Bumblefoot in Turkeys - According to the Vet

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by lengel, Sep 6, 2009.

  1. lengel

    lengel Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2008
    I had a very educational experience with what is generally thought of as bumblefoot in turkeys and it was very valuable so I wanted to share it with everyone here.

    I took Christmas to an exotic bird hospital because our dog vet recommended them. The three vets with avian experience also consulted a poultry specialist on the other side of the country. All of the vets were very interested in the problem and went to great lengths to explain to me what the issues were.

    This is what I learned:

    Bumblefoot in turkeys is usually not "true" bumblefoot". It is actually pressure necrosis. This is caused by the fact that the birds are bred to be top heavy (as we all know) which causes swelling from the fact that the feet are not meant to carry that weight.

    There is not necessarily an initial bacterial infection which causes pressure necrosis. My turkey's fluid sample did not show a bacterial infection. However one will eventually develop. Edited to say: the fluid in my turkey's swelling was mostly joint fluid.

    Oral antibiotics are useless because the the blood circulation is so poor that the antibiotics don't make it to the foot. The antibiotic must be a topical one applied directly to the foot, preferably one which is absorbed through the skin. This means that the person should wear gloves for this procedure.

    Keep the turkey on as soft a surface as possible. This will relieve the pressure on the feet.

    Do not keep the turkey on hardwood shavings. These drive splinters in the feet and exacerbate the problem.

    I will update this post as I find out more.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2009
  2. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    Wow, that is interesting. THanks for the info.
    1 person likes this.
  3. wilds of pa

    wilds of pa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yup even a single tiny cut on the foot can allow the bacteria in, doesn't require a splinter to give to the bird, you can inject the foot with anti's, Had a chicken that had it a few years ago and just injected the bird in the chest with the antis and the bird healed right up. we removed the plug as well... the foot must also be kept clean and dry as well.

    for meat turkeys large calluses can and often build up on the foot making one think possible bumble foot, but you can tell bumble foot from callus growth by looking at the birds pad, if there is a plug you got bumble foot.

    Treatment and Prevention:

    Last edited: Sep 6, 2009
  4. KellyandKatie

    KellyandKatie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 29, 2007
    Kitsap County, WA
    okay, I have been reading about this, I should probably start my own thread - but I just got some plouts last night, and one has what looks to be bumblefoot, but I do not seem to remember seeing it when we picked her/him out- and I want to say the transport was gentle, he was free range where we got him, and is in a big area here too
    I will take some pictures
    thanks for the helpful thread
  5. 1-duckling

    1-duckling Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 1, 2009
    I've been most curious about this. I have a broad breasted bronze hen around 4 yrs old. Over the years I've watched her feet get bigger and bigger. She is so heavy I cannot maneuver her and if I try to lift a foot she loses balance and falls. Her size makes it impossible for her to perch so she sleeps on the floor. She gets around ok but stumbles a lot. So what do yah think, bumble or the other?

  6. jeanniejayne

    jeanniejayne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 30, 2008
    Can you get a pic of the bottom of the foot?
  7. 1-duckling

    1-duckling Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 1, 2009
    She is so large I've not been able to maneuver her to see the bottom of her feet. She is about 45 pounds. When I've tried to get a look she has such a conniption fit I'm afraid she'd have a heart attack or injure herself making things worse for her. She still travels around the pasture with the others: although slowly. Her feet have been this way for so long I wouldn't think it could be an infection or I would think she would have died.

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