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Duration:05:56
Uploaded:2019-01-31
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When your bird gets sick and needs their medication delivered by breathing it in, then you'll need a nebulizer. Archie the Amazon parrot is here to help show you how to get it done!

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(Intro)

Hi.  I'm Jessi from Animal Wonders.  This is Archie, the blue-fronted Amazon parrot, and he was recently sick.  Sometimes a bird in your care gets sick and needs assistance to fight off whatever pathogen is causing harm.  Seeking out a veterinarian who is experienced in avian medicine is essential and needs to be done immediately since birds often hide symptoms of illness until it's progressed to be life-threatening.  

The vet will most likely try and identify what's causing the bird's illness and prescribe medicine or supportive care to help them through.  If they are prescribed medication, it's usually either given orally, meaning in their mouth, or injected into their muscle or under their skin with a needle.  Occasionally, the medication is given by having the bird breathe it in.  Think of how some people use inhalers to breathe in medication for something like asthma.

Since birds have a very different mouth shape to humans and they don't know to breathe in when you push down on the inhaler, an inhaler is not a good option.  So when a bird has a respiratory infection and it's determined that a good way to administer treatment is by having them breathe it in, we use a nebulizer.

I'm going to put ahead and put Archie down so I can show you the nebulizer.  A nebulizer uses a motor to pressurize air and push it through a tube and into a liquid where it creates tiny water droplets which are small enough for a bird to breathe in. 

There are two ways to nebulize a bird.  The first way will only work if they're comfortable being close to the mouthpiece where the water vapor is coming out.  This is called 'blow-by' and while it can work, it's easy to get too far away where it won't be very effective.  Also, many birds will be pretty nervous about being really close to a novel object or they'll get bored and they won't stay close enough for the full treatment, which is often 10-20 minutes, so the second option is to build a nebulizer chamber that they can be put into for the duration of the treatment.

To build a nebulizer chamber, you'll need to find a tub that matches the size of your bird.  If it's a budgie, you can use a small Tupperware, but if it's a chicken, you'll need something much bigger.  Archie the Amazon parrot is medium, so we got him a medium sized tub.  The container needs to have a lid that can be secured so the bird can't knock it off or climb out or fly out, and then, measure the size of your mouthpiece and cut a hole in the side of the container that matches.  

Make sure you're able to secure the mouthpiece to the container or you can plan to hold it against the hole if you can't secure it.  I used tape to make a flexible edge so I can push the mouthpiece in and it holds in well enough that it doesn't slip back out.

Now that you have the mechanics done, it's time to make the chamber comfortable for your bird.  I suggest you put a towel or a perch on the bottom or both so they have something to hold on to and don't get nervous about the smooth slippery both.  

Most parrots prefer to grasp on to something rather than just sit flat-footed.  Then, set up an area to offer treats.  This can be in a bowl or what I did was turn the bowl over so the treats were easier to grab while he sat on the perch.  

Usually, you won't have time to get them used to the idea because treatment is needed as soon as possible, but introduce your bird to the nebulizer chamber by letting them see you near it and also touching it.

Now that it's comfortable for your bird, it's time to prepare the medicine.  Fill the medicine container with the proper dose of liquid and attach the mouthpiece to the chamber.  Make sure the tube is connected from the  motor to the medicine container, then gently but firmly set the bird into the chamber and quickly close the lid.

Expect the first couple times to be a little scary for the bird, but after a few times, they can learn that the experience can be fun.  Once your bird is inside the chamber and the lid is secured, turn the nebulizer on and wait a designated amount of time.  

Archie did not like being in this chamber the first two times, but during the third treatment, he seemed to just get bored, reached down, and he started cracking open his seeds.  Since then, he's been perfectly happy to step onto the perch inside the tub because he knew he would get plenty of treats and eventually, when he got comfortable enough, we just scheduled it so he would eat his dinner while he was getting his treatment and it worked perfectly.

Well, it's been about 15 minutes, so his treatment is done.  Go ahead and turn that off and let him out.  Hi, buddy.  How was that?  Do you wanna come on out?  Here you go.  I got ya.  Good.  Step up.  Nicely done. 

The reason Archie is getting this treatment is because he had a stubborn infection in his sinuses that moved to his lungs and he was sick for a really long time.  He was prescribed a few courses of antibiotics, oral, injectable, and through the nebulizer.  He then had to spend an additional month getting treatments in his nebulizer chamber of just saline solution without medication and we're happy to say he's been healthy for two whole months.  

I'm so thankful that we have a knowledgeable and wonderful veterinarian to help the animals when they need it, and I'm thankful that Archie learned to tolerate his treatments so they weren't so stressful.  If you have a pet that needs to use a nebulizer for treatments, I hope this helped and I'm sending them happy and healthy wishes.  

If you'd like to see more animal adventures at Animal Wonders, subscribe to our channel and I'll see you next week.

(Endscreen/Outro)