Fern has Bumblefoot AND Breathing Problems

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Chicken Boo, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. Chicken Boo

    Chicken Boo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Fern had a limp that did not clear up in a day. I caught her and checked and needed to learn about bumble foot. I brought her in and I soaked her feet in soapy water until the Tricide-Neo arrived. It worked great and you cannot tell that she had a problem by looking at her foot.

    However, she has gone from limping to scooting and using her wings for getting around. She can stand but cannot walk anymore. She also developed raspy breathing about 2 days after I brought her in. I had put some tetracycline HCl in her water when I brought her in and the breathing and little bit of dried mucus on her nostrils cleared up. I kept her on the antibiotics in her water for ~5 more days. Yesterday the raspy breathing has returned and she seems to be now struggling a little to breath. As of today, she is not very interested in food and has turned down popcorn and birdseed treats.

    She also has a lump on her back which might be the whole problem. She had a lump removed earlier this year https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=421989

    She
    laid an egg her first day in but has not since. Her crate is on the dark side.

    I have ordered Tylan-50. What can I do to keep her comfortable? Am I taking the correct approach? Should I try something else?

    I have the feeling she has multiple issues that are complicating each other and is not going to make it. I just want to make sure it is not just something stupidly simple that I am missing.




    1) What type of bird , age and weight.

    EE. ~2.5 years old


    2) What is the behavior, exactly.

    Cannot walk. Breathing with effort/ no mucus around nostril. Lost appetite today. I noted that there is less poo than normal yesterday and she has lost some weight.


    3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms?

    Limping 2 weeks ago (treated for bumblefoot). Breathing problems off and on for 2 weeks.


    4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?

    No


    5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.

    Treated for successfully for bumblefoot. Lump in the middle of her back.


    6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.

    No.


    7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all.

    Layer feed, bird seed, lettuce, oatmeal, blueberries


    8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.

    Looks fine. Dark with some white. Mostly firm/round with the occasional soft one.


    9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?

    Tricide-New for bumblefoot. Tetracycline HCL for respitory. Tylan-50 ordered.


    10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet?

    I would like to do this myself. Just had a couple large vet bills for the dog.


    11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.

    The bumblefoot (now cleared up) was a black scab, less than a pencil eraser in size, ~2.5 mm high on back toe. Can't tell the difference between the 2 feet now.


    12) Describe the housing/bedding in use

    Henhouse - Wood shavings for bedding and nesting boxes. Treated with DE.

    Dog Crate Inside - Several layers of newspaper.
     
  2. Chicken Boo

    Chicken Boo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Anybody have some input?
     
  3. Erica

    Erica Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry I can't really help, but it sounds like your poor bird does have several things going on.

    You probably know that stress will bring out the respiratory complaint if she has underlying MG (mycoplasma gallisepticum). You seem to be onto that possibility with antibiotics already (especially the Tylan).

    However what's causing the stress sounds more ominous. I'm wondering if she has a tumour disease? That would help explain the growths (though the first one seems to have been diagnosed as an abscess rather than a tumour... Yet it was developing its own blood supply, which I think is odd). Unfortunately I doubt the inability to walk is bumblefoot given that you treated it successfully.

    It's so hard to imagine what I'd do... Keep her confined, maybe consider crop feeding (but dicey given that she has respiratory issues too, and may find being crop fed so stressful she stops breathing). In any case I would check that the crop is emptying properly in case she has crop stasis (which could produce weakness due to lack of nutrients fairly quickly). I've heard that crop stasis can be caused by excessive antibiotics (and/or thrush). Probiotics may help if her digestive system has shut down. I suppose this could cause the weakness, lack of walking etc but it feels like a long shot.

    Ultimately, this is such a complicated case you may feel best taking her to the vet again and getting a full diagnosis. Then you might decide whether to treat or euthanase. In fact the only real advice I could give is: make sure you make your own mind up after hearing the vet's advice (including costs). Don't let a vet guilt you into spending a lot more money if you feel the outcome isn't fairly certain.

    I hope she gets better, but it does seem to be several issues all at once. [​IMG]

    Erica
     
  4. Chicken Boo

    Chicken Boo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, Erica.

    Please define or provide a reference of "crop feeding". This is a completely new term for me.

    I was wondering if bumblefoot could still be affecting her systemically even if there are no more external signs of the wound.

    I "forced" some water with antibiotics a couple of hours ago. She is already sounding better. I believe she is going to have a little more to drink after I rotate the laundry through. I will follow that up with some yogurt. She is ignoring her treats for the first time right; maybe that will generate some interest.


    Anybody else have any ideas. I realize we probably have multiple issues here and it's complicated. But I am not opposed to brain storming.


    BTW, the vet is probably out. We have just spent the last of our disposable income for the year. So far this year, we have replaced the hot water heater, furnace, and AC (last week). We also just spent way to much at the vet for our dog (who we just had to euthanize). I am trying not to stress out too much here.
     
  5. Erica

    Erica Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi Chicken Boo,

    sorry about that reference, it means using a slender tube to syringe liquidy foods straight into the crop. It's not easy to do as you have to avoid the windpipe, but if you look it up (maybe on here?) there should be a decent how-to using aquarium tubing and a syringe. It's sometimes suggested when birds shut down and stop eating, to give them a bit of a chance.

    Yes, they can develop a systemic infection from bumblefoot. This would need antibiotics very urgently. However from your description it seems she still has enough energy to get around using her wings, which isn't really like septicemia (where birds tend to huddle and slowly die).

    I'm so sorry I can't help more... I'm just typing as I try to think it through. I suppose if it was my bird and I really wanted to save her I'd do things in this order:

    1. Start getting liquid food into her, by crop feeding if necessary. (Check if the food is passing from the crop — it should slowly empty between feeds.) A blended paste of rolled oats, yoghurt and apple may be good to start with. Electrolytes and vitamin tonic could also be a good idea. Some birds that are really sick will still eat the odd mealworm. It's worth a try. If she turns out to have crop stasis (where the crop doesn't empty at all), I guess that's yet another issue... Hopefully she'll be absorbing food ok.

    2. Try to gauge whether she has a temperature, which may indicate septicemia from the bumblefoot. (Sorry, I forget what the normal chicken temp should be...) If she's weak, ruffled, listless and has a temperature then I would think that seems to imply a systemic infection rather than tumours or crop stasis... So a major course of antibiotics would be the appropriate action. You may need to hunt around for the right one to treat systemic staph...

    3. If the antibiotics don't help and she doesn't regain the ability to walk I''d be concerned that it's a tumour disease and is not going to get better. I hope this isn't the case.

    I'm sorry this has all come so late — you may well have found out more by now. If not, I hope you get more answers to compare and figure out what to do. It's certainly a puzzle (and must be very upsetting for you). [​IMG]

    Erica
     
  6. Chicken Boo

    Chicken Boo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you, Erica.

    She started eating after I got a few ml of water (laced with antibiotics and electrolytes/vitamines) in her. She perked up for bread. So, I soaked it in canola oil and yogurt and/or antibiotic water. She also was interested in lettuce. She stops and opens her mouth and stretches her neck every few bites. I cannot tell if this has to do with breathing or getting food down.

    She has definitely lost weight so I will give her whatever she will eat that will get her interested again.

    I had DH smell her breath and he said it was a tiny bit sour, but I had just gotten her to eat some yogurt (I have no sense of smell and must depend on his characterizations). The fact that it did not smell real bad is good.

    She seems to go from wanting to get around to content to sit and nap. I worry that she has changed from staying near the front of the dog crate to the back.

    I have a feeling what the outcome will be. But I am going to give the Tylan-50 a go when it arrives (spent the extra $ for quick delivery). She was my first EE and is a favorite of everyone who hangs out with my flock.

    Thanks again, Erica.
     
  7. Chicken Boo

    Chicken Boo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    UPDATE - Fern is eating as long as she is sitting in my lap. She ate quite a bit of rye bread and oatmeal soaked with canola oil and antibiotic/electrolyte/vitamin laced water. We have moved her to a large dog crate where she has more light. I think she might not be eating because it is so dark in the mid-sized crate and was mostly sleeping.

    The lump on her back has gotten smaller and she stood up in my lap. She is bright-eyed and responsive.

    I did not hear any problem with her breathing for the 45 min she was in my lap and she didn't do the neck stretchy thing. And she pooed mightily.

    I will still give her the Tylan-50 when it comes in the mail because the breathing had cleared up before on the current antibiotics but came back as soon as it stopped. I am concerned that the current antibiotics are slowing it down but not stopping the respiratory infection. I want to make sure it is gone.

    She may well have had a systemic infection going on from the bumblefoot.


    Fingers are crossed that this path continues.
     

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