Fox Attack Injury/Treatment/Recovery (Graphic Photos Included)

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Monguire, May 20, 2019.

  1. Monguire

    Monguire Songster

    May 18, 2014
    Manassas, VA
    About 3 weeks ago on a rainy, dark Sunday Morning, shortly after our automatic chicken door opened to let our flock out, 2 foxes breached our Premiere1 fence and attacked. We lost 2 of our pullets, only a few feathers left behind, and our Rooster (Rudy) was found in a heap, battle weary, severely wounded and most likely suffering shock.

    Considering the extent of his injuries, we were frankly surprised he survived. He had a huge tear/laceration on his right side, underneath the wing, allowing us to see his muscles. Basically the skin was ripped away, thankfully not all the way off, leaving a skin flap of sorts. There was a rather large puncture wound in his right side (about the size of a dime), again completely through the skin allowing us to see the muscle underneath, and a few other minor scrapes, and lots of pulled out feathers. Shockingly, there was little to no blood when we brought him inside to try and treat him.

    We determined, scrolling through our coop camera footage, that we came upon the results of the "visit" about an hour after it all went down. We brought the poor guy inside, placed him on our makeshift treatment table (a.k.a. our dining room table) brought out all the first aid equipment we owned and set to work.
    [Disclaimer: I am not a nurse, or vet, I have no certified medical training, but have a rudimentary knowledge of First Aid and I know how to look up stuff on the internet (Thank you Backyard Chicken Forums and YouTube).]

    After scrubbing and gloving up, we did our best to clean the wound and patch him back together. We used Wound Wash to thoroughly wash out the wounds, Betadine, and Benzoin Swab sticks to disinfect, antibiotic cream (without pain reliever - toxic to chickens), non stick gauze pads to cover open wounds, and self stick bandage to wrap and try to keep everything in place.
    IMG_5041.JPG During all of our poking, prodding and treatment, he remained silent and still. After doing what I could with the wounds, we wrapped him up in a towel and placed him in a laundry basket in our big tub with a blanket draped over for added warmth, darkness and privacy to recover temporarily until I could set up more long term quarters. We ultimately placed him in a kennel in our half bathroom, with a towel and puppy pads laid down for comfort and ease of clean up.

    As he was in no condition to fend for himself, we used a syringe to wedge into his beak to make sure he was receiving fluids, mostly water, with the occasional added bonus of nutridrench or black strap molasses. We also added a touch of whey to some of the water we gave him later on.

    We continued to clean and redress the wounds multiple times a day, as well as force fluids, for the first couple of days. We were having a very tough time trying to get the skin to stay together so it would heal together and close. A very kind neighbor, who also happens to be a nurse, was kind enough to come by, assess, and help clean and dress Rudy's wounds. We appeared to be doing a good job keeping infection at bay, but we were very concerned about how open the wounds were.

    Amazon for the win! We went ahead and ordered Vetbond, sutures, and a disposable surgical stapler, with the notion that we may need them, if not now, then potentially in the future, if/when our flock finds itself under attack again.

    As the massive wound on his right side was not staying closed, and part of the skin flap was going necrotic, we opted to try the Vetbond first. Its basically a surgical superglue meant for vets. This seemed the least intrusive and, frankly I felt more comfortable trying this than sutures or staples.

    (Before Vetbond) IMG_4968.JPG (After Vetbond) IMG_4971.JPG

    I also used Vetbond on the smaller puncture wound on his left side, as it was also not staying closed.

    Rudy was mostly lethargic and had incredible difficulty lifting his head and standing. We were still forcing liquids and starting to force feed him some nutridrench/water soaked bread, and tiny food cubes I made from crushed feed pellets mixed with scrambled egg fried in a skillet. He was voiding occasionally, but it was anything but normal. Very runny, and a very dark green with white stuff. He was slowly showing signs of improvement though: struggling more with the feedings, standing more, even the occasional cock-a-doodle-doo.

    The Vetbond, unfortunately, didn't work like we had hoped. The following day, the large wound worked its way open again. The small one on the left, however, seemed to be stable and looked pretty good. As Rudy was starting to move around a bit more, this wasn't a huge shock, but it was disappointing. IMG_4973.JPG
    We decided to try sutures to no avail. (I just couldn't do it. Didn't have the strength and/or stomach to get the needle through his tough battle hardened hide). The surgical stapler was our last hope. After a lot of big breaths and hopes to the powers that be that we were doing the right thing by continuing the fight to save his life, even though we weren't really confident in what we were doing, we "Frankenroostered" our feathered friend.
    It wasn't pretty but it was an improvement over the Vetbond, and we were hopeful the wound would finally start to heal and close. Alas, after a couple of days we had to undo and redo the procedure. We noticed that there was little to no healing and there was some signs of potential infection. After removal of the staples, the flap opened right up and there was some pretty nasty looking and smelling stuff apparent within. We thoroughly rinsed, cleaned, removed all apparent nastiness, including necrotic skin, cleaned, disinfected, and found beautiful pink healthy skin and tissue which we managed to pull tight enough to staple and seal (finally). Practice makes perfect. IMG_5023.JPG
    We had to do a similar procedure the smaller wound on the left side, as the "scab" from the Vetbond came off and left the underlying muscle and tissue exposed.

    Rudy has been a trooper through it all, and has continued to show improvement. Once stapled, we started taking him outside for "field trips" to see his girls, hoping to perk up his spirits and encourage him to eat and drink on his own. By the middle of the second week he was starting to peck and attempt to eat on his own, though he was still having significant trouble with lifting his head, which also appeared to hinder his ability to swallow.

    It has now been over 3 weeks since the attack. The staples are still in and looking good. We check daily. He has just been moved into a kennel into the coop with the occasional trip into the general population. He is starting to void normally again, eat and drink on his own, been crowing up a storm, and even trying to put the "moves" on the ladies, though he is still a bit unsteady to stay balanced to complete his romancing. He is still keeping the head down a bit, but there seems to be daily improvement with that. IMG_5034.JPG
    (Rudy out in the pasture with his girls.)

    We aren't out of the woods yet, but we are hopeful that he at least has a decent chance for a full recovery. We have certainly learned a lot about Chicken First Aid, and hopefully this post will be helpful to others who may find themselves in a similar situation.
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
    NewBoots and PollyGirl21 like this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: