Parakeet being gently held by staff member before surgery

These are little guys, so they get plenty of TLC and gentle handling before, during, and after surgery

This budgie (budgerigar or parakeet) had a growth near his cloaca that weighed almost as much as he did. We removed it because it was getting larger and interfering with bowel movements.

Birds this size have little blood, so bleeding control (hemostasis) is critical. We removed it using the laser, taking advantage of its tremendous bleeding control, the lack of post operative inflammation, and the pain control it brings by cauterizing instead of cutting nerves.

The lack of bleeding during the surgery when using the laser means the surgery goes faster, and anytime there is less anesthetic time needed to complete a surgery this is a major advantage in a pet this size.

A surgery like this is also a good teaching moment for young veterinarians and also our externs who do not get to experience this in veterinary school.

Dr. Ridgeway is showing a new doctor how to use the laser

Dr. Ridgeway is showing a younger veterinarian how to use the surgical laser

Graphic photos on this page.


Birds tend to be more sensitive to anesthesia than most mammals, so special precautions are taken to minimize the risk. We always perform pre-anesthetic diagnostic tests prior to surgery to make sure there are no internal problems.

Picture of anesthetic monitor showing heart and respiratory rates

We use special monitoring equipment during the surgery

Nurse anesthetist monitoring bird under anesthesia

Lisa is just starting the anesthetic process. This bird will also have hot water bottles, and a hot water blanket to lay on, to keep it warm during the surgery. Small animals lose body heat rapidly during anesthesia and surgery, so we want to stay ahead of the curve and prevent it from happening. 

Dr. Ridgeway preparing sterile instruments prior to surgery

This is a sterile procedure, and we treat it like any other surgery using aseptic technique. You can see our laser unit in the background. 


The growth is large for a bird this size, and has probably been there for months. It is starting to interfere with bowel movements at this point. Luckily it was benign.

Anesthetized bird showing growth at cloaca

Our patient anesthetized, and just before starting our final prep. You can easily see the growth that we will be removing. 

Picture of using the laser to remove the mass from the bird

Once our patient is draped, and under the proper plane of anesthesia, we start the laser surgery

The laser cutting through the mass without any bleeding

Half way through and there is no bleeding at all. Note the laser at the left center of the picture.

The surgical site showing no bleeding after surgery

No sutures are needed, and healing will be complete in a few days, with no pain or post operative swelling

Photo of Dr. P and staff holding owl after eye surgery

We perform surgery on many different types of birds like this Great Horned Owl that just had eye surgery. You can see the whole procedure from our Wildlife Care page

The Laser Removing The Growth

We use the laser in many different exotic species like this chameleon with a grown on its mandible (chin). You can learn more in our Reptile Diseases page.

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