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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30353
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My pet pigeon has a large, butter-yellow infection-looking

Customer Question

My pet pigeon has a large, butter-yellow infection-looking lump in the elbow of her wing. She DOES NOT have a broken wing. Is it an infection? And if so, do I use Doxycycline to treat it? Or do I do a small surgery with peroxide and an anti-bacterial topical?
I had this issue with my study-birds when I was a girl. Usually, this whatever-it-is spread halfway around the bird's body and killed the bird, after perhaps three weeks. When I dissected my bird's carcass to try to figure out what was killing them, I learned that this butter-yellow stuff had grown finger-like legs, so to speak, and had wrapped itself in their bodies. After my birds had died, it was thick and somewhat rubbery.
What is this and how do I get rid of it?
Thank you!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.

I suspect that you're seeing a xanthoma - the yellowish cholesterol-rich material which can form tumors in birds. It would need to be surgically excised but expected to return at the surgical site or in a new site because it's likely to represent a metabolic abnormality difficult to address in birds with diet. Can you upload a photo of this lump to our conversation? You can use the paperclip icon in the toolbar above your message box (if that icon is visible) or you can use an external app such as or I can be more accurate for you if I can see what you're seeing.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I don't think it's that. I popped a really swollen area in her wing and yellow pus and blood came squirting out. I tried soaking her wing in Epsom salts and I put a topical antibiotic all over the swollen area. I'm really worried for her.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Originally it appeared to be what you said it was, but I don't think it is, anymore.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for the additional information. You have two choices at this time. You can have an avian-oriented vet (please see here: attend to this or you can try to evacuate the bump yourself with the understanding that uncontrolled bleeding is possible. A topical antibiotic cream should be avoided in birds as they're likely to ingest it. Over the counter Hebiclens (chlorhexidine) is a safe and effective antimicrobial solution with which you would thoroughly lavage the surgical area. Please continue our conversation if you wish.