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General Health Care Remember to use common sense and consult with an avian veterinarian.

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Old 02-01-2019, 03:29 AM
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Beak trimming? Painful or no?

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My Sun Conure looks like she needs a break trim. Kind of looks like a really mild case of scissor beak, 1 side of the lower beak fits into the top but the other is slightly grown up and out like a snagel tooth.

It's just slightly higher up than where it should fit.

I made an appointment to get a exam/trim from with our CAV.

But I have to ask.....does beak trimming hurt? Will she need sedation(she's skittish with new people)?

I think they can file or dremel it easily if they can keep her still. I just worry it will hurt her. But on that same note, I'd rather take care of it now then let it get worse or cause permanent damage later.

She eats normally and acts like herself, but it looks off.

Anyone ever delt with it? And suggestions?
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Old 02-01-2019, 04:09 AM
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Re: Beak trimming? Painful or no?

Some will do sedation, some won't. It depends on your vet, so do talk to them about the risks. The process doesn't actually hurt (they'll just dremel the end, so it's like filing the whites of your nail), but it can be quite alarming to the bird. While in your case, it sounds like they'll need to trim her beak because of the scissoring, just be aware of the risks - there have been cases where the birds inhale the dust and die. So long as you voice your concerns to your vet, you should be fine
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Old 02-01-2019, 05:56 AM
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Re: Beak trimming? Painful or no?

Quote: Originally Posted by charmedbyekkie View Post
Some will do sedation, some won't. It depends on your vet, so do talk to them about the risks. The process doesn't actually hurt (they'll just dremel the end, so it's like filing the whites of your nail), but it can be quite alarming to the bird. While in your case, it sounds like they'll need to trim her beak because of the scissoring, just be aware of the risks - there have been cases where the birds inhale the dust and die. So long as you voice your concerns to your vet, you should be fine
Truly great advise provided above.
Our Julio is a plucker and we are applying a process of a very slight rounding to the base of his upper Bill. As with scissoring of the Bill, it is something that one has to keep-up on whether it is once a year or more often.

As stated above the concerns with Dremel use is the dust and over trimming. That is why we only go to CAV to complete this type of work. As you know, there is a gathering of Nerve Endings at the top of the upper Bill. Trim the upper Bill structure too much and they will stop eating. Fail to create a slight rounding (compared to cutting, which creates a blunt, sharp edge) and they can cut their and your skin.

The practiced hand of a CAV avoids these issues. Unless your Parrot becomes overly stressed when being held, rarely will a CAV use sedation for this procedure. Dremel when held correctly will create and pull the dust away from the Bill structure.

Always ask questions!
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Old 02-01-2019, 06:13 AM
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Re: Beak trimming? Painful or no?

My vet can hand-file or use the Dremel. I prefer the hand filing (due to dust) but the Dremel is faster.
There is no pain when done correctly.
If cut too short, that is when you have issues with pain.


They just towel my bird and get it done, but she is okay with being held (even though she hates beak trims). In some cases, nervous birds can have issues due to fear.
Have you checked your bird's blood-work?
Often times, an overgrown beak is a sign of liver issues (assuming your has things to chew on in his/her cage).
Mine came to me with liver issues and a blood panel (specific to the liver + a CBC )detected them. They have been corrected, but the sooner you know, the better, a there was corrective medication involved with mine.

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Old 02-01-2019, 01:13 PM
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Re: Beak trimming? Painful or no?

Should not be physically painful if done correctly. Having your bird willingly submit to the Dremel or file is another matter, hence the availability of sedation.

My late female Ekkie "Angel" had chronic beak overgrowth. Her old vet used to insist on sedation, so I agreed and there were no issues. I eventually began to use a different vet, one who famously accomplishes procedures in front of clients when practical. He observed her demeanor, calmly embraced her body and proceeded to Dremel her beak to perfection. Each and every time! Things that make you go hmmmmmm.
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Old 02-02-2019, 10:50 AM
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Re: Beak trimming? Painful or no?

I would request that your CAV first try to handfile it, because the Dremel can actually cause serious issues, and there have unfortunately been several parrots that have actually died within hours or sooner of having their beaks Dremeled due to inhaling the dust. We've had a couple members here lose their birds within 30 minutes of their CAVs Dremeling their beaks; I remember one particular member who's Ekkie started having severe breathing issues as soon as they started driving home from their vet's office...By the time they pulled into the driveway their Ekkie was falling over, so they called the vet and they told them to bring him right back, so he turned around and headed back to the vet's office, and he died in his arms while running inside from the parking lot...The necropsy showed dust in both lungs and all through his respiratory tract...I personally know 3 people who have lost their birds within hours of having their beaks Dremeled due to the dust, and one had so much stress during the procedure they died during it (no sedation used)...

I don't mean to scare you but you deserve to have all the information before you put your bird through a potentially lethal procedure that is usually unnecessary. A bird should never have to have their beak trimmed with a dremel if their diet is low in fat and adequate in vitamins and minerals. With conditions like scissor beak, they still should be able to correct the deformity using a hand file. I would sit down and discuss the risks of using a Dremel on your bird's beak with your avian vet. I would also always suggest that if they do need to use a Dremel to correct your birds beak deformity, that you request that they put your bird under short-acting sedation with Isoflurene gas, as it is very safe for birds, and the effects of it wear off in a matter of minutes. You never want to put your bird under any type a general anesthesia for a procedure such as a beak trim, toenail trim, blood work, etc. However, birds absolutely do die from severe stress, so allowing a vet to take a Dremel to your bird's beak while your bird is awake is very risky and could result and not only death from the initial stress, but also residual mental and behavioral issues. Depending on how bad your birds scissor beak is, there is no reason why your avian vet shouldn't be able to correct the deformity with a hand file. Yes, it will take longer than a Dremel would take, but the extra time is well worth the wait.

After your birds scissor beak deformity is corrected, in the future your bird's beak should not have to be trimmed as long as his diet is healthy and well varied, and you also provide him with a mineral block and I also suggest that you get him at least one cement perch. Most parrots love cement perches and they use them often to to rub their beaks on for one reason or another, and this will naturally keep his beak trimmed and hopefully rounded. In the future it's not unusual for your bird's beak to need the very tip filed with a hand file so that it does not get a needlepoint end that is pointy. However, you should not ever need an actual trimming appointment for his beak in the future unless he has an accident where his beak is damaged and has another deformity.

Don't ever be afraid to tell your avian vet that you are not comfortable with something he wants to do to your bird. I cannot tell you how many people have taken their birds to an avian vet or an exotics vet and when they got there the vet suggested that they have a full beak trim done when it was totally unnecessary, and then something happened to their bird during or after the procedure. Regular grooming appointments for your bird should only include toenail trimming and wing trimming if you keep his wings clipped. That's it, that's all that should be involved in a bird's regular grooming appointments if you have your vet do these things rather than you doing them yourself at home. Beak trimming should not be a part of a regular grooming appointment unless it's just to simply use a hand file to file the very tip of his beak to remove the point on the end. And if you're ever not comfortable with something about your vet suggests your bird should have done, do not ever hesitate to tell your vet that you want to do some research first and then make a decision about it.
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