Can chickens get arthritis?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chickonaroost, Dec 31, 2007.

  1. chickonaroost

    chickonaroost In the Brooder

    Jun 13, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    I have a 5-6 yr old barred rock who has been limping for months...first just a little, and now a lot. I never found any injury, it isn't broken and she doesn't act like it hurts her when I touch it from top to bottom. Can chickens get arthritis?? She is getting "up there" in chicken years. Maybe she has arthritis in her 'hip'??
  2. Matt A NC

    Matt A NC Crowing

    Feb 22, 2007
    Morganton, NC
    Have you checked the bottoms of her feet for swelling or a small scab?
  3. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    Quote:Yes, they can. [​IMG]
  4. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

  5. chickonaroost

    chickonaroost In the Brooder

    Jun 13, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    Her feet look fine. I was just out there and she isn't putting any wt. on it at all now...just hopping on one foot. Poor old girl, she's still laying me about 2 (gigantic) eggs a week too...
  6. akcskye

    akcskye Songster

    Apr 11, 2007
    Is it just the leg involved?

    I have had 2 hens, one a game one that lived to be 12 (not a typo...really 12) and another who died about 3.5 years old who both had strokes and acted like you're mentioning.

    You couldn't see it in the wing until they tried to level themselves, then it was sluggish.
  7. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    here are my collected articles on LEG PROBLEMS and LAMENESS (the ASA link with a review of the most common ones I have excerpted below)...viral and bacterial "arthritis" is very common...
    Importance of Nutrition on Health Status in Poultry
    Robert A. Swick, Ph.D.
    "....Leg Weakness
    Disorders involving leg weakness are a persistent problem in commercial poultry operations around the world. Leg problems in poultry are associated with many causes including nutrition, genetics, virus infection, environment. The problem is widespread with 2 to 6% of all commercial chickens displaying some sort of problem. Descriptions of the more common problems are given:
    Viral arthritis
    Also called tenosynovitis. Reovirus infection is considered the main cause of the problem with secondary Staphylococcus aureus infection. The disease is not nutritional in origin but may occur along with malabsorption syndrome. The condition results in severe lameness that reduces ability of the bird to move causing malnutrition and stunting. Swelling of the shanks and hock can be observed as early as 10 days but usually develop at 4 to 6 weeks. The swollen area may be filled with clear or bloody fluid or may be hardened and fibrous.

    Femoral head necrosis
    This condition is also called "brittle bone disease". It appears to be related to reovirus and adenovirus as these are often isolated from affected flocks. Fusarium contamination of ingredients is often observed. Femoral head necrosis is characterized by a severe weakening or disintegration of the head of the femur such that upon necropsy the bone end is easily broken off between the fingers.

    This is caused by infection with Mycoplasma synoviae. The major signs are lameness and swelling of the hock joints with cream colored fluid. Eradication has been successful through blood testing of the breeders. Egg transmission can be reduced by dipping of eggs with antibiotic.

    This condition is caused by bacterial infection. S. aureus is the major cause with secondary involvement of E. coli and Pasteurella multocida. Invasion of bacteria after toe trimming or by cuts and scratches produce toxins that prevent cartilage formation. Birds often have a hopping gait and the affected area is swollen and warm to the touch. Biosecurity, good hygiene and treatment with antibiotics will reduce problems if caught in the early stages.

    Tibial dyschondroplasia
    This abnormality occurs primarily at the growth ends of the tibia where a large amount or "plug" of unvascularized cartilage accumulates. TD does not appear to be related to virus infection. Faster growing flocks on a high plane of nutrition are often affected. Acid-base imbalance, high levels of salt, low calcium and excess nitrogen increase severity of TD (Waldroup, 1986). Fusarium mycotoxins such as fusarochromanone and contamination of corn with Fusarium moniliforme increases the incidence of TD (Cook, 1987). Aflatoxin reduces vitamin D absorption and liver damage prevents conversion to the active 25-OH form of vitamin D3. Experimentally, 1, 25- OH vitamin D3 has ben found to prevent TD. Vitamin C has also been found useful. Although TD occurs in other bones, it is most common at the proximal end of the tibia because of high stress at this point. A higher incidence of breast blisters is usually observed in birds with this condition probably because they are spending more time off their feet.

    A direct result of vitamin D deficiency and low or imbalanced calcium or phosphorus nutrition. Bones are decalcified and weakened causing bowing of the legs and other problems. The growth plate is increased in width and birds appear sluggish and are reluctant to walk. The bones and beaks are soft and rubbery. Mycotoxins are often involved.

    Also called chondrodystrophy or "slipped tendon". Symptoms include swelling of the hock joint, shortening of the leg bone and gastrocnemius tendon slippage off the condyle. This problem is mostly genetic but may be induced experimentally in diets deficient in one or more of the following nutrients: choline, manganese, zinc, copper, niacin, biotin, pyridoxine, vitamin E, vitamin B12, calcium and phosphorus.

    Twisted leg
    This very common ailment in broilers is often confused with other problems. One or both legs may be involved. The legs may be bent inward or outward. Litter quality and heat stress seem to play a role. Manganese deficiency worsens the condition whereas high doses of pyridoxine improve the condition (Waldroup, 1986). Dietary tannin from rapeseed meal and high tannin sorghum as well as the high sulfur content in rapeseed and Canola meal interfere with calcium metabolism and increase incidence of this condition (Summers, 1993).

    Strategies for reducing incidence of leg problems:
    Biosecurity and disease control to eradicate mycoplasma and reduce the indicence of reovirus.

    Monitor and reduce contamination of grains, groundnut meal and corn gluten meal with aflatoxin and Fusarium mold.

    Calcium and phosphorus sources should be highly bioavailable. Avoid dolomitic limestone containing more than 3% magnesium as this impairs calcium utilization. Phosphate sources should contain less than 0.25% fluoride and defluorinated rock phosphate should contain between 4 to 6% sodium to ensure solubility of phosphorus. Maintain a 2:1 ratio of calcium to available phosphorus for broilers and pullets and 12:1 ratio for layers.

    Ensure adequate available levels of all vitamins and trace minerals. Additional vitamin E (up to 150 ppm), biotin (up to 60 ppm) and supplementation with vitamin C (125 ppm) may be useful.

    Avoid excess sodium (above 0.30%) and chloride (above 0.40%) in feed.

    Avoid water with sodium above 500 ppm, chloride above 500 ppm, nitrogen (as NO3) above 50 ppm and sulfur (as sulfate) above 1000 ppm (Leeson and Summers, 1991).

    Monitor sulfur level in feed. This can be a problem when using high levels of rapeseed and/or Canola meals. Total feed sulfur should be less than 0.5%.

    Avoid high levels of tannins. Monitor the use of ingredients such as high tannin sorghum, sunflower meal, Canola and rapeseed meals.

    Reduce nutrient density in feed to slow growth when persistent problems occur. Avoid amino acid imbalances and excess protein.
  8. pollysmum

    pollysmum In the Brooder

    Dec 24, 2007
    How heavy is this bird.. heavy bird can land heavily on any item in your yard or pen and cause bruising to the foot or leg or strain the leg or pull a muscle

    How high up are the roosts .. if they are too high and she is a bit heavy .. once again you can get injuries happening

    If your roosts are up high put another one or two down lower and remove the really high ones..

    What do you have on the floor of your coop... if you have any stones or different shaped bits of wood it can harm the delicate underpad of the birds foot or twist it when they land on it

    Also look at the roosts... you may have something sticking out of them and she is standing on it .. a nail or something.. and this bruises the foot every night when they stand on it ... as most birds have their own little spot they like to sleep in or near

    Check outside... is she perching on something outside and it is rough or have bumps or something that could be damaging her foot

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