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Antemortem diagnosis of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in a blue-fronted Amazon parrot (Amazona aestiva) and a mealy Amazon parrot (Amazona farinosa)

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  • 1 1Department of Avian and Exotic Animal Medicine, Angell Animal Medical Center, 350 S Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02120.
  • | 2 2Department of Pathology, Angell Animal Medical Center, 350 S Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02120.

Abstract

CASE DESCRIPTION

A 28-year-old blue-fronted Amazon parrot (Amazona aestiva) with a 1 -week history of regurgitation-like movement of the neck and a 34-year-old mealy Amazon parrot (Amazona farinosa) with a 1- to 2-day history of regurgitation and crop distention were evaluated.

CLINICAL FINDINGS

Full-body radiography of the blue-fronted Amazon parrot revealed a soft tissue structure in the right side of the neck, cranial to the crop. Results of cytologic examination of a fine-needle aspirate specimen of the mass were diagnostic for an epithelial sarcoma involving the esophagus. For the mealy Amazon parrot, CT revealed diffuse esophageal thickening that was most consistent with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma on the basis of its location and appearance. Both parrots had secondary bacterial ingluvitis.

TREATMENT AND OUTCOME

Given the location and extent of the neoplasm in each bird, surgical excision was not undertaken. Options of chemotherapy and radiation therapy were explored but declined by the owners owing to concerns regarding the parrots' quality of life. Both parrots were euthanized, and necropsy findings confirmed the diagnosis of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in both cases.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Both parrots of the present report had a palpable esophageal squamous cell carcinoma detected during physical examination. Although rare, esophageal squamous cell carcinoma should be included as a differential diagnosis for psittacines with upper gastrointestinal tract signs. Treatment to extend duration or quality of life of affected parrots hinges on antemortem diagnosis, which appears feasible in clinical practice.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Staudenmaier (astaudenmaier@mspca.org).