Sometimes, though, despite best planning the worst happens, like your air conditioner gives up the ghost on a 100-degree Fahrenheit day. Your parrot can quickly become heat-stressed or suffer a full-fledged heat stroke. What should you do? If your bird is simply panting and is a little heat stressed, cool — not cold — water from a misting bottle helps bring your bird’s temperature down. If the bird is in the sun, get it into a shaded area or bring it inside your house in an air conditioned room or hold it in front of a fan. Offer it a small amount of water or electrolyte solution, or let it step in a shallow dish of cool water.
“If your bird stops panting, seems more relaxed, and responds normally to your voice, it is doing fine,” said North Carolina avian veterinarian, Gregory Burkett, DVM. Once your bird seems improved, he advises you have it examined by a veterinarian to make sure there was no permanent brain or organ damage.
If your bird is having a heat stroke and is actually convulsing, avian veterinarian Gregory Harrison, DVM, recommends you shower the bird with cool soapy water. Use either mild dish detergent or liquid hand soap in the water. Either way, the soap functions as a wetting agent and helps get water under the feathers and to the body.
Be sure the water is not excessively cold or icy. If you use water that is too cold, “your bird would go right through normal and into a hypothermia situation,” Dr. Harrison cautioned. Hopefully, your bird will come around in a few minutes, but if 15 to 20 minutes goes by and it isn’t, Dr. Harrison suggests you pack your bird in cool towels with some ice packs around its feet and beak and take it to the emergency clinic. The staff there may be able to give your bird some phenobarbital or acepromezine to control the convulsions.