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 Some of the Drugs Used in Avian Medicine...A_M

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PostSubject: Some of the Drugs Used in Avian Medicine...A_M   Some of the Drugs Used in Avian Medicine...A_M Icon_minitimeSat Aug 01, 2009 9:12 pm

Subject: Some of the Drugs Used In Avian Medicine...A-M

Avian Medications: A to Z
When your bird is sick, you take it to your vet, some tests are run and evaluated, and then a medication is prescribed. When administered as directed for the correct length of time, your bird gets well. That seems very straightforward, doesn't it? However, the simple act of choosing the correct medication for treatment is based on many different factors. Let's take a look at the complicated and confusing world of avian medications so we will have a better understanding of this subject.

There are many medications used in avian medicine today. Veterinarians may choose to prescribe from drugs developed for human use, those labeled for use in dogs and cats, medications compounded from a pharmacy or less commonly, from those actually developed and labeled for use in birds. How a veterinarian chooses a drug to dispense depends on many factors, including the species of the bird, its age, its general condition, what type of disease it has, testing results, drug cost, drug availability, how the drug is formulated (pill, oral suspension, injectable, etc.) and personal choice. Drugs can be given orally, by injection, by nebulization, topically (in the eye, ear canal, etc.), in the cloaca or possibly by a transdermal patch.

Medications usually have two names, the chemical name that is used to describe the drug, and the trade name that is the name given by a drug company to identify their brand of that drug. For example, there are many trade names for the drug combination, trimethoprim/sulfa, including BactrimTM and SeptraTM. For this reason, it is less confusing to use the chemical name when discussing a drug. Also, readers in other countries will probably not be familiar with trade names of drugs in our country and vice versa.


Aerobic Bacteria: Bacteria that grow in the presence of oxygen

Amikacin: An aminoglycocide (as is gentamicin), a potent antibiotic that must be given by injection, as it is not absorbed orally, can cause deafness and/or kidney damage, so fluids should usually be administered during injections to prevent kidney damage, may also be used in nebulization therapy

Amoxicillin: An antibiotic in the penicillin family, not often used in avian medicine, since many bacteria that cause avian infections are often resistant to it

Amoxicillin and Clavulanate: A combination of drugs that makes amoxicillin more effective in treating some bacterial infections

Amphotericin B: a potent antifungal agent, used for treating aspergillosis, given by intravenous injection, nebulization, or directly into the trachea, is toxic to the kidneys, also available in topical cream

Ampicillin: An antibiotic in the penicillin family, not often used in avian medicine, since many bacteria that cause avian infections are often resistant to it

Anaerobic Bacteria: Bacteria that grow in the absence of oxygen

Antibiotic: One of a group of medications that are used to treat bacterial infections. Some are called broad-spectrum and are used to treat a wide variety of bacteria. Other are used to treat a specific group of bacteria (Gram positive, Gram negative, aerobic, anaerobic). Some antibiotics kill the offending bacteria (bacteriocidal), others just prevent the bacteria from reproducing (bacteriostatic).

Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid): potent anti-inflammatory, useful for musculoskeletal pain, also will bring fever down


Butorphanol: A pain medication and cough suppressant, used to treat pain in avian patients


Calcitonin: A hormone used to treat metabolic bone disease

Calcium EDTA: Preferred initial drug to chelate lead or zinc related to toxicosis, given by injection

Carprofen: Oral or injectable for pain relief

Cefotaxime: In the group of cephalosporins, an injectable antibiotic that crosses the blood-brain barrier, can be used to treat susceptible bacterial infections in the brain, and also useful for serious susceptible bacterial infections elsewhere in the body

Celecoxib: A COX-2 enzyme inhibitor, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, used to control symptoms of Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD), is not a cure

Cephalexin: Also a cephalosporin, can be given orally to treat susceptible bacterial infections, may be good for deep skin infections

Chelating Agent: A drug used to bind toxic elements (lead, zinc, iron) and remove them from the body safely

Chloramphenicol: An older antibiotic that is bacteriostatic, chloramphenicol palmitate not available in U.S., but can be compounded, can be given orally, in humans and animals, can cause dangerous anemia

Chlortetracycline: An older member of the tetracycline family, formerly used to treat psittacosis (Chlamydophila), oral preparation, however doxycycline is preferred

Chorionic Gonadotropin: A hormone used to inhibit egg-laying, also used to treat feather-picking due to sexually related disorders

Ciprofloxacin: Broad-spectrum antibiotic, made for human use, often used in avian medicine, was in the news during anthrax scare because it is a first choice antibiotic for treating that disease, is a fluoroquinolone, in the same family of antibiotics as enrofloxacin (BaytrilTM)

Cisapride: An oral medication to stimulate gastrointestinal motility, increases gastric emptying rate

Clotrimazole: An antifungal used as an adjunct to aspergillosis treatment, can be administered into air sacs, into the trachea, topically or by nebulization

Cortisone: A corticosteroid that should be used with extreme caution in avian patients due to immunosuppressive properties


Dexamethasone: A potent steroid, anti-inflammatory, used for shock and trauma, may predispose a bird to aspergillosis and other fungal infections

Diazepam: Used for sedation, seizures, can be used with anesthetic agents, oral or injectable

Dimercaptosuccinic Acid (DMSA): Preferred oral chelator for lead toxicosis, effective for zinc toxicosis

Diphenhydramine: Antihistamine, used for allergic feather-picking

Doxycycline: A very effective drug for treating psittacosis (Chlamydophila), can be given orally, is bacteriostatic, also available as an injectable preparation that will provide blood levels for one week with just one injection (however, this drug preparation is not available in the U.S., also used to treat susceptible bacterial infections and mycoplasmosis


Enrofloxacin: Broad-spectrum antibiotic, useful for a wide variety of infections, injectable (can be given orally), tablets, also available in a 3.23% solution for poultry that can be administered orally, multiple injections should not be given, as they can cause serious tissue damage, pain and nerve damage


Fenbendazole: An antiparasitic drug, not recommended for routine use in avian patients as it can be toxic, perhaps fatal in some species, and other antiparasitic drugs are safer and as effective

Fluconazole: Antifungal medication, fungistatic, useful for treating Candida yeast infections, can be combined with nystatin, another treatment for yeast

Flucytosine: An antifungal, fungistatic, can be used prophylactically in raptors and waterfowl to prevent aspergillosis, may be used as adjuvant for aspergillus treatment

Fluoxetine: Used as adjunctive treatment for depression-induced feather-picking, antidepressant

Furosemide: A diuretic, helps remove excess water from tissues, causes increased urination, can be used in treatment of heart failure, fluid build-up in tissues or celoem


Gentamicin: An aminoglycoside, can cause deafness and kidney disease, not absorbed orally, used in some eye preparations, can be nebulized or given by injection, not recommended for injectable use as safer, newer aminoglycosides are available

Glipizide: An oral agent that can be used in the management of diabetes mellitus


Haloperidol: An oral medication used for behavior disorders and for frustration-induced feather-picking

Halothane: An older inhalation anesthetic agent, not usually used in avian patients

Hyaluronidase: Added to sterile fluids for injection, causes increased rate of absorption of fluids (such as lactated ringers solution) when administered subcutaneously, in some cases, replacing the need for intravenous or intraosseous fluids

Hydrocortisone: A steroid that should be used with extreme caution in avian patients due to immunosuppression, in some topical agents


Insulin: Injectable hormone for lowering blood glucose levels in diabetes mellitus, appears to have very short duration of activity in avian patients

Isoflurane: An inhalation anesthetic agent that is very safe for use in avian patients

Itraconazole: An oral antifungal agent used in the treatment of aspergillosis

Ivermectin: An antiparasitic drug, can be given orally, injectably, or applied topically, effective for mites, lice (ectoparasites), may not be as effective in eradicating ascarids, other nematodes



Ketamine: Injectable dissociative agent, may be combined with other injectable medications to provide anesthesia

Ketoconazole: For systemic fungal infections including aspergillosis, candidiasis, may cause regurgitation, also may cause adrenal gland suppression, so can be dangerous for use in stressed birds, safer antifungal is available for treating candidiasis (fluconazole)

Ketoprofen: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent, for analgesia, arthritis


Leuprolide Acetate: A depot drug to prevent ovulation, may be useful for sexually-related feather-picking, for use in reproductive diseases, may be helpful in sexual aggression cases

Levothyroxine: Treatment for hypothyroidism, obesity, lipomas, however hypothyroidism cannot be diagnosed by just one solitary thyroid test, hypothyroidism is very rare in pet birds, is probably over-diagnosed

Lincomycin: An oral or injectable antibiotic used for skin infections, pododermatitis, bone infections


Meloxicam: A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug of the oxicam class. Each milliliter of Metacam Oral Suspension contains meloxicam equivalent to 0.5 or 1.5 milligrams and sodium benzoate (1.5 milligrams) as a preservative. Pigeons should never be given more than 1 drop, and prolonged use can cause renal failure.

Metoclopramide: An injectable or oral medication used for gastrointestinal motility disorders (regurgitation, slow crop motility)

Metronidazole: An oral or IV injectable bacteriocidal antibiotic/antiprotozoal agent, tablets are very bitter and should not be crushed before use, oral suspension is not available in this country, but can be compounded, treats anaerobic bacteria (such as Clostridium), treats Giardia and other GI protozoal flagellates, seems not as effective in eradicating Giardia as many isolates seem to be resistant now, so for treating Giardia, ronidazole may be a better choice

Methylprednisolone: Corticosteroid, anti-inflammatory, may predispose a bird to aspergillosis and other mycoses, should be used with extreme caution
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