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Chicken has deep bruising from predator. Leg seems to be hardening.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by quinnmusic, Oct 20, 2011.

  1. quinnmusic

    quinnmusic Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 15, 2009
    Hi all,

    My sweet 1.5 year old cuckoo maran was attacked about 2 weeks ago when something got into the coop (racoon/possum) and it seems grabbed her by the leg and dragged her out. She is lucky to still be with us. There was a skin tear behind the left leg, right where the leg meets the body and she had a lot of bruising on most of her leg. She has not been able to walk or bear weight on this leg at all ever since but she continues to eat and drink and poop though very small quantities of each. I noticed today that the bruising is clearing up and mainly yellow now and the skin tear had a large, healing scab with no strong smell. She is molting at the moment and the pinfeathers were just about to come through on the hurt leg and they seem to have stopped growing and her skin and muscle feels like it is hardening. It doesn't move over her muscle like her other leg. I am wondering if it is part of the normal healing process or is her leg is dying or sick. I massaged her skin and noticed some clear weepy liquid came out at the site of one of the new pinfeathers. I put some antiseptic liquid on her and popped her in the coop for the night. I had taken the hen to the vet a couple of days after the attach to see if she had any broken bones or dislocated limbs and he said it looks like she got really lucky but has a lot of really bad bruising.

    Any help would be so appreciated. I am hand feeding her 3-4 times a day, mixing her feed with yogurt and probiotic and vitB, and I will not give up on her especially since she is not giving up either.
    Thank you,
    Elise
     
  2. klmclain1

    klmclain1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 14, 2011
    Quote:Bump...I don't know, but it does sound odd. Best wishes!
     
  3. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    Apr 15, 2009
    Was there quite a lot of swelling with the original injury? Is there any darkening of the affected leg/foot? Can she move the affected limb? Does she seem to have circulation to the limb? If you push on it does the skin blanch and then return to its normal color? Does it feel cold? Is it causing pain?

    I am thinking one of 2 things- either the muscle in the leg may be atrophying, which I think she may be able to survive, but it is going to require some regular chicken PT to help her regain any use from it. Or the leg could be dead and is in the process of desiccating. Answering the questions may help to determine which problem she has.
     
  4. quinnmusic

    quinnmusic Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 15, 2009
    Thank you for your reply. There was not a lot of swelling with the original injury. I think there is some darkening on the scales of her leg but not very much. It seems lik she can mover the affected limb a little and maybe increasing. She is half standing up now on her knees it seems but will not walk around still except for a couple of limping hops if she really feels like she needs to move. I think she still has circulation to the limb. I just went and felt it and it feels warm to the touch but she sits on it all day too so I guess that is to be expected. I think she is in a lot of pain and when I turn her over on her back and move the leg slowly she seems to respond well. Her foot is starting to curl up more and more though but I keep rubbing her skin on the thigh to try and help break up whatever is under the skin that is harding up. I feel like she just had so much bruising from the attack and it is healing. It seems that she is a little stronger than she was. She even managed to get herself up into the coop last night which is pretty amazing (up a steep ramp). I am hoping that I need to do more regular PT with her. Could you tell me a little about what I would need to do for her and how often?

    Thank you so much. You have given me hope for this sweet chicken.
     
  5. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    Apr 15, 2009
    Just put the leg through its regular range of motion exercises. Bend and straighten it as much as she'll tolerate. Straighten and bend the toes several times, bend and straighten each joint in the leg several times individually. Do not try to force any joint more than it will move without causing her pain. You are just trying to keep the muscles moving, so if she has a nerve injury the leg will hopefully be usable in the future.

    Sometimes when someone suffers a nerve injury the nerve will swell and stop sending signals/send mixed up signals, so the muscles that are normally ennervated by that nerve aren't receiving normal input. This leads to the muscle losing tone and then atrophying (shrinking and sometimes hardening up). If you keep the muscles working until the nerve repairs itself, then there is a better chance of a more complete recovery. That being said- some nerve damage takes a really long time to heal and some nerve damage doesn't heal at all.

    All you can do is give her time and chicken PT in the meanwhile. Start off doing 5-10 repetitions of bending and straightening the leg joints twice a day and see if it helps. I would be very careful around the hip joint, which is where she probably has the nerve damage due to be dragged around by her leg.

    I hope this helps. Keep us posted on how she does. Good luck.
     
  6. quinnmusic

    quinnmusic Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 15, 2009
    Ok. So I have been giving the chicken PT for a week now. I just took a bit of a look at the leg and it seems to be getting smelly. Not strong smelling but still an odor. The wound has healed completely but the skin is still very yellow. Her feathers are growing in now except for her inner thigh where the muscle seems hard. There are several scabs where the feathers were going to grow in and when I gently pull on those feathers they come out pretty easily. The skin seems kind of puffy and thick and kind of feels bloated and very yellow. I the new feathers are starting to infect inside the skin where she was badly damaged. I have started her on antibiotics for now to try to flush out any infection. She is not using the leg at all but she can get up into the chicken coop at night but will not come out in the morning on her own. I put food and water directly in front of her and she will eat and drink. Otherwise she will just sit and do nothing. Must be pretty depressing for her. She gets mad and pecks at the other chickens if they eat near her. I will try to post some photos of her leg so you can see the color. She is not giving up, I just hope she isn't going to dwindle away like this for the next few months.
     
  7. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    It sounds like parts of the leg are dying. You should probably consider where you want to go from here. You can stave off an infection indefinitely using antibiotics, but you should probably ask at this point what kind of quality of life she is going to have with one leg or one-and-a-half legs.

    What antibiotic are you using?
     
  8. quinnmusic

    quinnmusic Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 15, 2009
    Ok. I was afraid that this might be coming. I am using clavamox. It says it is amoxicillin trihydrate/clavulanate potassium. I am giving her .5mL every 12 hours and just started today. If the infection clears, do you think it will just return again? I feel like she is extremely dependent on us at this point and would have probably died a long time ago without us. I will be sad to see her go but I do want to do what is most humane too. Thank you for your honest advice.
    Elise
     
  9. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    I normally use penicillin on these types of wounds, but I also rarely use antibiotics at all. I think the infection could clear, but I think there is a strong likelihood that it will also return until the dying tissues have finished dying and start to dessicate (dry up). Once the leg dries up pieces of it will either fall off, or be reabsorbed by the body depending on if the damaged areas are outside or inside. I suspect that she will not ever use the leg again. I also suspect that the road to recovery will be long and painful and dangerous. I really doubt that her quality of life after this is going to be worth the suffering she will go through to get there.

    I am sorry, Elise. I was hoping she would be able to recover from this. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
     
  10. quinnmusic

    quinnmusic Out Of The Brooder

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    I am starting to see what I need to do. I really prefer not to use any antibiotics myself but was feeling that this is getting pretty extreme. I squeezed around where it is yellow on her leg and yellow liquid did come out. Absolutely infected. I topically treated the area but I am afraid that her leg is dying. It is only the inside of her thigh. The rest of her leg has regrown feathers. Could it be that her deep bruising could have got infected or that maybe it is something deeper that is causing this infection? Maybe there is no way of knowing.

    Thank you for all of your advice and support. This is a really difficult thing for me to go through.
     

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