This guy literally bit off more than he could chew. His owner brought him in before he could do any long-term damage to his tongue. If you have ever watched a bird like this you will know that is uses its sensitive tongue for many things. A Macaw with a damaged tongue will not be able to eat.




This is an emergency due to the important role that tongue has in all species, especially a bird like this. The bird could easily panic and lacerate his tongue severely, injuring  it so that he cannot use it in the future, or causing excessive bleeding.

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

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.

The experience of our staff and veterinarians like Dr. P paid off in this case.  They have handled many exotic and domestic pet emergencies, and have the knowledge to take care of this emergency.

Dr. P removing a foreign body from the mouth of a peregrine falcon

Dr. P has been working with powerful birds (raptors) like this peregrine falcon since 1978. Here he is removing a chicken bone stuck in this falcon’s mouth without damaging the tongue. Restraint needs to be  minimal but effective on such a high strung bird. 

We were able to remove it (very carefully) before his tongue was damaged. It was swollen and bleeding, but that resolved soon after we removed the bell.

He was a good patient with our gentle yet secure restraint. He did not need to be anesthetized because of his cooperative nature and our confidence in handling a large bird. You need to be careful about putting your fingers in the mouth of a bird that can easily bite them off. Everyone went home with their fingers (and tongue) still attached.

Front view of the bell stuck on the tongue

The front view

Side view of the bell stuck on the tongue

Side view

Lubricating the tongue with mineral oil

Lubricating the tongue with mineral oil

Gently pushing the lubricated tongue through the bell opening

Dr. P gently pushed on the tongue to extricate it. It was too swollen to go back through, so the bell needed to be cut.

Cutting the bell with our special scissors

This is a powerful scissors that can cut metal, so he cut in small stages trying to avoid one wiggly tongue

Cutting the bell with our special scissors

The final cut after a few minutes

Gently removing the cut bell from the tongue

Removing the now bleeding tongue from its prison

Bell removed, checking the tongue for any damage

One final check of the tongue and mouth and this guy was declared good to go!

We are an emergency animal hospital, and our vets are available 7 days per week into the evening to take care of any problems you might have like this one. Our emergency veterinarians are experienced at handling the wide variety of exotic and domestic species we care for like this macaw.

Always call us first before coming in so that can advise you on what to do at home and so that we can prepare. To learn more please read our Emergency Services page.

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