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DIAGNOSTIC APPROACH OF FEATHER PICKING
(VETARC)

Workup

Give the bird a full clinical examination
Check birds skin for parasites
Biochemistry looking especially for indications of hepatopathy
Haematology, serology as appropriate
Check faecal sample for parasites as appropriate - Giardia is a big cause of
picking in cockatiels
PCR tests for PBFD / Polyomavirus - not actually chewers but can look similar,
also PCR faeces for Chlamydiosis
Feather follicle cytology - should be sterile


Biopsy

infectious causes
bacterial / fungal dermatitis / folliculitis
PBFD
allergy
endocrine disorders
neoplasia


Discuss the diet

Correct it as appropriate, seed is completely unbalanced in most cases. Balance seed with soaked/spouted pulses, introduce fruit and vegetables - grated is often more palateable and less threatening/abnormal in appearance. Use supplements, it is impossible to provide the variety available in nature.

Complete diets are available and may be better than some made diets, compensation for lack of non-nutritional stimulation of a
natural diet may be necessary.


Treatment will be based on the diagnosis reached
but may include:


Specific treatment of infections - antiparasiticides, antibiotics behavioural modification anxiolytics Patience - some birds may take 2 years to moult damaged feathers, few will look better quickly.
At worst PBFD or Polyomavirus may warrant euthanasia.
Behavioural modification

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