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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 25217
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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I recently took my 18 year old quaker for a "well" visit.

Customer Question

Hi. I recently took my 18 year old quaker for a "well" visit. She was limping a little and I thought she had some arthritis. The vet gave her an xray and her femur bone did not show on the xray. Her kidney level was slightly elevated as was her white blood cells. They are saying she could be very sick and may have cancer. They want to do a biopsy of the bone. I am fearful because if the bone breaks they want to amputate. She is active. Eating, drinking, talking and navigating around her cage. Do you have any idea of what the problem could be?
JA: I'll do all I can to help. Have you looked to see if there is a wound on their foot?
Customer: No, there is no wound on her foot.
JA: The Veterinarian will ask you more detailed questions to find out what is causing this. What is the bird's name?
Customer: Jingles
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Jingles?
Customer: No she has always been in good health. I would like to know what the alternatives could be that the bone does not show up on an xray. They thought it could be a bacteria eating her bone but they are leaning more toward a tumor.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

I'm sorry to hear of this with Jingles. I believe you're describing an osteoclastic lesion - bone eaten away from a portion of her femur. This usually indicates osteosarcoma - a dangerous bone cancer but less likely to metastasize in birds than in mammals. Osteomyelitis (infection of bone) is unlikely unless there were a history of a penetrating wound in that area. Osteomyelitis typically presents as osteolysis (eaten away bone) as does osteosarcoma but it's distinguished from osteosarcoma by its diffuse nature, often affecting several adjacent bones. Feel free to share this information with Jingles's vet.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Call me
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

I regret that my state board of veterinary examiners doesn't allow me to speak to customers by phone in this venue but other experts in this category may be able to assist you in this regard. Please let me know if you'd like another expert to do so and I'll opt out of this conversation. Please stay in the conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Please call
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

I regret that my state board of veterinary examiners doesn't allow me to speak to customers by phone in this venue but other experts in this category may be able to assist you in this regard. Please let me know if you'd like another expert to do so and I'll opt out of this conversation. Please stay in the conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
My vet wants to do a bone biopsy. If the bone breaks then amputation. Her blood levels are kidney little elevated 14 normal is 10. White cells slightly elevated 12 normal 4-10. Additional blood work is normal. Is there any other way to tell without biopsy and risk of amputation? Why doesn't bone show on X-ray? If bone is hollow it seems to me that it will break. What do you think?
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Who do u recommend?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

An 18 year old Quaker is nearing life expectancy (20-30 years). Uric acid levels greater than 10 are most often due to renal disease such as seen with visceral gout. Due to these facts, I would be circumspect about anesthetizing and performing such invasive surgery on Jingles - much less biopsying and then returning to amputate as is most likely to be needed.

Only biopsy is confirmative but by the principle of Occam's Razor, Jingles suffers from bone cancer. If bone isn't showing on an X-ray it has been eaten away by the cancer (lysis). Jingle's vet needs to show you the X-ray so you'll understand better what's going on in Jingle's femur. The femur isn't missing; a portion of it has been eaten away. It sounds to me that a pathologic fracture due to cancer has already occurred. I recommend avian vets belonging to the AAV. Please see here: www.aav.org

Please continue our conversation if you wish.

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