(2/2) Granted, hummingbirds are incredible small, but still. If it helps, I’m mainly asking because I have a character who is more or less the “handler” of a rather large bird, wingspan of about 40 ft., who tends to pick a lot of fights. Thank you!

scriptveterinarian:

Due to tumblr difficulties causing this blog to not receive all asks, the first half of this question is below:

(½) Thank you so much for this blog! It is incredibly helpful and nice of you to do this!How difficult is it to treat injured birds? I’m sorry that it’s so vague but I don’t have any specific injuries/situations in mind. From my experience having a Parakeet (Rose-ringed), who has never been injured, and observing wild birds they don’t seem too delicate and can definitely be feisty. However, I have read stories of rescued hummingbirds being bathed and air sacs rupturing as a result. 

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Birds present some unique challenges in veterinary medicine. On a day to day basis most of the avian patients we encounter would be relatively small. This makes them unfortunately easy to kill be accident, as any vet student will tell you.

image

(Avian Respiratory diagram source:http://www.paulnoll.com/Oregon/Birds/Avian-Respiratory.html)

Birds do not have a diaphragm like us fortunate mammals. This is perfectly fine most of the time, but it means a well-meaning human can suffocate a bird by simply picking it up. That’s right, it can drop dead just from you trying to hold it.

Great care must be taken to avoid restricting the body wall, which is a challenge when you’re trying to restrict the patient so they don’t fly away in the first place. The problem is worst for smaller birds because they lack the muscle strength of larger species, and worse again for sick or stressed birds.

Fun fact: One of my vet school classmates passed her bird handling exam, where you are meant to show you are competent at picking up and examining a bird, by refusing to pick up the bird, because it was stressed and it might die.

Once your avian patients reach raven sizes, they’re not as delicate, but still difficult to treat if you’re used to mammals. Wound dressings and bandages to not adhere as well to feathers and bird skin as they do to mammal skin, birds become hypothermic easily if you mess with their feathers and broken long bones also affect the respiratory system to make it extra complicated.

The larger the bird, the more sturdy it will be and the less likely you will choke it by accident during routine handling.

A 40ft wingspan is enormous! That creature will be able to inflict some serious damage in a scuffle. How easy it will be to treat will depend on hos cooperative it is for your handler.

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