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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I hesitated to post this discussion here as my health issue isn't exactly an "emergency" - just a benign lipoma. But I didn't see another health forum so I hope it won't be a problem.

So the story here is...... one of my ringneck doves was recently attacked by another pet. I rushed her to the emergency vet and they patched her up, but it was a scary week and I wasn't sure if she'd make it. She seemed to make a full recovery though and is very energetic.

However, mysteriously about three months after the accident, she's now gained 20g because of a large benign lipoma that formed on her chest. I've been told it's a coincidence by the vet who performed the surgery as well as my regular wellness vet... and to be fair, while it seems "close" to the site of the injury, she had lacerations on her shoulder/neck area and the lipoma is on her chest, so it's not as though they overlap completely.

I wanted to post this discussion for two reasons.
1) Has this happened to anyone else? I've been told by two avian vets not to assume the two things are related, and one of them unequivocally told me it was definitely a coincidence, but it just seems so weird.
2) I've had rats with lipomas but never a bird. I purchased a larger cage for her and her mate so I could fit more platforms, but honestly she just seems to hang around the perches near the bottom so I'm hoping someone can give me some pointers. She really doesn't seem to be able to fly right now and I'm not sure if it's because the lipoma grew so fast and the wing muscles need to develop or if that will be a permanent disability.
 

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Hi,

Benign limpomas are generally slow growing and malignant liposarcomas grow faster. If it is a lipoma, it should be just below the dove's skin, be somewhat swishy and movable to the touch, and be situated above any muscle. It should not cause muscle pain.

If the bird is morbidly obese this could be why it doesn't fly, but it still should want to flutter as wing muscles will become sore if unused. Does the dove have ample cage space to flutter freely inside without obstruction?

The bird should have a strict diet of low-fat seeds, pellets preferably, and not fatty sunflower seeds. The small black oil sunflower seeds are problematic. The dove should have exercise at least twice a day. Sometimes, a vet will prescribe or recommend iodine/thyroid supplements to increase fat-burning metabolism.

Perhaps you will need to have a biopsy performed and possible surgery to remove the growth.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My vet did do a biopsy already actually - that's how I know for sure it's benign. That said, it grew incredibly quickly. I've started weighing every other day but don't have enough weights yet to really know for sure if it's still growing. She's always had a diet of Kaytee dove food, and I recently added a bowl of budgie-size Zupreem pellets. She was never obese although she's always been on the stockier side, she's a rescue but based on her frame and how she looks I always just assumed she was bred to be that way.

As for why she isn't flying, she does still try to fly, I won't say she doesn't fly at all. She will flutter to the ground but can't really pick up height. Both her and her mate have time out of their cage daily and they just got a cage upgrade. I don't know the measurements offhand, but they have plenty of space to spread both of their wings inside the cage, and they are able to fly from perch to perch... at least her mate is, which is part of what I'm trying to puzzle out. I've crowded the lower part of the cage with perches so that she barely has to hop to get from one to the next but maybe someone has a better system :( I wish I could make it easier for her to spend time closer to her mate.
 

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Sounds like you are doing everything you can for her :)

Perhaps you can ask your vet for iodine advice. It may help burn off excess fat. Aside from that, encouraging her to excercise and be active should help.
 

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One of my rescues is a white African collared dove who I literally saved from the streets. She did not have the stamina to fly over a large golf course ball netting and the strong Santa Ana winds kept driving her to crash land with force into a busy 40 mph street. This happened a few times before I could get close enough to rescue her. Car tires came within a few inches of her both times. Talk about close.

She still has issues with stamina and can not fly that well despite all my attempts of trying to diagnose and treat her with medication etc. And now it has been over three years since I rescued her. I have to take her out often and give her exercise. She sometimes sneezes especially after she drinks, but she has no abnormalities or infection. I think she is just asthmatic, and I give her albuterol if she is having a bad episode which only happened twice so far.
 

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I would like to weigh in on my experience with lipomas.
A large number of our pigeon rescues are from reckless pigeon breeders that feed their pigeons cooked rice instead of a balanced seed diet (rice is cheap). When we would take these birds to the vet, the vet diagnosed the lumps as lipomas. Over time I learned they could loosely be called lipomas but are in fact cholesterol deposits. Sometimes because of a bad diet, sometimes after an injury, and sometimes because of a metabolic problem. In each circumstance the treatment was the same: Good diet (as jon rf mentioned) vitamins daily, and most importantly, calcium and vitamin d in significant doses (so the body can produce calcitriol). If indeed the fatty cholesterol deposits are metabolic the calcium and vitamin d will clear it up.

Good luck and its good to see Jon rf active again
 

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I am making my rounds John :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Sounds like a lucky bird! I definitely know sometimes, some birds just need some extra loving because certain things are difficult for them. I have quite a few misfits in my flock, so if these lumps are here to stay she's in good company :)

John - you mentioned these happen after an injury? Thank you so much for this feedback, no matter how much I searched I couldn't seem to find forum posts or articles etc that suggested something like a lipoma could form because of an injury. As I described in the original post, she just suffered a rather serious one recently. I don't know if she has an underlying genetic condition that contributed etc but it gives me some hope that you've had success with calcium and vitamin d.

How do you administer? If orally by syringe, where do you source your vitamins?
 

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I would like to weigh in on my experience with lipomas.
A large number of our pigeon rescues are from reckless pigeon breeders that feed their pigeons cooked rice instead of a balanced seed diet (rice is cheap). When we would take these birds to the vet, the vet diagnosed the lumps as lipomas. Over time I learned they could loosely be called lipomas but are in fact cholesterol deposits. Sometimes because of a bad diet, sometimes after an injury, and sometimes because of a metabolic problem. In each circumstance the treatment was the same: Good diet (as jon rf mentioned) vitamins daily, and most importantly, calcium and vitamin d in significant doses (so the body can produce calcitriol). If indeed the fatty cholesterol deposits are metabolic the calcium and vitamin d will clear it up.

Good luck and its good to see Jon rf active again
I agree. A vitamin D deficiency, a high carbohydrate diet, and/or injury can cause fatty deposits, soft bones (rickets/osteomalacia), or even diabetes mellitus (type 2).

Be sure to give vitamin D3 (and D2 if you can) along with vitamin A and vitamin E, to prevent an vitamin imbalance. Sometimes fatty deposits will form as a cushion with repeated blunt injuries (like failing to land on a higher perch) or to sequester certain toxins. Adipose fat also normally stores vitamin D. However, there is a link with low amounts of vitamin D, diabetes (and insulin resistance), and an increase in fat deposits.
 

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Yes she is :) There are liquid multivitamins you can simply add a drop per bird daily to fresh drinking water. I use ecotrition Vita-Sol daily liquid supplement sold for caged birds for my dove. This is important especially when they are fed a primarily seed-based diet or when the bird does not get daily direct sunlight with UV-light. Being indoors or even behind glass will not help, so multivitamins are a must for any caged bird.
 

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Also, fresh greens like broccoli, kale or romaine lettuce should be offered once a week at least for collared doves. This will help.
 

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You mentioned she was eating ZuPreem pellets. What kind is she eating? Some are formulated with vitamins and minerals, and some are formulated for other species with different carbohydrate levels which may or may not be healthy for doves in the long run.
 

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Sorry for the repeated posts. I keep getting ideas.

I also provide a high-calcium mineral fortified grit for my dove as well. I use Kaytee High-Calcium Grit for small birds for her every few days. She loves the stuff!
 

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No worries about the repeated posts! :)

I'll take a look into your vitamin and diet suggestions. She does have high calcium grit with oyster shell, I don't know the brand though as I purchased it in bulk and I poured it into a 50 gal bucket (lol). It was meant for small chickens/chicks. But I'm not currently using any kind of multivitamin, and while my birds do get fresh food I'm honestly not very reliable with giving it to them regularly so this might be the kick in the butt I need.

As for the ZuPreem - she's getting the cockatiel size "fruit" pellet mix. (I said budgie size before but I realize now I was wrong). Fruit Food for Birds | FruitBlend | ZuPreem
I've never preferred it since it's got so much dye but I have birds in my flock who refuse to eat pellets if they're not brightly colored, so instead of buying four different kinds of pellets (like I used to), I just buy this one. I have a bag of Harrison's left as well, I might scrutinize the labels on the two and switch if it makes sense to do so.

A while ago I tried to google dove pellets and didn't find much, my vet told me hookbill pellets would be fine so I'm hoping ZuPreem isn't bad for her lol.
 

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Hookbills are predominately fructivores. Doves require mainly small seeds like millet, sorghum, cracked corn, along with some safflower seeds. The occasional fresh greens and a few berries. In the wild, they seldom may eat the occasional snail or random insect like a termite for protein. As a treat, I feed my dove every several months a tiny bit of unsalted dried whitefish or a few betta fish pellets to supplement her protein, but I do not overdo it too much as proteins may be hard on their delicate livers. The chicken oyster shell grit may be too large and sometimes too sharp for a doves' digestive system. I would recommend the Kaytee brand calcium grit for small birds for it is of a much finer size. Perhaps it can be mixed with a medium or fine red granite grit.

The ZuPreeme pellets do have vitamins and minerals, as well as food coloring (which may be bad). My dove and pigeons refuse pellets like that for some reason, haha. Only my rabbit seems interested in them as they are a forbidden fruit, but he has ate a few and actually likes them. However, he did not get any more.

My dove and pigeons like small pigeon maintenance feed pellets tho' and I mix them in with the seed mix to give them a well-rounded diet. Pigeons typically require less protein and greens compared to collared doves, but are very similar as far as nutritional requirements go.
 

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(ZuPreem FruitBlend for cockateils do have ground corn, soybean meal, and ground wheat as primary ingredients which is not too bad. But there is too much sugar (sucrose) and fruits for a good balanced diet for doves. This can be hard on liver function and can cause fatty liver disease. I personally avoid soybeans, but it may or may not be okay in the long run. I know doves will eat it from fields, but only when there is nothing else to eat in the wild. I usually give dried yellow Canadian field peas instead.)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The grit is very fine - I think it's mainly for chicks. Unless you mean that oyster shell as a material is too sharp? Either way I'll google the Kaytee brand grit, the only reason I went with what I've got is I found it sold in a 50lb bag but I'm definitely not married to the stuff. I've also read that red grit is best for pigeons/doves though and I just seem to have trouble finding it...

I have one trouble bird who just torments me refusing all pellets, I invested in a large bag of ZuPreem at the beginning of a lock down in my state this year because she ate a few meals of it and now she won't touch the stuff. So I honestly might as well switch everyone back over to something more healthy, but I have like 40lbs of ZuPreem left... haha.

OK so this is a lot of material so far to work with:
-I have an ingredient list for a fresh food chop to freeze and supplement their diet (my shopping list at the moment is squash, sweet potato, spinach, broccoli, some kind of hot pepper, quinoa, rolled oats, mango, cranberries, and possibly also hard boiled egg?)
-ZuPreem should be OK to stick with in the short term but I don't think I'll buy it again, my thinking is I'll move them to Harrison's or look for a pigeon/dove specific pellet
-I should probably revisit the grit I've been providing them with what you've suggested, both for size & nutrition
-I should add a multivitamin and perhaps even work with my vet to temporarily administer higher doses of calcium/vitamin d
 

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Discussion Starter #18
This conversation has also made me think a bit on bird lighting. My home (an apartment) has very small windows and limited natural light. It's not dark, as there's plenty of artificial lighting, but not the full spectrum they need.

I've googled avian full spectrum lighting multiple times but tend to get overwhelmed.

Should they get a full 10 hours of full spectrum? If so, are there any lamps that are strong enough to be placed 3ft or so away? (So that one lamp can illuminate multiple cages). If not, if I need to have them 18-24in away from the cage as I've read, it seems to me like that's an extremely strong light to be turned on for 10hrs a day...
I think you mentioned you use full spectrum lighting, so I'm curious how you have yours set up?
 

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That mix of fresh frozen food should be good maybe minus the pepper. Some kinds of peppers can cause crop burns in sensitive species and some don't. I would also ask the vet about iodine as well to help in fat metabolism to reduce the lipoma.

I had leftover pellets too and utimately got rid of them. So I know how that is.

I used a 7800°K fluorescent bulb before, but I could not find a replacement bulb for the fixture I used before, and I gave up looking a while back. Yes, 10 hours is way too much. Perhaps a few hours a day a few feet away would be sufficient. The UV light is only good to produce vitamin D3 naturally. Vitamin D3 supplements are fine as an alternative, there is no difference between synthetic or natural vitamin D3. They make it the same way skin does with UV light and heat out of 7-dehydrocholesterol.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Update to this post:

Aside from the fact that my dove is still gaining weight fairly rapidly (223g as of right now, 180 being her stable weight before the growths), she also started having watery poops today. She'll be seeing the vet again, obviously... but I'm beginning to feel frustrated. Partly because I've had two vets now write this off as being hereditary and telling me no treatment is needed, partly because I have no idea what I should be doing to address it other than what I'm doing.

For context, only last week she weighed in at 200g. I know water retention, food in the crop, etc can impact weight but 20g is too much to gain in a week.

She now doesn't even try to fly, because her balance is shot and she mostly falls like a rock. She sits on one perch all day because of the balance issue. She isn't lethargic, if I physically pick her up and place her on the floor she will still walk around and peck at the ground and seems to enjoy herself, but then she's just stuck on the floor until I pick her back up and place her in her cage.

Not sure what advice I'm looking for. At this point I feel like for mobility reasons alone I would be seriously considering removal if my vet had even put it on the table, which he hasn't yet. I wish he had as I know from experience that growths become more and more expensive to remove the larger they become. It seems to me like this probably isn't reversible with the advice discussed above...
 
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