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UC Davis Veterinarians Successfully Treat a Dystocia with Ectopic Eggs in a Goose

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Prophet and her companion geese enjoy life at Farm Sanctuary in Orland, California.

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Radiograph images clearly showed Prophet had eggs she was unable to pass.

VMTH "Case of the Month" - June 2014

Prophet the goose (along with 12 other geese) was abandoned in 1998 at a Northern California county fairground following a 4-H sale and fair. The geese were left to fend for themselves against dogs, weather, and traffic. Four of the geese didn’t survive the elements, but Prophet and the others were rescued by Farm Sanctuary and taken to their ranch in Orland, California. For the past 16 years, Prophet has enjoyed the “good life” at Farm Sanctuary. Recently, though, there were concerns with her health.

On a visit to Farm Sanctuary, faculty and resident veterinarians with UC Davis’ Companion Exotic Animal Medicine & Surgery Service could feel firm structures in Prophet’s coelomic cavity (similar to the abdomen in mammals). There was a concern about possible egg binding, meaning Prophet was unable to pass eggs she had formed. Farm Sanctuary allowed the veterinarians to bring Prophet back to the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) for further diagnostic evaluation.

Back at the VMTH, Prophet underwent radiograph and ultrasound evaluations to determine what the two firm structures were in her coelomic cavity. Radiographs clearly showed they were eggs that she was unable to pass, but exactly where those eggs were in her body was the big question. Specialists from the Diagnostic Imaging Service consulted with exotics specialist Dr. David Guzman over ultrasound images to see if they could determine if the eggs were in her oviduct (similar to a uterus in mammals) or were free in the coelomic cavity. The images proved inconclusive.

Due to concerns about Prophet’s declining health, signs consistent with egg binding, and a history of reproductive issues, it was recommended that she undergo a salpingohysterectomy (removal of the oviduct) under general anesthesia. During the successful surgery, Dr. Guzman found and removed not two, but three eggs free in her coelomic cavity.

Prophet’s post-surgery treatment included anti-inflammatory and pain medications, as well as a regimen of antibiotics. She was hospitalized at the VMTH for six days.

While Prophet’s oviduct was removed, her ovary was left in place due to the risks associated with removing avian ovaries. With an ovary present, there is potential for ovulation and egg formation, even if the rest of the reproductive tract no longer exists. To control this, Prophet was placed on hormone therapy.

Prophet’s veterinarians had been researching the effects of hormone-controlling implants in quails. 4.7 milligram (mg) implants were controlling hormone production for two-three months, and 9.4 mg implants lasted for up to six months. While the effect of the implants in geese had not been fully evaluated, veterinarians were confident it would help to control Prophet’s hormones. She was given two 4.7 mg implants. Future evaluations of Prophet’s implants showed lasting success. With her help, UC Davis veterinarians have been able to expand their research on the implants to not only include geese, but cockatiels as well.

Prophet has returned to her life at Farm Sanctuary and remains healthy. She and her companion geese enjoy life on their pond with shade trees and the company of an assortment of ducks.

Owners of geese regard them as loyal pets. Many report that geese respond when their names are called, and some have been known to protect the house similar to a dog.

About the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital
The William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis—a unit of the School of Veterinary Medicine—provides state-of-the-art clinical care while serving as the primary clinical teaching experience for DVM students and post graduate veterinarian residents. The VMTH treats more than 45,000 animals a year, ranging from cats and dogs to horses, cows and exotic species. To learn more about the VMTH, please go to Timely news updates can be received on its Facebook ( and Twitter ( pages.

Rob Warren
VMTH Communications & Marketing Officer