Found Chicken - Need Advice - Vet wants to amputate leg with gangrene

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by confetticrafts, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. confetticrafts

    confetticrafts Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 6, 2011
    Hi, I have no experience with chickens, but we found an injured "stray" with an obviously hurt leg last Thursday evening, whom we're calling Rocky. (See photo and link to youtube video below.) We took the poor chicken to the vet on Friday (Dr. Sattler in Hudson, FL, an avian specialist). The vet said the leg is gangrenous and necrotic, and needs to be amputated. I asked if there was any way to save the leg, at least the bone, so the chicken could get around better. She said the damaged part of the leg needs to come off, and the chicken will learn to get around on one leg, using its wings as crutches basically. I asked if a prosthetic could be used, she said there hasn't been much success with them.

    The vet said the chicken is a young adult, and about 30% underweight, so she didn't want to amputate right away. The surgery is scheduled for Monday. The vet has us giving the chicken Baytril antibiotics twice a day, and painkiller (Metacal, I think?) once a day. The odor from the gangrene is a lot better today (Sunday), almost gone, thanks to the antibiotics.

    I bought crumbles at the feed store; the vet had said to get scratch, but the clerk at the store said scratch is like candy and not very nutritious. I'm also offering small quantities of a variety of foods -- the chicken likes dried mango, baked beans, canned corn, oatmeal, sliced turkey, banana. Rocky's appetite is good, and attitude is great, very curious and friendly!

    I would love to hear some advice and opinions on amputating the leg - whether or not it is the best course to follow. I read various threads where owners treated their chickens' injured or frostbitten toes/feet themselves and did not amputate and had success, but since this is gangrene, does the bone have to be cut off too? Is anyone familiar with any way to either heal or get rid of the diseased flesh but keep the bone, or would exposed bone be vulnerable to injury or infection? My concerns are first to give Rocky good quality of life -- which would obviously be better with more leg than less - and second, saving money if possible, since it's supposed to be about $350 for the amputation, on top of the $60+ we spent on the first vet visit. Any success stories with prosthetics would also be welcome!

    Any advice on feeding and caring for this particular chicken, given its situation, would be appreciated. Are there any foods that we need to avoid?

    I would also like any comments on what type or sex of bird this might be. The vet said she could avert the cloaca during the amputation to tell male/female, but I thought someone might have a guess....

    Thank you very much for any help you can offer!





  2. DaughterOfEve

    DaughterOfEve Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 3, 2009
    Montague, MI
    Hope Rocky is alright after surgery. He looks like a White Rock maybe. Best of luck to you being his guardian angel and all. It looks like you got to him just in time to save his life.
  3. RhodeIslandRedFan

    RhodeIslandRedFan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 10, 2009
    Central PA
    confetticrafts - I don't have any experience with this type of injury in any of my chickens, but gangrene is basically dead tissue with no remaining bloodflow. It can lead to infection and be life-threatening. Your vet's advice to remove the dead part, including the bone, sounds reasonable. I've seen many posts on here where a chicken was able to get around well and live a long life with only 1 leg. I hope someone who has had experience with this will come along soon. Thank you for giving this "stray" such good care. There is a lot of information on this site to help you care for your chicken, so you've come to the right place. When you first log, click on the "Learning Center" to find lots of information about caring for your new pet. Here is the link. Good luck to you!
  4. heatherindeskies

    heatherindeskies Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2010
    SE Minnesota
    It kinda looks like his foot is coming off and he is already walking on just the bone..... if this is the case maybe it would be easy to rig up a device for him to balance on....after his surgery.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011
  5. confetticrafts

    confetticrafts Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 6, 2011
    Thanks for the comments & encouragement with Rocky so far! I think you can see from the photos and video the foot is in bad shape, it does look partly torn and there is a piece of visible bone even -- so sad, and s/he is so brave, hobbling/hopping around on it. I just hate to do the permanent amputation if something less damaging might let him/her get around more comfortably in the future.
  6. foxypoproxy

    foxypoproxy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2011
    Madison, CT
    Sorry to hear about Rocky [​IMG]

    Hes a rooster btw, you can tell by the saddle/tail feathers
  7. ICallMyselfCherie'

    ICallMyselfCherie' Chillin' With My Peeps

    AMPUTATE! You can't save tissue/bone that is dead at the biological level. But good on you for taking care of him and giving him a second chance at life!!! [​IMG]
  8. Tumbleweed Farm

    Tumbleweed Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2011
    Benton City, WA

    Poor guy! He is so pretty!
  9. egglicious

    egglicious Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2011
    It seems like the vet is right about poor rocky's leg. Since it's gangrene, it's basically already gone anyway.

    I say poor rocky, but honestly he is one lucky little chicken to have found such an amazing family. Thank you for saving him!!
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011
  10. chickmashnoon

    chickmashnoon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hack it off! the sooner it is removed, the sooner he can heal and learn to adapt to his new self. It's just dead tissue now and a risk as a gateway to the living tissue next to it. yes, let the vet take care of it. And boy are you lucky to have a vet willing to do it!

    BTW, that roo is lucky to find you. I hope he's the best pet ever [​IMG]

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