Problem of penile prolapse in waterfowl
Q - I have six Call Ducks, two males and four females. I keep them in a large aviary with a pond. About three months ago one of the males started prolapsing his penis intermittently, but then would self-resolve.
He showed no other signs of ill health, maintaining a good weight and even attempting to mate, etc. Over last week or so he has prolapsed his penis permanently, and the last 1.5cms is black with a band that follows it which is red and inflamed for approx 0.5cms. He is still fine in himself. Do you think that this black area needs amputating? My vet says he has never anaesthetised a duck.
David Roberts, via email
VR?writes: Penile prolapse occurs secondary to local infection caused by faecal organisms or Neisseria spp. (which can be transmitted sexually), trauma, significant changes in weather (frost) and excessive sexual stimulation. The most common complication is ulceration and necrosis of the phallus, if left prolapsed. In waterfowl, mask induction of anaesthesia is often prolonged due to the ‘dive reflex’. This is a stress response from stimulation of the receptors in the beak and nostrils that causes breath-holding and a low heart rate. The dive reflex can be initiated by placing a mask snugly over the beak, even without the anaesthetic agent. To avoid these problems, injectable anaesthetic agents are often used in waterfowl. Your vet will be able to research this. Pain control should start with providing a quiet, stress-free environment; where signs of pain may be more noticeable, followed by administration of pain-relief.