Yolk Sac Removal in Birds (Disease Investigation & Control - Treatment and Care)

Summary Information
Type of technique Health & Management / Disease Investigation & Control / Treatment & Care / Techniques:
Synonyms and Keywords --
Description The following description outlines the procedure as described by: Kenny & Cambre, 1992 (J2.23.w1) and Coles, 1997 (B14).
  • Anaesthetise (general anaesthesia) (e.g. induction 4% isoflurane, maintenance 1.5-2% isoflurane).
  • Place in dorsal recumbency.
  • Pull legs caudally and tape to table.
  • Pluck abdomen from flank to flank and keel to cloaca.
  • Prepare site - scrub with povidone iodine followed by alcohol.
  • Cover with clear sterile plastic drape.
  • Incise skin circumferentially around umbilicus and extend laterally at 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock positions, sufficiently long to allow removal of yolk sac without rupture (J2.23.w.1); extension of incision may alternatively be longitudinal (B14).
  • Incise through body wall along same lines.
  • Apply gentle traction on umbilical stump with forceps while manipulating yolk sac from within the abdomen using a finger or scalpel handle, to exteriorise yolk sac. or roll bird over, gently encourage yolk sac to fall out (B14).
  • Ligate yolk stalk and associated vasculature as close as possible to intestine.
  • Close body wall with absorbable suture in simple continuous pattern.
  • Close skin with absorbable suture in simple continuous pattern.

(J2.23.w1, B14)

Appropriate Use (?)
  • Treatment of Yolk Sac Retention with or without Omphalitis/Yolk-sacculitis.
  • Signs: abdominal distension, dyspnoea, exercise intolerance, anorexia, weight loss, lack of growth, inability to stand/walk.
  • Surgery usually successful if undertaken before the bird has become dyspnoic (J2.23.w1, B13.46.w1).
  • Subcutaneous fluids (50/50 mixture 5% dextrose in lactated Ringer's and 0.9% saline, 0.016ml/gram body weight) should be given to compensate for surgical blood loss (J2.23.w1).
  • Conservation of body heat is important; a heat pad may be used to reduce risk of hypothermia. Avoid allowing surgical preparation solution to run down and soak the body; wring out swabs used in cleaning, to remove excess fluid (J3.120.w1).
  • Yolk sac should be sent for bacterial culture and sensitivity testing.
  • Antibiotics should be administered postoperatively, broad spectrum initially, and according to bacterial culture from yolk sac once results known.
  • Tube feeding may be required for several days post-operatively, although some birds will be eating well and gaining weight by one to two days post-operatively.
Complications/ Limitations / Risk Success is less likely if surgery is delayed.
Equipment / Chemicals required and Suppliers Equipment and consumables for general anaesthesia and surgery, including surgical instruments and consumables suitable for the size of the bird.
Expertise level / Ease of Use Veterinary procedure: should only be undertaken by a veterinarian.
Cost/ Availability May be quite expensive: cost of general anaesthesia and substantial surgical operation.
Legal and Ethical Considerations In some countries there may be legislation restricting the use of this type of technique to licensed veterinarians. For example in the UK: "The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (Section 19) provides, subject to a number of exceptions, that only registered members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons may practice veterinary surgery."(see: LCofC1 - RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct 2000 - Treatment of Animals by Non-Veterinary Surgeons).).
Author Debra Bourne
References J2.23.w1, J3.120.w1, B13.46.w1, B14

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