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Bumblefoot in 5 out of 6 chickens??

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by mommabird, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. mommabird

    mommabird Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi there! I was led to a Bumblefoot post the other day, not sure how I ended up there but I found it interesting and read through the whole post and many of the replies. My girls have shown so signs of limping, etc but today when I was out with them, I decided to take a look at the feet of one that was standing by and was shocked to see that she appears to have the beginnings of it on each foot. Then I started looking at the others (I have 6 white leghorn girls) and was even more shocked to see that 4 of them appear to have it on both feet and 1 on one foot!!! None of them seem as severe as what I was seeing in the post the other day but a couple of them are definitely getting swollen. I have a few questions:
    • The post I read was about how to cure it with surgery (by cutting out around the black mark and removing the plug, etc). Do I have to do this to all of them or, because some of them don't seem that severe, is there something else to do?
    • From what I was reading in that post, it seemed like this was something that occurs occassionally to a flock, not to all at once! What am I doing wrong? They have a raised coop (good size, well kept) that leads to a fairly large enclosed run. The run is now all dirt but gets good drainage and, while it does get wet (not super muddy) during rainstorms, etc - it dries up within a day or so after a storm. In an attempt to make it a little more interesting for them, I recently raked up some dead pine needles and covered their run with it and they seem to have great fun scratching around it it, etc. They also are let out in our yard to free range, several times a week. Am I missing something or do is there something I am doing that would cause this to occur in most them?

    Any advice or direction would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  2. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Jacksonville, Florida
    Lowering roosts, eliminating high places they can jump down from and lightly sanding roosts/perches will just about eliminate bumblefoot issues. If you see redness or swelling around the scab, that indicates an infection and minor surgery will be required. Also if a bird limps because of bumblefoot, it will normally require minor surgery too. Sometimes if you see the scab without redness or swelling, no limping...surgery may not be required and the scab may disappear on its own. I've had this happen and have done needless surgery on the already stressed bird. It just requires monitoring the bird for redness, swelling, limping.
     
  3. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 9, 2009
    Bumblefoot is a type of abscess in the pad of the foot. In order for a bird to get it, there has to be a break in the skin on the bottom of the foot, an abrasion, through which bacteria enter. Anything sharp they can cut their feet on should be eliminated from their environment, if possible. Last summer I discovered that 2 of my birds had it, before I noticed that the wooden frame of one of the compost bins where my birds like to perch, had begun to rot away, exposing the sharp ends of some staples. I removed that frame, and no more new cases.

    Even cases involving swelling and limping can sometimes be treated successfully without surgery. I've now treated a total of 3 birds, all of whom had swelling and limping. One was severely swollen, with puckering all around a 1/4 inch scab. I didn't use surgery for any of them. All cases resolved with daily soaking in TricideNeo. I just soaked - I did not pick, cut, or wrap anything. I can tell you more about this treatment, if you want.

    After treating these birds and reading many threads, I've come to think that the only cases which probably need surgery are those with a hardened kernel, or "plug", in the swelling. In my 3 cases, the swelling was still soft, so I don't think there was any plug. However, if I ever see a case with a plug, I plan to try TricideNeo anyway, since there is really no proof that it does not work in those more advanced cases.
     
  4. mommabird

    mommabird Out Of The Brooder

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    I'd love to hear more details of the process you used as the thought of surgically removing 9 of them does not really appeal to me but I would do it if I had to.
     
  5. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    I've used Tricide Neo and it does work. I found that trineo works best on smaller bumblefoot problems and clears it up in about a weeks time frame. However larger bumblefoot problems take longer to heal in which I found surgery to be easier and quicker.
     
  6. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Be happy to tell you about it. With 5 birds to treat, it's going to be a lot of work no matter which treatment you use. But it does sound like they are all mild, so there's a good chance that soaking will be enough.

    Some people say that epsom salt soaks work if there is no swelling, and since that is inexpensive, you might give it a try on some of your birds. For the swollen ones, I'd go right to TricideNeo. It is an antibiotic in the form of a powder, and is used to treat skin ulcers on koi fish, so you will find at koi pond supply stores. You can order it online. The cost will be around $25-28 for enough powder to make 1 gallon of antibiotic solution. Since the solution is said to last only about a week, I use a gram scale to measure out 1/4 of the powder and mix with a quart of water. You must use distilled water, available at a grocery store, because tap water might contain chemicals that inactivate the antibiotic.

    Soak for 5-7 minutes once a day, in enough solution to just submerge the foot. I pour a small amount of solution into a plastic container just large enough to put the foot in (or in your case, large enough for both feet), so I won't waste too much solution. So, from one quart, I can get 5-6 days of soaking, which is perfect, because the package directions say the solution is good for only about a week.. I discard the used portion each day. Where you have multiple birds, you can probably soak them all in the same solution, then discard it after you've done them all that day.

    My two milder cases resolved pretty quickly. One was totally better after just 2 soaks, and the other took a week. My really bad one took a month, but for the 1st 3 weeks I was soaking only 4-5 days a week, because I was traveling and busy. Once I started soaking her every day, I noticed gradual improvement.
     
  7. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Forgot to mention: with TricideNeo soaks, there is no need to pick or cut the scab off, or to wrap the foot. Just soak once a day.

    Surgery might be quicker, and easier for you, if you're not squeamish about that sort of thing. But remember that you will not be using an anesthetic of any sort (as far as I know, there is no good local anesthetic for chickens), so it will be a painful experience for the bird. Also, surgery is no sure bet, either. There are many threads where people describe having to repeat the surgery one or more times, because they either failed to remove the kernel, or they inadvertently contaminated the wound, causing re-infection. Imagine having an abscess dug out of your own foot with no anesthetic...repeatedly! So I would suggest trying soaking first, and then move on to surgery if things do not improve.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012

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