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Ask Bondi Vet - How to cut a bird's beak?

In every episode of Ask Bondi Vet, Pete Lazer is joined by one of our Bondi Vets, to discuss the answers to your pet questions.

Pete Lazer - Hello and welcome to Ask Bondi Vet, proudly brought to you by Bondi Vet pet insurance. My names Pete Lazer and as always we are joined by one of our Bondi vets today, Dr. Danni. Dr. Danni thanks for joining us. This is the place to come to answer all of your pet questions and today we’ve got a question from Wendy. Wendy asks how to cut a bird's beak:

“ I have a sulphur crusted cockatoo with beak and feather disease. She lives inside the house with a heater 7 days a week. We desperately need help to be taught how to cut her beak."

Dr Danni Dusek - Firstly, it's really sad their poor little cockatoo has got beak and feather disease. It’s a really terrible disease, it affects psittacine birds. So that includes parrots, like cockatoos. It’s a virus that birds can get its called a circa virus and it’s spread between bird to bird, so can be transmitted to offspring as well. The problem with beak and feather disease is as it suggests, it affects their beak, their feathers and their nails. It can cause feather lose, changes in the skin due to a lack of powder down and it can cause the beak to be deformed and really brittle as well, which is obviously what’s going on in this case. As far as how to treat the disease, there isn’t really a cure, it’s purely about management and trying to keep them comfortable. So it’s fantastic they’ve got the heater on, 7 days a week to keep the bird warm obviously they get cold when they don’t have their feathers there. As far as the beak I would definitely suggest heading to a bird specialist to have a look at that beak because we certainly do need to do this carefully, because a beak is very brittle so it can also shatter. We need to do it with pain relief on board so we don’t cause the bird to lose appetite and hopefully they can do a bit of repair work and trimming so that the bird can eat comfortable again.

Pete Lazer - It doesn’t sound like something that you can easily treat at home yourself.

Dr Danni Dusek - You really need to be very careful particularly when you are dealing with the beak there can be a lot of pain associated with that. So we want to make sure it’s done with veterinary attention. There’s also secondary infections that they can get that the owner may or may not pick up on and that’s where having a vet look over the bird, they will be able to pick that up and treat that effectively as well. One thing to mention is that it’s important not to panic if your bird is losing its feathers, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your bird has beak and feather disease ok. So there’s lots of other things that can cause that can cause that, skin disease, issues with their nutrition, other sorts of parasites and what not. So if you are noticing that though definitely head to your vet to get them checked out to see what it is. If it is beak and feather disease we will do testing to confirm that is what’s going on.

Pete Lazer - Of course if you’ve got some questions head on over to our Bondi Vet Facebook page, or our website and any specific issues make sure that you chat to your vet. Thanks very much for joining us, bye for now.