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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 fecal 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 palatable 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 behavioral 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.
Behavioral modification.