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Swollen legs on old hen...any advice? Pics included

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

My lead hen, an australorp of 6+ years, has developed swollen legs. I thought her legs looked a little thicker a few weeks ago, but over the past week they have ballooned just ABOVE her feet...in the "cankle" area of BOTH legs.  So far, thankfully, she is not limping.  And her health does not seem otherwise affected yet; she still eats/drinks/poops - not a lot of pecking about, but it's been cold here (Indiana) and she's old.  She comes out with the others when I open their run each morning, and she sure can still flap and run when I bring out treats/scraps.

 

At first I thought perhaps some kidney issue due to age...fluid/water retention, since many old people deal with swollen legs.  I'd been thinking that maybe an organ is starting to fail.  But after taking a closer look today, I'm wondering if it's some kind of infection?  The areas are soft-ish...and seem a little warm to me compared to her feet or the upper leg...almost like a bumblefoot infection.  I'm not suggesting bumblefoot of course, but am not sure how she would have developed an infection in the ankle areas???  Do you think it could be gout???

 

I'm wondering if anyone has seen anything like this?  And if so, how did you treat it?  Thanks for your input!  She's a good hen - hoping to help her if I can.

 

 

Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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post #2 of 9
What do the soles of her feet look like?
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Her feet (including pads/bottoms) look fine...no plugs, sores, etc.  They look healthy.  It's really odd, especially since both ankle areas are so swollen.

Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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post #4 of 9

One possibility could be mycoplasma synovitis (MS,) an infection that can affect the joints. There are viruses that also can cause synovitis or joint infection, but MS is a respiratory disease that may have few symptoms other than swollen joints. How do her hock joints look? MS is treated by many different antibiotics, such as Tylan, oxytetracycline, chlortetracycline, and others. Gout usually seems to cause swollen feet as well as ankles and legs. The are tests available for MS by the state vet or local extension agents in most states. Your local vet may also be able to help.

post #5 of 9
Try giving her vitamin d or rooster booster to help strengthen her legs. Are her scales lifted up if so it could be scaly leg mites. They have a spray for that you can buy on Amazon if her scales are lifted up. Her ankles are so so big it looks like water just filled them up. If I were you I would take her inside because she might fall while roosting then hurt her self more so bring her inside in your warm home.
1 silkie, 1 black australorp, 3 white Plymouth rocks, 2 easter eggers, 2 buff orpingtons , 2 barred rocks.
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1 silkie, 1 black australorp, 3 white Plymouth rocks, 2 easter eggers, 2 buff orpingtons , 2 barred rocks.
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post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eggcessive View Post
 

One possibility could be mycoplasma synovitis (MS,) an infection that can affect the joints. There are viruses that also can cause synovitis or joint infection, but MS is a respiratory disease that may have few symptoms other than swollen joints. How do her hock joints look? MS is treated by many different antibiotics, such as Tylan, oxytetracycline, chlortetracycline, and others. Gout usually seems to cause swollen feet as well as ankles and legs. The are tests available for MS by the state vet or local extension agents in most states. Your local vet may also be able to help.

I haven't noticed anything off in the hock area, but will check closer tomorrow.  I've used Tylan 50 years ago for a respiratory issue, and my TS carries it, so will give that a try.  Do all antibiotics for chickens have to be given into the muscle???  Can any of them be given subQ, beneath the skin??  Thanks!

Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by minichicks05 View Post

Try giving her vitamin d or rooster booster to help strengthen her legs. Are her scales lifted up if so it could be scaly leg mites. They have a spray for that you can buy on Amazon if her scales are lifted up. Her ankles are so so big it looks like water just filled them up. If I were you I would take her inside because she might fall while roosting then hurt her self more so bring her inside in your warm home.

No, it's definitely not scaly leg mites - her scales look healthy....laying flat and not lifted.  She's actually not hobbling/limping at all, which is surprising to me considering the size of her ankles - they look very painful, but she given no indication that they're causing her pain (although I'm sure they must be at least somewhat painful simply due to the amount of swelling).  She has a ramp/ladder to climb up/down to her roost; she does not have to jump down.  But I did lower her roost today, and made it wider, just in case.

Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

Reply

Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by teach1rusl View Post

I haven't noticed anything off in the hock area, but will check closer tomorrow.  I've used Tylan 50 years ago for a respiratory issue, and my TS carries it, so will give that a try.  Do all antibiotics for chickens have to be given into the muscle???  Can any of them be given subQ, beneath the skin??  Thanks!
Tylan is usually meant for intramuscular injection into the breast muscle, although some people seem to give it under the skin in the back of the neck. If I were doing injections, I would jnject it 1/4 inch into the breast muscle with a 20 or 22 gauge short needle. It can also be given orally, and Tylan soluble powder is meant for use in the water. Since there had been a previous respiratory issue, this could be related.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

I'm just updating this several months old post.  I ended up giving my hen a small injection of Excede, which is a long acting antibiotic I had on hand for one of my alpacas I'd treated.  I gave that around mid January.  I also sprayed Frontline on her feet/legs and coated with Vaseline in case of s.l.mite issues (only did that once).  Figured I had nothing to lose.  

 

Coincidence or not, I have no clue...but by the end of February her ankles were completely back to normal.  I had resigned myself to her legs getting worse and having to eventually put her down, so I don't even care that I don't know WHAT the issue/cure was...I'm just relieve that my old lead hen will be around for another summer.

Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

Reply

Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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