Thursday, June 29, 2006


A Checkup Worth The Drama

Tuesday, Bixby and I went in for the dreaded annual vet checkup. Dreaded by Bixby because of the needles, the inevitable poking and prodding, the oh-so-scary towel and, of course, the injustice to his dignity. Dreaded by me for the chunk it takes out of my checking account.

Well, we both managed, despite our misgivings, to get out of the house on time and amble down the 22 East to The Bird Clinic. Dr. Nemetz is an excellent avian veterinarian, something that can be a challenge for many bird owners to find. I grew up in Maine, and we had to drive more than hour to get to our vet who did not have the elusive ABVP, but who was nonetheless, the most knowledgeable bird vet in the state. Once there, Dr. Nemetz started in with annual exam ($65.00), which includes a weigh in, physical exam (nares, ears, oral cavity and vent area are checked) and a nail and wing-feather trim. We also did a gram stain ($42.12); polyoma vaccine booster ($35.34); and a complete blood test ($69.25). I shuddered as my iPod savings fund slipped away. Bixby tried to wriggle free from under the towel.

I knew that Bixby had gained weight (nearly 10 grams!), so I was a little apprehensive when Dr. Nemetz placed him on the scale. I stuttered out apologies about extra helpings of nuts and maybe a few too many Nutri-Berries, but Dr. Nemetz told me to stop being negative. Bixby's on a good diet overall. He eats pellets as his base diet, along with fresh veggies that contain vitamin A and calcium - the big winners in avian nutrition - and he's allowed nightly rations of seed, nut or fruit once a sufficient amount of the rest of his food has been eaten. After the weigh in, Dr. Nemetz checked Bixby's fat levels via a blood sample. Too high. The extra weight meant, "he had just filled out," but too much fat in the blood meant no more corn and reducing the number of nut treats.

Forty minutes and $216.54 later, Bixby and I were back on the road with soothing jazz tunes to calm our nerves. Yes, I was out a chunk of change, but I felt better. Bixby's physical exam and gram stain had not revealed any hidden lumps or bacteria. He wasn't even as chunky as I had thought. Bixby began preening his ruffled feathers with much attention and vigor. Despite the costs, we'll be back next year.

That's good news! I know he was glad it was over. hahaha Cute bird, too!! We've got scales and weigh Oliver often. He even says "Oliver weighs one pound."
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