Modified Tail Amputation Technique in a Blue and Gold Macaw (Ara ararauna) with Uropygial Gland Adenocarcinoma

Jessica Robertson, David Sanchez Migallon Guzman, Devinn Sinnott, Kevin Woolard, Aleisha Nesset, Joanne R. Paul-Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A 33-year-old male blue and gold macaw (Ara ararauna) presented with a 5-month history of an ulcerated lesion and feather loss at the tail base. Two 4-mm biopsies obtained by the primary care veterinarian were consistent with uropygial gland adenocarcinoma. The bird was examined at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, University of California, and on physical evaluation, the dorsal and ventral surface of the tail base were devoid of feathers, ulcerated and crusted without an identifiable uropygial gland. Complete blood count, plasma biochemistry panel, whole-body radiographs, and an echocardiogram were performed before surgery. The bird was anesthetized, and a complete amputation of the tail was performed. The skin was incised with a radiofrequency electrosurgical system approximately 2 mm circumferentially cranial to the diseased tissue. The musculature was transected to the level of the vertebral column, disarticulating between the second and third caudal vertebrae and transecting the spinal cord with a no. 15 blade. Lateral vertebral processes of the second vertebra were removed with a rongeur. Coccygeus lateralis muscles and tensor fasciae latae muscles and skin were closed laterolaterally with 2 layers and 3-0 polydioxanone suture. The bird recovered uneventfully and was discharged after 6 days of hospitalization. The histopathological diagnosis was adenocarcinoma with squamous differentiation, marked scirrhous response, and superficial epithelial ulceration. It was determined that narrow margins of unaffected tissue were achieved from the pathological examination of submitted material. The bird was evaluated 24 days after surgery and again 3.5 months after surgery, without evidence of complications or recurrence. Approximately 10 days after the last reexamination, the bird was euthanatized after being found minimally responsive at home. A postmortem examination was not performed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-64
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Avian Medicine and Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • adenocarcinoma
  • amputation
  • Ara ararauna
  • avian
  • blue and gold macaw
  • tail
  • uropygial gland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Small Animals


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