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Dr Lintner called and confirmed she found an obstruction the size of a whole safflower right in the middle of where the syrinx branches out like a Y toward either bronchial tube. Apparently, the trachea is about half the diameter of a pencil and the passageway from the syrinx to the tubes in extremely narrow, like the reed on a clarinet, so even a small obstruction can fully block airflow. She said that there were no infections, no fungal growth, a full tummy, and she was very healthy otherwise so her meds were working and her body was trying to get rid of the obstruction. Unfortunately, when it broke loose she believes she simply breathed it in and it ended up blocking the path to both bronchial tubes and suffocating her quickly. Had it only blocked one tube she may have had a chance to continue although with limited breath.


She explained that the procedure to remove the obstruction would have been extremely risky as just getting the scope down their trachea to try and scrape out the obstruction cuts off their breathing and thus air has to be sent into the body through another tube. It has had a very low success rate and likely would have killed her following great expense. For those reasons, the approach she takes in these cases is to work with the anti-fungals to prevent the obstruction from growing while the body tries to heal over the blockage. Eventually the body may internalize part of the foreign body and sluff off a smaller scab which can in fact be coughed up by the bird. It has been somewhat successful in previous cases. In Bella's case, she believes the obstruction was just too large and had the bad luck of breaking loose and being inhaled with a single breath. The image illustrates the anatomy of the area to help clarify.






Copyright 2005 Exotic Bird Rescue of Oregon