Is it possible to excise or band a tumor?

FK1975

In the Brooder
May 18, 2017
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Hoping someone may have experience with this. One of my hens developed a golf-ball sized tumor on the back of her head that we only noticed when she started molting (in other words, I don't know how long it's been there or how long it took to grow that big).

For 2+ months, it didn't bother her at all, and didn't seem to get any bigger. She's the alpha hen in the pack, and it never affected her position, either. Then, in the last couple days, she's gone downhill fast. Her comb and wattles are almost yellow, and she's disoriented/wobbly on her feet, which makes me think the tumor is cutting off blood flow to her head.

I am planning to cull her, but thought I'd ask here if anyone has tried to remove such a tumor? I was thinking of banding it, but with the blood flow issue, that makes me think it might be worse...
 

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Wyorp Rock

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I wouldn't put her through banding which is initially painful as the tissue reacts to having the blood supply cut off, and some can continue to show pain after the first 24-48 hours. I would just cull unfortunately.

If she is suddenly going down hill fast, the tumor may have metastasized and has spread throughout her body. She is suffering and should be euthanized.


@FK1975 I'm sorry about your hen. I agree with both @oldhenlikesdogs and @DobieLover As sad as it is, since Maggie is declining and suffering, then it would be a kindness to let her go.
 

FK1975

In the Brooder
May 18, 2017
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19
I've just spent the last 45 minutes examining her. The top half of the tumor has shrunk and calcified; the bottom half is still fleshy and bleeds profusely when lanced. I'd say the mass is 30% smaller than it was 2 weeks ago, and doesn't "swing" when she moves.

She is feisty and spirited as ever, just... wobbly. Her eyesight isn't affected. She's eating and drinking (her crop was full when I picked her up), and is sunning in her favorite spot. It does seem clear that she has not been able to preen very well, so I may bring her in for a warm soak.

I'm going to give her another couple of days under close supervision. If it seems like she is suffering, I'll cull and perform a necropsy.
 
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oldhenlikesdogs

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If you believe she can handle the process than give it a try. Worse scenario is you cull her sooner rather than later. Only you know for sure. I do know when we use bands on our goats for castration there is generally 8-48 hours of some intensive screaming, and general complaints. Some handle it better than others.
 

Eggcessive

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It looks like a cancerous tumor, and even if it was banded, it has already spread, although I am not a vet. I agree with the others to keep her comfortable until she needs to be put out of her misery. Certain viruses, such as Mareks and lymphoid leukosis, cause cancers in chickens. It would be good to get some tissue examined with a necropsy by your state poultry lab, just to rule out those two diseases, since they can affect other chickens. Sorry about your hen.
 

FK1975

In the Brooder
May 18, 2017
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It looks like a cancerous tumor, and even if it was banded, it has already spread, although I am not a vet.

I think you're right - I've been doing a lot of reading today, and I think it's a squamous cell carcinoma. The plus side is that this type of cancer only tends to metastasize locally, not systemically, so if I can kill the blood supply to the tumor, she might live a while longer comfortably. I just don't want her to suffer during the banding process.
 

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