Bumblefoot scabs

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by lilhippiemomma, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. lilhippiemomma

    lilhippiemomma Out Of The Brooder

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    Hey, I was just wondering if the classic bumblefoot scabs are always indicative of bumblefoot. My silkie rooster has little dark sopts on the bottoms of each of his feet. He's never acted like his feet are hurting him. I always assumed that the scabs were just calluses until I saw a picture of bumblefoot on the interwebs. There's no swelling and no tenderness. The only thing that I can think of that might be weird is that he sometimes stands for awhile on one leg like a flamingo. Should I be worried?
     
  2. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A picture of your bird's scab would help, but I've learned from reading these threads that when there is a scab in the absence of swelling, it sometimes goes away on its own. My guess is that those unswollen ones are unifected abrasions, or, if mildly infected, the bird is able to fight it off without intervention.

    That said, I would soak it daily, ANYWAY, until it completely heals, because if it progresses to bumblefoot, you (and the bird), will be sorry. Bumblefoot can be very hard to treat, sometimes requires surgery, which is painful for the bird (no anesthetic is used) and no fun for you.

    Some people report that epsom salts help; I've had great luck with TricideNeo for mild-moderate bumblefoot, so that is my first line of defense. Keep us posted -- it is really helpful to get follow up information on all cases, from the mildest to the severe, so we can all learn.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    Not all scabs mean infection. The easiest way to tell is to soak the foot in some warm water and scrub all the dirt off. Take a look at the scab. If the scab is firmly attached to the pad, and is hard and dry looking, no redness or swelling to the pad, then it is probably healing with no intervention needed. If the scab is loose, still black and soft at the center, there is redness and swelling to the pad, (compare the pad with the scab to the other healthy pad for comparison), then there is probably infection going on inside the foot pad.

    If it only looks minor, you can apply some neosporin and wrap the foot for a few weeks. Keep the foot clean and dry and change the bandage every day or ever other day or when it gets wet. Always apply more neosporin before rewrapping.

    Use a piece of gauze on the food pad and around the webbing as vet wrap has latex in it which will irritate the soft skin. Wrap tight enough to stay on, but not so tight to cut off circulation. The easiest way to tell if it is on too tightly is the check the toes 5 mins after wrapping. They should be warm to hot, like the unbandaged foot. If the toes are cold, you wrapped too tightly.
     
  4. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The key word here is "probably". In no case would I recommend doing nothing. lilhippiemomma, from your description, what you have is at most mild bumblefoot, and at best an uninfected abrasion. I personally think the wrapping and neosporin are not the way to go here. As long as you have not picked or cut the scab, bacteria cannot get in. Wrapping is needed only if you open the wound (which I would not recommend here). If you have not picked at it and it is still closed, soaking is more likely to help it heal more quickly. My hen had actual bumblefoot with 2 scabs and a moderate swelling. I did not touch the scabs, and TricideNeo soaks alone had it totally healed within a week. No wraps or neosporin. The scabs fell off and the swelling was completely gone within a week. Some people have said it took them about a month - perhaps those were more severe cases.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
  5. chickngal98

    chickngal98 Out Of The Brooder

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    My hen had bumblefoot with no scab. And it has been over a month since we performed surgery on her. Just two weeks ago we were able to get the "cores" out of the foot by massaging and soaking her foot. It is a long process. Good luck!
     
  6. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    This line is NOT TRUE. Bacteria CAN and WILL enter a scab from around the edges.

    I have been dealing with bumblefoot now with nearly everyone of my hens. Not EVERY scab did I have to do any thing to. MANY of them healed on their own. Once you have dealt with these scabs long enough, you will know when to intervene and when not too. I have healed MANY a scabs by simply wrapping and applying neosporin. Tri-Cide Neo is way to expensive to purchase just for a scab. What works for one case of bumblefoot may not necessarily work for another.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
  7. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No, bacteria cannot penetrate an intact scab. If it gets peeled or picked around the edges, then yes, bacteria can enter.

    I agree - some scabs heal on their own. I was just saying I don't think it's wise to risk ignoring it, given the pain the bird must endure if it DOES become infected. Help it heal ASAP is my motto. Soaking is easy on both owner and bird. If you prefer to wrap, go right ahead. Why do so many of your birds have bumblefoot? Has it been recurring?
     
  8. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    I have very prickly, sharp, rocky, pokey land. My birds are always poking holes in their feet, no matter if they are free ranged or kept confined. My birds are of heavy breed, and what with the nature of my land, they get puncture wounds a lot. I do a feet check nearly every day, especially during wet weather and jump immediately on all issues.

    I rarely soak a birds foot unless it is infected. Birds have a wonderful immune/healing system and can heal quick if not allowed to infect. And if caught early enough, cleaning, neosporin and a good wrapping is all they need. Rarely do I do a surgery since I catch these injuries early enough. And many times they do poke their feet, a scab forms and the birds heal themselves. As long as a scab stays dry and clean, many times they heal themselves.

    Every case is different. Each bird heals at it's own rate, each owner uses different techniques to cure these bumblefoot issues. What heals one bird, may not heal the other. So folks need to find out what works with their bird and go from there.

    And I also need to add, for those reading any of these bumblefoot threads, that doing a foot check, however often one can do so, is very important for catching these things before they get out of control. Bumblefoot can go systemic which may lead to having to put the bird down.
     
  9. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Absolutely - I agree 100% with this. After seeing photos of some horrible cases, and reading about recurrent surgeries, I cannot overemphasize how important it is to catch it early.
     
  10. lilhippiemomma

    lilhippiemomma Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you, everybody for the advice! I suppose I need to explain this situation more. Yesterday, I was just eating my breakfast cereal and typing random things into pinterest to entertain myself and I happened to come across a pic of a chicken foot with the bumblefoot scab. I think, Oh crap, because I had noticed dark spots on Snaggle-roo's feet when I was messing with him a couple of weeks ago. I thought they were weird, showed them around to my family and poked at them a lot. He didn't seem to feel pain, there was no swelling, and since his skin is black the marks didn't look too out of place, so I just figured they were calluses and put it out of my mind. So then I saw that picture and immediately started looking up more pics and immediately posted here on the board, telling you all what I'd noticed those two weeks ago. After I posted I went outside, grabbed him, and Wow... His poor little feet were all swollen and one of the scabs was actually starting to peel. Needless to say he has since had his poor little feet soaked in warm water with epsom salt. And it is quite an adventure trying to wrap the feet of a feather footed breed, let me tell you!

    I don't know how in the world he got this. He's mostly free range and just cruises around the lawn. I put him in a cage at night that has a wire bottom, but I cover it with lots of layers of newspaper to protect his feet (chickens aren't the only critters to get bumblefoot, I know how devastating wire floors can be). He could have had it since I got him from the poultry swap, the guy had him in a wire bottom cage. But that was back in March, that seems like a long time for something like this to wait to pop up... Thanks again for the help, everybody. I don't know what I'd do without you!
     

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