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Dr Phil Sacks with Heather Greaves (right) and her daughter Kerryn Wilkinson, and budgies White Wings and Bluey. Picture: Chris Eastman

Avian vet Dr Philip Sacks saves pensioner’s pet budgies with beak reconstruction surgery

A CAULFIELD South vet has performed lifesaving beak reconstruction surgery on two pet budgies born with deformities.

Dr Philip Sacks and his team at the Burwood Bird and Animal Hospital performed microsurgery on Bluey and White Wings earlier this week to fix the deformity, which was similar to a severe underbite in humans.

The two-year-old birds couldn’t open their mouths before the surgery, making it impossible for them to eat.

“It’s similar to orthodontics in humans,” he said.

“The birds’ upper beaks had folded into the lower beak, it’s called Mandibular Prognathisim — a human would need braces for this sort of thing.”

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Bluey and White Wings, who each weigh around 20g, were sedated during the 20-minute operations.

“It (was) like putting a filling into a human,” Dr Sacks said.

“But they’re so tiny to work with, we worked under magnification.”

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Dr Sacks also pierced Bluey’s beak, using a small stainless steel bar to attach the prosthetic beak to the original.

The procedure would normally cost $400 a bird, but owner Heather Greaves, who is a pensioner from Burwood, was given a discounted rate of $500 for the pair.

Budgies have an average lifespan of 10 years, and Dr Sacks said Bluey and White Wings could now look forward to long and happy lives.

“They will require some follow-up procedures to make sure everything is working the way it’s supposed to but this has truly saved their lives,” he said.