Impaction of the proventriculus and ingestion of foreign bodies are management-related problems. Chicks are at high risk of impaction for the first 2 wk after movement to a new environment, with or without a change in substrate or diet. Proventricular impactions are also seen as a sequela of diseases involving ileus of the GI tract. Impactions with sand and concentrated feed can be managed medically with psyllium laxatives and supportive therapy. Impactions with forages or ingestions of foreign material (eg, hardware, rocks, jewelry, etc) require proventriculotomy.
Cloacal prolapses are common in young chicks. Frequently, the chick has diarrhea or an impaction within the GI tract that causes straining and subsequent prolapse of the cloaca. The cloaca is easily replaced, and a purse-string suture is placed for 24–48 hr.
Intestinal torsion or volvulus, primarily involving the colon, occurs in ostriches of all ages. It can be seen as a flock problem when the diet is suddenly changed, especially if the new diet has a high fiber content. Clinical signs include scant to no feces, slight diarrhea, abdominal enlargement, and vomiting. Abdominocentesis and radiography are diagnostic. When diagnosis is made early, surgical intervention is corrective but often not economically feasible.
Last full review/revision July 2011 by Karen Hicks-Alldredge, DVM