Abdominal Distension in Three Budgerigars (Melopsittacus Undulatus)
WSAVA 2002 Congress
*Angel Albert, Alejandro Bayón, Marta Soler, Jesús Talavera
*Hospital Clínico Veterinario. Universidad de Murcia, Campus Universitario Espinardo
Murcia, ES


Localized or generalized abdominal distension is a common problem in birds. The causes, most often are ascites, abdominal hernia, peritonitis, ectopic egg, egg retention, obesity and abdominal neoplasia. Diagnosis is based on information about history, signalment and physical examination. Complementary examination methods used are usually radiology, echography, laboratory tests and biopsy. The purpose of this report is to present the clinical findings in three cases of abdominal distension in budgerigars.


Three budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus), a male and two females > aged of 7, 8 and 1.5 years respectively, were submitted to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital to evaluate a problem of abdominal distension. An extensive anamnesis was made, followed by the physical examination. By simple radiographs, bone density, air sacs and the size of abdominal organs were evaluated. Contrast radiography was performed by oral administration of barium sulfate at a dose of 0,025 ml/kg, in order to identify organs displacement. In two budgerigars, an ultrasonographic examination was performed owing a solid mass was suspected by palpation. In the same birds a fine needle aspirated was performed.


Case 1: the male budgerigar was presented for a progressive enlargement of abdomen. The color of the cere had changed from blue to brown. Enlarged abdomen was hard on the right side, being softer on the left. Simple radiography showed an increase on large bone density and a soft tissue mass occupying the caudal abdomen. Contrast radiography revealed a dorsal-left displacement of the proventricle and ventricle while intestinal loops were caudoventral. Ultrasonographic examination of the mass revealed that it was a parenchymatous organ. A sample of the hard mass was taken by fine needle aspirated and cytologic study was made, showing a number of pleomorphic cells. On necropsy, the right testis appeared enlarged, while liver was decreased in size, and it had small whitish round areas on its surface. A seminoma with myeloid dysplasia on the liver was diagnosed by histopathology.

Case 2: the older female budgerigar, showed an abdominal soft, not fluctuant distension. On simple radiography it was observed a decreased of the area of the air sacs, a soft tissue mass with radiolucid areas caudally in the body and large bones were increased on density. Contrast radiography showed intestinal loops in the distended area, without transit alterations. In this way, hernia was diagnosed.

Case 3: the younger female budgerigar was presented for a problem of a hard swelling just caudal to sternum. It has loose feathers and it scratched in that area. The bird was dyspneic, and urates were greenish. Simple radiography showed organomegaly and decreased air sacs space. Contrast radiology showed a shift of proventricle and ventricle to the left. No radiological contrast was identified into the swelling. The ultrasonographic examination of the mass showed a pattern of echogenicity suggesting liver parenchyma. Fine needle aspiration of the mass yielded a heterophilic inflammation. The final diagnosis by histopathology was leukosis.


Abdominal distension may be due to different causes. The physical examination is not diagnostic by itself. For this, the use of complementary examination methods is necessary. In this study, simple radiography let to see abnormalities in the abdominal organs, but did not let to locate the affected organ. However, contrast radiography by oral administration of barium sulfate, let to see the position of the digestive organs (proventricle, ventricle, and intestinal loops) and in this way, relationship between these organs and others could be suspected. The use of ultrasonography in two budgerigars showed the parenchymatous nature of the masses. Biopsy and histopathology of the masses are necessary for definitive diagnosis.

Speaker Information
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Alejandro Bayón del Rio, DVM, PhD
Hospital Clínico Veterinario
Universidad de Murcia
Murcia, Spain

Angel Albert
Hospital Clínico Veterinario. Universidad de Murcia
Campus Universitario Espinardo
Murcia, Murcia 30100 ES

Jesús Talavera
Hospital Clínico Veterinario. Universidad de Murcia
Campus Universitario Espinardo
Murcia, Murcia 30100 ES

Marta Soler Laguía
Hospital Clínico Veterinario

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