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Name: Cherry
Status: Other
Grade: Other
Location: RI
Date: N/A 

I have a turtle dove as a pet and noticed that her beak is getting to long and criss-crossing. Is there anything I can do or is a visit to the vet necessary?

Dear Cherry,

This raises an interesting issue about pet animals! Many times, because we provide them with such good care, pets have overgrowth of beaks and nails. These would normally be worn down in the wild. Overgrown "beaks" are often a problem with birds, and also turtles.

Vets regularly trim or rasp these into shape, but many per owners do it themselves, once they learn how. It is a little tricky to get the shape exactly right so that it doesn't hurt the bird and so that it can eat well. You could go to a vet or to someone who raises turtle doves or similar species to have it trimmed and for them to show you how to do it yourself in the future.

Laura Hungerford, DVM, MPH, PhD
University of Maryland
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