Capsule / Tablet Administration in Birds (Disease Investigation & Control - Treatment and Care)

Summary Information
Type of technique Health & Management / Disease Investigation & Control / Treatment & Care / Techniques:
Synonyms and Keywords --
  • Use fingers or a commercial "pill gun".
  • Control movement of bird's head.
  • Apply gentle pressure at commisures, and open bill.
  • Apply gentle pressure to stabilise tongue.
  • Place capsule or tablet beyond glottis into pharynx.
  • Close bill and restrain until animal swallows.
Appropriate Use (?)
  • Can be easily administered to handleable birds.
  • Can be administered by caretaker (keeper/owner).
  • Can be used to deliver precise amounts of medication.
  • Oesophagus is elastic and capable of accommodating most commercially available tablets/capsules.
  • Suitable for waterfowl, pigeons, gallinaceous birds.
Notes --
Complications/ Limitations / Risk
  • Animals must be handled.
  • Impractical for large flock treatment.
  • Drug absorption may be erratic due to delays in movement from the crop.
  • Usually preferable to administer on an empty stomach - with small amount of food, or at the start of feeding.
  • May stick to mucosa and cause mucosal damage.
Equipment / Chemicals required and Suppliers
  • Tablets/capsules.
  • Pill gun if required.
Expertise level / Ease of Use Procedure should only be undertaken by an individual with appropriate clinical training and practical experience.
Cost/ Availability Inexpensive, unless expensive drugs are being given.
Legal and Ethical Considerations In some countries there may be legislation restricting the diagnosis and treatment of disease in animals to licensed veterinarians. For example in the UK: "The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (Section 19) provides, subject to a number of exceptions, that only registered members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons may practice veterinary surgery."(see: LCofC1 - RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct 2000 - Treatment of Animals by Non-Veterinary Surgeons).).

Use of Drugs (Medication):

  • Many drugs are not registered for use in particular bird species and care should be taken in their use, with proper regard for possible toxic effects. Consideration should be give to relevant legislation regarding the use of drugs.
  • In the UK, guidelines regarding the use of drugs are set out in the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Guide to Professional Conduct 2000: (see: LCofC1 - RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct 2000 - Choice of Medicinal Products).
Author Debra Bourne
References B10.26.w3, B11.5.w10, B13.17.w16, V.w7

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