For a better understanding of feather picking in pet birds, one must realize that birds are emotional animals affected psychologically by both physical and mental stress. The feather picking or plucking bird can be identified by the presence of healthy head feathers with feather loss and/or mutilated feathers in body areas accessible to the bird’s beak. If feather loss on the head is observed, the bird may be rubbing the feathers, another bird may be picking the feathers off, or a disease other than feather picking is the cause. Typical feather picking sites include the propatagium (inner wing web area), inner thighs, and the chest. Diagnosis is based on detailed history provided by the bird owner, a physical exam and recommended laboratory tests that may include an exam of the droppings, blood profiles, radiographs, culture, and biopsy of affected skin areas.
Dietary history is especially important – type of diet, amount, what is actually eaten, and how often. Also your veterinarian will want to know how long the bird has been showing feather picking behavior, time frame of when this behavior first started and progression of lesions. Previous treatment and its effect on the feather picking behavior is also important in helping the veterinarian do their best in making treatment recommendations. Any environmental or household changes that one can associate with the onset of the feather picking would also be helpful information. All this background information is important to know as feather picking behavior is often divided into behavioral and medical causes.
As you can see there are many potential underlying causes for feather picking behavior and explains why your veterinarian may recommend a variety of diagnostic tests in order to narrow the origin of this frustrating problem. If diagnosed with a specific medical problem treatment can be tailored to alleviate the condition and hopefully stop the picking behavior. If the bird is considered healthy on thorough examination, then the owner must focus on behavioral aspects that may be the underlying cause. The bird owner must also realize that if this bird has been feather picking for an extended period (months to years) then it may be very difficult to reverse, and that as long as the bird is healthy otherwise it can live with the problem. Nutrition, cage environment and activity/play periods all need to be reviewed and modified if necessary. Time and patience along with trial and error, will go a long way in determining if the picking behavior can be controlled.
Thank you to everyone. I already thought Dr. Bean was an amazing vet when he sat on the floor with my kitties to do their exams, now I realize he cares about his patients on ALL levels, as well as their parents. I highly recommend this office.
They all were amazingly compassionate people, and truly were hurt from hearing the news. They also care for our Lesser Sulfur Crested Cockatoo that we still have and will for many years to come. They have helped with everything from checking her health after over 14 years of being at a vet clinic to getting her foods shifted over to a much more healthy diet.
Dr Hulls was very good with our 5 yr old Macaw. Explained to us very well everything he was doing or had to do. Will be bringing our Carl back when he's due...Thank You
My pet ate part of a rug and although I thought she had passed it, there was still someone her intestines. She had surgery and then we had some issues that made me nervous. The staff was wonderful when I was so stressed out and helpful when I came in (daily) with new issues.
Pet Care Veterinary Hospital has provided the BEST care for my dog. Since moving to Virginia Beach, 7 years ago, I went to 2 other veterinarian services before luckily finding Dr. Partlow and Dr. Hulls, who I credit for saving my dog's life and keeping him in perfect health. The care that the staff takes is just as if their animal patients are their very own pets. I couldn't love and trust Pet Care Veterinary Hospital more, and I highly recommend them!