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Finally purchased my antibiotics for Bumblefoot this weekend...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by AMC in the OV, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. AMC in the OV

    AMC in the OV In the Brooder

    Oct 18, 2011
    Orangevale, CA
    Finally made my decision about antibiotics for a case of recurring bumblefoot in my Rhode Island Red, Nugget. After extensive research, including discussion with a pharmacist friend, I decided to go with injectable penicillin for 6 days. Since I have never given an injection I did even more research about that. Great site with articles that helped:

    https://sites.google.com/a/poultryp...oultry-podiatry#chickens_penicillin_injection - for info on using penicillin.
    https://sites.google.com/a/poultrypedia.com/poultrypedia/poultry-podiatry - search "give injection" for detailed instructions on how to administer.
    https://sites.google.com/a/poultrypedia.com/poultrypedia/medicine-chart - which medication to use.

    Penicillin Purchase:
    Bought the Penicillin at the local feed store no Rx needed, no questions asked, but my choices were limited to one item:
    - Pen-Aqueous injectable, 100 mL for $14 (way more than I need)
    Another post used: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=75288

    Rx needed to buy syringes?
    For the syringes and needles, I read that "people" syringes are the best to use. So rather than buy them at the feed store, I decided to visit my local WalMart pharmacy. Note that I live in the SACRAMENTO, California area and have never bought needles before. Is that even legal?? Do I need a prescription? More research ensued...

    The Law:
    As of 10/20/11, the website of the Dept. of Consumer Affairs, State Board of Pharmacy (for California) stated: "A pharmacist or a veterinarian may, without a prescription, furnish hypodermic needles and syringe for use on poultry or animals. Any such furnishing of a hypodermic needle or syringe without a prescription must be recorded in a book by the furnisher." http://www.pharmacy.ca.gov/applicants/apply_for_a_license.shtml - So no Rx needed for poultry use, great!

    Needles - 22 gauge and the Harpoon for Horses, 16 gauge
    So I go to WalMart, and the pharmacist refused to sell me needles that big (one 16 gauge and several 22 gauge) without a prescription. Reason he gave??? "Those are used for steroids." I had all my printed out articles on the use of injectable penicillin in chickens with me, and I am an average sized female, clearly not on steroids. Argued a little with the pharmacist about the law, wished I had printed that out too and brought it with me. Finally decided to have my vet call in the Rx, but it was Saturday and he was away for the weekend. Left WalMart, went to Walgreens pharmacy. First thing the tech did was check stock and tell me that they only carry diabetic-type needles which are thinner at 28-31 gauge. Other customer asked what gauge I was after, and when I said 16 and 22 he told me "16 - that's harpoon sized!" Both agreed that I would have better luck at the feed store so I went BACK to the feed store I had just left 30 minutes before.

    Got the needles:
    Local feed store sold me the needles and syringes with no Rx needed and no hassle. Just had to provide my photo ID which they recorded in a log that I signed. I planned for 6 injections but got extra needles and an extra syringe to use for practice and in case one broke or something. Flu shot guy at work told me to practice on an orange. Said I could fill the syringe with vodka, shoot up the orange, refrigerate and then eat it later. LOL, life must be a party at that medical school!
    - Qty of 10 needles, 22 gauge thickness, length 1" (way too long but no other choices) at $0.90 each = $9.00
    - Qty of 1 needle, 16 gauge thickness, length 1" (for drawing penicilllin from vial) was about 25 cents, so $0.25
    - Qty of 2 syringes without needles, size 3 mL (way too big but again, no other choices) about $1.75 each = $3.50
    - Qty of 1 "feeder" syringe, size 12 mL to use for flushing the bumblefoot wound with sterile saline was $2.00

    At this point I am $30.00 into the antibiotics and still have not started using them. I am very scared to inject my little chicken Nugget! What if I stab her in the heart or lungs by accident?? How do I know I am doing it right?? It's one thing for me to perform major foot surgery on her multiple times but somehow administering an injection seems crazy to me. We only have 5 chickens and they are part of our family. We love all our pets - me accidentally causing the death of one would traumatize us forever.

    Will post more when I have an update. Just wanted to get this experience out there in case others need to buy injectable antibiotics with needles and syringes. Had no idea that what I needed was a giant needle like the kind used by 'Roid Rage Gymrat Guy. Makes sense now that you can only get them at the feed store. And if you live in the Sacramento, CA area don't waste time trying to buy them at WalMart because they clearly don't care about keeping current on changes to state law affecting the dispensing of syringes. Not that it mattered, since they did not have them in stock anyways!!

    Thanks for reading.

  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    You won't shoot her in the heart or lungs unless you stab her nearly clean through. If you are that worried use a thigh. Injections are small potatoes. Trust me- I've done thousands.

    Pull back your plunger on your syringe to the amount of med you are going to be drawing up, filling the barrel with air. Swab the top of the med vial with alcohol. Insert the needle into the vial, and push the plunger down, filling the med vial with the air in the syringe, draw up the amount of med you are going to be using making sure to get any air bubbles out of the syringe, and pull out the filled syringe when it is done. You are now ready. Choose your injection site and clean with alcohol. Have someone hold the bird because you are going to need both hands to do the injection. Using a dart-like motion, dart the needle into the muscle. Skin is fairly tough which is why you have to dart it in. Trying to ease the needle in is just going to be a disaster and you are going to wonder if it's in too deep or deep enough... Once the needle is in you need to check to make sure you haven't placed it somewhere where it shouldn't be (like a blood vessel). While holding the syringe in place, gently pull back on the plunger and see if any blood shows up in the syringe. If no blood-you're good, inject the med, pull the needle out of the skin, clean the injection site with alcohol again, maybe give the area a little rub to help the med disperse into the muscle, and document somewhere where you gave the injection because you are going to need to rotate sites and choose a new site each day. If blood shows up in the syringe during aspiration- oops! You nicked a blood vessel and you need to choose a different site. Repeat the same procedure until you find a site in the muscle that doesn't have any blood vessels. Incidentally, in the thousands of shots I have given, I only nicked a blood vessel once, so it is not all that common a thing to happen.

    I hope this helps. Good luck.
  3. Melissa Rose

    Melissa Rose Songster

    Aug 14, 2011
    South Texas
    You should try holding a tortoises head out of it's shell while trying to inject antibiotics into it's neck - a 70 pound tortoise!!! [​IMG] [​IMG] Some one mentioned to me that with birds you can cut a sock and slip it over it's head and eyes to keep it calm [​IMG] [​IMG]
  4. SpeckledHills

    SpeckledHills Songster

    May 25, 2008
    Thanks for compiling info on this for others to be able to benefit from your efforts!

    I wrote the info found on PoultryPedia.com and if it's helpful, I did some updates in the last few days that may provide some more help if you haven't already seen them.

    I just tried buying needles at a Wal-mart, too. The initial pharm tech said they didn't have 22 gauge & wasn't cooperating about selling to me based on a use-for-chicken claim. She looked in diabetics stock, which was boxes of paired syringes & needles, I believe. But a guy in the back was listening, & walked over to a box of needles-only that were packaged in strips. He pulled off five 22 gauge needles & sold them to me. They did have on record for me an injectible medicine & they might have felt that would help cover them if there was an investigation by management or the law??

    Wal-mart seems to be an iffy pharmacy for needles for chickens, hmm. I think they have established bureaucratic rules to create hard-to-mess-up simple procedures that enable them to serve mass quantities of people at minimized liability. However, that bureaucracy creates problems for those in non-usual situations, like us chicken owners. [​IMG]

    Best wishes with your chicken, & bravo for your brave ventures into new waters! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2011
  5. Davian

    Davian Chirping

    Sep 8, 2010
    Vermont, USA
    Just follow the instructions above and injections are super easy. Having someone hold the bird for you is great but I was able to do it just by covering her head and placing her on her back and she stayed still.

    Granted I have some medical/first aid training but its very very basic.

    Good luck!

    EDIT: You really shouldn't inject penicillin for more than 4 days straight on a chicken.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2011
  6. AMC in the OV

    AMC in the OV In the Brooder

    Oct 18, 2011
    Orangevale, CA
    Thanks, everyone. I have been unable to find any SHORT needles that are large enough for Penicillin (20 or 22 gauge.) The ones I bought are one inch long, and the only shorter ones I found online are 3/4 inch long. So I guess I will be doing a LOT of practicing on an orange before I attempt on the live chicken.

    Special EXTRA thanks to SpeckledHills, who wrote the information I found at http://www.poultrypedia.com. That info gave me the confidence I needed to move forward.

    Also thanks to Davian for the tip about length of treatment: "You really shouldn't inject penicillin for more than 4 days straight on a chicken." I will revise my treatment plan to include 4 days only.

    Found a couple more articles online about how to give an injection:
  7. Pickaduck

    Pickaduck Chirping

    May 21, 2011
    I wanted to make sure your treatment includes removing the pus/bumble from the foot. Chickens don't reabsorb pus like people can so you have to get the stuff out - it's a cheesy like material - in order for her to heal. You can soak her foot in warm epsom salt water to soften the scab up for removal.

    I don't know if you've already done this or not but since you haven't mentioned it I wanted to make sure.

    This is a very informative post about the needles. I'm definitely going to subscribe to this thread for future reference. Thanks for sharing the info! [​IMG]

  8. AMC in the OV

    AMC in the OV In the Brooder

    Oct 18, 2011
    Orangevale, CA
    Oh yeah, I am defininitely on top of the surgical portion of bumblefoot treatment. I have another post about that part of it.
    Check it out at: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=586894

    For me, cutting out the bumble and removing the yucky stuff was the easy part. But I did have some questions about re-opeing the same wounds if the foot was still swollen.

    Thanx again, peeps!!
  9. jerseygirl1

    jerseygirl1 Crowing

    Jun 20, 2009
    Orange County, NY
    I have a TON of syringes 22 ga 3/4 inch I use I could have sent you, PM me if you need some - I bought abox of 100 on sale from Jeffers - I will never in my lifetime use that many!

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