Three Things Canary Owners Need To Know About Cystic Ovarian Disease

Small birds like canaries can develop health problems as a result of egg laying, including cystic ovarian disease. Here are three things canary owners need to know about cystic ovarian disease.

What is cystic ovarian disease?

Birds with cystic ovarian disease develop fluid-filled cysts within their ovaries. If your bird develops these cysts, you may notice that they seem depressed. In birds, depression tends to present with appetite loss and aggression. Depressed birds may also start pulling out their own feathers.

Your bird's abdomen may also become distended. This swelling is a sign of ascites, which is a medical term that means that fluid is building up inside their abdominal cavity. This fluid is from their cysts. Dyspnea—trouble breathing—can also be a sign of cystic ovarian disease. This can happen if the accumulated fluid keeps their lungs from being able to expand properly.

Why do birds get cystic ovarian disease?

Often, birds that develop cystic ovarian disease have laid eggs in the past. This doesn't need to be recent; even if your bird hasn't laid eggs in several years, they could still develop these cysts. If your bird has produced eggs, make sure to monitor them for the signs of cystic ovarian disease.

How is cystic ovarian disease treated?

Your vet can prescribe medications to help shrink your pet's cysts. Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a hormone produced by embryos after they implant, can be used for this purpose. Deslorelin acetate, a medication that stops the production of testosterone and estrogen, can also be used to shrink the cysts.

If the cysts become chronic and can't be shrunken with medications, ovariectomy may be required. In adult birds, fully removing the ovaries is very challenging for vets. The procedure can also be high-risk for birds, so your vet will only remove part of the ovaries. The goal is to de-bulk the abnormal ovary tissue and prevent the formation of future cysts.

Cystic ovarian disease has a high potential for progression, so your vet may not be able to cure your bird. If the condition is untreatable, your vet can use supportive therapies like pain medications and intravenous fluids to help your bird stay comfortable. Elective euthanasia may be required if your bird is in a lot of pain and can't be treated.

If your bird has laid eggs in the past and now seems depressed or has a swollen abdomen, they could be suffering from cystic ovarian disease and should be seen by a veterinarian. Visit for more information.   

About Me

Communicating Effectively With Your Pet's Veterinarian

As soon as our pet started acting strangely, we knew that she was having some health problems. She was having a hard time eating, and just seemed sad as she moped around our house. Unfortunately, we didn't communicate all of her symptoms effectively to her veterinarian, which led to a bad diagnosis and incorrect treatment. As soon as we realized our mistake, we talked with our pet's veterinarian, who adjusted her treatment immediately. If we would have communicated better in the first place, we might have been able to speed up our pet's recovery. Read this blog to learn tips for talking with your vet.

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