FIRST CHOICE Far and away the best choice here is gas anesthesia. An induction chamber is used and then they are intubate or a small mask can be fashioned for short procedures. They wake up VERY quickly and can be returned to the cage immediately. For small birds I put them inside a larger mask and hold the mask against the table and use the mask itself as a tiny induction chamber.
SECOND CHOICE I have used telazol at 15 mg/kg on a few birds and it has worked very well. The recovery is long. I use this mostly when I prep a bird for major surgery so I don't have to pluck the feathers in the surgery room.
Catching the bird is usually the hardest pat of the procedure. I find if I turn off the exam room lights and use my otoscope light to just give enough light for me to see the bird, I can slip my hand into the cage and grab them without much difficulty. They tend not to want to fly in the dark. When I return an awake bird to a cage, I also turn off the lights and set them in the bottom of the cage, this time, without the otoscope light. This prevents them from hurting themselves when you release your grip. Cockatiels and smaller I grab bare-handed. They bite a little until you have them held properly but it is not too bad. For larger birds wear a glove.
BIRDS HAVE NO DIAPHRAM They move air by using their abdominal wall as a bellows. Do not restrain them too tightly or you will prevent them from breathing.
When you have a bird intubate and you "bag" it during surgery, do not exceed a pressure of 10 cm of water.
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