Watchbird January 2022

Any damage to the base of the beak or the underlying bone can result in total destruction of the support structures of the beak and prevent the normal regrowth of keratin. (Fig. 3 and 4)

Figure 4 This red - fronted macaw will require management of the beak long term

Figure 3 Healed trauma to the base of the lower beak in a red - fronted macaw

Many of these cases result in the complete absence of a portion of the beak and permanent disfigurement. Fortunately, our parrot companions are amazing in their capacity to adapt and overcome these injuries if treated quickly and appropriately. Once again, even minor bite injuries should be evaluated by your veterinarian to ensure pain control and to prevent infection at the site of the injury. In the more severe cases, tube feeding for a period of time may be required to allow the wound to heal. Birds that suffer a traumatic amputation of the entire maxillary rostrum can recover and learn to manage their new circumstance. (Fig. 5 and 6) The extreme forces and complexity of the parrot beak will prevent the successful use of prosthetic beak replacements but with a modified diet and routine management of the remaining beak, a bird can enjoy a great quality of life.

Figure 6 The conure in Figure 5 one year after the traumatic injury to the upper beak.

Figure 5 Traumatic amputation of the upper beak in a green - cheek conure

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AFA Watchbird 7

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