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Our Fine Feathered Friends


How often have you thought about the birds you see every day? There are over 9,000 different avian species in the world and I do mean species. Dogs and cats are separated into different breeds but still within the canine and feline species. But birds are in fact different species under the class Aves and so they each have their own unique differences. Companion avian species need to be examined by an avian veterinarian yearly, groomed regularly, and even have blood tests run on a regular basis. One of the first things a parent of any species of bird can do is to have appropriate husbandry (the raising, housing, and management of plants and animals). So much of the health and wellbeing of our avian pets has to do with where they are housed, how they are fed, and their enrichment.

Why Cage Design Is Important For Birds

Cage design has become something of an art form in recent years. They can be made from a wide range of materials from brass wire to Plexiglas. Plexiglas can be great in decreasing the cage litter from falling on the floor, while wired cages can help to exercise their feet by allowing them to climb on the sides. The only requirement from a medical perspective is that the cage is of appropriate size for the species. When choosing a cage take into account the addition of perches and toys, an overabundance of these can increase the chance for injury and decreases their exercise space. Wood perches are great for birds and we recommend never using sandpaper on perches, the thought is it would help to keep their nails short but in actuality it can cause irritation to the part of the foot that is contacting the perch. For the bottom of the cage, newspaper is a great inexpensive choice that can also allow the pet parent to monitor the pet’s stool, though we would recommend a grate separation as many birds love to tear up paper when playing and being mischievous.


How To Properly Feed Your Bird

Commercial nutrition for birds has changed dramatically over the years as our medicine for these pets has advanced. For our companion birds we recommend they be on a diversified diet with a pelleted diet as the foundation. Pelleted diets are the most nutritionally balanced feed available for our birds; they can range in color and can even be in a cake form. Seed diets generally are very high in fat, particularly saturated fats. The tip to transitioning a bird from seed to pellet is to start young if possible; also it is easier done in a group then a single pet. These pets while being transitioned should be weighed every 2-3 days and if there is consistent weight loss some seed should be resumed until the pellet is accepted. A diverse diet for birds can also contain a small amount of seed, vegetables, cooked eggs, pasta, and even a small amount of fruits and cheese. This is not only for the nutritional benefits but it also plays a role in enrichment and stimulates the bird with different sizes and textures of food.

How To Groom Your Bird Properly

Grooming and Enrichment are the last part of good avian husbandry and are often the most time-consuming. Grooming in birds includes beak, feather, and nail trims. A small overbite is natural in the beak of a bird but malocclusion from trauma or poor development can cause the beak to grow abnormally and require frequent beak trims. We like to use a dremel for these purposes as it gives a smooth surface afterward and is the least traumatic. Nail trimming is also performed with a dremel in larger birds as this can not only decrease the length of the nail but make a smooth contact for the handler. Feather trimming depends on the lifestyle of the bird. We can trim their wings so that they have just enough flight so as not to fall off their perches or we can leave them with more flight abilities for those kept in an aviary situation.

Avian companion birds can have a large vocabulary and can learn to sing songs, speak phrases, and mimic anyone in the home including the telephone. So I caution you be wary of what is said in front of these pets as it may be repeated later when you least expect it; like in the veterinary office.

What Our Clients Have To Say

I took my galah Rosie for a general physical. The staff and vet took the time to show me (as a new bird owner) how to clip nails and wings and what to look for as far as outward signs of her health.

Susanne Arbagy

I just moved to Florida, and looking for a veterinarian I came across university animal clinic walking around the plaza so I decided to stop in and get information on the veterinarians, the women at the front desk was so kind and caring, I unfortunately forgot her name.

Karen Hulty

Can’t recommend highly enough!!! The staff is extremely friendly and the Vet is energetic and very knowledgeable and easy to talk to! They work with exotic animals which is a plus! We brought our bearded dragon that formed an abscess and they had her all fixed up in 20 minutes!!

Ian Preston

I love Dr. Rill. Our little Cafe had been struggling with an ear infection for almost a year and Dr, Rill never gave up on making her better. I learned so much from him. I love his assistants! They are kind and treat the animals with respect. And, they are kind to us humans as well.

Pet Parent

Great clinic for a ferret! Friendly staff, professional doctor!


I am, as I have been for a good 20 years, still a satisfied patron of University Animal Clinic. They do their best consistently and take comments to heart and make changes to serve our pets better.

Pet Parent

Thank you to Doctor Simonson, Casey, Dr. Sam and the rest of the team for taking care of Wrangler! You all treated him like a pet of your own and made me feel so comfortable leaving him with you to watch over after such a scary incident. Everyone at your office is so knowledgeable and caring.

Jennifer Tee

Best EVER!!! Dr. Leigh is fantastic!!! I am moving my dog’s care to her. This is after growing up with the same vet (22 years). She spent time with my dog and did a thorough examination. She took time to discuss treatment plans for her arthritis. Dr. Leigh and the techs are so knowledgeable.

Dog Parent

I wasn’t holding my breath that a vet would work hard to help diagnose my leopard gecko. I was wrong. The doctor worked hard to diagnose why our pet lizard stopped eating & ran a battery of tests.

Paulina Testerman

Vets and staff are knowledgeable and efficient. Clean and friendly Vet office. My dog now goes in to see her Vet with out balking.

Sara Little
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