Management of Chronic Cloacitis in an African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus)
IAAAM 2019
Jennilee Morrison1*; Patrick Sullivan1; Katherine Baine1; Megan Klose1; Robert George1
1Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Gatlinburg, TN, USA


An adult male African penguin (Spheniscus demersus) presented with anorexia and cloacal swelling. Radiographs showed a cloacolith that was manually removed under anesthesia. Initial supportive care (subcutaneous fluids, meloxicam) improved the condition, but the event reccurred.1,2 Blood work and imaging showed mild changes and the cloacolith was again manually removed under anesthesia. Following the second occurrence, broad spectrum antibiotics were initiated. After the third occurrence, biopsies of the cloacal tissue were collected, but only evidence of inflammation was reported.3 Additional supportive care treatments were added (famotidine, topical gentamicin, topical Preparation H), but resolution was not achieved. Reproduction was affected; no fertile eggs were produced during breeding season. Culture of the cloaca revealed bacteria sensitive to metronidazole.4 Treatment was begun and the inflammation gradually improved. Treatment was continued for a total of three months before complete resolution was achieved. Permanent effects on fertility are still unknown. This case illustrates the difficulties in managing a condition of unknown cause and impact in an endangered species.

* Presenting author

Literature Cited

1.  Ritzman TK. 2004.Wound healing and management in psittacine birds. Vet Clin N Am Exotic Anim Prac. 7(1):87–104.

2.  Morrison J, Greenacre CB, George R, et al. 2018. Pharmacokinetics of a Single Dose of Oral and Intramuscular Meloxicam in African Penguins (Spheniscus demersus). J Avian Med Surg. 32(2):102–108.

3.  Jones KL, Field CL, Stedman NL, MacLean RA. 2014. Cloacolithiasis and intestinal lymphosarcoma in an African black-footed penguin (Spheniscus demersus). J Zoo Wildl Med. 45(2):446–449.

4.  Flammer K. 1994. Antimicrobial Therapy. In: Ritchie B, Harrison G, Harrison L, editors. Avian Medicine: Principles and Application. Lake Worth, FL: Wingers; 949–983pp.


Speaker Information
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Jennilee Morrison
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
Gatlinburg, TN, USA

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