This page shows how we anesthetize and use the carbon dioxide laser to remove a large growth on a budgie. Small birds only have a small amount of blood cursing through their veins, so bleeding control (hemostasis) is critical. We removed the growth 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.

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

On occasion they might get a growth that is bleeding. This is an emergency because they can rapidly go into shock and die due to the small amount of blood in them.

The Long Beach Animal Hospital, staffed with emergency avian vets, is available until the evenings 7 days per week to help if your pet is having any problem, especially bleeding or breathing hard. Think of us as your Long Beach Animal Emergency Center to help when you need us for everything from minor problems to major surgery.

We serve all of Los Angeles and Orange county with our Animal Emergency Center Long Beach, and are easily accessible to most everyone in southern California via Pacific Coast Hwy or the 405 freeway.

If you have an emergency that can be taken care of by us at the Animal Emergency Hospital Long Beach always call us first (562-434-9966) before coming in so that our veterinarians can advise you on what to do at home and so that our staff and doctor can prepare for your arrival. To learn more please read our Emergency Services page.

A surgery like this is also a good teaching moment for young veterinarians, and also our externs, who do not get to experience surgery like this using the laser 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.


The vets at the Long Beach Animal and emergency hospital have been successfully anesthetizing a wide variety of exotic and domestic animals since 1989. If your pet requires anesthesia one of our veterinarians will make a custom plan tailored to your pet’s specific situation.

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 growth on its mandible (chin). You can learn more in our Reptile Diseases page.

Return to Avian Diseases page