What to Do When Presented With a Bird With an Enlarged Stomach

September 2, 2018

Brenna Fitzgerald, DVM, DABVP (Avian Practice), associate veterinarian at the Medical Center for Birds in Oakley, California, explains some of determinations veterinarians must make to decide appropriate treatment when a bird presents with an enlarged stomach.

Brenna Fitzgerald, DVM, DABVP (Avian Practice), associate veterinarian at the Medical Center for Birds in Oakley, California, explains some of determinations veterinarians must make to decide appropriate treatment when a bird presents with an enlarged stomach.

"So, one of the challenges that practitioners are faced with is that it's very common to be presented with birds with enlarged bellies, because there is all manner of reproductive tract disease and sometimes fluid accumulation within the body cavity. And so, in order to determine whether a case may be managed with medical management alone, or would require surgery, ideally—basically what the clients options are as far as how to best help that patient—they have to be able to characterize and discern what manner of disease is in the belly as accurately as possible, so, that they know whether it needs to be medical management, or combinational medical and surgical management. And also, and very importantly, what the prognosis may be for that individual patient so that the owner's expectations can be set appropriately.

So in order to best characterize what's happening in that belly, using non-invasive methods, we rely on diagnostic imaging of which probably the most key are ultrasound, but to some extent contrast radiography or fluoroscopy can be helpful as well. But probably the single most effective diagnostic tool to determine what manner of pathology is present and therefore which intervention is most appropriate is ultrasound."