HARI Approved First Aid Arsenal: Are You Ready?

Avian caretakers should always be ready in the event of emergency.  When is a good time to learn about first aid for your avian companion? Well, if you’re asking yourself that question, it might be a good idea to stay tuned to this HARI series on Avian First Aid. The next few posts will cover essential first aid methods plus more holistic remedies.  To get you started, we’re tapping into the HARI Approved First Aid Arsenal as presented for Parrot Life Seminars! Here’s a list of recommended items you can start adding to your First Aid Arenal!

An avian veterinarian should always be consulted as soon as possible should your bird present health concerns. The list compiled below includes recommended products you should have easily accessibility, although their use requires fundamental education of their potential benefits and contra-indications and proper dosages. Should symptoms be alleviated with their use, we still strongly recommended that an avian veterinarian be consulted nonetheless as soon as possible. Here are 2 different reference books that we recommend you could add to your bird library.

First Aid For Birds: An Owner’s Guide to a Happy Healthy Pet  Julie Rach Mancini, Gary A. Gallerstein

Holistic Care for Birds: A Manual of Wellness and Healing David McCluggage, Pamela Leis Higdon

  • Pet status file with weight monitoring chart
  • First aid reference manual
  • Emergency contact info for a specialized avian veterinarian, a reliable animal veterinarian with whom you have built a trustworthy relationship that can contact a specialized avian veterinarian for advice , an experienced handler or aviculturist
  • A small cage or aquarium that can be adapted for use as an intensive care unit until a veterinarian can be consulted
  • Scale  and scale perch for weight monitoring
  • Restraint towel and Velcro strips
  • Pen light- to monitor pupil dilation and for the monitoring of papilla of the choanal region
  • 5 1/2  size Hemostats for the removal of blood feathers
  • Ripley Miller leg band removal pliers (exclusively from L&M Bird leg bands for smaller Psittacine and hooked-billed species leg bands)
  • Cutters for the removal of sturdier leg bands and potentially cage wire if entrapment arises.
  • Sharp/blunt sharp scissors (to free birds that have caught leg or neck in rope toys….and bandage material
  • Small battery operated  rotary-Dremel tool with white or light blue stone ( manicure Salon Shaper is the best for use on birds)
  • Tweezers
  • magnifier
  • 5cc syringe
  • 1 cc syringe
  • Heating pad

  • Transporter or Pet Carrier
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hand feeding formula
  • Fresh millet
  • Nylon dog bone for the inspection of the oral cavity of a parrot, a small paper clip can be used for the inspection of a small cockatiel, lovebird or budgie sized bird.
  • Bird or fish net for birds in flights suitable for the species size
  • Roll of white paper towels ( to use in bottom of cage to monitor droppings)
  • Coffee grinder (to grind formulated granules into formula for syringe feeding )
  • Sample size bag of fresh food in case of emergency evacuation or hospitalization
  • Oxyfresh Cleansing Gele’
  • Sample bag –“Ziplock” style: to conserve feces samples and feathers with abnormalities(stress bars, off colors, damaged feather due to feather damaging behavior)
  • Clamp and fixture for heating lamp
  • Silver nitrate sticks (for bleeding nail only never apply on skin)
  • Nail Safe Styptic powder (for use exclusively on nails)
  • Misting-spray water bottle

Bandaging material

  • Vet wrap roll
  • Cosmetic wedges Latex free (used for Human application and blending of make-up)
  • White bandage tape
  • Steri-strip Skin closure ( Nexcare)
  • Cotton tip applicators
  • Thin sanitary pads individually wrapped for bandages
  • Coffee stirrer plastic sticks  for splints

Water soluble ointments such as:

  • Calendula Gel
  • Oxyfresh  Pet Gel
  • Aloe Vera 100 % pure gel

Other Ointments and Aids

  • Hydrocortisone cream ( concentrated for young  or breeding birds)
  • Hibitane® ointment
  • Vitamin E gel
  • Packets for sterile lubricant – or better yet a small vial of olive oil both for use topically on the cloaca for emergency treatment of egg retention
  • Calcium Gluconate or liquid calcium (without sugar) for oral administration in case of egg retention (used ideally in conjunction with lubricant on the cloaca and an increased humidity in the immediate environment.
  • Rehydrating solution such a Gastrolyte® oral rehydration salt or Pedialyte ® Freezer Pops.
  • Liquid Aloe Vera gel ( drinkable Aloe see Parrot Life for therapeutic virtues)
  • Camilia® for pain relief (“Boiron” single dose homeopathic medicine for teething babies)
  • Living World Clay-Cal
  • Activated charcoal  Digestive aid Art:B-2456
  • Bentonite Clay paste Tube ( Argiletz)
  • Bentonite – green clay powder ( Argiletz)
  • “Traumeel” tablets ( Heel)
  • Oculoheel® Heel homeopathic eye drop preparation
  • Bismuth subsalicylate liquid ( Pepto Bismol®)
  • Gentian violet 1 %
  • Apple cider vinegar unpasteurized with “mother”
  • Nutri-cal ® nutritional high calorie dietary supplement paste
  • Grape fruit extract tablets
  • Saline Nasal Spray
  • Chamomile infusion bags

Additional items for the Aviculturist & Retail Bird Department

  • Collection  jar 10% neutral Buffered Formalin ( in case something needs to be preserved for histopathological examination)
  • Culturette (collection swab to be brought to your avian veterinarian for isolation of bacterial and fungal infection)
  • Feeding tubes for crop washes of neonates ( Tyco health care Kendall Sovereign)
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