Wielding scalpel to save avian friends

Intubation being given to a rooster during surgery.

Intubation being given to a rooster during surgery.  


Complex surgeries on common birds are performed at Tanuvas

There is saying that “to eat a chicken, either the owner or the bird should be sick”. But in Chennai, many keep chicken as pets and go to great lengths to save them. Advances in the field of veterinary medicine come in handy for them.

A visitor to the Veterinary College in Vepery can see White Leghorn chicken kept as pets. The birds are brought in regularly for treatment and in some cases, veterinarians perform complex surgeries on them.

“Every month, we treat four or five birds. Most are roosters, separated by the breeder immediately after hatching, and sold in the markets after being dipped in bright dye,” explained Dr. Mohamed Ali, Assistant Professor of the college attached to the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (Tanuvas).

Last week he performed a surgery along with Dr. Mala Shammi, Professor of Surgery, to treat bumblefoot in a rooster. Bumblefoot is a common infection caused in poultry by rough concrete conditions..

“It was not able to walk. The owner of the bird, Rajeshwari, is very attached to it. We decided to perform the surgery,” said Dr. Ali.

‘Absolutely necessary’

“We opt for surgery when it is absolutely necessary. The bird is doing well now. While the surgery itself is not complicated, the procedure of anaesthesia is demanding,” he explained.

The bird was given sedation, followed by mask induction anaesthesia. Intubation was done to aid breathing during the surgery.

The hospital also performs dubbing — a cosmetic surgery to remove the crown of the chicken — after it becomes big and turns blue in colour.

“It’s called a cyanotic comb. The weight of it will turn the bird’s neck in one direction. Sometimes, the crown also covers the eyes of the bird and it’s not able to peck,” said Dr. Ali, who has also removed combs after administering general anaesthesia.

Birds with ordinary fractures are treated with plaster of paris casts, while compound fractures require intrameduallary pinning.

Even as Dr. Ali was treating a pug suffering from a kidney stone, A. Jayaprakash from Aminjikarai brought an eight-day-old cockatiel chick. Its mother, hit by a ceiling fan, was dead and the chick had swallowed the feeding tube when Mr. Jayaprakash fed the bird by hand.

“We have taken an X-Ray. I may make a small incision on the crop of the bird to remove the tube,” Dr. Ali said, advising the owner to use a long tube to feed the bird.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 10:35:25 AM |

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