Media News Events
10/15/05  Avian Flu: Should you worry yet?
There has been a lot of articles in the news media and papers regarding Avian Influenza "Avian Flu" and its' potential risk to birds and people in the United States. The key thing to remember is that it is a potential risk and not a reality as of the present. All of the confirmed cases and deaths in poultry or humans are on the east side of the Atlantic Ocean. All of the confirmed cases of human illness have been with people that either work in or around the poultry industry. Confirmed deaths in humans are approximately 120 and not the epidemic that the media would like you to believe. Governments on both sides of the Atlantic are working to safeguard against the spread of the virus as well as produce vaccines in case the virus was able to escape such quarantine measures. To date there have been NO confirmed cases of human to human transmission or disease in the exotic avian species.
Therefore, it is good to be aware of this very deadly disease in some poultry species. However, diseases like Avian Newcastle and West Nile Virus that ARE here not only in the United States but in California should take a front seat to the "Avian Flu". Avian Newcastle that caused a quarantine situation in Southern California last year is now presently contained. West Nile Virus continues to affect crows, raptors, and some people but is of minor risk to our exotic pet birds, especially if you do not live near a poultry facility.
In general, if you do not have a backyard chicken colony and you do not live close to a poultry facility, your pet bird is at more risk of having Chlamydophila psittaci, Psittacine Beak and Feather virus, or Avian Polyoma virus than contracting one of these other viral infections.
Has your pet bird been tested for these diseases?
If not, please discuss these with your avian veterinarian so that we can some day erradicate these disease that DO cause deaths each year in our exotic pet birds.


February 2005
The BIRD Clinic Veterinary Corporation was on the FRONT PAGE of the Orange County Register!

It was so exciting and the reporter did a very extensive review of the medical services available to pet birds that The BIRD Clinic have to offer. He spent over 3 days with Dr. Nemetz shadowing all of his activities and we even gowned him up to watch a surgery.


At the start he knew little of the bird world or anything about the medical care available these days, but after his on-site visit and two weeks of post visit discussions, he said he had a whole new appreciation for the world of avian health care and avian pet ownership.
We, at The BIRD Clinic were all very glad we could convert one more to the wonderful world of birds.


6/15/04  Macaw Abuser Sentenced to Service Hours

Los Angeles Times: James Ellis, 53 had been given 120 days in jail, but Orange County Superior Court Judge altered it for Mr Ellis to perform 960 hours of community service and attend anger management classes. "Johnny" has now been permanently adopted by his foster family and is doing wonderfully. This brings an end to a story on animal abuse. Luckily "Johnny" is all healed and enjoying a new happy life with his new family.

4/27/04 Costa Mesa Man Convicted of Beating Macaw

Dr Nemetz testified in the trial of the man accused of beating his pet Blue and Gold macaw on Thursday April 22, 2004. After a two day jury trial the jury on April 27 came back with two guilty verdicts for felony animal cruelty and animal abuse. Mr. James Ellis will be sentenced on June 11 and faces up to 3 years in prison and remuneration for legal costs and care of his bird. Nicole Nicholson was the District Attorney who prosecuted the case and questioned Dr. Nemetz on the stand. Mr. Ellis is expected to receive jail time and not regain ownership of Johnny. Johnny has lived in a foster home, since the incident, after all his injuries healed. He is expected to be permanently adopted by his temporary family. Johnny enjoys his new home and his foster family have made him feel like a member of "their" family.
5/14/03 Abused Blue and Gold Macaw gets a fixed leg and beak and a new chance at life. 
As profiled today by Channel 2, 7 and 9 on the 4:30 pm and evening newscast, a Blue and Gold Macaw living in Newport Beach, CA was confiscated by animal control officials on March 2, 2003 for alleged abuse by it's owner. "Johnny" was taken to the animal shelter to be evaluated by Dr. Bruce Bauersfeld and then was referred to The BIRD Clinic for further evaluation and treatment. Dr. Nemetz determined that the upper beak (rhinotheca) had been fractured and the left leg (tibiotarsus) had also been fractured (see below). There was some general bruising as well as hurt emotions in the bird. Johnny was hospitalized, the beak corrected, fluids administered for shock and antibiotics for potential infection in his preparation for surgery the following day.

Johnny underwent orthopedic surgery to repair the fractured left tibiotarsal bone with a threaded intramedullary pin. The surgery was a huge success and eight weeks later Johnny was acting like a happy bird again (picture below). Now the owner must face the court system for the alleged abuse and possibly go to jail and lose his bird forever.

Comments: Birds do have the capacity to bite, but their bones have no chance against the force of a human. Our pets have only us to feed and care for them and under no circumstances should our anger be used is a forceful way against them. They only act out of instincts, protection for others, and protection for themselves.

December, 2003 update: Many people have called regarding the outcome of "Johnny". The legal system is not always the most efficient, but Johnny is still safe in a foster home and doing fabulous. The owner is scheduled for his hearing next month, but at this time there has been no final decision in this case.

7/22/03 Blue-Fronted Amazon attacked by albino raccoon in Glendale

Published in the Los Angeles Times today, a Blue-Fronted Amazon barely survived when an albino raccoon broke through a screened window in search of food. Luckily the owner was home and scared the intruder away before it was too late. The bird, Mr. Ed, was taken to a local veterinarian as an emergency where he was stabilized with wounds to his back and left leg in addition to a very displaced fracture of his left femur. Mr. Ed was later referred to The BIRD Clinic for further evaluation and surgical repair of his left leg. Unfortunately, Mr. Ed had lost a large volume of blood, so surgery had to be postponed for a few days to better stabilize his condition.

Mr. Ed, once stable, underwent orthopedic surgery to repair the fractured left femur. A stack pin technique was used with two pins placed in the femur to increase stability. There was extensive damage to the leg musculature from the raccoon's teeth, but most of the muscle was able to be debrided and reattached. Mr. Ed is now at home undergoing an eight-ten week recuperation with weekly bandage changes, antibiotics and antifungal therapy.
Comments: Raccoon, cat, and even rat attacks on pet birds in Southern California is not uncommon. Not only are the injuries usually life threatening or severe like Mr. Ed's, but the bacterial infections from the oral cavity of the perpetrators are more often the cause of death if immediate antibiotic therapy is not instituted.