can be performed in a matter of minutes.

Fecal Flotation/Direct Smear: These tests check for the presence of parasites (worms and protozoa) in the intestinal tract of birds – including roundworms, coccidia and giardia, which also is contagious to people. This test also can be done in our own lab, within minutes.

CBC and Serum Blood Chemistry Analysis: This test checks for anemia, infection, blood parasites, and diseases of the liver, kidney and other internal organs. Diseases such as diabetes and calcium deficiency may also be detected. These tests require a blood sample and are sent to an outside lab.

Psittacosis Test (Chlamydia or Parrot Fever): This disease can be carried by the bird for a long time without causing disease. When active, it can make the bird very sick and may be deadly. It can also be spread to people. This test also gets sent to an outside lab.

X-Rays: There are many diseases detectable by x-rays, such as pneumonia, abscesses, liver disease, fungal infection, old fractures, etc. Additionally, if your pet becomes ill in the future, it helps to have previous x-rays for comparison. Our radiology department is equipped to take quality radiographs of all pets, even the tiniest ones!


Additional Tests

There are a few additional tests to consider depending on the species and origin of your bird. These include Polyoma Virus and Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease. Your veterinarian will recommend the best diagnostics for your pet.


Other Available Procedures

  • Wing trims - Birds that are permitted to fly may escape through an open door or window or fly into other dangers in your home.
  • Nail trims - Many birds may have trouble standing on a perch if their nails are too long.
  • Beak trims - Birds may have difficulty eating if their beak is overgrown or misshapen
  • Counseling on housing, handling and nutrition
  • DNA analysis & genetic fingerprinting - These tests are available through the same laboratory and can be performed simultaneously


New Bird Owners


If you are a new bird owner, please request an extended office visit so that we may take the time to discuss nutrition, behavior, housing, training and any other areas of concern. Please add clean paper to your pet’s cage before your appointment and be sure to cover your pet’s cage to prevent exposure to cold and wind. We also encourage bird owners to drop in with their birds from time to time for weight checks to ensure a healthy, growing bird.


New clients should complete our New Client Form and New Patient Form before their first appointment.


Contact us today to schedule an appointment at (757) 384-9399

Our Feathered Friends

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Why We Are Your Best Choice

  • Weekly Continuing Education for All Staff Members

    We believe that education is the key to preventing illness and shortening the recovery time for your pet's ailments.

  • High-Quality Care Tailored to Each Patient

    We value the human-animal bond and strive to provide premium, loving care for your pet's unique needs.

  • Fully Equipped and Prepared for Your Pet's Needs

    Our hospital is a 6,000 sq ft facility with a large kennel, grooming room, treatment area, and more to best serve our patients.

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