The term “avian vet” can be misleading. Did you know that any vet can use that term, regardless of their education, certification, or experience? All that is required to call yourself an “avian vet” is a willingness to treat birds! In fact, the most common searchable database (aav.org) is a PAID database! Vets pay to be listed on it, and they may have no other special education or experience with birds. It’s kinda like the 1-800-DENTIST for birds.
Therefore, it is best to find a “Board Certified Avian Vet”- one who has worked on birds a minimum of 6 years and has taken a rigorous exam (and passed). In the US, an avian vet would have “ABVP” after their DVM and in Europe they would have a an “ECAMS” after the DVM as their certification.
How to find a Board Certified Avian Vet vet near you:
United States: ABVP.com
Be prepared! Please read the post here called “Emergency!”. Buy a Gram Scale! Assemble a First Aid Kit! Keep it stocked!
The nearest real avian vet may be hours away from you. This is due to the fact that there are only a couple hundred avian vets in the whole WORLD. If this is the case, you should do a bit of research and find a second if not third vet within a proper travel distance.
Find the nearest avian vet in case your birds life is in danger and you need someone that KNOWS what to do about it and fast. Then, find the nearest non-certified avian vet that specializes in birds. If that vet is quite a distance away local your nearest vet that accepts birds. Some vets only take dogs/cats, cows, horse, ect ect… You need contact them and speak with them to find out.
You may find that after searching the ABVP and ECAMS databases that there is no Board Certified Avian Vet near you. In that case, ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS of any prospective non-certified avian vet.
Many of these avian vets are wonderful- and may be indeed studying toward the Avian Medicine Exam. (It does take 6 years of practice before they can take this test, remember.) The first question on your list should be, “How many birds do you see in your practice DAILY?” The answer that is best for your bird will be at least “four”. Any less and they most likely do not have enough experience. Then ask what sorts of birds they have treated, and what sorts of conditions.
If you cannot find an avian vet with the two best links above, here are links to find other non-certified avian vets treating birds:
Also research emergency care. What happens if your bird gets stepped on at 9 PM at night? What if it can’t stand or is bleeding out its mouth? A broken wing or leg? An accident in the kitchen? What do you do? Who do you call? You should already know. Not knowing is irresponsible neglect of any pet. Researching vets does not cost you a penny but can save you a bundle of money and grief in the future.
I keep magnets (business cards with magnet backing) of all the avian vets, emergency vets, etc. on my fridge, so that when I am in a panic, I can clearly see who to call.
Other Emergency Medical Contacts:
ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center (USA) 24-hour emergency phone number: 1-888-426-4435
(Vets are available to help 24-hours a day, but you are charged a fee for the call)