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Post by Maddy on Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:53 pm

If your bird were to suddenly become ill or injured, would you be prepared to help? For many bird owners, the answer is "no." Because birds are so physically fragile, it's very important to be able to provide emergency care to them in the event of an accident -- otherwise, relatively minor issues can quickly worsen and even become fatal. Protect your feathered friend by following the simple steps outlined below to build your own basic bird first aid kit. Having a bird first aid kit on hand can make all the difference if your bird should suffer some unfortunate accident, and will help give you peace of mind knowing that you are prepared in case you do need to spring to action.

Find a container.
Finding a container to use for your bird first aid kit is easy -- it can be something as simple as a shoe box or a large zipper storage bag. However, most bird owners prefer to use more durable packaging for their first aid kits. If you shop around, it should be easy to come across a relatively inexpensive alternative, like a plastic box with a lid, or even the box from an old, empty human first aid kit. Whatever you choose for your container, just make sure that it is big enough and solid enough to hold all the supplies that you will need securely in one place.

Gather your tools.
You'll need several tools that you can keep in your bird first aid kit. Take a shopping trip at your local pharmacy and pick up a small pair of sharp scissors, some tweezers, some disposable gloves, some syringes and eyedroppers, some nail clippers, a pair of hemostats or needle-nose pliers, a small flashlight, and a compact heating pad. You can pick up extra tools if you'd like, but these can make up the components of a good basic first aid kit. Bring your tools home and wash them thoroughly with antibacterial soap, then wrap them in clean washcloths before placing them into your first aid kit. Allowing bacteria to remain on tools such as these can cause zoonotic diseases in your pet.

Gather general medications and disinfectants to have on hand.
While it's important to have a veterinary diagnosis before giving your bird any medication, there are a few things that you should keep on hand to administer in the event of an emergency. The first are some small bottles of disinfectants, such as hydrogen peroxide or iodine. These can be used to cleanse away bacteria and debris from flesh wounds. Another good idea is to purchase a sterile saline eye wash. This can be used to flush eye wounds or deep cuts anywhere on a bird's body. Again, hygiene is imperative when dealing with open wounds. Finally, pick up a tube of triple antibiotic ointment and a small package of cornstarch. The ointment can be applied to small abrasions that may occur on a bird's feet and legs, and cornstarch can be used to help control any bleeding.

Collect bandaging supplies.
You will need to have several types of bandaging supplies on hand to complete your first aid kit. Try to steer clear of sticky bandages -- they only stick to a bird's feathers and cause more problems. Instead, purchase a roll of self-adhesive wrapping and some sterile gauze pads. This way, you can customize a bandage to your bird's individual needs, no matter what part of the anatomy requires a bandage. You should also purchase some sterile cotton swabs for cleansing wounds and applying medication, and some toothpicks and popsicle sticks in case you need to fashion a splint for your feathered friend.

Include a list of important phone numbers.
Last but not least, the most important thing you can include in your basic bird first aid kit is a list of important phone numbers that you can reference for easy access. On this list, include the number for your bird's avian vet, the number to your local emergency vet clinic in case you need help after-hours, and the number to an animal poison control hotline. Having all this information gathered in one place will help you streamline the process of getting help for your bird in case he or she begins showing symptoms of illness or injury.
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