Egg Yolk Peritonitis in Birds

Egg Yolk Peritonitis in Birds - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
Egg Yolk Peritonitis in Birds - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What are Egg Yolk Peritonitis?

Egg yolk peritonitis is a very serious condition.  It is the most common fatal obstetrical condition in birds.  Egg yolk peritonitis can occur in any bird species, but it is most common in cockatiels, budgerigars, lovebirds, ducks and macaws.  

If your bird is showing symptoms of egg yolk peritonitis she should be seen by an avian veterinarian as soon as possible. The symptoms of egg yolk peritonitis are similar to that of egg binding. The early detection, diagnosis and treatment of this condition may save your bird’s life.

During ovulation, a mature ova (yolk) is released from the hen’s ovary into the oviduct.  When the yolk does not enter the oviduct and instead enters the abdominal cavity, it causes inflammation to the membrane lining (peritoneum) of the abdomen. This condition is referred to as egg yolk peritonitis.

Symptoms of Egg Yolk Peritonitis in Birds

Symptoms of non-septic and septic egg peritonitis may include:

  • Abdominal and vent swelling
  • Weight loss
  • Wide based stance
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Ascites (accumulation of fluids in the abdominal cavity)
  • Respiratory distress
  • Anorexia
  • Yolk colored droppings
  • Fluffed feathers
  • Lack of vocalization
  • Pain
  • Change in regular behavior
  • Secondary - Abdominal hernia due to extreme abnormal distention
  • Sudden death

Types

  • Non-septic egg peritonitis - No bacteria is present
  • Septic egg peritonitis (most common) -  Contaminated with bacteria, typically  E.coli
arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Egg Yolk Peritonitis in Birds

Egg yolk peritonitis may be caused by:

  • Ruptured oviduct
  • Reverse peristalsis
  • Bird was restrained or stressed during ovulation
  • Genetic
arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Egg Yolk Peritonitis in Birds

During the consultation, let the veterinarian know what symptoms you have observed in your bird and when they started.  If your bird has been seen by another veterinarian, it is recommended that you bring the previous medical records as this will help with the evaluation of your bird’s medical history.

The veterinarian will then perform a physical exam and may suggest administering a small amount of gas anesthesia to the patient before starting; this gas anesthetic may help your bird to be less stressed.

Weighing your bird, checking his eyes, beak, oral cavity, and plumage will be next, in addition to an abdominal palpation, vent and cloacal examination.

The veterinarian may want to run some diagnostic tests.  Patients with egg yolk peritonitis may have a higher white blood cell count (leukocytosis) and an increase in blood calcium, cholesterol and blood protein. An abdominal tap may reveal yolk or fat globules.  The veterinarian may want to have a culture of the aspirated fluid.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Egg Yolk Peritonitis in Birds

Birds with non-septic egg yolk peritonitis will be treated with fluid injections and antibiotics may be administered as a preventative for bacterial infections. Patients with ascitic fluid may need to have an abdominocentesis to have all the fluid removed. The veterinarian will use a needle to withdraw the yolk fluid.  

Patients with septic-egg yolk peritonitis will need to be stabilized. The veterinarian may suggest that the patient be hospitalized in order for her to receive 24/7 intensive care. The patient will be given fluids to keep her hydrated, long-term antibiotic treatment, and will be kept warm in a stress-free environment. If the bird is not eating she may have to be tube fed; it is important that the patient is on a high protein diet. 

Once the bird is stable and stronger she will need to undergo surgery to flush out the abdominal  cavity. The veterinarian may also suggest performing a salpingectomy; which is removal of the ovaries.  The procedure would prevent future egg yolk peritonitis recurring.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Worried about the cost of Egg Yolk Peritonitis treatment?

Pet Insurance covers the cost of many common pet health conditions. Prepare for the unexpected by getting a quote from top pet insurance providers.

Recovery of Egg Yolk Peritonitis in Birds

Patients diagnosed and treated for non-septic egg peritonitis have a good recovery prognosis. Follow up visits will be necessary to monitor the patient’s progress.  The veterinarian may want to have bloodwork retaken to ensure that the patient’s blood levels are all within the normal range. The veterinarian may recommend hormonal injections to prevent the bird from ovulating.

If your bird underwent surgery, you will be given post-up instructions from the surgeon.  Follow-up visits will be necessary to check on her progress and to remove the sutures. It is important to follow the post-op instructions and to make sure that the bird is eating and drinking water.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Egg Yolk Peritonitis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Bird

dog-age-icon

Six Months

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Redness Swollen One Foot

Our bird bargie is new had it for a couple of months we didn’t notice until a couple of weeks one foot is slight reddish & swolen & his nail looks like it’s going to detach , we don’t know if he is in pain please help

Sept. 29, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Birds can get infections or injuries from trauma of their nails. If it is not getting better and it looks like it is going to be a problem, it would be a good idea to have him seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine him and prescribe any medication that you might need. I hope that all goes well with your bird!

Sept. 30, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Hazel

dog-breed-icon

chicken

dog-age-icon

13 Months

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Lethargic
Lethargy

My chicken laid a soft egg yesterday I noticed a drip of egg white on her feathers I took her to vets they said nothing is there inside her and that she is healthy now she is acting very tired she is eating and drinking she has got a bit of soft poop

Aug. 22, 2018

Hazel's Owner


answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

It is difficult to say what the specific cause of the lethargy is and whether the cause is related to the laying of the soft egg or if there is a wider health issue with Hazel; nutritional deficiencies including lack of calcium etc… in the diet may be responsible. However if Hazel isn’t improving you may want to think about returning to your Veterinarian since the lethargy has just presented. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 22, 2018

Hi she get vermex layer pellets and grit plus scratch feeds like corn and greens like spinach and cabbage

Aug. 22, 2018

Hazel's Owner


Hazel is a lot better now scratching and pecking about again but not laid for a week

Aug. 25, 2018

Hazel's Owner

Was this experience helpful?

Need pet insurance?
Need pet insurance?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews

Install


© 2022 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.