To the uninitiated veterinarian or veterinary technician, the avian physical examination can be a challenging and uncertain task, with many aspects presenting concerns and problems. As with other animals, a full appreciation of the owner's interests as well as the patient's clinical condition and general physical status can be gained by following prescribed steps during the examination; a comprehensive physical examination is required to make a definitive diagnosis and plan for treatment. If life-threatening conditions are noted at presentation (eg, respiratory distress, bleeding, or severe depression), treatment should be conducted immediately in the least stressful, most effective manner, waiting until the bird improves sufficiently for further physical evaluation.
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