A Tampa woman’s unconditional love for her pet bird

Bay News 9
Monday, March 29, 2010

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TAMPA (Bay News 9) – A Tampa animal lover says she’s being criticized for spending too much money on a sick bird.

Anne Lowery has been rescuing birds for almost 40 years.

“I really don’t have very much family,” Lowery said. “So my birds are my family, regardless of what people say. And they’re very close to me. It’s unconditional love and I would do anything for them.”

One of the birds she owned was a parrot named Areba. But doctors at Florida Veterinarian Specialists diagnosed Areba with cancer.

“Squamous cell carcinoma in birds is a very progressive necrotic cancer,” said veterinarian and bird specialist Dr. Teresa Lightfoot. “What it does is rather than make tissue, it kind of eats away at tissue. It’s common in older birds in the oral cavity.”

Areba underwent chemotherapy for more than a year, getting a treatment about every two weeks. But the bird died while eating her favorite food.

“She passed standing up eating a blueberry muffin, just like that,” Lowery said.

Lowery says she’s getting a lot of criticism for putting the bird through treatment, and for the amount of money she’s spent. She estimates she spent about $80,000 for Areba’s care.

Lowery said the $80,000 was for care the entire time the bird was sick. She said chemotherapy was only a percentage of that.

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