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Questions for Dr. Shawn - Feather Picking in Birds

Back to Ask Dr Shawn page...

 

"Dear Dr. Shawn:
"My bird is pecking at his own feathers. Why does he do that, and how can I get him to stop?"

Answer:
"Feather picking in birds can be caused by medical problems such as bacterial, viral, or fungal diseases or more commonly result from behavioral problems. As a result, in my practice I perform a full battery of diagnostic testing to help differentiate medical from behavioral problems. These tests include a complete blood profile, Gram's stains, a test for PFBD (Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease,) and a skin biopsy. If these tests come back normal, then we pursue treatment for behavioral feather picking. Options include medical therapy (using drugs to control obsessive-compulsive disorders,) anti-anxiety herbs or flower essences, and behavioral modification. Behavioral feather picking is difficult to cure and some birds will always have some areas of feather loss.

Once you get the proper diagnosis your doctor can review treatment options with you."

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