Educational Articles

Birds + Tumors

  • Cutaneous papillomatosis is the development of papillomas (non-cancerous growths, or warts) caused by the papillomavirus and affects many pet birds. Commonly affected species are finches, canaries, cockatiels, budgerigars, and African grey parrots. The clinical signs and treatment for this condition are explained in this handout.

  • Collecting tissue samples for cytology or histopathology allow a pathologist to often give a diagnosis of the type of mass or tumor your pet has. Samples can be obtained by fine needle aspirate or biopsy, where a piece of the mass is cut out. Based on what the mass appears like under the microscope, the pathologist can often give a prognosis of how the tumor will behave.

  • Tumors are cancerous growths. They may be found on the surface of a bird's body or in the internal organs. Veterinary examination of any growth or lump is highly advised as tumors may grow rapidly or spread.

  • Lipomas are fatty tumors that affect a variety of pet birds. These are typically benign fatty growths found under the skin. It is classically considered to have both a nutritional and genetic factor for development.

  • Xanthomas are discrete masses or diffuse, thickened areas of skin that are yellow-orange and dimpled in appearance. They are accumulations of fat and cholesterol and are most commonly found in cockatiels and budgies (and they are more often found in females).

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