Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
I am an avian practitioner in and am treating a 6 month old African Grey Parrot with a rapidly growing melanoma below the eye. Complete excision was impossible due to infiltration into the facial muscles. I am getting conflicting advice on whether to refer the bird for radiation, chemo, or to give up due to the poor prognosis. Any guidance you could offer would be greatly appreciated.
Lili Duda, VMD, Section Editor of the OncoLink Veterinary Oncology Menu, responds:
First, get a second opinion on the histopath (unless the first opinion was rendered by a bird expert). If confirmed a melanoma, since there is no bird literature, treat the same as if for a dog/cat . I would recommend radiation with large doses per fraction, adding in a platinum drug would probably be indicated. However, the prognosis would have to be guarded until proven otherwise. Since the bird is young and the tumor is rapidly growing that is concerning, but on the other hand these are also the ones that tend to respond well to aggressive treatment at least in the short term.