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Wing Fracture Repair in an Amazon Parrot

December 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Birds

wing fracture in amazon parrotThings weren’t looking good for this Double-yellow headed Amazon parrot–she was 40 years old, had eaten seeds (sunflower seeds are her favorite!) her whole life, and she had just broken her wing (complete fracture of the right radius and ulna) after falling off her perch. The fact that she has not been on a healthy avian diet for such a long time can seriously affect her body’s ability to heal bone.

Surgery was the only hope of saving her broken wing. After checking blood work, which was delightfully normal, veterinarian J.C. Burcham performed surgery and placed an external fixator placed on her wing to stabilize the broken bones. Birds have some special requirements to ensure a safe anesthetic procedure. We placed an endotracheal tube to ensure an open airway and facilitate regular breathing. Birds also need to be kept warm so she on a circulating water blanket. We placed an intraosseous catheter in the ulna (on the opposite wing) so we could administer a balanced fluid solution during her surgery. This helps keep her blood pressure up, a crucial step in avian surgery.

Broken wing before surgery

Broken wing before surgery

A pin joins the two fragments of ulnar bone together, while the fixator holds everything in place.

An intramedullary pin joins the fragments of ulna together, while the fixator makes the wing more stable during recovery

Radiographs (xrays) were taken post-operatively to ensure correct placement of the pins, and she was sent home the following day. In all, she stayed in the hospital 3 days and received pain medication to help with the pain of surgery.

Six weeks after her surgery, she came back for her routine check-up. She was briefly anesthetized again so we could repeat xrays and the news was good! Adequate callus formation was holding the bones together and the fixator was removed. (The fixator was removed after the xray was taken, which is why you still see pins in this xray.)

6 week post-op recheck shows adequate callus formation and bone healing

6 week post-op recheck shows adequate callus formation and bone healing

Her wing has a slight droop to it, and probably always will, but she’s laughing and singing up a storm (like an Amazon should!), and her owners are pleased.

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