Home | General Bird Care | Bird Health | Lumps, Abscesses, Tumors and Swellings on Budgerigars and other Birds (Part I)

Lumps, Abscesses, Tumors and Swellings on Budgerigars and other Birds (Part I)

BudigesHello, Frank Indiviglio here.

Swollen areas and assorted growths are regularly seen on the otherwise hearty budgerigars (parakeets) and, less commonly, on other parrots, finches and softbills. Ranging from harmless to quite serious, these typically arise from trauma, abscesses, tumors, ruptured air sacs, hernias, cysts or egg-binding, but other -less obvious maladies may also be at work.

A Caution

The following remarks, while written with budgerigars in mind, are applicable to all types of birds. Please note that they are provided as guidelines, to help you understand what might be happening… only a veterinarian can accurately diagnose your bird’s medical problems.

Even benign growths, if accompanied by shivering, loss of appetite, breathing difficulties or similar symptoms, are cause for concern and necessitate an immediate visit to your veterinarian.

Ruptured Air Sacs

Budgerigars and other birds may rupture air sacs by flying into windows or other obstacles during their time out of the cage. Bird-proofing flight rooms and gradually adjusting your pet to such will go a long way in alleviating this problem. Less commonly, air sacs may be damaged when startled birds crash into cage bars or walls.

A swollen area along the breast, which emits a characteristic “crackling” sound when gently touched, is a sure sign of a ruptured air sac. Unless involving a huge area, air sac damage usually resolves quickly on its own.

Hematomas

Trauma-related injuries that do not involve air sacs may result in hematomas…swollen, blood-filled injuries below the skin (in people, such are often called “black-and-blues”, but skin color change will not usually be evident in a bird).

Resulting from broken blood vessels, the pooled blood typical of hematomas is usually re-absorbed by the bird without incident.

Abscesses

Budgerigars

Avian abscesses present as swollen, painful, reddish areas that are warm to the touch. The swollen area, or abscess, is filled with white blood cells and other blood borne compounds produced by the bird to battle infection. The abscess usually also contains dead tissue and living and dead bacteria or other pathogens. Budgerigars often exhibit abscesses below the eye, but they may also occur on the feet, in the mouth and at other locations.

As a defense measure, the abscess has been walled off from the rest of the bird’s body, but the toxins and bacteria contained therein can escape and spread via the blood to vital organs. This can happen very quickly, and usually has fatal results. Therefore, all abscesses should be treated promptly by a veterinarian.

Gout, a disease that takes hold when uric acid is stored in the joints and internal organs, sometimes produces abscess-like growths on the feet of budgerigars. Known as tophi, these growths will bleed extensively if impacted or cut, and should be addressed by a veterinarian.

Tumors

Tumors are often difficult to identify specifically, and may arise from a wide variety of diseases and conditions. Fatty tumors are usually benign and require monitoring but no other treatment, while others may be malignant.

Any unusual growth or swelling that you notice should be examined by a veterinarian. A biopsy may be used to confirm the doctor’s diagnosis if there is any doubt as to the nature of the problem.

Next time we’ll complete our review of noxious bird bumps with a look at feather cysts and cloacal swellings. Until then, please write in with your questions and comments.

Further Reading

You can access a detailed article concerning the types of tumors that afflict budgerigars here.

Thanks, Frank Indiviglio.

33 comments

  1. avatar

    my budgie has a cyst under its wing, it keeps scratching it,and has made it bleed. i have another bird in its cage with it also. is it contageous?

  2. avatar

    Hello Joanne, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog. Cysts are typically not contagious, but its important that a vet examine the birds to be sure that what you are seeing is indeed a cyst and not a symptom of another condition. Also, infection via the open wound is a serious concern…many travel fast and can be fatal rather quickly. Please let me know if you need assistance in locating an avian vet.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  3. avatar

    Hi Frank I was wondering if you might be able to help me with my parakeet he is about 8 years old and Ive never had any health issues but about 4 days ago I noticed him sitting on his perch shivering, fluffing his feathers and burying his face in his wing. I kept an eye on him that day to see what might happen the next day he was still looking cold so I covered his cage with a sheet so he could still look out the front I placed a heating pad under his cage and a pointed a light into his cage to warm him and 10 minutes later he looked better, still cold but better so i put the light closer and covered his cage entirely to keep the warmth in, he is more active and looks wonerful compared to a few days ago but he still slightly shivers, I am afraid to uncover him for fear he will once again get cold. What do you think is going on with him?

  4. avatar

    Hello Monika, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog. Increasing the temperature as you are doing will help boost the bird’s immune system but, unfortunately, will not cure him. He likely has a viral or bacterial infection, similar to a “cold” in humans and needs to see a vet. As birds age, their immune systems may weaken and so conditions that they tolerated earlier may render them sick, so be sure to inform your vet about the room temperature, diet, etc.

    Infections progress very rapidly in birds and are fatal if not treated early on; please let me know if you need help in locating an avian vet.

    I hope he recovers….Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  5. avatar

    Hi Frank, I have a parakeet that is about 5 years old. Recently she (?) has gotten a crusty growth above her beak just below her nostrils. It is kind of thick but not completely uniform which makes me think it might be something that is not normal. The bird is healthy and happy but the growth worries me. if it was to cover her nostrils she couldn’t breathe. Please let me know if I should be worried. Her name is Sunshine and is a very sweet tame parakeet. Thank you for any advise you may give me. Linda J.

  6. avatar

    Hello Linda, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog. Material buildup on the cere (the hard area housing the nostrils) is common in females that are coming into breeding condition. It’s related to hormonal changes and is usually not a concern.

    However, there are also bird mites that burrow into the cere and leave flaky deposits on the cere’s surface. Sometimes you can notice tiny scars from where they have tunneled, but often not. A vet visit to rule out mites, fungus or another serious condition would be your best option. Please let me know if you need assistance in locating an avian veterinarian.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  7. avatar

    I would be grateful if you could let me know if there is an avian vet in my area (northampton) that I can take my 12 years old budgie to. She has an open wound under her wing that she keeps pecking at and making it bled – not sure what it is but it is definitely not caused by a collision during flight. I am worried that it will become infected.

  8. avatar

    Thanks for your interest in our blog. Yes, good idea to have the bird checked as infections are a major concern.

    Please check this listing of avian vets in the UK. I’m not familiar with any personally (am writing from the USA). If none are conveniently located, call the nearest and ask for a reference…avian medicine is a small specialty and vets tend to be familiar with others in their region.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  9. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    I have a parakeet thats around 5 years old and I noticed that was picking the feathers by her vent ( Cloaca ). And her droppings are sometimes normal, but other times its liquidy. I also noticed that she is having difficulty pooping. And everytime she poops, I see her bottom swells into a ball, and then she poops. Its as if that either her ovaries are swollen, or she has a tumor or something. There is no growth on the outside, but something is going on internally. She is fluffed up and shivers, but also has days where is she very normal and active. she eats seeds, millet, and drinks water, and she can still fly inside her cage. I am not sure what to do. could she have an infection in her ovaries, or could it be a tumor or something else? this is been happening for the last 3 to 4 months. your insight is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  10. avatar

    Hello Zee, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog. Unfortunately the symptoms you describe can indicate any number of problems; Actually, I’m surprised the bird has survived so long, given that an infection is likely (shivering, puffed feathers) present along with whatever else is going on. This is not something that can be diagnosed without a vet visit; I suggest you do that as soon as possible. Please let me know if you need assistance in locating an avian vet in your area.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  11. avatar

    Hello frank,

    Well, to give you more of a background, this parakeet was with another female ( they are both females ), and they were together for 5 years. And the other parakeet would always rub its vent and pluck feathers ( almost similar symptoms, but no ball-looking object when attempting to poop ). The other parakeet had struggled with poop being stuck to its vent, and the couple of times I’ve taken it to the vet, i would give it a shot of Betrayl and it would be fine, but then the feather plucking and poop sticking would return. This continued off and on for 3 years. But recently, my current parakeet attempted to mate with the previous parakeet, and it looks like it might have gotten the ‘infection’ or whatever it is, from the other parakeet.
    The other parakeet i had given it orncycline, but it died after 4 days of putting orncycline in the water (they both drank it for 4 days, but only the other died, which it shouldn’t have ). So my current parakeet has either gotten the infection from the previous parakeet, or it might just have developed a cyst or a tumor in its ovaries. And i do know that parakeets can live with cysts for years, and that surgically removing them would only endanger the parakeet and that the tumor/cyst would come back ! so my options would be to either have surgery ( which is very dangerous ), or try to get it baytrail, or to continue to monitor the parakeet. what do you think? Thanks

  12. avatar

    Hello Zee, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for the feedback. However, it is not possible for me to speculate as to whether a cyst/tumor is present or where it might be located; far too many possibilities. Same regarding surgical options/outcomes. Please do not give Baytril without a proper diagnosis of the condition. My best advice is that you have the bird examined by an experienced avian veterinarian.

    Please let me know if you need any further information.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio

  13. avatar

    Hi,
    We just got a young budgie a few weeks ago. It(can’t tell if boy or girl)still has trouble with getting on and staying on my hand. It’s wings are clipped, but yesterday I noticed a small bulge under it’s feathers in the front between the feet. It isn’t puffed, it still eats fine, it still tries to escape, but I noticed the bulge is twice as big today. There was a little blood on it’s feathers and some times it picks at it. Could it be an ingrown feather or something like that? Thanks

  14. avatar

    Hi,

    Unfortunately it’s not possible to accurately diagnose the problem at home; several of conditions described in the articles, and others, could be involved. Please let me know if you need help in locating an avian veterinarian in your region, and please keep me posted,

    Best, Frank

  15. avatar

    My only parakeet has been laying eggs constantly for a while and then she stopped for a couple months.When i tried to clean out her cage, she jumped out and when she ran back to her cage, i notice that her lower abdomen is hanging and swollen.Her lower stomach has a big bulge coming out of it, but other wise she is playing and eating and drinking and passing waste normally?What could be wrong?She has never been injured before and I don’t think I can afford a surgery for her at this time.

  16. avatar

    Hello,

    A prolapse or egg-binding may be involved, but there is noway to diagnose or treat this at home. You’ll need to bring the bird to a vet, as either condition can quickly worsen and be fatal. Other problems, including tumors , cysts, etc, could also be involved.Be sure to move the bird carefully, when transporting, as jarring and frantic movements could worsen a prolapse or other condition.

    Good luck and please keep me posted, Frank

  17. avatar

    Hello Frank, I have a female African Grey who has an abcess under her wing and this wound is not healing. It started 2 months ago. I took her to the hospital where they cleaned and stitched the wound, all to no avail. Then I put flaminol ointment on it which improved it considerably but still it is not healing. Today I noticed a new abcess under her other wing. Could you tell me what else I could do?

  18. avatar

    Hello,

    Unfortunately, it’s not possible to diagnose/offer treatment for an abscess without the appropriate vet exam and tests. Spreading abscess could indicate that the problem/infection is systemic, and so treating the individual abscess would not sufficient. A culture may need to be run, followed by medication, but you’ll need to have the bird examined; perhaps a second opinion is in order. Please let me know if you need help in locating an avian vet.

    Sorry I could not offer a more useful response, Best, Frank

  19. avatar

    Hello, I have a Parakeet with a soft lump towards the bottom of his belly.. It looks like the feathers have some how fallen off so it’s quite obvious and slightly sticks out. I have been researching it and I don’t really know what it is? He’s obviously a bit lethargic… his wings are slightly down, and he just seems down compared to the other 4. Also, when i bring them into my room i have little perches for them and he’s the only one that doesn’t go on them… so i felt bad and put a nice soft blanket neatly underneath the little perches i have for them just for him. I’m pretty sure he’s a boy because his band is a purpley blue color. Please tell me what you may think this is! Thank you!

  20. avatar

    Hello Sarah,

    There’s no way to diagnose the condition at home; the fact that the bird’s behavior is affected indicates that it is a serious condition and not simply a benign cyst. You should visit a vet as soon as possible, as most infections progress rapidly in birds. Pl let me know if you need help in locating an avian veterinarian.

    Best regards, Frank

  21. avatar

    Hello I have an African grey who has developed a lump on his neck which has a crusty brown covering it doesn’t seem to b bothering him but is getting quite large. I hav no idea how old he is as he was rescued . I would grateful for any advice. Thankyou

  22. avatar

    Hello Anita,

    A lump such as you describe can be attributed to a wide variety of health concerns, and may be quite serious even if the bird suffers no other apparent problems. Unfortunately, it cannot be diagnosed by appearance alone; an avian vet should be consulted. pl let me know if you need help in locating a vet.

    Best regards, Frank

  23. avatar

    Hello I have an African grey who has developed a lump on his neck which has a crusty brown covering it doesn’t seem to b bothering him but is getting quite large. I hav no idea how old he is as he was rescued . I would grateful for any advice. Thankyou

    Well thankyou for getting back to me I am quite worried about him il seek advice from my vets then.
    Kind regards
    Anita gray

  24. avatar

    hi frank,
    first of all your doing a great job with your site
    and one of my budgie pair is clutching chicks with french moult what to do both with chicks and pair

  25. avatar

    Hello,

    Thanks for the kind word. French molt is not curable but is rarely fatal; please see this article ; Diet and lighting changes can help with related molting concerns, please see this article and let me know if you need further info. Best, Frank

  26. avatar

    Hi, my friends budgie who is six years old has developed what we think is a tumour
    At first she though it was constipation as he had got poo stuck on his feathers but it has gone a reddy colour and we think it may be a tumour do you know what it could be or if there is a cure or if it is fatal
    Many thanks

  27. avatar

    Hello,

    Unfortunately there is no way to diagnose or treat the condition at home, a wide variety of conditions will present the same symptoms. please let me know if you need help in locating an avian veterinarian. Best, frank

  28. avatar

    Hi,

    I have a white female budgerigar that is approximately 10 years old, I don’t know her exact age as I got her second hand fully grown. She is housed in a large aviary with 4 other budgerigars.

    A few days ago, my sister noticed a large lump on her belly just behind her legs, there is pin prick sized cut in the centre and the whole lump appears to be a little sore. However, her behaviour is unaffected by this, she is eating, drinking, flying and grooming as normal, and she is socializing with the other birds just fine too.

    So far we have been treating her with warm water and mild antiseptic to clean the lump. She is also being monitored very closely for any change.

    Should we take her to a vet or continue as we have been?

  29. avatar

    Hi Kate,

    Best to take her to a vet, as a number of very different problems could give rise to those symptoms. The antiseptic has no doubt been useful, but if an infection becomes systemic the bird could decline very quickly; vet would also be able to check the exact cause of the lump (infection is usually secondary to another problem). Please keep me posted, I hope all goes well, Frank

  30. avatar

    hello Mr Indiviglio,

    I just noticed today my parakeet he is about 5 or 6 years old has a wierd thing in his left nostril, I thought it was just something in his nose, i try to take it out but I think its growing in his nostril I dont know what it is can you please give me some idea, it is like kind of pink or red, but coming out of his nostril, please help.

  31. avatar

    Hello Kathy,

    Unfortunately it’s not possible to Id from a description, as several different conditions can lead to a growth such as you describe. Best not to touch or try to remove; the bird should be seen by a veterinarian; please let me know if you need help in locating an experienced avian vet.

    Best regards, Frank

  32. avatar

    I believe that my 6 yr old budgie has a cyst or tumor on his “preening” gland. I have noticed it for about 3 months now and it has continued to grow. It continues to bleed sporadically as well. After discussion with a local vet, we thought it may have just been impacted, but now appears to be growing more rapidly. Unfortunately, we do not have an avian specialist in our area. His appetite and activity level remain normal, but not sure how much longer he can survive with the growth. Any thoughts? Thank you for your time.

  33. avatar

    Hello,

    The growh would need to be identified before treatment can be proposed…try searching for local bird clubs to see if they have an avian vet to refer you to; your closest zoo may also be able to provide a referral. i hope all goes well, Frank

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About Frank Indiviglio

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I believe that I was born with an intense interest in animals, as neither I nor any of my family can recall a time when I was not fascinated by creatures large and small. One might imagine this to be an unfortunate set of circumstances for a person born and raised in the Bronx, but, in actuality, quite the opposite was true. Most importantly, my family encouraged both my interest and the extensive menagerie that sprung from it. My mother and grandmother somehow found ways to cope with the skunks, flying squirrels, octopus, caimans and countless other odd creatures that routinely arrived un-announced at our front door. Assisting in hand-feeding hatchling praying mantises and in eradicating hoards of mosquitoes (I once thought I had discovered “fresh-water brine shrimp” and stocked my tanks with thousands of mosquito larvae!) became second nature to them. My mother went on to become a serious naturalist, and has helped thousands learn about wildlife in her 16 years as a volunteer at the Bronx Zoo. My grandfather actively conspired in my zoo-buildings efforts, regularly appearing with chipmunks, boa constrictors, turtles rescued from the Fulton Fish Market and, especially, unusual marine creatures. It was his passion for seahorses that led me to write a book about them years later. Thank you very much, for a complete biography of my experience click here.
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