Comparison of Suture Material for Cloacopexy in the Pigeon (Columba livia)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2006
Christal Pollock1, DVM, DABVP; Karen Wolf1,2, DVM; Mary Wight-Carter2, DVM; Jerome Nietfeld2, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVP
1Department of Clinical Sciences, 2Department of Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, USA


Cloacopexy is a common surgical procedure indicated for the treatment of recurrent cloacal prolapse. Suture material recommended for cloacopexy has included polydioxanone, polyglactin-910, polypropylene, and nylon.1-3 The ideal suture material for cloacopexy would persist in tissues long enough to promote adhesion formation while resisting the harboring of microorganisms.

Our study evaluates the effects of three absorbable suture materials (chromic catgut, polyglactin-910, and polydioxanone) as well as one non-absorbable suture (polypropylene) in pigeons (Columba livia) undergoing cloacopexy. Four birds served as controls by undergoing a ventral midline incision and removal of the ventral fat pad. Standard incisional cloacopexy was performed in 40 birds using chromic catgut, polyglactin-910, polydioxanone, or polypropylene (in 10 birds each). Humane euthanasia was performed at 3, 9, and 16 weeks post surgery. No gross evidence of inflammation or granuloma development was identified during complete necropsies. Cloacopexy sites were excised en bloc, and histologic evaluation and scoring were performed using hematoxylin/eosin stains and special trichrome stains. The chromic catgut—a capillary, multifilament suture material—was expected to promote a significant inflammatory reaction; however, pigeons with catgut had low scores, most similar to the scores of control birds. Inflammation was most prominent in birds receiving polyglactin-910. Fibrosis was most prominent in surgical sites containing polyglactin-910.


This research was supported by a grant from the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine Pet Trust. The assistance of Mark Ruder, Michelle Cheyenne, Susan Rose, Eric Traul, and Dr. Jim Carpenter is gratefully acknowledged. Also instrumental were Drs. Karyl Carnohan, Vicki Charbonneau, Katherine Irwin, Lee Ma, and Cindy Moore.

Literature Cited

1.  Altman R.B. 1997. Soft tissue surgical procedures. In: Altman R.B., Clubb S.L., Dorrestein G.M., Quesenberry K. Avian Medicine and Surgery. W.B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia, PA. Pp. 716–718.

2.  Morrisey J.K., and R.A. Bennett. 1998. Avian soft tissue surgery. In: Bojrab M.J. (ed.). Current Techniques in Small Animal Surgery (4th ed.). Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, MD. Pp. 751–753.

3.  Rosskopf W.J., and R.W. Woerpel. 1989. Cloacal conditions in pet birds with a cloaca-pexy update. Proc. Assoc. Avian Vet. Annu. Conf. Pp. 156–163.


Speaker Information
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Christal Pollock, DVM, DABVP
North Coast Bird and Exotic Specialties
Metropolitan Veterinary Referral Group
Akron, OH, USA

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