Department of Small Animal Clinical Services, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA
Overproduction of eggs, egg binding, salpingitis, egg yolk coelomitis, and prolapsed oviduct are common reproductive problems in birds. Salpingohysterectomy is often recommended for birds with these problems. Removal of the oviduct and uterus appears to suppress ovulation, while hormonal cycling, follicular development, and reproductive behaviors continue to occur. The mechanism by which ovulation is suppressed is not completely understood, but it is thought that a feedback mechanism may occur between the ovary and the uterus. Salpingohysterectomy has been considered to carry a significant degree of risk and consequently has not previously been recommended as a preventive measure.
Avian endoscopy initially was used only to determine the sex of monomorphic birds, but it has developed into an excellent diagnostic tool for the examination of internal organs and biopsy sample collection. It also has the potential to be used as a surgical tool, especially as a less invasive method for salpingohysterectomy in immature birds.
For this study, endoscopic salpingohysterectomy was performed on 14 healthy, immature, female cockatiels. A control group of 6 female cockatiels was used to determine that ovulation does occur in intact birds of the same age. All 20 birds underwent coelomic endoscopy. In the salpingohysterectomy group, a “peel, crush, and cut” endoscopic technique was used to remove the oviduct and uterus. Endoscopic microforceps were used to grasp the oviduct which was elevated from the surrounding tissue, gently tearing both the ventral and dorsal suspensory ligaments of the oviduct and uterus, thus separating the infundibulum, oviduct, and uterus from other structures. The oviduct and uterus were elevated out of the coelomic cavity. The uterus was then crushed proximal to the uterovaginal sphincter and cut using endoscopic microscissors. No ligation of blood vessels or the uterus was necessary because hemorrhage was negligible. No organs were removed in the control group. Follow-up endoscopic examinations will be performed every 2 months for a period of 1 year to evaluate the long-term effect of endoscopic salpingohysterectomy on ovulation.
This study was supported by grants from the Association of Avian Veterinarians; the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida; the Gainesville Bird Fanciers; and the Raleigh-Durham Bird Society. Equipment was generously supplied by Karl Storz Veterinary Endoscopy, Inc.