Avian Fear Free

Avian veterinarians at Harvest Pointe Animal Hospital have received additional training to provide your pet bird with low-stress care!

Avian Fear Free

Avian veterinarians at Harvest Pointe Animal Hospital have received additional training to provide your pet bird with low-stress care!

Taking the Pet out of Petrified

Stress can be dangerous to your pet bird’s physiology by causing increased heart rate and increased blood pressure, leading to severe health consequences, but it can also be psychologically hazardous. The required veterinary care associated with many bird species’ longevity can cause increased fear, anxiety, and stress, which may become a potential barrier to treatment.

With this in mind, Harvest Pointe Animal Hospital staff have acquired additional training in Avian Fear Free care to minimize stress as much as possible for our avian patients.  If you’d like to know more about Fear Free care or want to book an avian Fear Free appointment, call our clinic today at 587-735-6677!

Is it possible for a bird to have a legitimately “Fear Free” examination?

Yes! Although Fear Free exams take lots of work and training for the pet parent and the veterinarian. The bird must have extensive exposure to the veterinarian and the veterinary clinic, and there has to be a large amount of desensitization and training at home! But eventually, with enough effort, even birds can be trained to participate, stress-free, while in care.

When are Fear Free examinations best used?

It is best to begin a Fear Free journey with your pet bird during an annual wellness examination or a specific Fear Free examination. We will review your pet bird’s health and design a training and exposure plan to minimize stress during the examination and carry over into the general lifelong care of your feathered friend.

If my pet bird is sick, can we still do Fear Free exams?

At Harvest Pointe Animal Hospital, our avian veterinarians make an enormous effort to minimize stress throughout any avian care. Of course, if we have a very sick bird presented to us, it is not the right time to focus exclusively on Fear Free care.  Time is of the essence with all sick birds, so attaining diagnostic samples and examination findings to direct appropriate treatment remains our number one priority. Regardless, we always do our best to use Free Free techniques that minimize patient stress while we work.

What can I expect if I embark on a Fear Free journey with my pet bird?

  • An improved human-animal bond
  • Decreased stress for grooming such as nail trims, wing trims, or beak trims
  • A more mentally stimulated and less easily stressed pet
  • Easier access to veterinary care
  • A safer veterinary experience
  • A better trained and interactive pet bird

What can I bring to my appointment to facilitate a Fear Free or low-stress visit?

  • Your bird’s favourite treats – This is not the time to be healthy! Bring your pet bird’s favourite food – whether it is millet, egg food, sunflower seeds, or popcorn (even junk food).  We want this visit to be a positive memory!
  • A comfortable carrier – It is always tempting to bring a well-trained bird (in particular large parrots) sitting on our shoulder. Please bring pet birds to the exam in a safe and comfortable carrier suited to their species. Doing so will not only help limit stress, but it is always the safest way to bring a pet bird into a veterinary clinic. If you are unsure what a suitable carrier would be, please do not hesitate to call us and ask! We are always pleased to advise you on proper care.
  • Favourite toys – Toys can serve as great distractions for pet parrots, whether a puzzle feeder or a foot toy.  Bring one of the favourites to keep them slightly distracted and occupied.

What behaviours can I work on at home to help facilitate the Fear Free experience?

We can train our birds to do some very well-defined behaviours to minimize stress during an examination, care, and diagnostic sample collection.

  • Target training or orient towards a target
  • Step onto a scale and wait for a duration of time
  • Be safely restrained in a towel
  • Willingly enter a crate or container for transport
  • Accept oral medications by syringe

More advanced behaviours may include:

  • Voluntarily step up onto a hand or arm
  • Participate in nail trimming
  • Allow an examination by hand on all parts of the body
  • Allow auscultation with a stethoscope
  • Allow the administration of fluid or medications in the nose

When are anxiety medications used in Fear Free?

There certainly are procedures that our avian patients will just not let us do without them experiencing significant stress. Based on previous experience, species, or general demeanour, there are also individual birds who will be more easily anxious. With the advent of newer, safer medications for anxiety control and stress relief in our avian patients, we now have options to turn to should an experience become excessively stressful. Using anxiety medications has proven safer in comparison to the risks of extreme levels of stress.

The use of anxiety medications is most commonly associated with diagnostic sample collection, such as blood collection.  We always make decisions as a team and tailor an individual plan for each patient based on their individual needs.

If you are interested in Fear Free Aviary in Edmonton, have questions about Fear Free, or want to book an Avian Fear Free appointment, call:

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Harvest Pointe Animal Hospital 587-735-6677

For more information on Fear Free care for a pet, please visit  https://fearfreepets.com

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