A 12 year old parakeet named Emmy was presented to the CARE Animal Emergency Services with the complaint of a swelling of tissue on the underside of her tail. Per owner, the swelling had not been present earlier in the day. Upon examination, it was determined that Emmy was a geriatric bird of adequate weight. There was evidence of a firm, shelled egg adhered to prolapsed cloacal tissue.
The cloaca is the end site of the urogenital and digestive system for birds. Prolapse of this structure can occur during increased abdominal pressure and irritation. Birds can develop difficulty passing formed eggs for various reasons. Abnormalities of the muscles of the reproductive tract, infection of the reproductive tract, excessive egg laying and subsequent fatigue of the muscles, and nutritional deficiencies are a few of those causes. It was determined that Emmy’s difficulty was likely due to her age, nutritional deficiencies, and abnormalities of the muscles of the reproductive tract.
Based on physical examination, there was concern regarding the viability of the tissues adhered to the egg as those tissues appeared to be thin, dry, and deficient of proper blood flow. Despite the anesthetic risk that Emmy’s current condition held, it was determined that removal of the egg and reduction of the prolapse under anesthesia was the best course of therapy.
Emmy was anesthetized using gas anesthesia. Once asleep, she was positioned on her back in a slight tilted position as not to compromise her ability to breath. The prolapsed tissues were moistened gently using sterile water based lubricant and 0.9%NaCl. Because the egg was visible, it was punctured with a 22G needle to allow for the contents to be removed. This reduced the size of the egg and allowed for a less traumatic removal. Once the egg was removed, the compromised tissues of the cloaca were lavaged with saline. Areas that appeared to be devoid of adequate blood supply were gently debrided. Once a final examination to assess for bleeding was deemed satisfactory, the tissues were reduced into normal position. Sutures are often placed on either side of the cloacal opening to prevent reoccurrence of the prolapse.
Emmy was hospitalized for the night for additional monitoring and care as needed. She was started on a regimen of broad spectrum antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories for pain relief. Due to her advanced age it was recommended that Emmy follow up with her primary veterinarian in 3 to 5 days for recheck examination and full bloodwork to assess for any other concerns.