It can be difficult finding a vet that has experience with birds. I’m fortunate to have several vets that either see only birds or as a significant part of their practice.
But if you agree with even part of what this site is about, you will likely find vets that will oppose how you’ve chosen to care for your bird. I’ve found that vets can sometimes be very strong-willed and inflexible. The conventional wisdom on many bird topics is vastly different in some areas, especially nutrition.
So how do you find a compatible vet, presuming you have more than one to choose from? I always propose that people schedule an appointment just to meet the vet and treat it like an interview.
Here are some things I do.
- I always say up front that I have strong opinions on bird care and I’m hoping to find someone that will work within those constraints
- I tell them I’m scientifically minded and that if suggestions are made for my bird(s) that there is some research behind it, even if it’s not bird research
- I want to know that they are open to non-pharmaceutical or non-invasive (e.g. surgical) options to treat conditions
- I tell them that if I don’t follow their advice, I hope that they will still work with me and help my bird(s) given my unwillingness to go along with some things
- Ask them if they follow scientific journals such as the Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine or Avian Research. This will help figure out whether they are open to updating their knowledge.
It’s hard sometimes to be assertive and doctors and vets are typically used to running the show and not have a patient or bird keeper question them. Remember that vets have spent many, many years getting their degrees and they deserve respect.
However, just like with a doctor, a good vet will be one that will recognize that science changes and that there’s more than one way to accomplish the same goal.