Impaction in Waterfowl and Cranes

Oesophageal impaction. Click here for full-page view with caption Flushing out an impacted crane chick. Click here for full-page view with caption. After fFlushing out an impacted crane chick. Click here for full-page view with caption.

Summary Information
Diseases / List of Miscellaneous / Metabolic / Multifactorial Diseases / Disease summary
Alternative Names
  • Oesophageal Impaction
  • Gizzard Impaction
  • Intestinal Impaction

See also:

Disease Agents Various.
  • In waterfowl, generally secondary to conditions such as Lead Poisoning, Gizzard Worm Infection, and Foreign Body Ingestion (including fish hook and line ingestion - see: Hook and Line Injury).
  • Also reported in wild Canada geese (Branta canadensis - Canada goose):
    • with no obvious sign of a causative agent (B15).
    • while grazing lush spring pasture - described as 'impaction due to food overload' (J14.19.w1).
    • proventricular impaction associated with nonsuppurative encephalomyelitis and ganglioneuritis (J1.27.w6).
  • May occur in ducklings or goslings due to ingestion of tough vegetable matter or various foreign bodies including hay, straw, paper or shavings if used for as a substrate (B13.46.w1, B18).
Infectious Agent(s)
Non-infectious Agent(s)
Physical Agent(s)
General Description Impaction of food in the gastro-intestinal tract, usually in the oesophagus sometimes in the proventriculus, gizzard or intestines (J36.41.w1, J7.30.w2, J1.27.w6, J14.19.w1, B11.34.w2, B15).
Further Information
In waterfowl
  • Free-living Canada geese Branta canadensis associated with nonsuppurative encephalomyelitis and ganglioneuritis (J1.27.w6).
  • Free-living whooper swan Cygnus cygnus with lead poisoning (J3.111.w2).
  • Fulvous whistling-duck Dendrocygna bicolor (intestine), Florida duck (mottled duck) Anas fulvigula (J7.4.w1).
  • Goosander (common merganser) Mergus merganser, cinnamon teal Anas cyanoptera, scaup Marila sp. (J7.6.w1).
  • Carolina (wood duck) Aix sponsa and maned geese Chenonetta jubata in a collection in the UK (J7.32.w1).
  • Gizzard and/or proventriculus impactions associated with foreign body ingestion in red-breasted mergansers Mergus serrator in a collection in the UK (J7.30.w2).
  • In whistling ducks Dendrocygna spp. downies, juveniles and adults in a collection in the UK (J7.33.w2).
  • In ruddy duck Oxyura jamaicensis, Argentine ruddy duck (lake duck) Oxyura vittata and white-headed duck Oxyura leucocephala juveniles; also in downy stifftails, in a collection in the UK (J7.33.w3).
  • Rarely recorded (1% of adults, 2% of juveniles/downies) in geese (Anser spp. and Branta spp.) in a collection in the UK (J7.34.w1).
  • Gizzard impaction recorded in adult and juvenile swans in a collection in the UK (J7.43.w1)
  • Free-living Canada geese Branta canadensis, due to food overload while grazing lush spring pastures (J14.19.w1).
  • Various free-living waterfowl, associated with gizzard lesions due to parasitism (J14.19.w1).
  • Wild mute swans Cygnus olor and whooper swans Cygnus cygnus associated with lead poisoning (J36.41.w1, J36.44.w1
  • Wild mute swan Cygnus olor with nylon fishing wire obstructing the gizzard (J36.44.w1).
  • Wild lesser scaup Aythya affinis with impacted snail shells occluding small intestine, on lower Detroit River (P10.28.w1).
  • Canada geese Branta canadensis in Washington, USA (B15).
In cranes
  • Impaction was seen in five of 135 Grus canadensis - Sandhill cranes at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, 1966-1975: in three chicks, death occurred from starvation with intestinal impaction (dehydration and anaemia were also noted); an adult died from starvation associated with oesophageal obstruction with a bolus of chitinous exoskeleton and another crane died from starvation associated with impaction of the gizzard with bedding material. (P87.1.w2)
  • Impaction of the crop due to ingested carpet fibres (from carpet used as substrate) occurred in a Grus leucogeranus - Siberian crane chick. (P92.1.w3)
  • Treatment by surgical removal of impacted material from the oesophagus has been reported (see: Oesophageal Surgery of Waterfowl). N.B. The oesophagus must be sutured securely in two layers (J3.111.w2, B11.34.w2).
Techniques linked to this disease
WaterfowlINDEXDisInvTrCntr.gif (2325 bytes)
Host taxa groups /species Waterfowl


Author Dr Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS (V.w5)

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