Orange Tipped Amazon: first fluid, now lump

by Mike Moreau
(Mississauga, Ontario, Canada)

Hello: I have an Orange Tipped Amazon hen named Betty. She is about 30 years old (I am the second owner so her age is only a guess) and about a month ago, I noticed starting to breathe heavy. We made a appointment for her and while waiting for the day to take her, we noticed a sizable lump that went from just behind her legs and extended to the cloaca. We also noticed she had trouble pooping, but she still pooped. The vet took x-rays and concluded that it was a cyst and drained it. He informed us it was going to need to be drained several more times to get rid of it. We had the fluid sent to a lab that stated there were no signs of cancer and appeared to be standard cyst fluid. On the 3rd draining (on Aug 24) he noticed a small lump after draining. He then told us it may not be a cyst but ovarian cancer and this was now beyond his expertise gave us a reference for the Ontario Veterinarian College located in Guelph University. Our appointment for her is on Aug 30. They will be performing ultrasound tests and will be taking over Betty's care.

Currently, Betty's health is excellent. She has a large appetite and is very active. She plays, climbs, honks and talks just fine. She is pooping like she always did and is a free-run parrot so she flies about the home showing no sings of being sick. Before we took her for her first draining, she was exhibiting all the classic signs of be sick; sitting low, not talking much, feathers ruffled and dull. But since then her condition looks so much better.

My question is; can a fluid filled cyst form a hard spot or is this indeed a tumor/cancer? If it is cancer, how come it did not show up in the x ray or in the lab test of the fluid? From what I have read, if there is ovarian cancer, it should affect the left side of her yet she shows no lameness and still sits on on foot to sleep. She uses both legs with no sign of favoring.

I know that she will be in good hands at the OVC and we will find out for sure then. I also know that we acted very quickly to her heavy breathing; she saw a vet less than 3 days after noticing it. We also took action at the first sign of heavy breathing reoccurring and we never let her get over 40 breathes per minute before making a run to the vet.

I would just like to know more about cysts and lumps in this area on parrots and how how common cancer is in this sub species over benign tumors. Are Orange tipped more prone to cancer?

One more thing. Betty used to be a smarty pants and would literally "drop" on our coffee table hitting her belly (abdomen) to make a sound to get our attention. about a month before this problem arose, she stopped doing it. Would the repeated hitting have something to do with this as well??

Thanks,
Mike M

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Nov 14, 2011
3rd OVC visit
by: Mike Moreau

Hello everyone.....

3rd OVC Visit

She is doing GREAT....she looks good eating VERY good and is
back to her old cranky self, which was not seen for awhile she has had NO water build up at all since the first visit to OVC.

We have been back to OVC twice and go back on the 24th of this month for another recheck and repeat bloodwork.
Al of her bloodwork has been getting better after every recheck.

She has no Parrot Fever BUT she does have a Vitamin A deficiency
Liver Disease unknown aetiology
She was given Baytril for over 30 days then she got 5 days of Metronidazole and every other day we give her Furosemide and now 45 days of Doxycycline.
We have seen a huge difference it is great.

We ALL want to thank everyone that was helpful and encouraging with us in our time of need we want to give all of you a HIGH WING!!!!!!!!!!! hehe Thanks again we will be back after the recheck to let everyone know how these meds are working.

Thanks again....Betty and Family

Sep 27, 2011
2nd OVC visit for Betty
by: MikeMoreau

2nd visit to OVC for Betty

This 2nd visit was for a recheck and also to check her heart with the Cardiology Department during the ultrasound:
-her heart checked out prefect, her heart is not the cause in her liver.
-there was not enough fluid accumulation in Betty to have it drained.
-the ?abnormalities? found in the small portion in her liver and large intestine has not changed. It has not gotten any smaller but has not gotten any bigger.

The bad new we still have yet to get the results from the Chlamydia
test. Last bad news is we still do not know what is causing this.

Betty?s Vet said for the time being to continue the Baytril, the anti-inflammatory and he recommended giving the diuretic every other day because he felt that the water was still forming but at a very slow rate. However we informed him that as of September 6 we have been weighting her every other day and we have not seen any weight gain, we did see a slight weight decrease moving her to within 5g of her target weight. However none of us are to keen on stressing her kidneys out to much so my wife and I have decided that when we see Betty get to her target weight we are going to stop Betty?s diuretics. This way we will be able to see if the water build up starts again. Please understand Betty has not been on diuretics for the last 3 weeks and we have not seen any weight gain.
For what ever reason they have not done a bile test on her and we will be bring that up with the next phone call.

As for Betty?s condition she looks excellent, her color is beautiful and her appetite has gotten even better. Even the Vet says she looks good. She has taken to eating Harrison?s all on her own and we put it in her Birdie Bread as well. She is back to her normal things, flying, climbing, bathing, being cranky etc. and she looks very , very health.

Thank you very much for the insightful information you have provide us. Until we can find out if this is Parrot Fever or not we are at a stand still. So this week we will start putting pressure on them to find the results or get the test done again. We are considered about leaving her on the anti-inflammatory and diuretics for another month.

Sep 14, 2011
Amazon with fluid and lump
by: Anonymous

Hi,

Thank you for your input.

Betty seems to be responding to the medication that she received very well. She is now off of her diuretic (over 1 week) and as of today (almost 3 weeks)she has had no visible signs of fluid build up. We started weighting her 2 week into her medication and although her weight is slightly higher then it has been she has maintained a steady weight even after we have finished her diuretics. Yes we do have her on Harrison's, it is a bit of a struggle but she is taking it....:)
Visually her feathers are shiny and no longer ruffled and matted. Her strength is very good (when she get on your finger she is getting her old grip back). Personality wise she is back to her regular cranky self....:) Her eating habits have returned to normal.

Yes Betty was tested for Chlamydophila. We have not found the results yet.
Betty was only on a seed diet with her previous diet I have had her for the last 27 years and she has only seen seeds until I weaned her off of them. Her diet consist of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, nuts, grains, small amounts of fresh cooked chicken, eggs, fish and whole wheat or veggie pasta.

The fluid that was removed was tested, no cancer, no tumours, just inflammatory fluid, it was just the same results as the very first test that was done at her first vet. A CBC was done as well, everything looked good, her white blood cells were a little elevated.

Our unbiased opinion (as much as we can be of course) we would have to say the medication is really working on her especially seeing no water build up.

We are returning on September 19th for a recheck and we will inform you of our findings then.

To any one reading this it is absolutely important that when you see your parrot or bird action out of charter like food changes, personality changes you need to get your bird to a Vet ASAP. In Betty's case, before she even showed signs of heavy breathing or water build up she had begun to play with toys that she had not played with before and she became very close to my wife which is out of character. Knowing what we know now we would have been able to get her medical attention sooner.

Betty and her whole family wants to THANK-YOU Dr. B. for all of your help and assistances in this matter. Without seeing the patience your diagnosis is almost the same as our Vet. You must be a DAMN GOOD Vet....:)

Thanks,
Mike

Sep 14, 2011
Amazon with lump
by: The Avian Vet

I am so glad to hear Betty is doing better. This is a serious condition and it sounds like your doctor is taking good care of her.

Chlamydophila causes liver infection and liver damage or failure. It is not likely that it will infect the intestines, but it is possible.

Was a fluid analysis done on the fluids removed from the abdomen? Have you had her tested for Chlamydophila?

An exploratory may not be a good thing to do at this point. But it may become necessary to determine a final diagnosis. You may also consider a liver biopsy. But if she responds to treatment then I would wait. If the fluid continues to return and build up in the abdomen, then we know there is a chronic problem that needs to be addressed. It may be simply fatty liver disease or a combination of things such as infection and fatty liver.

Getting her on a better diet is going to paramount for her long term recovery. She should be eating 80% pellets like Harrison's. You should also supplement her with organic red palm oil, Sunshine Factor for omega fatty acids. This will help heal a fatty liver.

Was any blood work done? What about a bile acids? I would like to see those results. Please keep me up to date on her progress.

Dr B

Sep 04, 2011
Follow up to Betty's OVC visit
by: Mike Moreau

When we arrived, Betty was put into an incubator and given oxygen. She was tube fed, had the fluid drained, given antibiotics, vitamin booster and we were told she would stay overnight. We had blood work done, the fluid tested and had whatever test done that could be done.

The next morning, her new vet called us after getting the tests results and have completed the ultrasound. The good news was she was MUCH better and that none of the tests revealed any signs of cancer. The blood tests showed some elevated white cell and something amiss in the liver. The ultrasound was also good news as well. The ovaries, kidney and heart looked good. No fluid around the heart and it looked in good shape. However, he noticed something "odd" about a small portion of the lower liver and large intestine. He stated it looked sort of inflamed but he could not really say much about it. He said the next step would usually be exploratory surgery but she is too old and he did not want to risk it. I inquired about the lump that we had seen and he said he searched for it but saw no lump visually nor in the ultrasound...hmmmm

He also inquired about Betty ever having or being checked for Chlamydia, which the answer was no on both counts. He sent Betty home with 3 medications; Furosemide, Meloxciam and Enrofloxacin which we are administering daily. He has a feeling it may be a bacteria infection.

We are awaiting the results for the Chlamydia and we have another ultrasonic test on Sept 19. This time a cardiologist will be there to further examine her heart because that has still not been ruled out. We will continue to do whatever it takes to get Betty well.

Her diet as long as I have owned her (26 years) has been fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts, rice, sweet potato and various other foods along that line. She eats no pellets and she was on sunflower seed from the former owner. It took months to get her off it. She also flies free all the time through the apartment and gets plenty of strenuous exercise.


As for Betty she is doing very well. She does not sit low any longer, is honking and make all her sounds. Playing, eating and completely mischievous again. He colour is back as well as her feathers are no longer all ruffled. She is sleeping on one foot again as well. Also, after being drained in the past, she would show a small almond -sized buildup of fluid the next day. This is day 5 and it just started to appear...much smaller than before as well.

Thanks for you input and concern. I have to say you were right on about many things, like the water not being in a cyst but in the body cavity and several other points as well.

Is it possible for Chlamydia to infect the liver and intestine? Would it cause this water buildup as well in it was an infection?

Aug 31, 2011
Amazon Cyst
by: The Avian Vet

How did you appointment go? Did they find out anything useful?

My question is; can a fluid filled cyst form a hard spot or is this indeed a tumor/cancer? Maybe but not likely. The hard spot may have been there before but undetectable because of all of the fluid.
If it is cancer, how come it did not show up in the x ray or in the lab test of the fluid? From what I have read, if there is ovarian cancer, it should affect the left side of her yet she shows no lameness and still sits on on foot to sleep. She uses both legs with no sign of favoring. Ovarian cancer does not always cause lameness. Did the veterinarian do any blood work? What is your bird?s diet? If it is seeds, then this could easily be liver failure likely related to fatty liver disease. The fluid was probably in the abdomen and not in a cyst. Cystic ovaries do not generally cause the swelling that you describe. The difficulty in breathing would also be related to fluid in the abdomen.

I would just like to know more about cysts and lumps in this area on parrots and how how common cancer is in this sub species over benign tumors. Are Orange tipped more prone to cancer?
Cancer in general is common in birds, however, I do not see very many amazons with tumors. The older ones almost always have nutritional problems and fatty liver. However, one of the more common cancers that affect the liver is bile duct carcinoma. I do not know what you bird has, but, OVC should be able to find out.

One more thing. Betty used to be a smarty pants and would literally "drop" on our coffee table hitting her belly (abdomen) to make a sound to get our attention. about a month before this problem arose, she stopped doing it. Would the repeated hitting have something to do with this as well?? Possibly, but I would look into medical causes first.

Dr B

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