After watching Mia sit in the sun and overheat herself to the point of panting, opening her shoulders, and not putting her foot in her feathers it occurred to me that I actually had no idea what to do if Mia ever did have a heat stroke! Naturally, the first thing I did was do some research to prepare myself in case of emergency. (I will update this with a better image of her overheating when it happens next time)
First of all, if your bird is like Mia and she just sits in the sun regardless of how hot she gets you should really continue reading as heat stroke is a serious concern that can cause permanent organ damage. I feel this is something everyone should know, if your air conditioner craps out, or electricity shuts off on one of those super hot days heat stroke is very probable.
What does a bird look like when they’re having a heat stroke?
- The feathers will generally be completely flattened
- Wings will be held away from the body or just the shoulder area will be held outwards (almost a heart-wing formation)
- Beak will be open, tongue generally bobbing up and down (panting)
- Your bird may also be agitated or anxious
What do you do?
- Obviously if your bird is in the sun the first thing you want to do is move them in to a cooler, shaded area.
- Get a mister (cool water) and spray around the bird, if your bird is scared of the mist just spray the air or in front of a fan so it blows at the bird. (this will still bring down the temperature in the area around your bird)
- Let your bird walk around in shallow water, just their feet need to be touching the water. Soaking their feathers at this point can actually trap in the heat.
If your bird does not appear to be more relaxed you will need to use the next steps. If your bird is convulsing you will need to use this step first.
- Shower the bird with cool, slightly soapy water. The oil from household dish soap will help to cut through the feathers and get the water straight to the body.
- Do not make the water too cold, just slightly cooler than room temperature will do the job. If the water is too cold your bird will go straight in to a hypothermic reaction.
- If there is still no change you need to get your bird to a vetrinarian
After all of this you will need to take your bird to get checked over by a veterinarian. Serious, permanent injuries result from this if not treated fast enough, brain injuries and permanent organ damages just to name a few.
Take care of your feathered companions and stay cool this summer!
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