Chick Hock Infection - Chick is on the mend!!

Wingleader

Chirping
7 Years
Sep 1, 2012
130
19
93
Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania
My Coop
My Coop
Hi all, I put this in the wrong forum at first, so apologies for the obnoxious posting.




(pics from five days ago)

I have a chick that hatched a few weeks ago and he was having a hard time from the get-go. He wouldn't eat or drink, but I gave him a lot of attention and he was doing just fine on his own.

About five days ago I noticed his left ankle joint was all swollen, and over the past few days it's been getting worse. There are squishy yellow-white pockets all throughout the swelling. He can move the joint and use his leg and foot, but he must be painful. He drags it around more than he uses it.

I had him by himself inside the brooder in a ten gallon fish tank so that he could still see the other chicks, but not get run over. He is much smaller than the others. Quarantine wasn't helping, so I let him out this morning. He got super excited and ran/hopped all over while flapping his wings crazily. He obviously feels well enough to do that.

What can I do to treat this? Should I bind the leg even though it would make it hard for him to sleep? What about antibiotics strong enough to kick an infection, but still be safe for the chick? Is lancing an option? If so, how should I go about it? I know chickens don't have "puss" like a mammal, and I only have experience treating abscesses in dogs and cats.
 

Eggcessive

Addict
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
61,303
53,616
1,322
southern Ohio
Has there been any mycoplasma synoviae (MS) in your flock? That can cause disease in the joints, but I have never heard of a chick showing symptoms so early. Spec-Linx or LS50 is used in chicks to treat mycoplasma. What I really think is wrong is a slipped achilles tendon which can cause swelling in the hock joint. The tendon in the back of the leg can be stretched out and vet wrapped into place. Here are some links about it:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/756556/slipped-tendon-splayed-leg-confused
https://sites.google.com/a/poultrypedia.com/poultrypedia/poultry-podiatry#chick_crooked_leg
 

Wingleader

Chirping
7 Years
Sep 1, 2012
130
19
93
Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania
My Coop
My Coop
Here's more pictures. I'm having a really hard time trying to see if the tendon has slipped...

Also, none of my other birds have shown issues like this before.





The chick CAN move on the leg. He can bend it to sleep or stand up, he just hobbles a lot. I picked him up and ran his leg through the full range of movement. I didn't notice any "popping" at the hock joint, but there was something going on further up the leg?

Also, he kept getting run over, so I put him in the fish tank again. I added some rooster booster to his water.
 
Last edited:

Wingleader

Chirping
7 Years
Sep 1, 2012
130
19
93
Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania
My Coop
My Coop
Chick update: The little one remains by himself in a fish tank in the brooder in view of the other chicks but unable to be bulldozed by them. A local farm vet on a facebook group I'm in has been giving me advice on the treatment of the little one. She's not an official poultry vet, but she is familiar with chickens and problems like these and I am very grateful for her assistance.

I've had the chick drinking medicated water (Duramycin, tetracycline hydrochloride) since Monday and the hock is looking less yellow and squishy and more reddish. The leg makes an odd popping up near the hip when I gently exercise it every day. I fear this may be permanent bone damage from the issue, but I don't know for certain. There is a lot of strength in the leg still, and he can grip my fingers tightly with both of his feet just fine.

The chick seems to want to hold the leg out to the side because it's less painful for it, and the leg seems to be rotating more outward, so I created a hobble for him out of sports tape. It has been keeping the legs aligned properly and the chick has been getting around well.

More updates soon.
 

Eggcessive

Addict
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
61,303
53,616
1,322
southern Ohio
Chick chairs are sometimes useful with leg issues.Below is a picture of one, and another thread about a similar case from earlier today: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/880924/slipped-hock-tendon
LL

Photo from Artsyrobin of BYC
 

Wingleader

Chirping
7 Years
Sep 1, 2012
130
19
93
Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania
My Coop
My Coop
Those are very neat! If the issue persists I may have to do that. I am concerned because he would have a hard time regulating his temperature in one, though. So far he seems to be doing well, so we shall see!
 

Wingleader

Chirping
7 Years
Sep 1, 2012
130
19
93
Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania
My Coop
My Coop
Update!

The chick has been on the Duramycin-10 antibiotics for about six days now and he is doing much better! I put a sports tape hobble on his legs a few days ago because he seemed to be having trouble keeping his injured leg in the proper position. As of today, he was walking around with very little tripping, limping, or stumbling! The hock looks fantastic! It's just about the same size as the other and he is comfortable enough to put all of his weight on that leg. After taking updated photos with my high res digital camera I noticed a small hole on the back of the injured hock that looks very similar to the drain from an abscess, so I'm thinking that's what it was! He got pricked or scratched by something too small to notice and it became infected.

I'll be keeping him on the meds at least until the recommended two weeks is up, just to be sure nothing is lurking around that might start this whole fiasco over again. Pictures below!







 

Wingleader

Chirping
7 Years
Sep 1, 2012
130
19
93
Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania
My Coop
My Coop
Success! I'm pleased to say that the chick has made a full recovery (and turns out he is probably a she! Yay!).

Short version of the treatment of infected hock joint:

-Separation from other chicks. I put the chick inside a 10 gallon fish tank with a metal mesh lid (available a most pet stores) with the corner of the tank just under a small section of the brooder lamp inside the brooder with the other chicks (it was a large brooder).

-Begin Duramycin-10 treatment. 1/8 teaspoon powder per 1 gallon of water. I mixed mine in a clean gallon jug for easy refilling. Do this for a full 14 days!

-Continue feeding normal chick feed (I used un-medicated).

-Noticed leg jutting out to the side, so I got a small roll of sports tape (the self adhesive kind) and cut off a strip, which I then cut lengthwise. Secure around each leg just above the foot (not too tight!) so that the legs are at a more normal distance apart. The chick WAS stressed, but got used to it after a while. Removed after noticed the chick using the injured leg more.


And that's about it! She, now named Hob, is out in the transition pen in the coop with the other chicks, running amok and kicking up straw with the best of them.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom