Gizmo is an 8 year old Galah Cockatoo that presented to our vet Benjamin with a lame leg. He was very full of character and sass as cockatoos often are. He wasn’t familiar with the vets and thus, was a little worried in the consulting room. He is not our typical patient but we were happy to see him!
His owner had re-homed him several years previously and he had a leg ring placed, possibly by a breeder or importer. Rings are often used in birds as a form of identification, especially when they are bred and reared as chicks. Usually the ring is large enough that the leg of the bird isn’t hindered as it grows. This ring however was a little too small for poor Gizmo and we needed to remove it. He struggled to use his ringed leg and his owners brought him to us because he was worried that the leg was beginning to swell.
After talking it through with Gizmo’s owner, we admitted Gizmo to remove his ring.
We used an anaesthetic gas to put gizmo under for his anesthesia. Avian anaesthesia can be more complicated than a dog or cat as they have air sacs in addition to lungs. Our fabulous nursing team carefully monitored gizmo’s vitals while Benjamin removed the ring with some bone cutters. As you can see the leg was quite sore and painful. The owners were right to come in when they did as they caught the problem early enough to prevent it from worsening. Sometimes the tissue can even undergo necrosis if left for a long time. We gave the wound and tissue surrounding it a good clean with an antiseptic to reduce to risk of infection
Also, as we were doing a general anaesthetic, we decided to place a microchip in gizmo to ensure that the owner can identify him without the need for a ring. We also started him on some pain relief and anti-inflammatory to bring the swelling down around his leg. Because a general anesthesia is riskier in birds, it is important to maximize what we do when we decide to put a bird under.
He woke up quite happily and was using both his legs within an hour of taking the ring off. We sent him back to a very relieved owner who went home with some anti-inflammatories and antibiotics to syringe feed at home.
Above blog written by Benjamin Kennedy BVetMed MRCVS