While not as commonly seen in most birds as they are in dogs and cats, tumors do occur in birds. Unlike the condition in dogs and cats, birds of any age can be afflicted with tumors.
What are tumors?
Tumors are firm tissue growth swellings that may occur on the body (protruding from the skin), under the skin, or within the body.
Are all lumps tumors?
No. Some lumps can be abscesses, which are caused by an infectious organisms such as bacteria. Some swellings you notice might actually be the cause of an organ, such as the liver, enlarging from disease. If the bird is a female, an abdominal swelling you suspect to be a tumor may in fact be an egg.
Are all tumors cancerous?
No. As is true with other pets and people, some tumors are benign (non-fatal) and some are malignant (cancerous).
How can I tell what’s causing the lump?
You can’t, and very often your veterinarian can’t either, at least not just with a physical examination. Tests such as a painless needle biopsy can often diagnose the cause of the lump. Sometimes, the lump must be biopsied after surgical removal in order to determine if the tumor is benign or malignant. Internal lumps may require diagnostic tests, including blood tests, radiographs (X-rays), or even exploratory surgery in order to determine their cause.
How are tumors treated?
Once the lump is diagnosed as a tumor, surgical removal is usually recommended. Depending upon the size of the tumor, this surgery may be more challenging and difficult than a similar surgery in a dog or cat. Therefore, the sooner the pet is examined after you notice the tumor, the better his chance for a successful surgery.