Sun Conure Weight Gain Egg or Seasonal FOLLOW-UP

by Darci
(Winnipeg, Canada)

Hello I am writing again in regards to my Sun Conure gaining weight unexplainably. Since I last wrote on the 22nd she has gone up to 119-120g but is still showing no signs of an egg either visibly at her vent or through her behaviour. My vet wants me to bring her in for x-rays to see if there is an egg present inside her (like I said before I am apprehensive because she had some trouble recovering from the anesthesia in April and I don't want to risk it unless I absolutely have to, then again I don't want to put my bird's well being in jeopardy by not doing the right thing.)

Suppose I do the x-rays and there is an egg stuck in her oviduct, what can be done? My vet says we'll cross that bridge if we come to it and that statement does not answer my question, it actually makes me quite upset. If there is no egg then what is my next step? I am communicating through e-mail with my vet and she is not being very helpful in addressing my concerns other than recommending the x-rays. There are no board-certfied aviann vets in Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada) the closest one is an 8 hour drive away. If there is an egg how long before it starts causing problems? It has been a couple weeks since she started gaining weight and it doesn't really correspond with an egg in my opinion becaus the gain has been gradual.

My Sun is 5.5years old, until Feb she was on a mostly seed diet with some healthy table foods like sweet potato and hard boiled eggs but realizing this was a poor diet I changed her to the Harrison's which she loves. She was egg bound last December with an egg weighing 10g (hsn;t laid since) and the vet kept her overnight, gave her a nutritional injction and oxytocin. I'm afraid the egg binding or oxytocin may have damaged her reproductive system. The only changes made to her diet since the weight gain has been the addition of sprouts which dont make up much of her diet. The Harrisons HP fine is about 80% and Birdie Bread, buckwheat sprouts, organic fruit (mango, papaya, orange, apple), sweet potato, hard boiled egg (1/4 once a week/2 weeks) and some organic brown rice pasta make up the rest.

Any information or recommendations on what to do that you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Your expertise is greatly valued.

Comments for Sun Conure Weight Gain Egg or Seasonal FOLLOW-UP

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Jan 04, 2010
Conure weight gain
by: The Vet

Darci: This morning she is down to 115g. I spoke to a breeder how said her birds often put on weight when coming into their "breedy period." So I wonder if she was preparing to breed but since it never took place (or she was not stimulated) it is over with now. I believe you mentioned this before too.

Dr B: Yes, during the breeding "season" the reproductive organs can enlarge 5-10x normal size.

Darci: When she had the x-ray done they used isoflurane with a mask and it took about 5-7 minutes (so I was told) to perform the x-rays. She was half awake when I took her to the car, but very groggy and closing her eyes still. The vet is almost an hour from my house and it took until nearly half way home for her to seem alert. On top of the ten-fifteen minutes in the vet while we looked at the x-rays and discussed options and paid the bill.

Dr B: This is very unusual. It may be that your bird does not tolerate isofluorane (which is very unusual), or that there iso levels were too high for too long, or your bid may have an ailment that contributed to this, such as a heart or lung condition.

Darci: If oxytocin caused the oviduct to rupture would she have died? Or could it pose more problems in the future should she try to lay? One vet mentioned possibly a form on periontitis that could be causing the bubbles in her droppings which have been present for almost a year now. When she laid the last egg it was a single egg and no more have been laid. Fecal stain/mounts were done 4 times but no cultures done because no unusual findings were seen on the stain. Should cultures be done if a stain is normal? Perhaps I should request this. Thanks again for your help!

Dr B: Yes, a ruptured oviduct would likely have caused death. Yes, if the oviduct were damaged this would impair egg laying in the future. Cultures are not necessary if the Gram's stain was normal.

Jan 02, 2010
response to the vet #2
by: Darci

This morning she is down to 115g. I spoke to a breeder how said her birds often put on weight when coming into their "breedy period." So I wonder if she was preparing to breed but since it never took place (or she was not stimulated) it is over with now. I believe you mentioned this before too.

When she had the x-ray done they used isoflurane with a mask and it took about 5-7 minutes (so I was told) to perform the x-rays. She was half awake when I took her to the car, but very groggy and closing her eyes still. The vet is almost an hour from my house and it took until nearly half way home for her to seem alert. On top of the ten-fifteen minutes in the vet while we looked at the x-rays and discussed options and paid the bill.

If oxytocin caused the oviduct to rupture would she have died? Or could it pose more problems in the future should she try to lay? One vet mentioned possibly a form on periontitis that could be causing the bubbles in her droppings which have been present for almost a year now. When she laid the last egg it was a single egg and no more have been laid. Fecal stain/mounts were done 4 times but no cultures done because no unusual findings were seen on the stain. Should cultures be done if a stain is normal? Perhaps I should request this. Thanks again for your help!

Jan 02, 2010
answers to questions on sun conure
by: The Vet

Darci: Thanks again for your advice. I have decided against the x-rays for the moment. If there is an egg present do you have an idea of how long before it would start causing problems?

Dr B: It may not cause a problem. A healthy bird can resorb the egg and never pass it.

Darci: It has been a couple weeks since I first suspected an egg could be present and the weight gain really started. Is it okay to leave the situation alone for now since she seems fine? Or what would you do/suggest if one of your clients called with my situation. The only thing left to do is to have an x-ray done.

Dr B: If you decide no to do an x-ray, the all you can do is monitor for signs of respiratory distress , straining and other symptoms of egg binding. If you see these, then it is an emergency which should be seen immediately; then and you will need to do an x-ray.

Darci: In terms of the anesthesic last time it took her a good half hour to recover when the vet told me it would only take minutes. She also sent me home with her when she was unable to perch or even move,she had her eyes closed and sat still almost all the way home, it was very disturbing for me.

Dr B: Your bird should not have been sent home in that condition. She should have been kept in the hospital in oxygen until she was fully awake. I have never seen a bird take so long to recover from anesthesia when I use the inhaled isofluorane. Is that what they used on your bird? How long was your bird down for the x-rays?

Darci: If oxytocin is not commonly used, what is the best method? What procedure do you use? When she was egg bound another vet I spoke to (a mobile vet) suggested breaking the egg inside her, I had already researched the issue and from what I understand this would be incredibly painful and possibly fatal so I declined her services and went to the vet who kept her over night and administered nutritional injecion, heat and oxytocin.

Dr. B.: Breaking the egg inside is a death wish. This should never be done and can cause serious injury and is often fatal. Oxytocin causes severe contractions and can cause rupture of the oviduct. Medical one can use prostaglandins, which also cause contraction, but also cause relaxation of the sphincters to allow the egg to pass more easily, which oxytocin does not do. I provide heat, humidity, calcium injections, vitamin A injections, and monitor. If the egg is not passed within 24 hours, then we try manual manipulation. If after one try manually the egg is not passed, then I surgically remove it. Each case is different and most eggs are passed without surgery.

Dr B

Dec 31, 2009
Response to the vet
by: Darci

Thanks again for your advice. I have decided against the x-rays for the moment. If there is an egg present do you have an idea of how long before it would start causing problems? It has been a couple weeks since I first suspected an egg could be present and the weight gain really started. Is it okay to leave the situation alone for now since she seems fine? Or what would you do/suggest if one of your clients called with my situation.

In terms of the anesthesic last time it took her a good half hour to recover when the vet told me it would only take minutes. She also sent me home with her when she was unable to perch or even move,she had her eyes closed and sat still almost all the way home, it was very disturbing for me.

If oxytocin is not commonly used, what is the best method? What procedure do you use? When she was egg bound another vet I spoke to (a mobile vet) suggested breaking the egg inside her, I had already researched the issue and from what I understand this would be incredibly painful and possibly fatal so I declined her services and went to the vet who kept her over night and administered nutritional injecion, heat and oxytocin.

Thanks again, hope to hear from you soon!

Dec 29, 2009
Sun Conure possible egg
by: The Vet

The only way to know for sure if there is an egg in there is to do an x-ray. Doing an x-ray is at the discretion of the attending clinician. Having not seen your bird, I cannot tell you if there is an egg present or not. However, given the situation it is unlikely that there is an egg present. I rationalize this way ? the weight gain has been gradual over two weeks or more, your bird?s weight is not excessive and can be contributed to improving the diet, a bird on a god diet will lay the egg with no problems and there is not worries of egg binding if they are on a good diet, her vent is not swollen, her abdomen is not distended, and her behaviors are normal.

In my opinion, even when she does produce an egg, there will not be the chance of egg binding now because she is on a good diet. However, if there are any damages to the reproductive tract from the last egg, then she could have some difficulty laying it.

The trouble with anesthesia is an issue, but what kind of problem did she have? Did she not wake up quickly; did she have problems going under; did she have respiratory or cardiac abnormalities; was she debilitated from the the egg binding...? Generally, using isofluorane as the anesthetic gas, and having them under for just long enough to take an x-ray, there is rarely a problem, at least in my experience.

Most avian veterinarians do not use oxytocin on egg bound birds. In my opinion, even IF your bird does become egg bound, there are better treatment options.

If you take an x-ray and there is an egg, then, depending on her condition, you may not need to do anything; maybe increase the heat and humidity and wait. Unless she is showing sings of distress, then surgical intervention may be necessary. But I feel this is very unlikely given the description you have provided about your bird?s condition.

If no egg is present, then there is nothing that needs to be done.

Dr B

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