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Blood Feathers, Injuries and Night Frights, Oh my!

One part of bird ownership that many people don't consider is having a first aid kit prepared for emergencies. One crucial item to have in an emergency kit is styptic power to staunch bleeding.

Since many of our pet birds are on the smaller side, when they are actively bleeding, time is of the essence. Even for larger birds, every drop of blood counts.

This is where styptic powder comes handy. You gently press the powder to the broken blood feather, nail clipped too short, etc., and it quickly staunches the bleeding, and gives you enough time to seek veterinary attention.

While there is mild controversy surrounding this topic, don't fret. A very trusted Avian Vet had the following to say when met with the controversy against Kwik Stop styptic powder: "Hemostatic powder/blood-stop powder has been used on animals and birds for many years with no reported adverse toxicity. A recent search of PubMed through the National Library of Medicine for ferric sub-sulfate toxicity came back with “No results were found.” i.e. there are no reports of adverse toxic effects of blood stop powder in the scientific literature.

The iron base in the hemostatic powder reacts with the localized blood to quickly stop bleeding by forming a protective scab in seconds. It does this independently of the body’s blood-clotting mechanism without entering the blood stream. In doing so, it also prevents bacteria from entering the wound or blood stream. Even if a bird licked at the toenail, it would not ingest enough ferric sub-sulfate to cause an adverse reaction or toxicity. The powder is very bitter tasting to birds. They hate the taste and will not ingest it. The powder can be irritating if it gets in the bird’s eyes. Also, it can sting a bit when applied to the skin, not so much to the toenail. Some products have chloroxylenol added which is a topical anesthetic. This reduces any discomfort. When used correctly, it is a safe and effective way to stop bleeding from a bird’s nail without any adverse or toxic side effects. " -Dr. Dahlhausen

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