BIRDS are able to mask the signs of illness. This is regarded by many workers as their ‘preservation reflex’ - a response to the perceived threat of predators (or the presence of a clinician). As clinical signs are also kept from the bird-keeper, the illness may be well advanced before it is noticed. Receptionists should therefore be instructed to regard all requests for attention to birds as urgent and not to leave cases until the following appointment session. The clinical examination of psittacines follows the same course as for any other animal: the procurement of a relevant history, careful observation and physical examination of the subject, followed by special investigations and tests (which will be the subject of later articles), to enable the attending clinician to prescribe a relevant course of treatment.
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