is a 9-year-old sulfur crested cockatoo living with
Dawn, her husband, Nate, and their two children. She is
very interactive with her family, sharing meals and lots
of play time outside her cage. She is trained to urinate
and defecate in her cage while spending time throughout
she has begun to deviate from this trained behavior and
has been defecating in various areas in the house.
Initially, her accidents were infrequent and ignored by
her caretakers, but that is no longer the case as this
new behavior has become quite prevalent. Most recently,
Dawn reports finding blood in Pebbles’ stool.
are very routine-oriented and Pebbles is no exception.
They usually live very organized lives, and this
characteristic makes them very amenable to training. The
fact that Pebbles’ trained defecation behavior is
currently out the window tells me there is something
wrong. It’s likely not simply a behavioral change but
instead likely reflects some type of physical problem.
The blood in her stool is a significant clue.
blood in the stool of a bird can come from several
areas. It can be as simple as a wound on the vent or it
can come from the cloaca or the digestive tract. It is
important to first figure out if the blood is indeed
within the stool or on the outside. It is also important
to note if it is not truly involving the stool at all,
but instead is part of the urates, which is the urine of
a bird. This can be determined by close examination of
the stool/urates. Determining if a wound is on the vent
involves a simple visual diagnosis, however bleeding
from areas farther up inside the bird requires more
one of the possibilities that come to mind in Pebbles’
case is colitis, which is inflammation of the colon. If
this inflammation is severe enough, it can cause the
colon wall to bleed thus producing blood in the stool.
is often an underlying dietary problem. Bleeding also
can occur in the cloaca, the common area in birds that
accepts material from the digestive tract, the urinary
tract and the reproductive tract. It is just inside the
vent. If there is trauma to the wall of the cloaca,
bleeding can occur. Certain lesions in the reproductive
tract can lead to bleeding, which can show up as blood
on the stool coming from the vent. Obviously there are a
number of possibilities.
disease process I need to mention is papillomatosis.
This is a disease caused by a papilloma virus in birds
that leads to the development of fleshy masses within
the digestive tract from the oral cavity to the vent.
These masses can bleed very easily with the blood
showing up on the stool.
when they occur, are commonly found inside the vent on
the cloacal wall. If they are few and not too large,
they can be removed. However it they are farther up the
digestive tract, removal is usually not possible.
Another area where they commonly occur is the oral
cavity. When these oral papillomas bleed, the blood does
not show up in the stool as fresh blood but instead it
shows in the stool as dark, tarry material that is
digested blood swallowed from the oral cavity.
is likely obvious that Pebbles needs to be evaluated.
She almost definitely is dealing with a physical problem
and the sooner it is diagnosed, the sooner she may be
helped. Hopefully her problem will have a simple
underlying cause and correspondingly simple solution as