Do Cockatiels Need Vaccinations?

We all know owning some pets requires yearly vaccinations, but what about birds? If you found your way here, you may be wondering, do cockatiels need vaccinations? The answer is below, including helpful information about the health of your little friend. 

Vaccinations are not a necessity but an option for cockatiels. You can vaccinate your cockatiel against polyomavirus, which can infect all birds. It is contagious and can spread to your other birds. 

While there is a vaccine available for cockatiels, that doesn’t mean she needs one. People choose cockatiels as a first pet because they don’t require yearly vaccinations and other treatments you’ll get when you have a cat or dog. 

Cockatiels are relatively inexpensive to keep, and one of these reasons is the low vet bills. But, if you are a person who plans on keeping more than one bird, you might consider a polyomavirus vaccination for them all because it is contagious, and you don’t want it to spread and have a breakout. 

Typically birds contract polyomavirus from direct contact with other birds. If all your birds are clean of this virus, then you should be fine. If you transport them where they hang out with other birds, you should consider getting a vaccination.  

Signs and symptoms of polyomavirus include the following. 

  • Distended abdomen
  • No appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • vomiting 
  • Excessive regurgitation
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Depression
  • Abnormal feathers
  • Excessive urination
  • Trouble breathing
  • Blood below the skin
  • Lethargic
  • Tremors 
  • Paralysis 

Do cocktails need to go to the vet?

Yes. Your bird should have a yearly check-up to make sure everything is going well. Avian vets are the best choice for birds because their training focuses on birds and how to treat them. 

Avian vets are bird doctors, and it is always a good idea to get your bird in there yearly to check their overall well-being. Birds have a much longer lifespan than other typical household pets, so having an avian vet who is knowledgeable about the signs of sickness and aging in birds will ensure you can share a long life. 

We don’t mean any disrespect to general veterinarians and, for your cockatiel, they will do in a pinch. But it is worth the extra research and possible expenses for an avian vet, so your bird is getting the most experienced doctor in your area. 

How much is a vet visit?

A one-time visit to the avian vet can cost you anywhere from $75 to $700, depending on what you have done. Bloodwork, tests, and vaccinations are all separate fees. While you only need a yearly check-up, this can cost about the same, depending on the vet you select. 

While we would love to give you a definite price, many factors come into play when figuring out veterinary costs for your cockatiel. First, you want an avian vet, which will run you more because the practice is specialized. 

Next, what are you having done? Is it a first-time visit, and you need a complete check-up? Did your bird eat something he shouldn’t have and is now sick, or is this a yearly visit with a doctor your bird has seen for years? 

Where you live also plays a factor in the price. If your veterinary choices are limited, that can alter the price as well. A great way to find out what the cost will be is to start checking out the websites of avian vets in your area. If they don’t list their prices, give them a call and ask them to itemize the visit before you go. 

What can you expect when visiting the vet.

When you visit your avian vet for the first time, you can expect the doctor to check your bird’s throat, nasal passages, and eyes. Your cockatiel will be weighted, they will check her claws and trim them, examine her wings, and the doctor will take a listen to the heart and lungs. Finally, the vet will check the vent and crop. 

Visiting a vet for the first time can be intimidating, so we suggest that you find a vet you like before you get your cockatiel. You can research your area for avian vets, and, hopefully, you will have more than one choice.  

If you have friends or family that own birds, ask them where they take their pets. There is no better reference than a customer you know. Once you find a vet check out what their website and reviews have to say. What are they offering? 

You can go a step further and call to speak to the doctor. Our vet is happy to contact us when he is free and answer our questions. Most doctors get into the veterinary business because they love animals, so avian vets but have a thing for birds. A vet would also appreciate the extra care you put into knowing what to expect when you visit. 

How to transport your cockatiel to the vet.

First, let your cockatiel get familiar with their traveling cage a week or two before you go. You can do this with toys and repetition. When the day comes, lure them into the traveling cage with a treat and close the door. Cover the cage, secure it in place, and drive him to the doctor. 

Your cockatiel’s travel cage should be free of any loose perches or toys because, no matter how hard you try, the pen will get rattled, and you don’t want anything flying around inside your bird’s cage. 

It’s important to remember that birds can get motion sickness, so it’s essential to try and keep that cage as steady as possible. If you have company to the vet’s office, have them hold the pen on the way there. If you are riding alone, try to secure it with the seatbelt or another source like a rope or bungee cord. 

Don’t be surprised if your bird seems a little shaken up after their first vet visit. Our little guy had a visit and was in a bit of shock for a day. He ate and slept but wanted to be left alone, so we respected his wishes. But his last visit was due to illness, so it was more traumatic. 

Signs of Illness 

Birds get sick sometimes. Below are some symptoms that are concerning. 

  • Puffed-up feathers. Puffiness can be a sign of serenity, but an ill bird will puff up to keep warm.
  • Too much sleep.
  • Excessive eating.
  • They will bob the tail when puffed up or breathing.
  • Poor appetite. 
  • Eyes that are almost or entirely closed frequently.
  • You see crust or nasal discharge or beak wetness. 
  • Poop sticking to the vent feathers. 
  • No energy. 
  • Lethargic.
  • They don’t sing or whistle. 
  • The beak or toenails are crooked.
  • Blood.
  • Dull feathers.
  • They use unusual posture when sleeping. 
  • He can’t keep food down. 

There are many reasons why your cockatiel might be sick. It could be their diet, trauma, poor hygiene, genetics, or simply stress that could make your little buddy ill. You must get to know the habits and mannerisms of your cockatiel, so you can tell if something is off. 

Any little diversion in their everyday behavior should be a red flag that something isn’t right. If you notice that your bird is exhibiting any of the symptoms we’ve mentioned in this article, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact the doctor. Your vet will be able to tell if your bird is sick and help you remedy the illness. 

Birds are fragile little pets, and they don’t require as much as other pets when it comes to vaccinations and upkeep but, when they are sick, they need to be cared for right away; otherwise, they can suffer needlessly. 

Rick Matthews

Hello, I am Rick Matthews, I have helped raise 100's of pets in my life living with my Father who while we did not live on a farm, raised all sorts of animals to sell them to families. We had so many different pets we all quickly became experts intending to them and helping them stay healthy. Back then we did not have the internet to look up thing on how to take care of their kids. As my kids got older, they wanted pets and of course, I did not want to have as many as we did when I was a child, but wanted to share my experiences. Many of these articles are written to help educate families on what to expect when looking to get a new pet for their children.

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