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Brain Tumor

Chickens can develop brain tumors. Types of brain tumors which have been previously documented in birds include:
  • Astrocytomas: Astrocytomas are frequently multiple, unencapsulated small nodules, usually located in the base of the cerebellum or underlying rostral brain stem. They need to be differentiated from reactive gliosis induced by migrating parasites. Clinical signs are often neurological, and include transitory wry neck, retropulsion, and incoordination (ataxia).
  • Medulloblastomas: Medulloblastomas are a type of primitive neuroectodermal tumor which develops in the cerebellum. It has been previously diagnosed in a cockatoo who had a 6-month history of gradually worsening ataxia and intention tremors.
  • Pineoblastoma: Pineoblastoma is an aggressive type of malignant tumor which develops in the pineal gland of the bird's brain. The long term outcome depends on the age at diagnosis, the size of the tumor, and if the tumor has spread outside the brain.

Clinical Signs

Wry neck (transitory)
Walking backwards
Difficulty perching
Head pressing
Head tilt
Poor weight gain despite a good appetite


  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan


Palliative care ::




Scientific References