Duck with a broken leg.. Help!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by ChuckyDuck, Dec 7, 2013.

  1. ChuckyDuck

    ChuckyDuck Out Of The Brooder

    17
    0
    22
    Dec 7, 2013
    Derbyshire, England
    Hello!
    Sorry if this has been posted before in any way, shape, or form, I am new and not quite figured out how to navigate everywhere yet.

    So, the duck.
    My stepdad bought the duck down from his pen on the allotment, as he said it had a broken leg. We had a duck with a broken leg before, but we think it got gangrene and died.
    This duck is fine - eating, drinking, pooping, sleeping. His leg is very swollen, he can't seem to move it and there appears to be pockets of fluid surrounding the joint. These pockets of fluid are above the skin, the closest thing I can compare them to are blisters. I have felt his leg and can't feel anything obvious about the joint, and it doesn't seem to hurt him when I touch it. I've read somewhere about splinting the leg, but we tried that with the last duck and it died - probably not anything to do with us splinting his leg, but we're a little paranoid about doing it again in case something like that happens again.
    He is currently in a rabbit hutch, and doesn't have to move far for food or water. He hasn't been out of this hutch for a few days apart from when we give him cuddles.
    We haven't given him any medicine or tried to do anything with his leg. It's not hot to touch and it doesn't look infected.

    I would just like a little bit of advice on if you think it would heal, and if we can somehow speed the healing process along.
    Any other information that is needed I will be more than happy to supply it!

    I'm going to try and get a picture of the leg later, it might help people gauge how bad it is.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    22,984
    1,959
    471
    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    It sounds like a big case of bumblefoot, which is an infection of the foot and sometimes gets up into the leg.

    If the joints are swollen, the infection may well be in the joint.

    We need to talk about your setup, to see if it can be improved, but bumblefoot just happens sometimes.

    To begin, let the duck swim in water deep enough to float in, no soap, just plain water. Lukewarm.

    Prepare Epsom salt solution - I use a few tablespoons in a cup of warm water. Dissolve the e.s.

    Soak that up in a clean rag or paper towels

    Wrap the foot and leg, and keep it wrapped for several minutes - you will need to hold the duck during this time so wear something you don't mind getting the solution on.

    Alternative method - get a flat-bottomed large bowl or small shallow bucket, prepare the e.s. solution in that, and hold the duck gently so that he is standing in the bowl. Hold him there for several minutes.

    After the soak, there are two options I can think of. The one I have always used is slather the foot and leg with a triple-antibiotic ointment (without any painkillers that end in -cain). .

    Do this four times a day for the next few days. You should see some improvement within a day or two. Continue this two to three times a day until the swelling is gone. It could take several weeks based on your description.

    The other option is (after the soaks) to dab the swollen places with clear iodine and let it dry before the duck can get his legs wet. If you use the iodine option, you only need to apply the iodine every 3 to 5 days, and after the 3 to 5 days you should see a dark scabby spot. When that happens, soak the legs and feet again to soften the tissue, and gently try to pull the spot off. If it is ready, it will come off and bring some chunky material with it. Again, bath time, soak, and reapply iodine, dry, and wait some days. Continue this till the swelling is gone and there is nice new tissue coming in.

    All the while, check the leg. Warmth indicates the infection has spread, and at that point, I think you would need oral antibiotics.

    As always, if you can get help from a vet, that is best. Many of us are in remote locations and cannot do so.
     
    2 people like this.
  3. ChuckyDuck

    ChuckyDuck Out Of The Brooder

    17
    0
    22
    Dec 7, 2013
    Derbyshire, England
    Hi!

    I have googled bumblefoot and it does look slightly like that, but like you said, it's on the leg rather than on the foot.
    No problem - the ducks have a large area, half grass and half mud (it was grass but they trampled it away), and ramps going into the shed and into the bath. What causes bumblefoot?
    That sounds great about the bath - I'll do that straight away.
    What cream would you recommend? If you could give me a brand name or ingredients, that would be fantastic!
    I check his leg every day for warmth, and it seems fine. I don't know that much about bumblefoot, is it normal for the duck to not be able to walk on it? He hops around his hutch now, yet when I touch his leg it doesn't seem to hurt him.
    If you bear with me, I'm going to try and get a picture of his leg pretty soon, probably be more helpful than me explaining it.

    Thank you for taking the time to explain all this to me, you've been a massive help.

    Hope all is good with you and your poultry!
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    22,984
    1,959
    471
    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Bumblefoot begins as a localized infection caused primarily by Staphylococcus aureus, a common bacterium. Same kind of bacterium causes acne.

    Anyway, it is all around us, and ducks' immune systems generally take care of it. But for different reasons, sometimes it gets ahold. At the site of infection, a chunky, semi-solid "pus" will form. So unlike with other animals, one cannot simply lance a bumble and drain the pus. My preference is to avoid cutting the feet. We all know what little ducky feet walk through daily. It just increases risk of systemic infection, in my opinion.

    Okay, so, if the bumble is not resolved while it is still localized, the infection may get into the bloodstream, and that can be fatal. In fact, ducks rarely display early signs of systemic infection. By the time we notice a duck not being well, it could be near the end. Not always, I always try to restore a duck to health and sometimes it works out. But early treatment saves heartache.

    I don't know what brands are available to you. Here, there are generic triple antibiotic ointments, there is one called Neosporin. There is also Bacitracin, a nurse practitioner I met told me she feels it can be more effective against some kinds of skin infections - but she knows nothing about ducks, only humans.

    I like ointments rather than creams for bumblefoot because I feel it sticks on the foot better, washes off less quickly. The nighttime application of the ointment is possibly the most important because it goes on before a period of rest. I know ducks don't always sleep through the night, but they are generally confined.

    In this guy's case, I would keep him in "sick bay" for at least a couple of days. A little additional warmth will enable his body to fight infection more than stay warm, and you will be able to observe him closely. He may have sustained a cut on the leg that got infected. Look around the shelter and pen for bits of wire sticking up, since sometimes thorns or wires or shards will cause numerous cases of bumblefoot in a flock.

    Yes, ducks with bumblefoot often limp. And leg infections can make a duck susceptible to arthritis, so that is another reason to treat early and thoroughly.

    My duckies are calling to be let outside - I will check back in as I can. Big outdoor day planned today.

    Blessings to you and your flock.

    [​IMG]
    Sieben, 2 years ago. Her head is almost completely white now.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2013
  5. ChuckyDuck

    ChuckyDuck Out Of The Brooder

    17
    0
    22
    Dec 7, 2013
    Derbyshire, England
    I am heading up to our chicken food supplier pretty soon, he also supplies a lot of medications and tonics for poultry, so I will see if he has anything for Charlie Drake.

    Thank you so much for all your help, I'll report on his progress and get cracking on taking a picture of it.

    Enjoy your day, and that picture is wonderful!
     
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    22,984
    1,959
    471
    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Vitamins with electrolytes and probiotics is something I use to help ducks through illness or stress. There are several formulations.

    Hasta luego (c:
     
  7. ChuckyDuck

    ChuckyDuck Out Of The Brooder

    17
    0
    22
    Dec 7, 2013
    Derbyshire, England
    Hi again, this is the picture of his leg.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. HollyDuckFarmer

    HollyDuckFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,683
    143
    208
    Jun 30, 2012
    LP Michigan
    Oh. Start with the Epsom Salt Soaks! Is that mud on the leg? I think you want to soak that off right away. No soap. I would not pick at that stuff either, just soaks. 4x per day, exactly like Amiga told you. Start there.
    Edited for spelling
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2013
  9. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    70,155
    5,965
    701
    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    AND once you get the mud soaked off maybe you will be able to see if the duck could have cut itself. a cut anywhere can bring on staff infection [that's what bumble is]

    Keep this duck in a warm clean area while treating. can you get Epsom salt in the UK and Triple antibiotic salve? this duck could have nicked it's leg on a piece of fencing ,etc. and being the mud just isn't able to see it till it's cleaned up. if you can't get ES, you can use plain table salt mixed with warm water to wash and clean the leg after you get the mud off. Nice thing about Esalt is it's drawing power. but it also works as a laxative so you don't want the duck drinking it.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2013
  10. ChuckyDuck

    ChuckyDuck Out Of The Brooder

    17
    0
    22
    Dec 7, 2013
    Derbyshire, England
    Thank you so much, both of you.
    The mud is off his leg, as soon as I'd took the picture I bathed his leg like suggested.
    I haven't been able to see if there is a cut, he got pretty stressed so I left him to settle down for a while, but I will look as soon as I can.

    We can't get any of those creams/ointments in the UK I don't think, at least not over the counter [​IMG]

    I'll keep that in mind. Thanks to both of you, again!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by