Often the most impressive and captivating cytology smears, are the ones that require us to deliver the worst news and this case was no exception.
An adult male budgie presented to the veterinarian with a 15-20 mm soft tissue mass in the upper femoral area of the left leg. He was non-weight bearing and had lost a lot of weight.
A fine needle aspirate, taken for cytology, was highly cellular consisting of a population of pleomorphic spindle cells in a light haemorrhagic background. Cells were fusiform to plump to oval, had multiple prominent, often large and angular nucleoli, with variable N:C ratio and moderate to marked anisocytosis and anisokaryosis. Also observed were numerous, variable sized multinucleated cells and bizarre mitotic figures.
The tumour appeared poorly differentiated with almost every known criteria of malignancy exhibited in an extreme way, suggestive of a high-grade tumour. Histopathology to further define the type of sarcoma, was not done, however a rhabdomyosarcoma or fibrosarcoma would be differentials for a tumour in this location.
Thanks to Todd Halsey of Halifax Veterinary Centre for this interesting case.