Tumors - Lipomas in Birds

What is a lipoma?

Lipomas are benign fat tumors commonly found in Budgies, some Amazon parrots, galahs and sulphur crested cockatoos. They are most often found under the skin on the sternum (breastbone or keel bone) or on the ventral abdomen, but can be anywhere on the body. They appear as soft, pale yellow, sometimes lobulated, solitary or multiple enlargements under the skin. They may be noticed as a "lump" or you may just notice that the bird is getting fat. They can become so large that they will affect the way the bird perches or impair its flight. Formation of lipomas is associated with poor nutrition, obesity, hypothyroidism and genetic factors.

"Formation of lipomas is associated with poor nutrition, obesity, hypothyroidism and genetic factors."

Malignant liposarcomas are rare and tend to be firmer.

Is there any treatment for lipomas?

If caught early, most lipomas can respond to nutritional therapy. Often, affected birds are on high fat, all seed diets. Weaning slowly onto a balanced, low fat diet (pellets + fruits and vegetables) is often successful in reducing or resolving lipomas. Iodine supplements may help stimulate the thyroid gland and increase the metabolism of fatty tissues. Stimulate your bird to exercise at least twice daily to help with weight reduction.

If the lipoma is becoming too big or problematic then surgery to remove it is required.

Malignant liposarcomas are surgically removed but have the potential to spread or metastasize.

Consult a veterinarian familiar with birds for further guidance.

Related Tags

lipomas, birds, tumors, bird, obesity, nutrition, formation, genetic, hypothyroidism, factors, stimulate, lump, enlargements, multiple, affect, impair, solitary, lipoma, malignant, liposarcomas, perches, flight, galahs, crested, cockatoos, parrots, amazon, benign, lobulated, budgies, sternum, sulphur, abdomen, soft, breastbone, yellow, ventral, pale, keel, bone, daily, weight, reduction, exercise, fatty, problematic, increase, metabolism, tissues, guidance, consult, veterinarian, familiar, gland, metastasize, potential, remove, surgically, removed, surgery, rare

Looking to learn more?

We also offer free, instant access to over 1,500 related articles on your pet's health including preventive medicine, common and not so common diseases, and even informative case studies. We encourage you to read any of these popular articles below or search our extensive pet health library.

Most Popular Articles

About our approach to exceptional pet health care

At VCA Animal Hospitals, our veterinarians take you and your pet's health seriously. With over 600 hospitals and 1,800 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, we strive to give your pet the very best in medical care. We understand your pet is an extension of you, and appreciate the opportunity to share in providing exceptional pet care and quality of life.

* Free initial health exam for new clients only. Not to be combined with any other offer. Not good toward boarding, grooming, prescription and non-prescription medication, and retail items. Not good toward emergency and/or specialty veterinary services. Coupon good for up to two pets (dogs or cats only) per household. Redeemable only at a general practice VCA Animal Hospital. For pet owners who are aged 18 and older.

If you are a new client, you can get a free first exam* on your first visit.

Free First Exam

Get to know us by visiting one of our neighborhood hospitals.

Locate a Hospital