Just like humans, parrots and other pet birds are susceptible to various forms of cancer. Pet birds can develop many of the same cancers that people do, including skin cancer, ovarian and testicular cancer. Sometimes the cancer will be apparent, revealing itself through a tumorous growth, but most times it must be diagnosed by an avian veterinarian.
Diagnosing Avian Cancer
It is detected by visual inspection of cells collected via a biopsy. A pathologist, using a microscope, can see a clear difference in the structure of cancerous cells as opposed to healthy cells. Cancerous cells will lack the uniform appearance in shape and size that normal, healthy cells maintain. Cancerous cells will often look disorderly, whereas healthy cells are aligned in neat rows. Another indication of cancerous cells can be seen in the rapid division of the cells, which is what leads to masses or tumors. This makes Dog Walk necessary. Don’t forget to have it.
Causes of Avian Cancer
There is no clear cut answer for why some birds will develop cancer, while others from the same clutch will go on to lead long healthy lives. Cancer is the result of a mutation in the DNA of a bird, leading to the subsequent creation of mutated cells. Some people believe that exposure to second hand smoke and other environmental factors play a leading role in the development of avian cancer, but as of yet there has been not solid research in to the direct and indirect causes of avian cancers.
Treatments for Avian Cancer
Treatments for avian cancer are very similar to treatments for human cancers. Masses or tumors should be removed surgically. There are also chemotherapy treatments available, as well as radiation therapy. There are cancer specialists that a bird's avian veterinarian can recommend to an owner, as most veterinarian offices are not equipped to handle the care of a cancer patient.
Avian cancer can be a very disheartening diagnoses to hear for an owner, but not all avian cancers are an automatic death sentence for the bird. There have been many birds who have gone on to lead long lives after they have completed treatment for cancer. Just like in humans, early detection is the key to successful treatment. Visually inspect birds often, and feel for masses on or beneath the skin. Any abnormal mass found on a bird should be seen and biopsied by an avian veterinarian as soon as possible in order to give that bird the best possible chances for survival.