Case description: A 7-year-old female blue crane (Anthropoides paradiseus) was initially evaluated after it had suddenly developed signs of respiratory distress following aspiration of a rock. Emergency tracheotomy had been performed, and the rock had been removed from the proximal cervical portion of the trachea. Fifty-one days later, the clinical signs had returned and the crane was reevaluated.
Clinical findings: On reevaluation, no obvious external abnormalities were appreciated at the previous surgical site and no discharge was observed from the glottis. Computed tomography and tracheoscopy revealed marked tracheal stenosis and architectural collapse of the trachea at the previous surgery site.
Treatment and outcome: Tracheal resection and anastomosis was performed to remove the stenotic tracheal segment. Histologic examination of the resected tracheal segment revealed pyogranulomas with intralesional coccobacilli, fungal hyphae consistent with Aspergillus spp, possible parasitic ova, and features suggestive of mild to moderate heterophilic and lymphoplasmacytic tracheitis. The crane was treated with piroxicam, ceftiofur crystalline free acid, terbinafine, and itraconazole. At a follow-up examination 12 weeks later, no abnormalities were appreciated, and the surgical site had completely healed.
Clinical relevance: To the authors' knowledge, this is the first reported case of successful tracheal resection and anastomosis in a bird of the order Gruiformes. The surgical approach used for the blue crane may be useful for removal of tracheal foreign bodies in this and other long-necked avian species.