Diagnosis and Treatment of a Swainson's Toucan (Ramphastos ambiguus swainsonii) with Rhinosinusitis

Rachel M. Baden, David Guzman, Brian L. Speer, Amberly M. Sokoloff, Michelle Hawkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A female Swainson's toucan (Ramphastos ambiguus swainsonii) was presented for examination with a 2-year history of mucoid nasal discharge and abnormal growth of the rhamphotheca. Nasal cytologic examination and culture results were consistent with mixed aerobic and anaerobic bacterial rhinitis. Radiographic and computed tomographic imaging demonstrated a deviated septum of the nasal diverticulum and multiple soft tissue densities in the caudal aspects of the maxillary and mandibular infraorbital diverticula of the infraorbital sinus. Results of rhinoscopy and biopsy confirmed bacterial rhinitis. Treatment included multiple nasal lavages with saline, gentamicin, and amphotericin B and systemic ciprofloxacin and tobramycin nebulizations for several weeks. Repeat radiographic imaging 4 years later showed resolution of most soft tissue opacities previously observed within the maxillary and mandibular diverticula but persistence of 3 areas of soft tissue, dense material within the maxillary sinus diverticulum. A sinus trephination procedure was performed through the maxillary bone for sinoscopy and sample collection and topical treatment. Results of aerobic bacterial cultures from the granulomas were negative. Biopsy results were consistent with keratin granulomas without bacterial or fungal infection. Two and a half years after trephination, the surgical site was fully healed with no recurrence of the nasal discharge. This is the first report, to our knowledge, of sinus trephination in a toucan and describes the advanced diagnostic and medical and surgical treatment of chronic rhinitis in this case.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-160
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Avian Medicine and Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019


  • avian
  • endoscopy
  • Ramphastos ambiguus swainsonii
  • rhinosinusitis
  • sinoscopy
  • sinus
  • Swainson's toucan
  • trephination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Small Animals


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