Taking Bird For A Blood Test/Chemistry Profile

by Darci
(Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)

Hello I had wrote earlier regarding bubbles in my Sun Conure's droppings and have taken your advice to see a vet for a thorough exam. I have an appointment coming up on Sunday and was planning on having blood work done (CBC) and chemistry profile, in addition to the fecal Gram strain. The vet never specified but do I need to bring in a fecal sample or do they take one there?

Most of all, I am extremely concerned with having blood taken from my Sun as I have been told by members of my parrot club & read stories on the internet about how a bird can bleed to death during the procedure or if too much blood is taken, going into shock, having a heart attack, etc. I want to do what is best for my bird (she is 5 years old and has never had a blood test, she gets quite stressed at the vet when restrained in a towel for a physical exam)

I am so worried about her dying from the blood test, I would be beyond devastated. Is there anything I can do to prevent this tragedy from happening? Can you tell me how risky is taking blood from a Sun Conure and what would cause a bird to die from having blood taken? I have been told the vet I am seeing is very good, but has a new born baby at home and only works two days a week right now.

Also my Sun has been picking at her feathers (I know she is molting but it seems quite excessive) and also biting her toenails and seems generally itchy all over and quite tired-is there any tests I should request to address this issue? Sorry to ask so many questions but I am very concerned :(

Thank you so much in advance for any help you can provide, I hope you can put my mind at ease !

Comments for Taking Bird For A Blood Test/Chemistry Profile

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Sep 11, 2017
My bird died as well
by: Anonymous

I know this is old, but my Green Cheek Conure died a couple of days ago during a routine blood test. He was totally fine beforehand other than an issue with his foot. I believe either the vet or tech fatally injured him or he had a heart attack from the stress. He was 4 years old and had blood drawn previously with no issue. I've also had blood drawn from many, many other birds including small ones and it was always fine.

If it's an anxious or older bird I advise against it. If it must be done, see if it can be accomplished with a nail clip vs a needle. If the bird is super stressed by the vet even before, don't let them do it unless 100% necessary for a health issue. Many reputable parrot stores and rescues will test the birds for all relevant diseases beforehand so you don't have to worry about it when you adopt them.

Aug 14, 2014
Bird death
by: Anonymous

My bird, beautiful and happy go "Lucky" just died from a blood test. She was a conure and I had wished it never happened. I think she would have been fine in the long run if she didn't have the blood test. Make sure you have an avian specialist with lots and lots of experience. RIP Lucky.

Jul 07, 2013
blood sample bleeding
by: mikev247@hotmail.com

i see your entry was from 2009 but i have to post this. yesterday i took my cockatiel to vet for foot problem. as an add on vet sugested some wellness checks that included blood work. she was about 10 and never to vet. as a result of attemping to collect sample my bird bleed to death. having sample drawn she died.

Dec 04, 2009
Do not do it
by: Anonymous

My 18 year old conure just died from a simple blood test. She was singing and happy on her way to the vet, and came home in a box, all because of a simple blood test.

Feb 26, 2009
Taking bird to the Vet
by: The Vet

As far as taking a sample:
No, your vet will collect one directly from the cloaca.

As far as the blood test goes:
Several points here.

First, the vet should be experienced with drawing blood and should know how much to draw. It takes only a very small amount of blood to do the testing. Usually all testing can be dome with 0.5cc or less. I suspect your sun conure weighs around 110 grams (give or take a few). This means that 1.1cc of blood can be safely taken without any harm.

Second, handling is more stressful than drawing the blood. If your vet and the technician are experienced with handling birds, then this should go smoothly, too.

Third, I don?t recommend or use towels. This can be very stressful. I use my AviStraint. It is much more comfortable to the bird and much less stressful.

http://www.avistraint.com/Pages/UsesGuides.html# - Scroll to the very bottom and click on the video link. Feel free to share this information with your vet. She could purchase these AviStraints if she is interested.

I don't think there is anything to worry about. If your vet has bird experience, she should be capable of drawing blood safely.

Feather picking question:
You should start with the basics. CBC, chem panel, cloacal culture, physical exam. You should also vaccinate for polyomavirus if your bird is healthy and have DNA sexing performed so you are sure of the sex (which helps diagnosing some diseases). The feather damaging behavior and the bubbles may be related or not. A general work up to start and then further investigation if there are no abnormalities on the general.

Based on the feather damaging and the nail chewing, I think your bird is anxious or uncomfortable in her environment. What size cage is she in? Where is the cage located within your home? Do you have a full spectrum light on her? Has anything changed in the home ? new pets, new tenants, routine change...? Feather damaging behaviors are very complicated.

Let me know what happens with your vet and how your bird does there.

Dr B

Article you might want to read: Bird Plucking Help

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