Giving antibiotics to pet birds is a challenging task. Firstly, you have to diagnose what kind of bacterial infection your pet bird is having and then select the right kind of antibiotic that cures that particular type of bacterial infection. Secondly, you have to decide on the method of giving medication to your bird. Giving oral medication to your pet bird is definitely not an easy task. Also mixing antibiotics in their drinking water can result in overdose or under dose of the medication.
The Fear of Antibiotics
Many people fear giving antibiotics to their pet birds. This may be because of the reason that antibiotics may kill some beneficial bacteria in birds apart from killing harmful bacteria that is causing the disease. You may also need the use of probiotics to replace some friendly bacteria that have been killed due to the use of antibiotics. Also, the repeated use of antibiotics may cause immunity for antibiotics in birds.
Most people use antibiotics as a last resort when everything else is not working to cure their sick bird. Because you fear that your bird will die from the disease, you administer antibiotics quickly because birds only show signs of disease at a very later stage. They do this to escape predators because a seemingly sick bird become an easy prey of hunting birds in the wild.
The importance of an Avian Vet
When your bird is sick, you want to make sure that you give it medication as early as possible so that the disease may not prolong. In this situation, it is necessary to contact a specialized avian vet as soon as possible to diagnose the disease and start the treatment at its earliest stage. Using over the counter antibiotic drugs is not advisable because medicines available in pet stores often do not meet the minimum quality standards.
Also you are not sure about the type of bacteria that is causing the infection. There are gram positive bacteria and gram negative bacteria. Using the wrong type of antibiotic to that particular type of bacterial infection will not cure your sick bird. An avian vet is the right kind of person who has the knowledge and specialized training in pet birds to correctly diagnose the type of infection and recommend the right kind of antibiotic to your sick pet bird.
Antibiotics are given to pet birds for a specified period of time. They are usually given for three, five and seven days. If you prolong the antibiotic course, it can cause immunity for antibiotics in your bird and it may happen at a later time that antibiotics will not cure the bacterial infection. Contacting with an avian vet may be expensive but he will administer the right kind of antibiotic, its dosage amount and the number of days your birds should be given the medication.
Signs of a Bacterial Infection in Pet Birds
You may see your bird sitting at the bottom of the cage with its head hidden under its back feathers or you may see his feathers fluffed up and he is sitting quietly at the farthest corner of the cage and is not doing his normal activities as usual. He may have some secretions going out from his eyes or nose and has difficulty in breathing. In this situation you should immediately recognize that something is wrong with your bird and this may be because of a bacterial infection in your bird.
Apart from getting help from an avian vet, you can also administer an antibiotic course for your loved bird on your own. If you have done this before then it will be relatively easy for you. If your are treating your bird with one type of antibiotic and you want to switch to another one, then it is important to finish that course first before starting another one.
Giving Oral Medication to Pet Birds
Giving oral medication to your bird will be the most appropriate method. This is because you know the right amount of antibiotics your bird is taking in and that at the right time. Your bird may get stressed out from handling in an already stressed situation when the bird is sick but in this method you know that your bird is ingesting the medicine. When birds are sick, they do not eat and drink water so other methods of giving medication do not work for them.
If your bird is tame and hand reared, then the process of giving oral medication will become much easier for you. Even though your bird is fully weaned and eats food on his own but still he will take the antibiotic dose without much problems because he is a hand reared bird. If you bird is in an aviary, it is important to separate the bird immediately so that you can easily conduct an antibiotic course.
Making use of a Crop Needle or a Crop Tube
You will need either a crop needle or a crop tube to administer the medication. Crop needles are easily available in pet stores which is a stainless steel needle that can fit nicely on the top of a syringe. Alternatively, you can use a crop tube, which is a rubber tube used to give either food or medicine to pet birds. If you are new to this, ask an experienced breeder or an avian vet on how to conduct the procedure.
Fill the syringe with the amount of antibiotics you will give to your sick bird. Hold the bird with one hand and with another one gently pass the medicine into the bird’s crop. Care must be taken not to let the crop tube enter into the trachea of the bird. Enter the needle from the left side of the bird’s beak and slowly empty the syringe when the needle is inside its beak.
Mixing Antibiotics in the Drinking Water
This method of giving antibiotics is the most easy one. If you have many birds in a large aviary then you can simultaneously give antibiotics to all of your birds inside a big cage or a colony setting. If one bird is having the infection you may not know of other birds having the same infection but not showing the signs of disease or may be the infection is in its earliest stage. So you can give medication to all of them at the same time.
What you will do is, take their drinking water container and mix the required amount of antibiotics in the water container. Make sure to consult an avian vet and ask him the required amount of medication you should mix in their drinking water. However, this method has its disadvantages too. Sick birds often do not drink water and you may not know if your bird has taken in the the right amount of medicine.
In summer days, bird often drink too much water and in the winter season birds drink very little water so they may get over dosed and under dosed in this case. sometimes birds do not drink the medicated water because it tastes bad to them. So it is a good idea to consult an avian vet if the disease prolong for a considerable period of time so that he may conduct a couple of tests before giving antibiotics to your pet birds.