Thursday, December 23, 2010

Amazona vittata, laparoscopic examination of their internal organs to check their state of health

This is a normal ovary of a mature female, the white irregular patch to the left marks the spot where an egg was released

A healthy testicle

A spent fibrous ovary of an old Amazona ventralis, the owner of this ovary is reproductively senecent

A liver with yellow spots of uncertain etiology 

Lymari (USFWS), Jafet Velez (USFWS), Brian Ramos (DRNA)

Dr. Antonio Rivera the veterinarian that conducted the laparoscopic examinations
A bird ready for the procedure, note the laparoscopic probe  which is the wand like apparatus on the doctor;s hand

The view of the body cavity of the parrot on real time on the computer screen

The first sign that bird is coming out of anesthezia is when they open their eyes, as you can see this bird is not amused

A hispaniolan parrot just removed from the anesthezia apparatus
During the course of the year we test our birds for various diseases, give them physical examinations and do a variety of blood tests on the flock.  Also we evaluate carefully each breeding pair performance during the breeding season.  Usually all these things put together give us a pretty good idea of what to expect from our birds and the state of their health.  But in some cases what exactly is the reason for a bird not breeding is not clear from blood examinations and physical tests.  Then we use a laparoscopic apparatus to see into the bird.
The laparoscopic apparatus is an electronic device that allows us to see inside the bird by using a flexible tube that acts as a camera to capture images of the internal organs.  Since the tube is fairly thin the incision needed is small, more like a hole than a cut.  The flexible tube has fiber optics that bring light inside the animal and allows us to see the internal organs live in a computer screen.  At times we have added a tiny probe that can clip diminutive bits of tissues of interest.  This procedure can be done with very little loss of blood by the animal and after it is finished the birds can get back to their cages and normal routine after a few hours of observation.
The birds are anesthetized using isoflourane.  The flow of the anesthetic is carefully metered to insure that the bird has the proper level of anesthesia.  Unfortunately the level of anesthesia needed to put the birds to sleep is not too far from the level that can kill them.  That means that during the whole operation there is one person paying very close attention to the bird vital signs.  In case a bird stops breathing we have ways to rescue it.  Thankfully, because the staff has a fair amount of experience on treating birds we have never lost one to anesthesia.  We anesthetize the birds because the parrots in our flock object in the strongest terms possible to being handled and will happily put one or a dozen vicious bites in the hand that feeds them.  Our parrots are familiar with medical tests and abhor them wholeheartedly.
Once the bird is safely anesthetized an area on its left side is cleaned and a cut of about one centimeter is made on the skin and muscles.  Through this cut a hole is made into the body cavity and the laparoscopic apparatus is threaded into the body.  Usually the lungs, heart, liver, kidney and gonads are checked for appearance and everything is described, if any abnormality is noted a photo is taken.  Relevant aspects of the bird life history are discussed before each individual laparoscopic examination.   The doctor checks the organs and makes his evaluation and recommendations.  The probe is extracted and the cut sutured.
After the operation the birds are carefully monitored to see that they recuperate successfully from anesthesia.  We all can remember what happened to Michael Jackson because his doctor put him under deep anesthesia and then left him all alone to do some errands.  The birds recuperate fairly quickly from the anesthesia and after they open their eyes and stand on their feet we can confidently say that they won’t unexpectedly croak on us.

I want to thank the USFWS for lending us the laparoscopy machine and for the help of their skilled personnel to give support to Dr, Rivera during the procedure.  I want to thank Jafet Velez (USFWS), Lymari (USFWS), Brian Ramos DRNA) and Dr. Antonio Rivera.


Daniel José Lugo Robles said...

Love it! Never seen one in my life but this topic is the most interesting thing I have read about A. vittata so far. Love the orchids too. Keep the good work.

Brendail said...

i dont like that pictures.. u.u

it hurts u.u