Bird EMS

21 March to 15 April, 2005

I spent four weeks at a companion bird only practice in California.  I learned a lot and saw tons of cool cases.  I was really lucky to see such a variety of cases when I was there.  I now know that avian medicine is definitely for me.


Is this a normal appearance?


THIS is a normal appearance. The cervical air sac was deflated through an implanted stent.

Baby macaw

I got to hand feed this baby a couple of times.

Cindy and macaw

It was good to handle a big bird like this, as I rarely have the opportunity.

The eclectus hen

She had a salpingohysterectomy (oviduct removed). We also found a persistent right oviduct!

Eclectus hen

The hen in position for abdominal surgery.

Another view

The incision will be made transversely (vs. midline).


The surgeon has the oviduct partially out of the bird.

Close up

You can see the oviduct clearly here - it's huge!

Results of the surgery

Two egg yolks and an oviduct removed from the eclectus hen.


A high power head lamp and magnification are essential for abdominal surgery in birds.

The Amazon's normal eye

A red lored Amazon presented with a punctured left eye. This is the normal eye.

The abnormal eye

This is the eye just before the corrective surgery was done.

Cutting out the cornea

I watched the surgery on a TV monitor since it was all done under a microscope.

Working on the iris

They had to cut part of the iris.

The operating microscope

The bird under the knife...under a microscope.

Suturing in the graft

A corneal transplant, using a fresh kitten's cornea, was done on this parrot.

Removing the sutures from the eyelid

Just over a week after the eye surgery, the third eyelid sutures were removed, allowing us to see the eye.

Close up

Here is what the eye looks like after surgery and a week of treatment.

One of the smaller patients

An 11 year old gouldian finch being anaesthetised for radiographs.

Neurology case

A parrot that got caught in a rat trap.

Orthopaedics case, a nanday conure

Fracture in the middle of the tibiotarsus - I saw the surgery to place an intramedullary pin. It was pretty cool!

Conure, Queen of Bavaria

These guys lived at the practice - and are kind of rare in aviculture. So I had to take a photo.

Budgie for radiotherapy

This is a budgerigar (budgie, parakeet) ready for strontium-90 therapy (radioactive substance) on its uropygial (preen/oil) gland carcinoma.

Strontium probe

The anaesthetised budgie with the probe applied.

The entire strontium setup

We stood back from the strontium probe, as much as possible, while it did its work (about 6 minutes per each of two spots).

Close up

Strontium-90 probes are hard to come by - they are no longer produced. This procedure was done at a diagnostic imaging facility.


Preparation for abdominal surgery on a cockatiel.


A salpingohysterectomy was performed on this egg-bound bird.

Oviduct and egg

The parts removed from the cockatiel.


The bird presented with paresis and would probably be this way for several weeks after discharge (nerve damage takes a while to heal).

Swainson's toucan

The vet added some dental composite to the lower beak of this pet toucan.

Toucan bill

The lower beak is damaged due to overgrooming on a cement perch and requires repair every few months. 2005-2006 C. Fulton