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Ellie - dislocated middle toe - vet says surgery

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by jjthink, May 19, 2009.

  1. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    update in post #9


    hi, and pls forgive my rotten typing - working with one finger as the other hand is all fractured from a dog attack that also caused a break and/or dislocation to hen ellie's middle toe on her right foot. there's a thread about thedog attack already, with such wonderful people helping/caring. here if i may i'd like to focus solely on ellie's toe. brought her to the vet last week when it happened and darn it all, he missed noticing this injury and i hadn't been able to examine her myself because at that point i was down to one hand [​IMG]

    the toe iswobbly from pretty high up (problem seems to be first joint below where toe is attached)and it is somewhat disfigured. she walks around but holds it up whenever possible so i know it really hurts.[​IMG]

    i have the chance for someone to help me get her back in a carrier very early tomorrow if i want to take her back to the vet (assuming he's available) but i am wondering about the merits thereof,. i called to letthe vet know about the break/dislocation and he said he wasn't sure what could bedone till he saw it again but he mentioned a splint or surgery and then wasanxiousto ditch me and get offthe phone (grrrr....). it is quite a distance away and stressful for ellie but i would do it if there is a point to it.

    i don't see how a chicken could get around with a splint (i imagine her trying to jump up or down to/from something and cringe) and she won't stay still for weeks to heal just because she maybe should. surgery i am concernedabout because i am not sure what would be done anyway or how i would care for her afterward with just one hand. it's been one week since she was injured.

    please, does anyone have experience with this? will it eventually heal on its own in some form orfashion even with her moving around, even tho the problem seems to begin pretty high up on her toe and it turns to the side like it is only connected partially now? and even tho i have the most wonderful roo, he is interested in a bit of romance thisspring and i know it would hurt her a lot if i let him - i tell him no and he aborts the idea (he really does listen!) but what if i'm not looking when he tries? they only have each other and are truly beside themselves and inconsolable if separated.

    someone else here on byc had a hen with a fracture that healed over in time but she didn't think it was dislocated as in turning to the side sort of, so i think ellie's toe is unfortunately worse.

    thx very much for any insights/expertise with this that you can offer.
    jj

    p.s. this brave girl does use her hurt foot to dig when she is intrigued by something but then holds it up afterward
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2009
  2. cat

    cat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Don't panic, I have had this twice and it has all worked out fine without a vet, even though my hen's toe was broken and dislocated so that it faced the wrong way. Obviously I am not a vet so I cannot tell you what you should do, only what worked for me.


    When I was sure the skin was not broken and no infection present, I turned the toe carefully back to where it should be, then used adhesive bandaging tape to tape the injured toe to the one next to it.

    You need to use plenty of tape as they will naturaly peck at it and try and pull it loose. You need to check every few days the tape is still in place and the toe has not moved.

    You will be amazed at how once the toe is relocated to its proper place, any swelling and discomfort for the chicken seems to disapear, and the chicken will happily run around and perch as normal.

    I left the toe taped about 5 weeks to make sure it was good and healed.... the breaks heal fairly quick but the dislocations can take a bit longer to tighten up and can recur if knocked in the first few weeks.

    I hope this helps [​IMG]
     
  3. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    hi cat. thx very much for sharing your experience with this!. i'm very impressed that yourfeathered friendswere ableto jump and perch with the toes taped together! and that the toe being taped sort off offcenter to attach to thegood one worked out. i would need thevet to do thisbecause drat anddoubledrat i am likely only one handed till july. he's 45 minutes away so hopefully it wouldn't come undone much! thank you again, very much [​IMG] jj
     
  4. chickensducks&agoose

    chickensducks&agoose Chillin' With My Peeps

    Offer your neighbor a dozen eggs to tape your hen's foot. Heck, I'd do it for my neighbor! You can find SOMEONE to help you... there are a LOT of people in New Jersey, maybe even some BYC'er is close enough to be of assistance...
     
  5. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    I think some of those New Jerseyans would be willing but Ellie is quite another story! She really wigs out and the taping could turn out pretty bad - given her pain, I hope not to torment her with re-dos of trying to get tape back off sad broken/dislocated sensitive parts. When both my hands are working it takes quite an effort to hold her still, endearing spitfire that she is! [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Cat, that reminds me, did you tape such that the entire length of the toes remained extended so that they couldn't bend/curl or did you stop about half way down so that the last joint could still bend? Thx.!
    JJ
     
  6. TammyTX

    TammyTX Overrun With Chickens

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    Last week or so I came home to find one of my Welsummer pullets hanging upside down by her middle toe. It was bent completely back onto itself, but the skin was not broken. I had some great advice here on taping her toe but I knew either she would peck it off other the other chickens would peck it off and the last thing I wanted was for her to be bloody. So, I left it alone. I did nothing to it at all.

    For the last week she hobbled about and she would take frequent rests. Today she was up on the low outside roost. That toe didn't "bend around" the roost like the other toes but, still, she was able to roost. She seems fine.

    ....I've had bad luck with the Welsummers, now I have another one that is limping and seems very thin and I saw one of the other pullets bullying her. If not better tomorrow she goes into the chicken hospital...aka/dog kennel.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2009
  7. cat

    cat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi, when I taped my hen's toe I put a little sponge between the two toes to keep the middle one straight (that was the broken one) then taped all the way down. Although it was straight she was able to walk and still hop on her perch, but my perches are flat not round so maybe that helped her ballance. If you put plenty of tape on they can't get it off!

    To the lady that left her chicken to heal, does the toe still point the wrong way? If it does your chicken will be in pain untill you return the toe back to its proper place.... a dislocation is extremely painful and will continue to be so.

    Sorry you are having such rotten luck [​IMG]
     
  8. TammyTX

    TammyTX Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:The toe is straight but it looks bumpy. Really, she seems fine and she keeps up w/the other 46.
     
  9. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    Took Ellie back to the vet this morning as I thought I would be having him tape her toes together. He agrees the middle toe is dislocated but says taping it to one of the smaller toes is not likely to help much given the nature of her particular dislocation. He did say if I did nothing hopefully eventually the pain would subside and it would just be like it is, i.e. dislocated.

    But what he really recommends is that I bring her back tomorrow morning for surgery(he said today wasn't good for him, unfortunate given the hour and a half this just took round trip...) whereupon he would stitch things together. He would then splint and bandage and said she wouldn't be able to get it wet for a good 2 weeks that it would have to be bandaged (this is of course very difficult - no going out when wet or there's dew). Because she would be opened up for surgery she would also need antibiotic for at least a week. I am one handed in this darned cast for the next several weeks and cannot medicate her. The only alternative he can think of is a long acting injection of doxycycline but he said he has never used this on chickens (he uses on parrots).

    I am hoping someone will see this who will know whether or not doxy is okay for chickens??????????????. UPDATE ON THIS POINT - Someone very experienced with chicken care just advised that Doxy is okay, so what remains is deciding whether to put her through cutting, anesthesia etc. vs. just taping, something the vet thinks won't be very effective in her case, which may or may not be true.

    I don't like the idea of her foot getting cut open for this because of the possibility of infection yet I hear what he's saying. Truly concerned about the right plan of action. Right now he anticipates I will bring her back in early tomorrow for surgery and he's blocked out the time. If I'm not, I will need to let him know asap.

    Ugh - I want to do right by her but I'm not certain what that is. I know she's hurting. p.s. when I let her back out of the carrier she and BJ rejoiced at their reunion! Tomorrow she would be gone many more hours - and then there's hoping she does okay with the anesthesia [​IMG] She's also due to lay an egg tomorrow morning so her schedule will be thrown off, hopefully not then causing a problem in that department......
    JJ
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2009
  10. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    I spoke with a vet in PA (U of Penn) as well as a kind person at the Midatlantic States Association of Avian Vets and both thought the taping was okay, skipping the surgery for now, so I just left a message for the vet that we saw this morning to let him know I'd like to try that for the time being and that Ellie and I will be there tomorrow morning at the scheduled time to get the taping instead of the surgery (wish I had 2 hands right now!). Hopefully he listens to his messages because his office is closed until tomorrow morning.......The PA vet did not think a splint was called for - I did tell her the dislocation was pretty high up on the toe. It was advised not to leave the tape on too long or the good toe could start having problems, thus 2 bad toes. A far far away vet I called had a vastly more complicated response, not able to offer opinion without xrays and exam.
    I don't know which option is best to minimize pain for her in the long run but if she doesn't have to endure being cut open that would be nice.
    JJ
     

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