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Dealing with a Prolapsed Cloaca: Avian Health Concerns


Cloacal prolapse can occur in any bird species (as well as in reptiles and amphibians) and is evidenced by moist or dried tissue protruding from the vent.  It is frequently associated with egg-laying, and may occur before, during or after the process.  A calcium deficiency is usually at the root of the problem…the muscles, weakened by the lack of calcium, cannot contract as forcibly as is necessary, and the resultant straining pushes the cloaca outward.  Weakness in other muscles, i.e. the sphincter, adds to the problem.  Less commonly, a prolapse may be caused by an infection in the uterus or cloaca.

Emergency Care

A prolapsed cloaca is a matter for your veterinarian, but there are some steps you can take to alleviate the situation.  Most important is prevention – assure that your birds, especially breeding hens, are in good health and are receiving optimal amounts of calcium and other minerals and vitamins.  

Upon noting a prolapse, you can try lubricating the tissue with a water-soluble product, such as KY Jelly.  The bird should be kept warm, as its metabolism will be functioning poorly, and may have difficulty generating enough heat.  Liquid calcium might be an option, especially if it will take some time to get the bird to a veterinarian.  Plan ahead and ask your vet to suggest a product to keep on hand.

Veterinary Care

Your veterinarian may place a suture in the vent while the cloaca heals.  Antibiotics will usually be given, as an extruded cloaca is susceptible to infection.  If all else fails, or if too much time has elapsed and the tissue is beyond repair, surgery may be necessary.  Such is usually successful for birds of cockatiel size or beyond, less so for smaller species.

The importance of calcium and Vitamin D in parrot metabolism is discussed in an article posted at:


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