Proventriculotomy in ostriches: 18 cases (1990-1992)

Clifford M. Honnas From the Departments of Large Animal Medicine and Surgery (Honnas, Zamos, Parson) and Veterinary Pharmacology and Physiology (Blue-McLendon, Jensen), Texas Veterinary Medical Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4475.

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Alice Blue-McLendon From the Departments of Large Animal Medicine and Surgery (Honnas, Zamos, Parson) and Veterinary Pharmacology and Physiology (Blue-McLendon, Jensen), Texas Veterinary Medical Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4475.

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David T. Zamos From the Departments of Large Animal Medicine and Surgery (Honnas, Zamos, Parson) and Veterinary Pharmacology and Physiology (Blue-McLendon, Jensen), Texas Veterinary Medical Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4475.

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Ernest Parson From the Departments of Large Animal Medicine and Surgery (Honnas, Zamos, Parson) and Veterinary Pharmacology and Physiology (Blue-McLendon, Jensen), Texas Veterinary Medical Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4475.

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James Jensen From the Departments of Large Animal Medicine and Surgery (Honnas, Zamos, Parson) and Veterinary Pharmacology and Physiology (Blue-McLendon, Jensen), Texas Veterinary Medical Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4475.

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Summary:

Over a 3-year period, proventriculotomy was performed on 18 ostriches to relieve impaction of the proventriculus. Diagnosis was confirmed by abdominal palpation, abdominal radiography, and in some cases, exploratory proventriculotomy. In addition to proventriculotomy, an esophagotomy was performed in 5 birds that were debilitated to allow forcefeeding during the postoperative period. The median age of ostriches treated surgically for proventricular impaction was 7.5 months (range, 3 months to 18 years).

Impactions consisted of sand, rocks, or gravel in combination with grass, leaves, wood, or other fibrous materials. In 7 birds, small pieces of wire or nails were also removed from the proventriculus. In 1 bird, a large metal punch was removed via the proventriculotomy.

Six ostriches died at the hospital in the immediate postoperative period. Four of these died within 24 hours of surgery. All 4 birds were emaciated and in a severely weakened condition at admission, and they continued to deteriorate after surgery. One bird died 8 days after surgery as a result of complications associated with a septic joint unrelated to the proventriculotomy procedure. Another bird was euthanatized 6 days after surgery because its condition failed to improve and the owners did not want to pursue further treatment because of expense. Follow-up information was obtained for 12 surviving ostriches 1 week to 29 months (median, 5.5 months) after they were discharged from the hospital. Four of the 12 birds died within 30 days of discharge from the hospital. The remaining 8 birds (44%) were alive at follow-up evaluation (median, 10.5 months after surgery; range, 5 to 29 months). In the birds that survived long-term, complications associated with the proventriculotomy or esophagotomy were not observed.

Summary:

Over a 3-year period, proventriculotomy was performed on 18 ostriches to relieve impaction of the proventriculus. Diagnosis was confirmed by abdominal palpation, abdominal radiography, and in some cases, exploratory proventriculotomy. In addition to proventriculotomy, an esophagotomy was performed in 5 birds that were debilitated to allow forcefeeding during the postoperative period. The median age of ostriches treated surgically for proventricular impaction was 7.5 months (range, 3 months to 18 years).

Impactions consisted of sand, rocks, or gravel in combination with grass, leaves, wood, or other fibrous materials. In 7 birds, small pieces of wire or nails were also removed from the proventriculus. In 1 bird, a large metal punch was removed via the proventriculotomy.

Six ostriches died at the hospital in the immediate postoperative period. Four of these died within 24 hours of surgery. All 4 birds were emaciated and in a severely weakened condition at admission, and they continued to deteriorate after surgery. One bird died 8 days after surgery as a result of complications associated with a septic joint unrelated to the proventriculotomy procedure. Another bird was euthanatized 6 days after surgery because its condition failed to improve and the owners did not want to pursue further treatment because of expense. Follow-up information was obtained for 12 surviving ostriches 1 week to 29 months (median, 5.5 months) after they were discharged from the hospital. Four of the 12 birds died within 30 days of discharge from the hospital. The remaining 8 birds (44%) were alive at follow-up evaluation (median, 10.5 months after surgery; range, 5 to 29 months). In the birds that survived long-term, complications associated with the proventriculotomy or esophagotomy were not observed.

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