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Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Other Names: Dermal Squamous Cell Carcinoma, Avian Keratoacanthoma

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a type of cancer that begins in the squamous cells. Squamous cells are the thin, flat cells that make up the epidermis, or the outermost layer of the skin. SCC is caused by changes in the DNA of these cells, which cause them to multiply uncontrollably. Squamous cells make up the tissue that forms the surface of the skin, the lining of the hollow organs of the body, and the lining of the respiratory and digestive tracts. SCC can develop throughout any of these areas.

SCC is one of the most common types of skin tumors in chickens, with a 11% prevalence rate in neoplasms discovered in chickens. Chickens develop skin lesions that look like crater-shaped ulcers with raised margins and found most frequently in the skin of the head, around the beak, eyelids, neck, chest or wings. Small nodular lesions are often found with the ulcers and appear grossly as enlarged feather follicles.

Previously Documented Cases

Squamous cell carcinoma has also been found in the oropharynx and esophagus of an adult Japanese bantam rooster, the pharyngeal cavity of a 3 year old Jersey black giant male chicken, both legs of a 6-year old pet Aracauna chicken, and crop of a 4.5-year old rooster.

Clinical Signs

Small nodular lesions


  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Histology
  • PCR


Supportive care
Photodynamic therapy


Scientific References

Risk Factors

  • Previous skin trauma

Also Consider