Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Parrots and People Advancing Avian Medicine

My 26 + year old Amazon, Tarah

It can be devastating to lose a beloved pet. Because parrots can live so many years it can be particularly difficult. I often joke that my relationship with my Blue Fronted Amazon Parrot, Tarah is the longest in my life. I have lived with that bird since 1987! And yes I would be crushed if anything were to happen to him…I mean, her. (I am still adjusting to the confirmation that my “boy” is truly a girl.)

It is for this reason I do what I can to provide a healthy life for my parrot. But there are some things we need to know more about in order to protect our birds. This is why the research done in regard to avian medicine is so important.

I am fortunate to live close to a university that is well known for its groundbreaking work in avian medicine, Texas A & M University. The Schubot Exotic BirdHealth Center is a division of the veterinary teaching hospital that is devoted to the advancement of avian care. Their mission is to improve the health of wild and exotic birds by promoting research into the cause, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of avian disease.

One area of interest currently on the edge of a major breakthrough is Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD).  There have been major strides in accurately diagnosing the disease and there is the hope for the development of a vaccine in the near future. Researchers at The Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center are a significant part of this important work.

Over the years a number of birds that carry PDD have eventually made their way to The Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center. They are well cared for by students and veterinarians at the University. I have been fortunate to spend time with these birds and their caregivers. The birds have participated in training workshops and were also the stars of an excellent project by veterinary student Kelsey Daugette. She trained several of the birds to be voluntary participants in medical care.  
The Schubot birds enjoying a toy from Dot Rambin

Making sure these birds have a good quality of life is important to everyone.  Parrot enthusiast Dot Rambin helps contribute to this by making, donating and shipping toys to the center. She uses Café Press to help raise money to do this. My yellow naped Amazon Delbert has agreed to allow his image to be used on her Café Press items to help get more toys for the Schubot birds.

If you want to help Dot, be sure to visit her Café Press page and buy a few items. Here are the links.

She was the kind of person that keeps a parrot
My parrot can talk. Can your honor student fly?

To learn more about the research on PDD at The Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center, listen to my interview with Dr. Sharman Hoppes on the Wings ‘n Things podcast. Visit Pet Life Radio and look for Episode 36. And visit the website for The Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center.

Barbara Heidenreich
Copyright 2013 

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