Clinical features, treatment, and outcomes of cutaneous and oral squamous cell carcinoma in avian species

Ashley M. Zehnder, Laura A. Swift, Ash Sundaram, Brian L. Speer, Geoff P. Olsen, Michelle Hawkins, Joanne R Paul-Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE To determine the clinical features, treatment, and outcomes of treatment for oral and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in avian species. DESIGN Retrospective case series with nested cohort study. ANIMALS 87 client-owned birds of various species with histologically confirmed SCC of the skin or oral cavity. PROCEDURES Clinicians entered case information through an online survey tool. Data were collected regarding patient signalment, concurrent conditions, treatments, adverse effects, and clinical outcomes. Relationships were examined between complete excision and partial or complete response. Survival analysis was performed to compare outcomes among groupings of therapeutic approaches. RESULTS Only 7 of 64 (11%) birds for which full outcome data were available had complete remission of SCC; 53 (83%) had progressive disease, were euthanized, or died of the disease. The unadjusted OR for partial or complete response following complete tumor excision (vs other treatment approaches) was 6.9 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.8 to 25.8). Risk of death was 62% lower (hazard ratio, 0.38; 95% CI, 0.19 to 0.77) for birds that underwent complete excision versus conservative treatment. Median survival time from initial evaluation for birds receiving complete excision was 628 days (95% CI, 210 to 1,008 days), compared with 171 days (95% CI, 89 to 286 days) for birds receiving monitoring with or without conservative treatment. Birds receiving any other additional treatment had a median survival time of 357 days (95% CI, 143 to 562 days). CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE For birds with SCC, complete excision was the only treatment approach significantly associated with complete or partial response and increased survival time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-315
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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