Chick with broken/sprained/slipped tendon needs help

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by BROOD, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. BROOD

    BROOD In the Brooder

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    Hello fellow brooders
    Recently purchased a mixed batch of chicks from meyers hatchery. Before I go too far MH is amazing. I got 2 buff brahmas, 2 dark brahmas, an easter egger, a golden wyandotte, and a golden buff. All that is beside the point but this is what I saw when I got them home.
    https://imgur.com/pFto2rX.mp4
    A beautiful sight! But check out my little one on the bottom right.. she hops rather than walks. My excitement was so high I did not even notice. Plus look at her go. A true peg legged pirate. My brooder was prepared, so I transferred them and let them be for a half hour before giving them a once over cuddle session. To my dismay that's when I found that one of my dark brahmas had arrived with a leg injury. Savvy as I am online I scoured the internet for forum threads, articles and videos explaining just about every leg injury chicks can succumb to as well as DIY fixes, etc etc. I got just enough book smarts to make the streets dangerous.

    Unfortunately I did not take photos of her leg then. She was tucking it and hopping around like quite a trooper. However I know what can happen with chickens so I pulled a heat lamp from storage, fashioned a cardboard box to hold the lamp and made a secondary brooder that I've been keeping inside my house. Once I had her separated I immediately, and ignorantly, suspected that her foot was the problem. I fashioned a shoe and taped it to her toes. She suffered with that shoe for a little over 12 hours. The next day I inspected the leg and spent an entire day researching. I removed the shoe, and again ignorantly, fashioned a hobble with a hair tie and a straw. I'm cringing imagining the pain it put her through. That stayed on for another 12 or so hours. By the time I took that off I had come to the conclusion that it was probably perosis and that she was not going to make it. However her leg was tucked straight up, not to one side or the other like countless reference images I have found of perosis. And while probing her achilles tendon, found that it does feel in place and does not snap to either side. Still though I concluded she had perosis based solely on some minor swelling at the hock joint. There's no movement in the toes, or leg. Some minor quivering but I suspect that's from her heartbeat/breathing. The foot has circulation. But it's clear something is impeding movement. Stretching it past ~40% extension causes pain. Also at this point my affection for this one is substantial. Whether it was her stubbornness to battle through my ignorant attempts to help her or just her cuteness idk.. probably both. I decided to take the chance and spend the money to see a vet.

    The vet concluded her leg was broke. Which would've been a relief if he made me feel confident in his prognosis. He was obviously out of his league with my visit but he too thought the tendon was in place. I asked if there was a way to splint the leg, and he laughed... k not kidding! Apparently there was a woman there who regularly works on birds... k wish I was seeing her right now! He took my little girl to her, they sedated her and fashioned a splint from a straw and some tape. No padding at all. He told me to remove it in a week and if shes still not able to apply weight to the leg to make a new one, taking into account her new dimensions after growth, and try for one more week. He gave me some oral pain/inflammatory medicine and a plastic syringe and 85 dollars later I was on my way home. Once I got home I just knew she was going to have a terrible time getting around with her leg in a cast made of a straw so I made a chick chair for her. This is also when I came up with her name, Peggy. I DID take a photo of that.
    [​IMG]
    She's a wild one and after an unfortunate fall from the sling, one where her injured leg got caught in the sock, (AHHHHH) figured out she would not willingly stay in it. So I also got a headband, cut a hole for her little head and strapped her in. Don't worry it's actually pretty loose on her. Here's the underside.
    [​IMG]
    At this point I'm thinking ok. She's going to be fine. She's still eating and drinking. Shes still very vocal. I'll leave her in the sling for 24 hours before giving her a rest and hopefully the leg will look better. Well today I removed her and inspected the leg. That's when I realized the splint was made too long. And her ankle was now swollen! I trimmed the splint so that it was not in the way of her rear toe, bless her little heart, and held her up around her brood box so she could experience finding interesting chunks of pine shavings like her sisters and pump some blood to her good leg. I did this twice today. In between physical therapy sessions I caged her off and let her sisters frolic around in the box with her while she was in her sling. I called the vet back today and they only had a cat/dog person in. They were supposed to contact a few of their avian staff and get back to me but never did so.. that's cool. The past two nights have been hard. She starts crying, I come to comfort her, lightly use my index and thumb and stroke behind her ears and she falls back asleep. That happens about once an hour or so. I'm frustrated because I know I've already made mistakes that probably hurt her worse and the vet was of very little assistance. I'm also worried about a swollen area on her chest in front of the hurt leg. I'm not sure what it is, it doesn't seem to be painful to her as I probe it as she doesn't cry when it's massaged. It may be nothing.??

    I do have some questions though:
    -If it's broke/sprained. Should I be removing her from the sling at all right now? Or should I force her to heal without moving. I'm worried about atrophy.
    -If it's broke/sprained. Is this splint suitable? I've seen other splints made from q-tips and tape, others from gauze and tape. This one seems like it could cut her. And there's no way for me to tell without removing it which I would think I would not want to do.
    -I really just want someone who has experienced this to tell me what I should do, how long I should do it for, and what I should expect to see as far as results go.

    Thanks everyone, Peggy thanks you as well.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019
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  2. rjohns39

    rjohns39 Wrangler

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  3. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

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    I'm sorry to hear about your chick. It's very hard to know if she is suffering from Slipped Tendon, a break or possibly a leg bone deformity. It sounds like you have been doing what you can for her. You may find the splinting manuals linked below helpful.
    I would also get some B-vitamins into her, especially B2(Riboflavin). You can use human B-Complex, 1/4 tablet daily crushed up and put into her food.

    Leg issues can be hard to correct and heal. The swelling ankle and hock joint are definitely concerning.
    https://theiwrc.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Duerr_Splinting_Manual_2010.pdf
    http://www.starlingtalk.com/fractures.htm
     
  4. BROOD

    BROOD In the Brooder

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    Thanks. I've been giving all of them a vitamin and probiotic supplement in their water since I got them. I'll spend tonight reading what you've posted and see if I can implement some of it's advice.

    Yes I'm not really sure why the ankle has started to swell. Especially after giving her meloxicam for the inflammation. I suspect the splint but that's really because that's all that's changed.
     
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  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    It is very frustrating to deal with a leg problem. It can be hard to tell the exact problem. Vet wrap cut into strips can be good to splint, and it can be removed every day to examine the leg and adjust it for growing, which they seem to do right before your eyes. I have seen pictures of a figure 8 splint out of tape above and below the hock joint to give the leg support. I have not personally dealt with a slipped tendon or broken bone. Sometimes it helps to see a picture of how they stand with the leg, to determine whatbis wrong. Many of these chicks end up being put down or starve if they cannot get to food and water. Some can get around on their own with their disability.

    I think if there is swelling, then the splint may need adjusting or removed. Chicks have very tender skin and it can break down and blister easily.
    Here is a good thread about a peachick with a slipped tendon that has pictures of splints:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/peachick-with-slipped-tendon.1092979/
     
  6. BROOD

    BROOD In the Brooder

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    So I've been driving around all over looking for vet tape and didn't find anything that's cloth and that also pulls from hair gently. So instead I went to riteaid and picked up a gentle paper tape that I plan on covering with strong hold cloth tape. I took the straw splint off her today. The swelling on her hock combined with her leg growth had the hock swelling past the edges of the straw. On top of that the vet used some very strong hold tape that is now embedded in her down. I tried unwrapping it but it got hopelessly stuck to her down. I had to cover her head and hold her using a razor blade to cut the tape down the side of the straw to then get the straw off of her. What's left of the tape is now lodged in her down, I tried soaking the tape to soften the glue but it was no use. I feel like I should leave her leg unsplinted for an hour or so to let some of the swelling die down and allow blood to flow? It may have been the swelling but she was no longer tucking it way up to her chest. I was holding her up in the photo below but as you can see it almost looks normal in the squatting position. Besides the toes starting to curl... ahh Should I shoe it again? She still doesn't seem to be able to move her leg.

    It's looking to me like the bad leg is smaller/shorter/skinnier? Maybe it's just me. I guess she could be having an issue flexing it at the hip with the pain? When seated in her chair the hock of the bad leg barely makes it out of the seat's hole and the good leg pushes through a good inch.

    The entire process getting the straw splint off was obviously very painful for her so before I continue making a new one I think I'll let her rest a little while. :( She definitely wanted to run around and play though but she was also crying a lot too. I was sad to put her back in her chair..

    I probed her leg bones carefully and honestly could not feel any breaks. She only cries when I probe her hock joint.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
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  7. BROOD

    BROOD In the Brooder

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    Should I re-splint bent or straight?
     
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  8. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

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    I don't know!
    Let's get a few others in here. I'm sure @Eggcessive will be around in a while.
    @WVduckchick @casportpony ?

    Just a tip for stuck on tape, you can try mineral or baby oil to help dissolve the glue.
     
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  9. BROOD

    BROOD In the Brooder

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    Ah thank you! I will try that. After a few hours with the splint off color has came back to her toes. Her hock is still pretty swollen but the color looks much better. She's still without her new splint while I wait for answers to the above. She's also no longer crying when I bend her leg. She does cry when I touch her hock.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
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  10. casportpony

    casportpony Enlightened

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    This is how a vet splinted a slipped tendon:
    [​IMG]
     

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