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Chicken attacked by dog

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chesty78, Dec 25, 2012.

  1. chesty78

    chesty78 Hatching

    Dec 25, 2012
    My hen was attacked by a dog today and is not to well. Missing feather all the way Dow to raw skin plus skin cut open down back muscle showing, have her seperated from flock with heat lamp to keep her warm she is awake and will walk around but prefers to lay down and sleep. Any suggestions on what I should do.

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Just keep her separate and on clean litter. I would clean the wound with something mild, maybe dilute Betadine, but soapy water is fine, and apply Neosporin or another antibiotic ointment. The only thing to be careful of is not to use an ointment with a "caine" drug such as cetacaine, benzocaine, etc. as these can actually kill a chicken. If she is eating and drinking, she probably has a good chance of healing. Of course, a little extra protein such as yogurt or meat table scraps would be good (just a bite of your hamburger, for example.) . Don't try to sew the wound; leave it open so any infection can get out. If it's a really serious or nasty wound, some sort of Penicillin (from the feed store) would be good but may well be unnecessary. She may be doing all that sleeping simply as a response to the shock of the attack.
    1 person likes this.
  3. RhodeIslandRedFan

    RhodeIslandRedFan Songster

    Dec 10, 2009
    Central PA
    X2. How is she doing today?
  4. chesty78

    chesty78 Hatching

    Dec 25, 2012
    Thanks for the advise. I will do this.
  5. cowcreekgeek

    cowcreekgeek Songster

    Sep 14, 2012
    Hurricane, WV
    If there's anything I can do to help out, be sure 'n let me know ...

    As for the pain? Things like this don't hurt 'em in nearly the same way as it'd feel on our bodies, 'cause their nervous systems are made very differently. So, fixin' her up yourself is just fine. You can, and probably should, dissolve one baby aspirin into a liter of water, and offer it free choice.

    I'm gonna repost a very long article, with apology to the original author, as their website is still under construction.

    I've added my own superglue alternative to stitching, down at the bottom of Ms. Ross' excellent tutorial ...

    Wound Care for Chickens, by Nathalie Ross

    Here's my usual way of doing wounds. It's worked for some pretty extreme wounds, including one 2x1 wound that went all the way down to the silver covering of the spine of one bird.

    First, gather materials:
    VetWrap or similar self-adhesive wrap.
    gauze wrapping type bandages or squares (depending on what you have to bandage)
    non-stick pads (depending on what you have to wrap)
    antibiotic ointment (neosporin, Swat for horses if you have flies around)
    hydrogen peroxide (h202)
    warm water
    a needleless syringe - preferably a big one like 30 cc's
    suture material if you need it (this ideally should be left to a vet)
    a small pair of scissors like cuticle scissors are helpful
    large scissors
    (duct tape in some cases)
    a good safe blood clotter. I prefer Clotisol as it's not poisonous and clots IMMEDIATELY even in high blood situations. You can even use it inside of beaks. It's water based, lasts ages for a small bottle. Seriously - ages. You can pretty much only get it online, but it's a must-have for a cabinet. Once you use it, you won't go back.
    clean clothes that can be stained

    First, an important note. It would be ideal if, as poultry owners faced with an injured bird, that the bird be taken to a qualified veterinarian who can not only dress the wounds, access the damage, but also prescribe the correct antibiotics and follow up as necessary. This, first and foremost, is what I recommend for any wound situation that is more than minor. Please take that to heart.

    If instead you decide to treat the wound yourself, here are some basic instructions on how to do so. Note that every wound, every case, is different. Use your common sense and imagination on determining when this protocol must be flexed to fit your situation.

    First, examine the bird and find all wounds. Use your big and little scissors to trim feathers away from the area. Try to only take as many as could touch the wound, no more - they need feather protection and the feathers won't grow back til next moult. Also be careful, if wing feathers are near, not to cut the living flesh part inside feather quills.

    If the wounds are under the wing, sometimes you can simply wrap the wing in a t-shirt to keep whatever touches the wing clean. Baby tshirts would be great for this. Neck part at the top of the wing, fitted with a little duct tape on the cloth (not tight please) and just tie the other end of the tshirt.

    Make sure to look very carefully against the skin for puncture wounds. There might not be look, and puncture wounds are tricky and hard to find. Note the location and severity of all wounds.

    Take your syringe and fill with H202 (straight) or h202 slightly diluted with water. Use the syringe to vigously clean the wound area including in the wounds. If the wounds are puncture wounds, use diluted water/h202, not straight. You only use h202 the first time as it tends to burn tissues and keep them from healing if you continue. But it's great for bubbling out bits of dirt from inside the wound. Do this cleansing about three times per wound.

    Follow up by rinsing out the h2o2 with a water/iodine mixture made to be just the color of slightly strong iced tea. You want it warm. Fill your same syringe that you used with the h2o2 and flush the wounds rather vigorously.

    At this time, if there are any pieces of flesh that need to be removed, remove them. This is where I use a q-tip dipped in a bottle-cap full of clotisol (so you don't contaminate the original bottle).

    Doing this on a table that's ok to stain is best. I've done this on my truck's tail gate as I can clean it afterwards. Place a lot of papertowels under the birds for these two cleansing phases to keep the drainoff from going everywhere.

    Use another clean papertowel to dry the wound. You want to leave some iodine solution inside the wound - it doesn't have to be skin-dry. Just dry enough for some ointment to stick.

    Once the wound is well cleaned, then you'll want to dress it. I use Neosporin and q-tips most often for this job. If there are flies in the area at all, I will use Neosporin inside the wounds (ointment) and use Swat wound ointment for horses instead. (It has fly repellent that's safe for poultry in it.) I fill punctures with neosporin. If they're deep, I stick the top of the tube into the wound (and throw away the tube after I'm done with everything). Pack it. You usually want air in a wound, but puncture wounds can sometimes heal on top first and leave a pocket inside. The antibiotic ointment (not creme) is a little insurance against too much bacteria and thus abcesses.

    If the wound is one that absolutely must be stitched, then pack it with the antibiotic ointment. If you're using a flyproof ointment, wipe the wound and then use the fly-proof on top. Otherwise just wipe slightly so there's a little antibiotic ointment on the important top part of the wound. You don't want to stray too far from just the wound, keep the bird dry.

    On closing wounds with sutures. Puncture wounds shouldn't be sutured. Bad bacteria love a place where there's no oxygen. Suturing closes the wound and encourages festering within. As much air as you can get to a wound, the better, except that the interior of punctures should have some antibacterial action going on.

    I've had some serious wounds in my flock before. The only time I've sutured was when a very large flap of skin was torn from the front of a neck (read as 3 inches by 10 inch flap). Another recent case involves a possible rather large hole in a crop which, should it leak food, should be sutured. Otherwise try to leave things open. Poultry can regrow an amazing amount of skin back if there's muscle underneath. New skin will granulate and grow in to fill in gaps that would surprise you.

    On the areas that are just uncovered, I usually use antibiotic creme (versus ointment) because it's water based. Sometimes I'll just put a thin smear of antibiotic ointment, however, if that's what I have. Or fly-preventative ointment if there are flies in the area.

    If at all possible, try not to cover with bandages. The average bandage keeps air out and moisture in and not in a good way. If you must bandage (a dirt floor area, extreme fly issues, etc) then try to keep the bandage to a minimum and very airy. That's why I'm not a big fan of nonstick bandages. They tend to trap moisture and cause a very warm airless area. But sometimes you have to use them. If so, cover the wound with the bandage. Wrap twice with very gauzey gauze wrap. Then put one layer only of VetWrap over. If you must secure (to keep the bandage from falling, for example) you can use very thin strips of duct tape like you would tape a birthday present. Using as little as possible, but a very strong tape like duct tape, helps let the air in.

    Sometimes I've even used just one layer of a very clean paper towel rather than use a non-stick. Afterwards, if you have to remove it, you can soak with warm water and pick the bits out if it sticks. Gauze tends to embed in wound seepage.

    Think out of the box when it comes to covering areas that are wounded. With my geese who had multiple puncture and surface wounds on their chest, and a high fly area, I used one white sheet that I formed into a sort of front-bib and tied behind their back. T-shirts are also awesome to cover a bird's body. Buy the appropriate size, slip the neck over their neck, their legs through the arm holes, cut two holes through which you slip their wings. Gather the bottom end (cut so that you don't cover their vent) at the top of their back and duct-tape the cloth to make it stay fitted. T-shirts are very airy, cheap, washable, and absorbent.

    SUTURES: *
    If your bird requires stitches, suture material with thread attached can be found at many feedstores or purchased online ahead of time. The size you want is for dogs and cats. Sutures aren't stitched like a pillow case, but each stitch is its own knot. The semi-circular needles of suture needles are ideal for going into and out of the skin. Note: stitching is not easy - skin is tough, usually the needle is slippery, and it's rather tough to do. Overestimate the amount of suture material you need as you'll make knots and cut off the excess bit sticking up.

    Many wounds, if properly cleaned and dressed and left airy, do not need much maintenance. Oddly, one of the best ways of telling whether or not a wound is doing well is by using your nose. Smell the wound at the time of cleaning. Wounds have a particular almost sweet but not cloyingly sweet smell. Remember the smell. Then smell the wound daily to see if you smell rot. If you do, there's not enough air to the wound and possible infection going on.

    Wounds will seep a little - that's natural and the body's way of dealing with wounds. Usually the seepage will be mostly clear and smell of wound. However, if there's any opaqueness to it, or clotted texture, that's infection. Also there will be some natural inflammation as the body tries to bully off the bad bacteria and bring in healing materials to the wound. However excessive inflammation, discoloration (especially black or green), should be noted.

    If a wound needs cleaning or examining, take off what bandages you can gently. If they stick to the seepage from the wound, use warm water to soak the bandage parts remaining away from the drainage.

    Then examine the wound, determine what needs to be done, and redress from the iodine stage onward.

    Many wounds do not require additional antibiotics other than topical (on the skin) antibiotic dressings. However in the case of animal bites that weren't caught immediately, cat bites, and wounds that have been sitting or are particularly deep, it may be a good idea to treat with antibiotics. If you make this decision, please be sure to get one that is appropriate for wounds. The packages at the feedstore are not.

    Penicillin G Procaine (Aqueous Pen-G) is commonly found at many feedstores in their fridge section. It's awesome to keep in your own fridge for a rainy day. It's a very thick antibiotic and requires a thicker gauge needle. I would use no thinner than a 22 gauge, preferably something more thick at a length of .75 to 1 inch. At many feedstores, you can buy 3 cc syringes that are together already with needles. These are nice to have on hand as well as that 30 cc syringe that you'll use to flush wounds.

    Instructions on how to give an injection are available separately as well as how to treat with antibiotics. If you do choose to use injectable antibiotics, be prepared to go the entire recommended course. Penicillin G Procaine is a concentrated penicillin (they're not all created equally) and only is required to be given every other day. Based on the type of antibiotic you expect to use, buy that many syringes plus two.

    Birds in healing mode need help being stabilized, nourished, and hydrated. We all know how delicate birds can be, but it's surprising how resilient they can be at times. However, wounds will often depress a bird or cause them to go into shock. A stressed or shocked bird may not be able to digest foods they're commonly given. For that reason, I recommend only giving easily dissolved feeds when a bird is in the first stages of recovery. Think crumbles, pellets, etc. You don't want to make a drastic change in their diet ever, much less when they're already stressed. If a bird is reluctant to eat, try wetting the pellets/crumbles. You can also add a boiled egg yolk (one per six cups of food) mashed into the crumbles. I like to also give probiotics (yogurt, Fastrack, Probiocs, acidophilus, or whatever I have available) during this time to combat a secondary intestinal disorder from stress and change of way of eating. Yogurt is simple. You can mix 1 tablespoon per two cups of feed.

    The added protein in an egg yolk helps the bird to heal. Adding a capsule of vitamin E to that mash (one per 2 cups of mash) also helps healing. If the birds are stressy, or not able to eat normally, I'll use a vitamin/electrolyte mix in their water for the first few days. I never ever use an oral antibiotic for wound treatment. Period.

    It's unfortunately common that poultry are victims of predation and wounds. They are delicate and, with their ultra-fast metabolisms, can die readily if they decide to. Remember that an injured bird can often have internal injuries we never see. If you lose them, just remember you tried your best. However you might be surprised, with proper wound-care, how many of these birds recover to absolutely normal lives. Just be patient as healing takes a while. Usually separate the birds, but if they can be near their peers they take heart from it and will do better.

    Good luck with your flock, and I hope this information has been helpful.
    Nathalie Ross
    (Please do not reproduce without permission of the author. The author is not a veterinarian and does not intend to dispense information that at all should replace the advice of a qualified avian vet.)

    * Note that I am no doctor, but have stitched up a few animals (including myself) and thought I should add a few precautions:
    • avoid completely closing some puncture wounds, most esp. bite wounds, or anywhere that infection is present.
    • stitches should never hook skin to muscle -- treat each independently, if req'd.
    • hemostats and needle-nosed pliers are great (good ones, like old leatherman's ~'-)
    • everything must be completely sterile, of don't even consider doin' such a thing (best to leave such things to vets/doctors anyhow).

    Another unapproved off-label thing that I've done is to use superglue to attach fabric or netting to prepared areas on either side of a wound, paying special attention not to allow it to enter any wounded tissue (it burns, and most probably ain't healthy). I usually attach strips to one side and/or the other, allowing them to set before gently tensioning to a drop applied on the other. It usually takes about 7-10 days to naturally release from the skin. It's been my 'super-butterfly-bandage' for years, but have never tried this on any bird.
    1 person likes this.
  6. aghiowa

    aghiowa Songster

    Sep 14, 2010
    Check out my thread lower down about my Cochin that was attacked by a dog last week. I've been cleaning her wounds out every other day, and just yesterday got several bad punctures cleared out well. She's a lot more perky today. Epsom salts soaks work well for loosening stuck on material, and don't be afraid to get in there and get it clean. They really don't feel pain like we do. Its a long process. I'm letting mine rest today, because we did a lot of work on her yesterday, but as long as you can keep infection at bay and get the wounds healing right, she should be OK. I also had to fashion a cape for mine, because she was pecking at her wounds constantly. Good luck, and definitely keep us posted!
    2 people like this.
  7. chesty78

    chesty78 Hatching

    Dec 25, 2012
    Ok when I got home this evening she was awake and moving around eyes wide open. Don't know if she has eaten or drank anything yet. Put neosporin on her back and am gonna stop by feed store tomorrow to pick up some penicillin. Any ideas on how to get some food and water in her?

  8. CedarOR

    CedarOR In the Brooder

    Dec 23, 2012
    I have been a vet tech for 20+ years and normally until the last couple of years I would have shaved it with a #40 blade, cleaned it with Betadine/Povodine, antibiotics etc. But the new thing I have been doing is proven thus far on for a stray cat who had mastitis and sloughed off 4 of her mammany glands, a horse who degloved her hock to pastern, a rabbit with an abcess into its sinus cavity and another rabbit who tried to eviscarate himself after being neutered at the vets.... is an old Roman soldier treatment (and by the way, all these wrecks were owned by someone else).

    I now pack them in honey and cover, changing the bandage twice a day and then repacking it with honey. I do this for about a week or two (depending on the injury) until new tissue is mostly covering the wound and then I leave it to the air to dry since it stays 'wet' with the honey. Honey is antibacterial and will prevent infection from bacteria setting in. A couple years ago I would have rolled my eyes and said "Yeah right!" if I had told myself how well this works. But all the last 4-5 animals I have done this with healed quickly and with no issues. With the rabbit with the abscess and her whole side of her face was pretty much open, I used a TB syringe with warm honey and packed it in there with a syringe. My friend had already spent $300 on this doe and it was not doing well, so I changed tactics and went back to the honey and it was healed in less than 2 weeks. I am not saying that this will work 100% of the time but I am pretty sold on this. I have some pics of the before and after, but they are kinda icky to post for the 'before', so you might just want to take my word for it. All of these cases were last ditch efforts before the animal was put down and all of them had already received hundreds of $ of treatment at the vets. I am not saying to ditch a vet and go for the honey either, but if it is a case of push-comes-to-shove, you might give it a go.

    You have to be creative in wrapping sometimes. Like I had to leave it open on the face, a diaper over the hock of the horse, Kotex and vet wrap for the cat and Telfa pads and vetwrap with suspenders for the rabbit. I am guessing you might have to do the 'suspender' thing on a chicken.

    Good luck with your hen,
    1 person likes this.
  9. RhodeIslandRedFan

    RhodeIslandRedFan Songster

    Dec 10, 2009
    Central PA
    I find your experiences with honey fascinating. I've read about the healing properties of honey but have never tried it on any injuries myself. I've also read that raw, unfiltered honey is best for healing, as the filtering and processing done with store-bought honey removes some of the nutritional and healing elements. I'm very curious, what type of honey did you use for the injuries you treated?
  10. Watch the wound and make sure it doesn't get infected.Also lot's of TLC.
    Hope your hen feels better soon!

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