Wednesday, October 6, 2004
Protecting Your Pet: Birds As Pets
Nearly 20 million Americans have birds for pets. They make wonderful companions - but have special needs. Health Specialist Marilyn Mitzel gives us a short lesson in "Protecting your Pet."
(WSVN) -- Tweety and Big Bird -- they're two famous fictional characters.
Matisse - a Sun Conure - is the real thing.
Bill Collins, Alex and Matisse's dad: "Matisse is the best because he's like a little security gate Nobody can come in the backyard. That feels good."
Alex - a chatter box - is a Double Yellow-Headed Amazon.
Bill Collins: "He's like sedated and easy going and matter of fact."
Like all pets - birds are a huge responsibility. Some live 100 years - so chances are they'll outlive you.
Dr. Paula Engles from Wiles Road Animal Hospital: "This particular bird we'll have to be queath to somebody."
When it comes to care vets say nutrition is number one.
Dr. Paula Engles: "Bozo is actually a great example of very good health -- He's a bird on a very good diet."
It consists of special pellets - fruits and vegetables.
Dr. Paula Engles: "If they don't get their proper vitamins and minerals, sometimes they can even develop liver disease."
Sleep is crucial - about 10 hours a day is required.
Dr. Paula Engles: "If they are awake for too long, their immune system starts to go down because they are experiencing stress."
Like all animals - their nature is to hide illness - they're masters at it.
Look for - appetite loss - stays at bottom of the cage - dull coat - discharge or redness around the eyes or nose.
Bill Collins: "They're kind of very quiet. They're not preening themselves and they are just sitting still -- so you know something is wrong."
In that case get them to the vet immediately. Annual checkups are also critical.
Bill Collins: "They mimic you. That is the best thing and then you realize you can teach them all sorts of tricks."
Like any pet - our fine feathered friends need lots of TLC.
Bill Collins: "They don't give you a handshake. They put their beak up to you. They cuddle, they cuddle. They are very affectionate."
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