Chicken attacked by oppossum-still alive, questions about rabies?

JC500

Hatching
11 Years
Oct 7, 2008
1
0
7
Help me please, one of our 6 chickens was attacked by an oppossum. it tried to pull it through the cage, but couldn't so instead it broke its leg and took most of the skin off of the upper leg, below the thigh. It is still living, day 3 after attack. We put hydrogen peroxide diluted with water and antibiotic ointment on the wound, and splinted the leg. she is still eating and drinking but not moving around much. I only saw the possum once, in the dark, don't think it was rabid. Should i euthanized the chicken? what are rabies symptoms in chickens? should i even worry about that?
 

hinkjc

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Jan 11, 2007
12,683
90
331
PA
Chickens cannot get rabies. It is a mammal disease. I would use caution for humans dealing with the injuries tho. Make sure to where gloves, especially if you have open sores. Any remaining saliva in the wound can make contact with your open wounds and cause you problems.

Jody
 

MagsC

Queen Of Clueless
11 Years
Jul 27, 2008
4,616
12
231
Minnesota
I might be wrong but I dont think chickens get rabies? I thought only mammals did. However, as stated, I would be very careful in taking care of the wounds.
 

Plum

In the Brooder
11 Years
Feb 4, 2008
12
0
22
Portland, Oregon
Possums don't carry rabies so no need to euthanize the chicken. It's wouldn't be a bad idea to put the chicken on an oral antibiotic and keep a close eye on the wound.
Also, it would be a good idea to enclose the area where your chjickens sleep with 1/2 inch hareware cloth because the possum will be back for more.
 
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d.k

red-headed stepchild
11 Years
Feb 6, 2008
3,085
13
221
Southeast Coast of Florida
* Actually, any warm-blooded creature can get rabies. Chickens, too-- though I have heard that it kills them very quickly. Have you had a rabies alert in your area?? Chances are the oppossum was "clean", but if you have had frequent, nearby alerts, you may have to consider that.
 

grandmachicken

Songster
11 Years
Sep 15, 2008
117
6
144
Williamson, GA
Chickens don't get rabies because their body temperatures are too high. The virus needs a body temperature close to 100, as most mammals have. A normal chicken's temperature is around 104.

Since a possum is a mammal, hypothetically, it can carry the rabies virus. But we very rarely see cases of rabies in possums, no one really knows why. The old joke in vet school was that you need to actually have a brain to carry rabies, and the possum - well, you get it.

Peroxide is okay as long as it is diluted with water or saline, at least half and half. Check with your local vet as to what antibiotic ointment is safe to use on the leg.

Good luck with your baby, she will probably be fine.

Christi Ware, DVM
 

hinkjc

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Jan 11, 2007
12,683
90
331
PA
Chickens cannot get rabies. Here is a fact sheet from the CDC. Avian species do not get or carry the rabies virus.

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/kidsrabies/FastFacts/rabies.htm

Any mammal can get rabies. Raccoons, skunks, foxes, bats, dogs, and cats can get rabies. Cattle and humans can also get rabies. Only mammals can get rabies. Animals that are not mammals -- such as birds, snakes, and fish -- do not get rabies.

Jody​
 

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