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#255628 - 05/22/14 03:19 PM Cancer lump removal asymptomatic geriatric parrot  
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JackieBoy Offline
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Age 47, confirmed age not made up, orange wing amazon, legal wild caught import of course so he could be 48 or 50 or 60 or whatever. I've had him only five days. A typical long story of going from home to home every 5 to 7 years and the last owner died and the adult daughter called an AV to see if she knew of anyone wanting and old parrot as she said he was too old to sell..... I call him Walter. Walter has two lumps under one wing and one lump near his vent. The wing lumps are not hard which is usually bad and about the size of a large lima bean each. The one lump near his vent is large green pea size and hard which is usually better.

His biopsy of all three, needle aspiration, came back today from the AV in house patho. lab but the out of house done by a 'real' patho. vet lab will be another week or so. The in house came back as cancer for the two soft lumps under wing and non cancerous for the one near vent lump.

We are going to wait on the second lab of course to confirm the in house lab findings but I don't know what to do with this parrot. He is otherwise very healthy and his chem panels are actually excellent for a bird his age and his liver and such actually very good. He is not obese and not in pain.

I can, after the second lab confirms the in house lab either have the two wing lumps removed and the near vent lump removed as neither x ray nor ultrasound found any major vascular feeds to any of the three which is good. Slow growing lumps on older parrots is not rare and not really that uncommon. It's just his age and I don't want to rock the boat for him. Without surgical removal he could live years pain free or not, the cancer is probably already 'in him' but this particular cellular structure of cancer is very slow growing the vet told me so he could die of 'old age' from other things before the cancer hits an organ - or not.

He could of course also have the cancer hit an internal organ tomorrow and slowly start to cause failure, - or not.

It's one of those cases where there are justified reasons for removing the lumps and not removing the lumps. It's just as ethical to not as to.

The only thing I and the AV are concerned with is the lumps are starting, just starting to bother him and while he does 'feel them' just a little he will, as they slowly grow 'beak them' more and potentially poke them as while he is not in any pain from the lumps it's still a lump which he probably will start to pick at but it may be one month or one year or more before he really starts to get aggravated by them enough to pick at them.

It's not about the money or the post op. at home nursing care. It's more about am I doing Walter a service or not overall if I have his lumps removed now or wait or what?

He does have cancer but so far it hasn't latched on to any organ as determined by complete full blood work, x ray, ultrasound and just everything. It's 'hiding'.

I just don't want to put him through the removal only to have him in a few months or in a year or so in a new 'forever' home pop up with organ failure as then I put him through surgery for nothing but then again he may die of other things unrelated to his slow cancer.

This is one of those areas in which I benefit from the thoughts of other avian people. Right now I'm kinda let it alone unless he starts to really be bothered by the lumps. At his age even though is blood was great and all the rest he is still an anesthesia risk.

Any constructive thoughts (or others)welcome. My vet has had many age 50 large parrots under general anesthesia and has no horror stories as they all passed pre op blood work but as she states there is always a risk.

I just don't really know to bother him at his age or not with surgery. He could live just fine without it for years or it could affect an organ one week after lumps removed.


The Heavens Created Birds, then man created cages, shame on man.


#255629 - 05/22/14 03:41 PM Re: Cancer lump removal asymptomatic geriatric parrot [Re: JackieBoy]  
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BE2Cassie Offline
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I would wait to make a decision until the second biopsy comes in. They should be able to give a better idea of the type of cancer it is which will give you a clearer prognosis. It's not a decision I would want to face, best of luck to you. I'm sure that what ever decision you do make is going to be made in the best interest for Walter.


Nancy & Cassie BE2
#255781 - 06/14/14 01:30 PM Re: Cancer lump removal asymptomatic geriatric parrot [Re: JackieBoy]  
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Walter's patho. report came back that it's cancer. He had a higher level ultrasound also after the report. With no major vascular supply and not near a major nerve area all three, two under wing and one near vent the AV zapped them out of him scalpel free, using a lasar scalpel which works like the regular one but is bloodless. He had so much scar tissue from these two very slow growth lumps rubbing against his wing that the AV said everyone that had him for the past twenty plus years knew it, saw it but of course nobody did anything about it.

He had scar tissue where the lumps over years touched his wing skin and she said anyone noticed he was picking and scabbing over all these years. Walter's lumps were like a human having marbles under the skin in the underarm with the lumps not being painful but when the arm is down the lumps rub the skin of the arm and even if not cancerous the armpit lump must be removed to prevent secondary irritation and pain as not any human wants to live with his arm up. Walter's scar tissue on his wing underside is extensive do to years of the two lumps on his body under his wing rubbing. The one near his vent wasn't as bad and I never found him picking but it was removed also. The scar tissue on the underwing is being left alone as it's numb now and he doesn't bother it and until he does nothing needs to be done.

Walter is a happy fellow and is going through a second childhood! He is free of his lumps and he went through his surgery fine and I watched it behind the observation glass along with vet students at Ryan Animal Hospital at U. of Penn. in Philly. His induction to general anesthesia was perfect and they zapped away with a laser and the entire surgery was about twenty minutes. He has no stitches. He isn't picking. He got a shot of a non sedating antihistimime, an antibiotic and a NSAID later in the day and came home with me. I got a bottle of Metacam for him for a few days for pain. He had a little difficulty coming out of general anesthesia but was fine.

He is more active now and both more energetic and alert and when he sleeps, sleeps much better. This poor parrot had two marbles under his wing for 20 plus years and nobody cared and just kept passsing him around.

Bloodwork perfect and the cellular oncologist told me he sees not any sign of the cancer having found a home anywhere inside Walter and that his tumors were one more of irritation from external not internal and thinks Walter may have had ingrown feathers many years ago which were not attended to properly after examining Walter pre surgery and then doing a patho on his three lumps. He assured me he felt Walter's cancer was not systemic but of course this is not 100% but as both a cellular oncologist veterinarian and forensic pathologist veterinarian he is almost certain Walter will not get cancer somewhere from these lumps. He does the patho. for the Philly and NYC ASPCA for animal abuse cases where the animal is dead from suspected abuse and he drove in from NYC to examine Walter before the surgery and do the lumps after and he told me Walter's lumps were noticed by anyone caring for him for 20 years as he picked at them on and off and held his wing up and away and he has seen this MANY times in parrots with neglectful owerns. By the time I got Walter his scar tissue on his under side wing was so think and calloused he felt the pain but couldn't do anything about it. The vent lump is not as clear cut abuse as near vent lumps do happen even in well cared for older parrots.

We must all be careful to know what an ingrown feather is and get the parrot attention. Also the vet told me that while ingrown feathers can and do happen in any parrot they are more likely in the 'oily' species such as amazons unless the amazon has access to water for regular bathing. So if you have an oily species please bathe more often and attend to any picking as if Walter did have ingrown feathers all this could have been prevented with a fast, quick,simple visit to any AV and a shower or shallow dish bath every few weeks. Amazons naturally have a odor to them just as Toos naturally have dander. Amazon odor is from the oil and Zons are oily parrots and need rain showers and such on a regular basis to prevent ingrown feathers.

Walter is so much better since the surgery. He has really made a comback. He gets this bad boy look to him and is naughty, all zon now, vs. the depressed, sad fellow. He actually lunged at me with his beak mid air and then put his head down up against the bars begging for head scritches and then he held my finger with his foot. He's now a typical Zon, naughty, bitey, a bit looney and I'll never push him at his age but in time if he wants to come out and sit atop his cage to sun himself and nap he can for sure as I have him in a playtop as he likes the solid roof better than the dome top. He can't climb up his cage onto the top now as he is activity limited for a few weeks but he is rip roaring to get out and climb up and perch all day on and off and torture me.

He didn't talk ever until after he was home a couple days after his surgery. He says BINGO and Here, Kitty Kitty now! He has come back to life! And I am not rehoming him. I never thought I'd be living with an age 50 + amazon for the rest of my life but I am. I am afraid of Zons, always have been but Walter doesn't frighten me as much as he surprises me! He likes to first slash his beak on his perch at me and then bow his head for petting through the bars and then he sticks out his foot and holds my hand (finger) and beaks my finger all while glaring at me as if to say 'I'm the boss and you better know it'. I hand him foods through bars and I can bribe him back in if he is out rather easily (he will do anything for a nutriberry). I have it so he cannot climb on the playtop roof but he can hang out on the platfrom door and glare at me and then bow his head to me and then after a bit he goes back in for goodies.

Walter likes to glare at me but he is an amazon. He will of course bite me sooner or later and I accept this. Walter is not afraid of anything, he is all Zon and a DNA male and an import so he knows he is a bird. I'm thinking after he is fully healed from his surgery to maybe perch train or stick train him vs. my hand. If I don't let myself 'feel and think' fear of him he's fine with me but if I approach him with fear in my head he can tell.......... and I must learn with Walter to be confident in my thinking but still yet respectful of his beak...... I just love Walter so much I cannot rehome him and he is eating pellets now as he will eat anything I hand him, I have harrisons and roudybush and lafefer and zupreem and he'll eat them all if I hand them to him but not so much yet in his cup.

He hates my roommate with a passion, did from day one. Walter 'protects' me by biting in mid air at my roommate if both of us are around him which we often are and wants nothing to do with making up with my roommate and would rather amputate his fingers than look at him and dilates his pupils looking at him. But Walter is ok with me.

This parrot should have never been caught in south america and imported to be a 'pet' and the least I can do is give him a good home for the rest of his life. I'm glad that OWA are not known to be as good as talkers as say a BFA or a yellow nape. His voice is mellow not loud and BINGO is his call for me telling me he wants interaction/attention. Here Kitty Kitty is him just talking but BINGO means he wants attention and wants to be head petted and hold hands and also something to eat besides the pellets and seed always in his cage.

He is dabbling on and off with all four pellets and I know sooner than later he will be eating the pellets from dish without me handing them to him. He seems to like the lafeber and zupreem the best as he can pick them up easier but eats all four if I hand to him. I just wish they would make harrisons in a large pick up size.

Walter has a home now and he's not going anywhere as long as I'm alive and can communicate. Never thought I'd ever voluntarily take a Zon for my own but sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Those in our group of parrot people all said to me that a Zon is the last large parrot they'd ever have thought I'd keep vs. rehome........ I like Walter because he is easy to read and consistent. No guessing with Walter. He makes his intent clear and follows through. He doesn't mince words or have mixed feelings about anything. Good or bad Walter is what he says and I don't ever have to guess. I like Walter.

It's been almost two weeks since his surgery and he's already established flock communication with me and my roommate. If we say B SIX he says BINGO and then he is nice and does what I want. If he says BINGO he wants some luvin and attention and food (he always has fresh pellets and seed mix in his cage). He doesn't like O numbers such as O 68 but prefers B, I and G numbers....

He's charmed himself into our lives and we talked about it and Walter is here to stay. God help us both with an amazon in the house. Nobody is ever going to neglect our boy again and he's going to live first class the rest of his life. He naps often which at his age is normal and good. But when he gets his energy spurts he is a handful. We accept the fact that we may have to listen to 'here, kitty kitty' on and off for years..... it is cute though and then Walter does this 'evil' sounding little chuckle! It's cute now but probably won't be after a thousand times and we both fully accept Walter and all he is and is not. I actually don't like or want a 'cuddly' parrot and I actually like a parrot I can 'read' being consistent and predictable and Walter is very predictable. He likes to be petted on the head and nape perched on his door and hold fingers and beak fingers but he DOES NOT like to be petted elsewhere and this is A OK by me as if I wanted an animal to hold and cuddle I'd get a rescue dog or cat wanting this.

He had a very early breakfast today of a warm rice, bean, veggie mix one of several 'mush' mixes I make for the tiels. He gobbles it down. He is a good eater not picky, yet.


The Heavens Created Birds, then man created cages, shame on man.


#255783 - 06/14/14 01:40 PM Re: Cancer lump removal asymptomatic geriatric parrot [Re: JackieBoy]  
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BE2Cassie Offline
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Awesome update!! Have you tried singing the Bingo song to him? I wonder if somewhere in his past someone taught him that song.


Nancy & Cassie BE2
#255785 - 06/14/14 02:10 PM Re: Cancer lump removal asymptomatic geriatric parrot [Re: JackieBoy]  
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JackieBoy Offline
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Nancy, please tell me, type out, the Bingo Song and I'll sing it for him or find it to play for him. I've wondered if he wasn't at some point housed in a bingo hall.... he does like the numbers called. I need all the help I can get with anyone kind enough to help me out here as I was not an amazon person before Walter. But Walter changed all that.


The Heavens Created Birds, then man created cages, shame on man.


#255788 - 06/14/14 04:06 PM Re: Cancer lump removal asymptomatic geriatric parrot [Re: JackieBoy]  
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What a great story! Walter has found a terrific home and it sounds like he is very happy. The Bingo song is in my head but I can't think of the words. Wasn't it "There was a farmer had a dog and Bingo was his name-o B-I-N-G-O (3 x) and Bingo was his name!" Is that the song? (Now I will have that song stuck in my head all weekend!) Enjoy your new friend!

#255789 - 06/14/14 04:50 PM Re: Cancer lump removal asymptomatic geriatric parrot [Re: JackieBoy]  
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Thanks Dmr, I am playing this for him off youtube, he loves it! Now I'm singing along for him. He is quite the operatico. What I don't do for my parrots. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eM_1olQ2O24
The tiels love it also.


The Heavens Created Birds, then man created cages, shame on man.


#255790 - 06/14/14 09:06 PM Re: Cancer lump removal asymptomatic geriatric parrot [Re: JackieBoy]  
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Yes that's the song DMR sorry Jackieboy I've been away from the computer today. Glad you are all having so much fun!! Your house must be a riot today!


Nancy & Cassie BE2

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