Cloacal Prolapse

Cloacal prolapse is when the inner tissues of the cloaca protrude from the vent, exposing the intestines, cloaca and/or uterus. The cloaca is comprised of compartments: the largest is the coprodeum, the smallest is the urodeum, and the proctodeum. The coprodeum is responsible for communicating with the distal colon, the urodeum communicates with the distal ureters and oviducts or vas deferens and the proctodeum is opens to the outside body through the vent. Cloacal prolapse is most related to excessive straining due to excessive sexual stimulation, but can also be due to diseases relating to the cloaca. Prolapsed tissues can include the cloaca, oviduct, colon, small intestine, phallus (waterfowl), and/or granulomatous/neoplastic masses.

Systems Affected

Gastrointestinal – infection, inflammation, obstruction, neoplasia, prolapse, dilatation

Reproductive – obstruction, prolapse

Renal/Urologic – obstruction




All species, more common in female birds.

Symptoms (these are also symptoms of various cloacal diseases)

Decreased appetite


Change in posture

Cramping rectal pain

Passage of fresh blood, often in feces



Malodorous feces

Decreased fecal production

Picking or excessive grooming around the vent

Blood or urofeces on the feathers or skin around the vent or on the beak

Intermittent or persistent prolapse of tissues through the vent opening

Causes and risk factors

Cloaca – Spinal trauma, osteomyelitis, neoplasia, Prudenal nerve trauma, neuritis, Peripheral neuropathy, Excessive sexual behavior

Oviduct – Egg binding, Salpingitis, Oviductal neoplasia, Chronic egg laying, Excessive sexual behavior

Colon – Colitis, Cloacitis, Neoplasia, Intestinal impaction, Intussusception, Intestinal parasitism, Granulomatous disease, Megacolon, Excessive sexual behavior

Intestine – Trauma, Intussusception

Phallus – Excessive sexual behavior, Inflammation of the phallus tip

Treatment and Prognosis

Home treatment is not recommended as this condition is extremely painful and the underlying cause cannot be addressed without veterinary diagnostics.

  1. Clean prolapsed tissue with saline, being as gentle as possible – if any tissue looks infected or necrotic, seek out a vet immediately as re-insterting the tissue can b extremely harmful.
  2. If prolapse is large, plain table sugar can be applied to help reduce the swelling and inflammation. Coat very liberally.
  3. Lubricate prolapse liberally before gently pushing back in.
  4. Keep the bird in a warm, dark, clean environment to decrease the likelihood of egg laying, allowing time for the prolapse to heal.
  5. If the prolapse does not heal with home treatment or reoccurs frequently, seek out a vet immediately as retention sutures are more than likely needed.

Prognosis is fair to guarded – recurrence and complications are common. Birds should be retired from breeding.


Blackwell’s Five Minute Veterinary Consult – Avian


The Vet Corner Groups are run solely by volunteers. If you would like to support the groups, please feel free to make a donation to the running costs of the groups and websites. We thank you for your kindness!

© 2014-2022 Rural Veterinary Outreach. All Rights Reserved.