There is no doubt in my mind: a pet -- any pet -- should be considered part of the family and is deserving of veterinary care when it is sick. I spent several thousand dollars last year on new bird testing, and then just as much on vet bills for Xena, and then this year again on new bird testing.
Something I learned through this devastating experience ... You have got to consider carefully who your vet is, and you have got to be an active participant in your bird's care.
Something that highly surprised me -- actually, it never OCCURRED to me before then -- is that taking your pet to the vet does carry a certain risk -- as any reputable vet would or SHOULD tell you. *SICK* birds go to the vet, birds who carry airborne (or otherwise) diseases that could make your bird sick! Still, we can't stop going to the vet. We NEED those guys. However, use common sense when you go to the vet, and if you -- the person reading this -- are a vet or a vet technician -- please do your best to minimize the risks for the bird owners -- including educating individual bird owners to KEEP AWAY from other birds while at the vets or at any other premises where the status of other birds is not known. If you have any suggestions, I would appreciate hearing it. Wanda Elder send me an article write-up her vet gave her explaining New Bird / Well Bird examinations in more detail.
As a client, I would really like to hear a vet tell me, when I call in for an appointment, to keep my bird in a covered carrier while in the waiting room. The fact is -- and let there be no doubt about it -- that vets have bird patients come into the waiting room who have communicable diseases -- diseases such as Polyoma and Beak & Feather that are highly contagious and AIRBORNE! By telling clients to keep their birds in a well-covered carrier the risk of viruses in the waiting room would be reduced. Also, many of us experienced breeders know that the act of "spraying and wiping" a treatment table in between patients won't do. I would like to have fresh paper towel or towels placed on the treatment table in between each patient. If your vet does not do that, bring a fresh towel with you and place it underneath your bird. Do not allow your bird in contact with any other surfaces if at all possible.
I have heard in the past that cyber-friends told me that "their vet doesn't allow contagious birds into the waiting room." Yeah right! When people come in with sick birds, they don't KNOW what is wrong with the bird -- nor does the vet. Testing needs to be done to establish that. So neither the vet nor the client knows what is wrong until the testing results come back ... My thoughts on that ... GET REAL!!!
Lastly, stay away from any other birds in the waiting room/ treatment area. Don't risk your bird's health. Make sure your vet knows about your concern. Do try to make an appointment early morning, or at least at a time when your vet's office not so busy. I must admit, since I am so very worried about disease transmission (and since I have not seen sufficient preventative measures at the vets' offices I visited), I have decided to take birds to a non-avian vet (but vet experienced working with birds) for new-bird testing. You do not see so many birds in their offices, and they know how to do the usual testing. Since there are fewer birds there, the danger of catching "something" is lessened (especially if one still adheres to the preventative procedures I touched upon above: covered carrier, etc.). However, if I have a bird with an obvious disease problem, I would only recommend going to an avian-certified / very experienced vet. They are the ones with the experience to hopefully diagnose the disease and choose the best method of treatment.
I am presently collecting info on recommended vets all over the U.S. and abroad and will continuously update the Recommended Vets file, so that you will have a better chance of choosing the right vet for your bird ...