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Duck ingesting Blu-Kote from picking at her wounds

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by helios, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. helios

    helios Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 30, 2010
    Bureau County, Illinois
    Short story: I'm treating an open wound on a Cayuga duck (hen) with Blu-Kote (and now penicillin) and she keeps picking at it and getting it in her mouth. Her water's always purple from it and I can see it on the tip of her bill at times--she's black from bill to toe, so it's hard to see unless she's under her lamp. I want her to be able to preen around the wound to remove any crusties or bothersome bits AND I want the wound to get lots of air, so I'd rather not cover it until it's healed up partially at least. How safe is Blu-Kote for her to ingest? I've read that it's safe to eat eggs from birds treated with Blu-Kote/and that it's absolutely never safe ever...I'm inclined to think something approved for use on humans (Violet Gentian) would work its way out of the system after a time and eggs would be safe--not to mention that the study that links kidney cancer to Violet Gentian was done with massive amounts administered to rats over an entire lifetime. Maybe I won't eat her eggs if they come out purple, but my concern is how much she's ingesting.

    Should I put a t-shirt over her entire body while she's healing? She sometimes shakes her head after she picks at wound, like the Blu-Kote tastes bitter. I change her water often when it becomes noticeably tinted after I've sprayed her wounds. I don't Blu-Kote her before work for this reason--however, the residuals are still there for her to pick at with unchanged water for 8+ hours. Will ingesting Blu-Kote harm her? Will it mess with the flora in her digestive tract/should I give her some yogurt to help if so?





    The long story of care up to this point:

    I have a Cayuga hen who was attacked by a possum last Wednesday night. I brought her in immediately, but did not see the extent of her injuries at first. I thought she'd gotten lucky with only an abrasion on the top of her wing that was drooping (due to a sprain, I thought, as the wing didn't seem sore to her). I rinsed it off briefly with full-strength H2O2 and rinsed with plain water in the utility sink in the basement. I thought there might be some injuries hiding on her breast, so when I did the initial clean-up, I thankfully squirted some Hydrogen Peroxide up into her breast feathers. She was surprisingly docile, as I haven't picked any of my ducks up since they were about 5 weeks old--I thought she knew she needed help...that may have been part of it, but she may have been in shock as well even though she put up a fight when she'd had enough handling.

    The next night, my boyfriend helped hold her still as I gooped up her wing again and taped up her flight feathers to help with her droopy wing.
    I set her up in a dogloo indoors in a dog-free zone in our house. She was drinking water immediately and ate a little bit of food that night. There were only a couple smudges of blood before the cleaning and none that I could detect on her towels after the cleaning.

    The next night, I moved her setup into the garage and added a small newspapered run to the dogloo. I set up a banker's lamp outside the dogloo to see if she would huddle under it, as our garage is usually under 40 degrees--she stayed in the dogloo except for coming out to nibble at her food and drink some water. After looking for advice here on the forums, I came home from work the next day with some epsom salts, unflavored Pedialyte, and Blu-Kote. I prepared a warm, shallow bath with plain water to let her get the outdoors gunk off. I put some graduated steps up to the bath and covered them with a towel for traction, and she happily climbed in, eyeballed me for a minute to see if I was tricking her, and then started splashing around and cleaning up. I let her dirty the water for a few minutes and then shooed her out, replacing the dirty water with a weak (half-strength or less) warm epsom salt bath. She again got in and splashed around. In the meantime, I put the banker's lamp into the dogloo to help her dry herself and keep her warm in the cold garage. To my horror, when I saw her start to preen under the light after her epsom soak and pick under her left wing , there was a large gash that had been hidden by her glossy black feathers and my inexperience with manhandling injured ducks for their own welfare. At least I had squirted some H2O2 on the general area likely within an hour of the attack...the wound looked like a golf-ball sized hole. I watched her try to clean her wound, but still couldn't get a good look at it. In desperation, I shot some Blu-Kote in under her wing while she was cleaning up and presenting it under the light. I was planning on retaping her wing after the bath, but decided to let it go to help the gash get some air. By now, she was hissing and biting at me when I got close--still perky and walking around normally.

    I left the lamp in the dogloo for heat and drying--her wings looked shaggy after the epsom salts stripped off her oils. The next morning (Saturday--day three), I enlisted the help of my sister, who is very good with animals and amateur veterinary emergency care. I knew I needed to get a good look at what I was dealing with and see if the "off" smell in the dogloo was duck poo + wound smell or duck poo + infected wound smell. I administered another plain water bath followed by a weak epsom salt bath to help clean out the wound and let me see if I missed anything when we did the full inspection. She splashed around and seemed to be soothed by the warm baths.

    My sister held the hen down while I inspected the wound and trimmed feathers and a small strip of skin away that I'd seen the duck pulling at after her first bath. The golf-ball sized wound was a nice upside-down v-shaped gash about two inches tall and almost three inches wide on the side of her left breast, with another inch-long vertical gash behind it. The v-shaped wound also had pulled the skin and fat away from the muscle and there was a pocket maybe an inch deep and wide under the actual exposed area--no more full baths...I may flush her wounds with saline if needed, but am leery of adding moisture to a wound that may pool liquids. Worse injuries than I expected, but the hen still seemed spunky and the wound was not inflamed as much as I would have expected. We Blu-Koted the wound and let her get up to finish drying off.

    She seemed the same on Sunday--still not eating well aside from a very little bit of hard-boiled egg chopped shell on, but drinking water.

    After more searching through the forums on Sunday, I decided to start a cycle of penicillin on her, but didn't get to the feed store until Monday morning. That morning, she was trembling ever so slightly, so I hoped I hadn't waited too long for the penicillin. I wrangled her myself, putting a pillowcase over her head and wrapping her in a towel this time. The shot was surprisingly easy to administer when she was hooded--I gave her a full cc to jump-start the cycle and released her...then realized I had to grab her again to redress her wounds with blu-kote [​IMG] I know that Blu-Kote isn't ideal for open, gaping wounds, but I'd rather use something dry and let air get to the wound. I'll continue the penicillin for another four doses of 1/2 cc each, maybe longer if I notice infection worsening or persisting. Last night, her appetite started to come around, as she'd eaten nearly half of the egg and picked around in the sunflower seeds for the bits of lettuce on top. I was worried that I'd have to force-feed her. Her dogloo didn't seem quite so stinky this morning, so if an infection was starting (as they almost inevitably do from a possum bite, I'd think), I think it's subsiding after the initial Penicillin injection. I'll rewrap her wing tonight after I spray on the Blu-Kote. I think she's a tough one and should be out of the woods now. I just can't believe how well she hid those horrible wounds! If she were a Pekin, I would've seen the bloody areas immediately, but not through those thick black feathers. She's very lucky, too--I have a surplus of drakes to eat or find homes for this spring and, sorry to say, if it had been a drake, I probably would have culled him after seeing the extent of the injuries.

    We'll chalk this injury up to a very educational one...she'll be wrangled and poked nightly for awhile, and that wing is getting taped up again tonight, so hopefully we'll make friends. I've decided to name her Penelope (she got herself "pen"ned back up after a glorious summer free-ranging on the pond, and now gets to be the guinea pig for my intramuscular "Pen" injections...and I've got a "pen"chant for mythology, but I started thinking of her as Penelope that first night even before the puns dawned on me).
     
  2. helios

    helios Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 30, 2010
    Bureau County, Illinois
    Anyone out there?

    To reiterate...how much Blu-Kote is too much Blu-Kote to ingest? Should I not worry about it being toxic at any level?

    Got to thinking of bringing in one of the other hens for a supervised visit to lift her spirits. She's getting better, but is still really annoyed with me. That first night in the house, I saw her looking around and softly calling to her buddies. It was heartbreaking!
     
  3. nancy/pets

    nancy/pets Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 6, 2011
    Mcveytown,PA
    Have you ever tried liquid bluing? I had a silver sebright rooster that the hens kept picking at his back and had him bleeding. My mom was here and she had already givin me the bluing for when we had to bath the chickens for 4H. So she puts some of it on him. They stoped picking and the bluing that was on his feathers is fading with each month. Although I am not sure how it would work for a large wound.
     
  4. helios

    helios Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 30, 2010
    Bureau County, Illinois
    I want to continue dressing the wound with Blu-Kote, as it seems to have dried up the wound nicely. I wonder if the bluing you're using just camoflages the raw spots from the other chickens like Blu-Kote does. It sounds like a color wash like old ladies use on grey hair to brighten it.

    I just wondered if there's a threshold of how much an adult duck can safely ingest. She seems to be picking at the wound less than before, but still had bright purple water this morning.

    (And funny, but I'm planning on getting a pair or trio of Silver Sebrights this spring [​IMG]
     
  5. nancy/pets

    nancy/pets Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 6, 2011
    Mcveytown,PA
    Quote:Yes it is what the old timers use and alot of people still use! I have all three varietys of the sebrights. I have some young silver sebrights that i hatched last year. They are all nice chickens. My buff roo likes to voice is opinion alot. Drives some husband crazy,LOL. He(the roo) is in the basement by the wood stove so he always has to listen to him when he checks the fire,lol [​IMG]
     
  6. rainplace

    rainplace Interstellar Duck Academy

    interesting question that I'd like to know the answer to also.
     
  7. helios

    helios Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 30, 2010
    Bureau County, Illinois
    Quote:I wish you were closer, Nancy...I'm trying to find a breeder relatively close who will have some nice quality silvers, as I've seen a wide variety in the quality of the lacing on hatchery birds. The only hatchery I've found that sexes bantams is MyPetChicken.com, but I've read some mixed reviews on their birds. If you have extras....

    I know I want a silver roo (I believe the color is sex linked) and might be able to be swayed into different color pullets. It's really the lacing and game stance that makes these birds striking. They'll also act as my bedding-turners for the duck house--those dirty little quackers! [​IMG]

    Penelope's still alert, but her appetite is still off. I'm going to try adding some B-complex to her water tonight along with the last of her pedialyte and she'll get some hands-on feeding this weekend if she doesn't shape up! She still finds me really annoying [​IMG] She's finished up her 4 days of penicillin and her wounds seem dry--I may let her bathe tomorrow or Sunday if the wound still smells clean off the antibiotics. Her appetite may increase without the penicillin, too. I'm also planning on bringing in one of the other girls tonight to try to cheer her up. Maybe when she sees Spartacus eating up all the treats, they'll have a tea party and gossip like good little lady duckies [​IMG]

    I actually did not apply the Blu-Kote on her wounds last night...partly because I'm still worried about the levels of Blu-Kote that she's ingesting and no one seems to know if there's a threshold. She still had very purple water this morning, so she must be preening the wound site and getting some ickies out, partly because she was very grumpy after our clumsiest injection wrangling yet. I'll try to post some pics this weekend of my Duck ICU in the garage. I must say it's far easier to care for a single adult than when all eleven of the babies were in there for three weeks late last spring--especially since she's not eating much.
     
  8. TheNewMrsEvans

    TheNewMrsEvans Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 15, 2008
    Big Sur, CA
    I have only use Blu-kote on chickens, but their beaks were instantly blue and they had no problems...I would just rinse out and refill her water 3+ times a day so what she is getting is more dilute.
    All it says on my bottle is "keep dogs from licking it"...

    I hope she gets better quick!
     
  9. helios

    helios Out Of The Brooder

    74
    1
    33
    Dec 30, 2010
    Bureau County, Illinois
    Just wanted to update on my hen who was badly injured: I put her out with the rest of the flock three weekends ago (on a weekend so that I could check to see if she was being bullied or seemed chilled). Luckily, we've had warmer than normal temps and it was above freezing most days and the duck house stays above freezing unless it's well below zero...she seemed happy to be gossiping with her ladies even if she was a bit grumpy with the boys' interest in her. I just wanted to say she's doing fine now. I stopped taping up her wing, so she's got one that hangs kind of low, and I did stop spraying her wound with blu-kote a day or two after I posted this thread.

    I did want to write down the whole treatment. I may repost some of this elsewhere so it's easier to find when someone's in crisis with an injured bird--it's so stressful to care for an animal so adept at hiding pain and injury, especially when they are not used to being handled. I was a mess...with blue fingers to boot!

    Aside from the original stinky infection, which was cleared up with four doses of penicillin (Aqueous Pen-G, 18ga needle) at 1cc per day each day, there weren't too many bumps in the road to recovery. About a week and a half after the attack, she had started getting a bit agitated with me, so I brought a hen in to keep her company over a Saturday night. That seemed to lift her mood quite a bit. However, when I tried to catch the same hen for a sleepover the next night, she raised hell and got the whole flock worked up.

    Coincidentally, she got a new roommate within a few days. We have a couple ladies who ride their horses by our house at least a couple times a week in good weather. Sometimes their dogs are in tow, sometimes not. I happened to have taken the afternoon off of work and was home early to try to ease some back pain. I was freshening Penelope's food and water when our two dogs started barking like mad--they bark at everything, so I didn't much notice until they didn't stop. I glanced out the garage door and saw that the horsepeople were approaching from the east. I went upstairs and I was about to lie down on the couch with a heated blanket, but the dogs were still barking and I thought it was odd that the horses weren't passing in front of the house yet. I glance out of the sliding glass doors and see a dog (not mine) running for my duck house. I ran downstairs and outside, grabbing my coat from the car as I went by, screaming "No!" at the dog as I ran across the road to the duck house. By that time, one of the ladies was heading to the duck house on horseback, desperately trying to recall her dogs. When I crossed the road, I saw one dog retreating to its owner, but the other was behind it, coming back with one of my ducks in its mouth! I think it dropped the duck when it saw and heard me cresting the ditch. The duck flailed and limped back towards the duck house. I almost caught up with him as he entered the duck house door. He was limping badly. I crawled inside to shoo everyone outside for a quick visual inspection. He seemed to be the only injured duck. I tucked him under my arm and headed toward the house.

    One of these ladies actually works at the vet clinic we use and says hi to our dogs when she rides by. She's a really sweet lady and was beside herself. She wanted to know if he was ok and told me that if he needed treatment, to take him to the clinic and she'd pay. If this had been another of my hens, I might have taken her up on the offer, but I told her that he was limping pretty badly and I'd take him in and examine him, since I already had the ducky ICU set up. I was not going to have her foot a $200 bill for a duck that was possibly on the cull list this spring. She said the dogs had never gone after the ducks before...and I believe her. Their dogs stay in a heel position and have never come into our yard or bothered our dogs behind their invisible fence. I have a faint recollection of seeing one of the dogs start toward the ducks last summer, but stopping when it was recalled. I think it was just the perfect storm. The dogs saw happy, active, jet black duckies sunning on the completely snow-covered banks making them highly visible, and when the dogs came after them, there was no pond to retreat to, only the duck house...sadly, I think the last one through the door was probably the one who got caught before the dogs came out of their adrenaline rush and heard their owners screaming at them. I have an alternate story that I've made up in my head--that the drake who got it was defending the flock against the horrible attack. That's how he came to be named Steve the Valiant [​IMG]

    Steve had a nice 2-3 inch gash in one of his breasts. I was surprised at how much bigger than Penelope he was even though she was off her food for a week and a half before he was attacked. I pinned Steve down and cleaned his wound of stray feathers and sprayed it down with Blu-Kote. He was much calmer than Penelope had been. Given my concerns about ingesting too much of it, I think Steve only got 2 more Blu-Kote applications and I gave him a weak Epsom Salts bath a few days after his injury (fresh water bath before to take off the outside yuckies and after to rinse off the salt). Dog bites aren't nearly as nasty as a cat or possum, but I still started him on a three day Penicillin treatment (although I had more problems with the injections this round and I think he only got one good first dose and maybe a half-dose two days later). Penelope seemed to like the company, but might have been disappointed that it was a drake...

    Steve ended up being in much better spirits than Penelope. He had a severe limp during his entire treatment. Penelope went out with the rest of the flock about three weeks ago, and I gave Steve a trial run the next weekend. He was picked on by the other boys so badly that when I came back to check on him after a half hour without supervision, he was hiding in the corner of the duck house [​IMG] I got him out and watched him try to rejoin the flock--he was flapping his wings to maintain balance and keep up with the flock (I'm sure that's not ideal for keeping the flock profile low for predators), and the boys would turn around and grab him by the neck and push him away [​IMG] I took him back inside and tried the next weekend. This time I stuck around and yelled at the boys when I saw the bullying, but Steve seemed to be taking the hint and was trying to keep his distance a bit and hang out with Penelope when he could. I let him stay the night and then observed again when I let them out the next day. He had some missing feathers on his neck where they'd been grabbing him, but seemed to be adjusting to his new lowest rung on the pecking order. One plus for Steve and Penelope is that they are not as shy as the rest of the flock and will come up to get live mealworms and occasionally goldfish (yum!). After about a week outside, his limp was better. I think he may have had an injured tendon or sprain. He could always use it to balance and could move the leg, but not put weight on it. Now a month later, I really have to look hard to see who's limping and I don't see him getting bullied anymore. He does seem to have a crush on the alpha female, who was Penelope's sleepover friend and has learned the handfed treats trick. And Penelope's injuries don't seem to slow her down. She's a champion goldfisher...I put about a half-dozen at a time in a four cup Pyrex measure with water, she swirls her bill around and--no joking--within 20 seconds, there is nothing in the water except swirling gold scales. She seems to have a bit of a bald patch where the skin granulated over her nasty wound and it still looks purple LOL...we'll see how long that lasts when the pond melts and they can bathe themselves again. Good news for Steve the Valiant, though--he's definitely a keeper. I'll be keeping him and my best looking drake when I cull out the extra boys within the next few weeks. I actually think he got bullied so badly because he was one of the top drakes at the time of his injury. He was definitely a handsome and quite large boy when I sat him next to poor Penelope.

    Sorry for writing a book, but all's well that ends well (except for the bully drakes, I suppose)...
     

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