Anyone who has ever lived with a parrot knows that if they become frightened or upset, they can deliver some pretty nasty bites. Even small and medium sized hookbills are more than capable of breaking the skin and doing plenty of damage with their little beaks, so it's helpful to know how to treat your wounds if such a bite should occur. Look below for tips and instructions that will help you heal your bite wound as quickly and painlessly as possible -- taking care of an open wound as quickly as you can will greatly reduce your risk of infection or other complications.
Evaluate the wound.
How bad is your bite? If the bite didn't break the skin, odds are that you may do well with an over the counter pain reliever and some cold packs to reduce bruising and swelling. However, if the bite has caused bleeding, then you may need to seek medical attention. A bird's beak is strong and sharp, and can cause extensive damage to skin, particularly if the bird is a hookbill
. If your bite wound is very large, deep, is bleeding profusely, or is a bad facial wound, then it is best to seek professional medical treatment immediately. If you think you can handle the bite on your own, however, then proceed to the steps below for information on treating it properly.
Cleanse the wound thoroughly.
It's important to practice proper hygiene
any time you are around pet birds, but especially if you become the victim of a bite that breaks the skin. Anytime a bite causes an open, bleeding wound, there is a risk that bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause an infection. To minimize the chances, scrub your wounds thoroughly with soap and water before applying any dressings or bandages.
Use a disinfectant.
To further decrease the risk of catching an illness from your bird
, use a good disinfectant after you have cleansed your bite wound. Good medical disinfectants include rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. Thoroughly flush the wound with the disinfectant of your choice, and then pat the wound dry with sterile gauze. It's true that using a disinfectant may sting and burn a little bit, but the temporary discomfort is far better than allowing the wound to fester and become infected.
Apply an antibiotic ointment.
Once your bite wound has been properly cleaned and disinfected, apply a thin coating of an over the counter antibiotic ointment such as neomyacin or bacitracin. The antibiotic effects of the ointment will further counter any bacteria that was introduced to the wound, helping it to heal faster than it would without medication. It's a good idea to keep ointment like this on hand in your bird first aid kit
as well, as it can also be used to heal and soothe small cuts, scrapes, or abrasions that may occur in your feathered friend.
Cover the wound, and keep it clean.
After cleaning your wound, disinfecting it, and applying an antibiotic dressing, you will want to cover the wound with a bandage to keep the medication in place and block any dirt and bacteria from reaching the cut. Use sterile adhesive bandages, or if necessary, create a custom wrap out of sterile gauze and rolled bandage tape. Until the wound scabs and heals, it will be important to keep the site of the injury clean and dry. Wear rubber or latex gloves on your hands while doing housework or cleaning cages
, and make sure to cleanse and re-dress your wound at least once a day. If the wound worsens or shows no improvement after the first couple of days, seek professional medical attention as you may have an infection that requires a prescription or other special treatment.