Fractures in Birds

By PetMD Editorial on Jun. 27, 2008
Fractures in Birds

Avian Fractures

Just like humans, birds can also fracture (or break) bones and dislocate various joints. (A multiple fracture is when there is more than one broken bone, or a bone breaks in more than one place.) It is, however, not as easy to treat fractures in birds because many of the bird bones are filled with air, and have higher calcium content. When the calcium content in the bone is high, the bones become brittle and multiple fractures are more likely.


The veterinarian will take X-rays and perform blood tests to diagnose osteomyelitis.


Fractures may become complicated when the broken bone becomes infected. The most common bone infection is osteomyelitis.

Osteomyelitis is a bacterial infection of the bone sheath which can spread to other bones. It is very painful and if the infection enters the blood, it may become fatal. Antibiotics are used to clear up the infection and speed the healing of the bone.


Fractured bones in birds heal faster than in humans or other animals. Usually a stiff splint, which totally immobilizes the broken bone, is the only treatment needed. During multiple (complicated) fractures, surgery may be needed to implant supports. This helps the bone function normally after it has healed.

Physical therapy (physiotherapy) may be needed to loosen frozen and stiff joints, and maintain range of motion. The veterinarian will recommend various exercises to help your bird heal.

The veterinarian will also prescribe medication to ease your bird’s pain while it recovers. Medication may be given orally, or through the feed or water. Observe the bird's recovery and return to the veterinarian if pain increases after a few days to rule out any infections in the broken bone.

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