Babs, Umbrella Cockatoo: Her Story

Permanently under PRC’s financial wing 2013 – 2016. She resided with Lori Gibbons of the Hamilton Parrot Club, who gave Babs the loving home she required.

Update February 18, 2016

With the heaviest of hearts . . .

“Babs is now flying free. This morning, February 18th, 2016, I was advised that she was in severe renal failure and I made the decision to humanely end her life.

I took Mrr Mrr with me to say goodbye. Babs was very shut down but briefly perked up when she saw Mrr Mrr. Mrr leaned over to give her one last preen.

Babs was euthanized in my arms. Babs is being privately cremated with her ashes returned to me. I declined to have a necropsy done which was a hard decision for me as Guelph is a teaching hospital and they had done so much to let her live. Babs body had been invaded medically many times and I did not want to do this to her once last time.

Thank you everyone for your support and for sharing Babs journey with me.”

~Lori McCreary (Gibbons) of Hamilton Parrot Club, who rescued and gave Babs a wonderful home for the past few years.


Babs’ journey with PRC started in 2013 when we received this letter:

6709341_origDear Gloria, Directors of Parrot Resource Centre and Friends of PRC:

On behalf of the Hamilton Parrot Club I would like to thank all of you at Parrot Resource Centre for your extremely generous donation towards Babs (the Umbrella Cockatoo with the prolapse vent) exam, surgery and follow up at the Avian Clinic at Guelph University (June 5 and ongoing). Without your intervention she would have not been able to get the immediate veterinary assistance she needed.

Babs was examined by Dr. Hugues Beaufrere, Service Chief, DVM, PhD, ABVP(Avian) ECZM (Avian) the morning of June 5 and given the vague history I have of her; female (28 ?) year old umbrella cockatoo, been in multiple homes, had a vent prolapse for at least 5 years, during this time she was not seen by a vet, owner died, new owner took her to BurlOak Animal Clinic in February 2013 where she had her vent tacked, 3 days later she blew the tack, Babs was then re homed due to her owner being on an oxygen machine, Babs was not taken back to vet after her failed surgery, Dr. Beaufrere decided the best course of action was to admit her for surgery that day.

Dr. Beaufrere explained that:

vent prolapses were more common in male cockatoos that had not been weaned properly and in females with internal masses, ones that are chronic egg layers or even ones with calcified eggs in their reproductive tracts. Prolapses do not occur in the wild and much is still to be learned about their causes.

Dr. Beaufrere decided he would need to do a CBC with manual diff, TS; avian, biochemistry avian profile, give her a Deslorelin Implant (comes from Australia) to downplay her raging hormones, do an endoscopy to see what was happening inside of her, take x rays and then perform a vent tack surgery using stainless steel sutures (steel tends to stay in better). Dr. Beaufrere explained there were different surgeries available for Babs but that they always start with the least intrusive and then go from there if it does not work. Babs came through her surgery and was alert and inter active when I picked her up at 6:30 pm.

2822064_origThe findings were amazing, heart breaking and very informative as to why she had her prolapse. Dr. Beaufrere said her condition was the worse he has seen. Her prolapse was the size of a green grape that hung on the outside of her body that has now been tucked back up inside where it belongs. Her reproductive tract and organs are severely inflamed and there is an unknown mass (possible it is a growth or maybe part of her organs, everything is swollen that it was too hard to determine what some things were). It was obvious that she has been a chronic egg layer.

Dr. Beaufrere is trying to calm her hormones down with a chemical implant and in the future will do another endoscopy to try to determine what the mass is. Her vent tissue is extended and very flaccid; this may result in the prolapse occurring again, something that is expected to happen. I was fortunate to see the film of the endoscopy and am going to ask for a copy if possible. Babs also has the remnants of an old calcified egg buried in the tissue walls, was sad but amazing to see.

Her x rays showed inflammation in her reproductive area and also revealed why she cannot open her wings. The bones of her wings have been stripped of calcium, probably from the chronic egg laying and in part poor diet she was on. The wing joints were fused, possibly old broken bone injuries, this is permanent damage and she will need to be monitored for arthritic pain as she ages. This bird is a trooper; she had no infection in her gut, just an elevated white count from the inflammation. Babs has a follow up appointment June 12 at Guelph.

On the way home she was dancing to the radio, saying hi to me though I was told she does not speak and started to defecate, a great sign she was on the mend. The day after her surgery she was eating, had some pretty bird gold, zu preem, banana, took some yam then threw it back at me, lol and a walnut, will be working on getting her to eat healthier, she had been on a human junk food diet and seeds before.

Her demeanor is sweet, she is not aggressive at all, only beaks a no which I respect, no biting. My goal for Babs is to let her settle at my home for about a month, learn to play with toys, learn to step up, teach her to forage, get her outside for some sunshine to help her bones and to get her through the post-surgery. After which we will look for a new loving home for her.

Once again EVERYONE THANK YOU for YOUR assistance and care, without you Babs would have been stuck in a filthy too small cage with no stimulation, a cage she had not been out of since February. Thanks to Bev Penny for introducing me to PRC.

Lori Gibbons
President, The Hamilton Parrot Club

Babs continues her recovery under the dedication and love of Lori Gibbons. Babs will need to have the staples replaced on an ongoing basis and she needs twice daily cleaning of the vent area at this time. On June 20th she had the steel staples replaced with blue nylon sutures, providing her more comfort.

As of January 1, 2016, Babs' vet bills have been over $6,500.

Click here to view Babs' Youcaring page

Update September 2013

8853008_origBabs is learning trust. This the first person Babs asked to step up to in my home besides myself. My friend Sandy came over to visit Babs and hold her while I did her nails. Afterwards Babs kept going near Sandy trying to lean into her from the table. I asked Sandy to offer her arm, she did and up went Babs. Warms my heart seeing the progress she is making at trusting people and getting strength in her feet.

Deb and Ed Pepin dropped over with some toys for Babs on Saturday, Ed came just to see Babs again. He asked for a step up from the table and she gave it and immediately snuggled in.

Update April 2014

babs03Babs has developed postintubation tracheal stenosis from previous multiple prolapse surgeries (her throat is damaged from the constant intubation and tissue is dying). She will have to undergo surgery to remove dead tissue and widen her trachea. Without the surgery Babs will die: she will not be able to breathe or eat.

The actual quote is $1400 to $1600 which includes medical boarding, not included in the guess. There is also an optional charge of $200 if we want the tissue tested and $100 for a culture, culture testing is more important. Babs had emergency stenosis surgery in May, 2014. It was undetermined if she would survive at the time of the surgery.

Babs’ Youcaring page can be viewed here.

Update September 3, 2014

Babs continues to be the miracle survivor and is thriving, becoming more Cockatoo each day, reports Lori Gibbons, her caretaker in Hamilton, ON. Her medical bills to date $5,825.22 have been paid 100% by PRC, through donations and fund raising We continue to raise money for her ongoing medical care, if you can help please PP to with Babs in the subject line.

Her next check-up is January 2015!

The Crazy Bird Ladies auction summer 2014, raised $1,058.75 for Babs care, it is on credit at the University of Guelph, where she receives her splendid care.

Update January 26, 2016

Babs-Mrr-Mrr-Nov-16-2015-smBabs on left with her female friend, Murphy. November 2015.

Life is good for Babs, thanks to the support of wonderful, caring people who donate to her medical care fund at Parrot Resource Centre. I updated her You Caring and it is active again.


PRC Special Cases

PRC is helping provide on-going, long-term financial medical support for Babs and Chico. To read Chico’s story, click his photo below:

Meet Babs:

Read more about

Cloacal / Vent Prolapse

Cloacal prolapse or vent prolapse is a condition where the inner tissues of the cloaca protrude (hang out) from the vent, exposing the intestines, cloaca or uterus.

The cloaca is the part of the bird’s body which stores urates, feces, urine and egg. The cloacal lips (or vent) are used to control the passage and frequency of droppings and other eliminations.

Mature Umbrella and Moluccan cockatoos suffer more often from cloacal prolapse, as do hand-fed birds. However, cockatoos not bred by humans are not affected by cloacal prolapse.

Cloacal prolapse occurs when long-term strain is put onto the vent. Usually the reasons are both physical and behavioral.

Below is Babs, Umbrella Cockatoo, after surgery with surgical steel staples applied to the vent to control the prolapse.

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