Frostbite with or without infection step by step

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by silky smooth, Mar 20, 2015.

  1. silky smooth

    silky smooth Out Of The Brooder

    85
    9
    38
    Mar 3, 2015
    Michigan
    READ THIS FIRST:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/frostbite

    no really follow the link it's helpful!

    STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO TREATING POULTRY FROSTBITE Moderate to severe

    Okay so you have frostbitten bird(s)?, CALL YOUR VET!
    don't want to pay a vet, if you can take care of it yourself at home?!
    , and you have no patience to wait it out.

    I am going to talk you through this, just take a few big deep breaths and let it out.
    right off I need you to know, I AM NOT A VETERINARIAN!
    However I am a farmer with generations of knowledge, experience, and more than a fair share of common sense (so I have been told).
    what next?:

    You need a place to work, and a place to keep the bird(s) isolated during treatment and recovery, a holding area. set up your holding area,
    if a very foul odor gets your attention PUT ON GLOVES BEFORE YOU TOUCH THAT BIRD(s)!!! and bring your bird inside. check the clock. write it down. you will need this information for the vet if one is ultimately needed.
    thawing/holding/recovery area:

    find or make a space that is dry, draftless, but ventilated, and well lit, that can get to at least 70*f. but not above 80*F. and hold steady for as long as treatment and recovery takes. set the temp to climb (if there is a thermostat great! if not, get a thermometer, check this periodically also). a space heater or heat lamp will work in a pinch. as long as it isn't in your way.
    and a holding container (one for each affected bird)
    this can be a bird cage, bathtub or water trough, xl pet carrier, anything big enough that will allow your bird to get away from it's waste. that is easily cleanable. no cardboard boxes, as they hold moisture and tend to mold after a day or two. choose a container that won't hurt your bird further, with enough room for a small feeder, and waterer. put a layer of new clean bedding material (not wood shavings!) or a clean towel in the bottom and put your bird on it. supply feed, and water in easy reach. DO NOT use super cold water. use cool water for drinking this will help with the thawing from the inside. leave your bird to thaw. check the clock. check your bird(s) periodically to see progression. is your bird eating and/or drinking? if yes, good. if not, no worries, we will get to that.

    working/ treatment area:
    if you are in the house, your kitchen counter will work perfectly.
    if not, you need a space that is dry, draftless, but ventilated, and well lit, that can get to at least 70*f. but not above 80*F. and hold steady for as long as treatment and recovery takes. set the temp to climb (if there is a thermostat great! if not, get a thermometer, check this periodically also). a space heater or heat lamp will work in a pinch. as long as it isn't in your way. with good access to hot and cold running water. with a sterilizable countertop or similar minimally porous material on a work bench that is at a comfortable working height (you should be able to bend directly over your bird comfortably.)

    DO NOT flex the cold or frozen parts:
    wait patiently until the heat returns. DO NOT thaw in a soak. it thaws too rapidly. the tendons are under constant strain (think stretched and frozen rubber band), and if they are frozen, thawing quickly can and usually does cause them to snap. potentially causing much more extensive damage to tissue that was not already so. thawing slowly allows the tendons to adjust to the strain, and may stay intact, but this is not a guarantee.
    while your bird is thawing, quietly by itself, gather your supplies!


    what you will need: (it doesn't have to be expensive to work.)
    its a big list but all are vital for the moderate to severe cases.

    supplies:

    1 box Nitrile or vinyl Gloves (non-powdered)
    flashlight
    2 plastic dishpans one to carry supplies, one for soaking
    gallon of bleach
    green scrubby pad
    2 5 gal. trash bins with lids one for dirty towels one for biowaste
    2 plastic trash bags for the bins shopping bags are not okay unless they are very heavy plastic.
    7 clean cheap cotton bath towels (dedicated to your birds)
    7 clean cotton facecloths
    one plastic pencil box
    permanent marker
    1lb plastic deli container w/ lid
    1/2 lb plastic deli container
    roll of plain white paper towels (no colored patterns) it can transfer to the bird wasting valuable time if your bird has to see a vet, despite your best efforts .
    2 fine point scalpels
    tweezers
    14 1ml syringes with 1" or shorter 22g needles (think department store pharmacy not feed supply it's less expensive)
    cotton swabs
    thick cotton pad cut to fit in the bottom of deli containers
    kitchen shears
    music its for you, and the bird.
    second set of emergency hands
    cage pet carrier or similar for housing your bird.
    feed dish (for each bird)
    water dish (for each bird)
    complete feed
    vitamin supplements
    bedding
    old outfit you don't care about but that still fits well (baggy clothing can be a hinderance).
    Meds:
    penicillin inj. 3,000ppb
    tube of neosporin without pain reliever all the 'caine' pain relievers are very bad for birds.
    a tube of polymyxin-B sulfate bacitracin zinc.
    nitrofurazone
    betadine solution (do not use if you are allergic to shellfish)
    epsom salt
    stipple powder (to stop bleeding)

    91% isopropyl alcohol
    hydrogen peroxide topical solution usp
    epicare poultry aid or cut-n-heal
    2" x 2" gauzy gauze pads
    4" vetwrap roll

    turn on music

    where you can skimp on supplies:
    towels, face cloths you need at least two of each, though. one plastic dish pan if you use your sink. one plastic trash can if you use a plastic laundry basket instead and plan to bleach your towels sterile. do not use dryer sheets or fabric softener on these towels. it will prohibit good liquid absorption. using detergent is okay, I recommend it.

    Prep:

    while your bird is thawing.
    write SHARPS on the plastic pencil box with the RED sharpie set it aside.
    mark a trash can with the sharpie that reads biowaste, this is now your bio-waste container. the other will be for your dirty cotton towels. you can use tape and paper if you wish to mark the trashcan(s).
    line the two trash cans with the trash bags. set lids aside. you can cover lids with trash bags too if you plan to use them for something else.

    if you haven't already, wash your hands thoroughly with either hydrogen peroxide, dish soap, alcohol, or betadine(if you are not allergic), dry your hands thoroughly with a towel and PUT ON GLOVES!!!
    this is the most important step to protect yourself.


    sterilize the working surface or counter, and the sink if it's available. Give everything a good scrub using the green scrubby pad and if you don't mind a little staining use the betadine (if you are not allergic), bleach if you do. dry the surface with either a towel or paper towels. toss into biowaste trashcan. pour a little hydrogen peroxide into the sink let it run down the drain to check your handy work. If it bubbles, and fizzes, scour again.

    if it's combs and wattles are the affected:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    photo courtesy of wickedruralapothecary.com
    you will need the smaller plastic deli container with a square if thick cotton padding cut to fit in the bottom (use the kitchen shears, it makes it so much easier). drench the cotton in the isopropyl alcohol. place your tweezers onto the cotton douse them with a splash of alcohol. press in until the alcohol can coat them. set this to hand. grab the polymyxin bacitracin tube or the neosporin. take a towel and fold it in half place it on the counter with the fold away from the sink. roll back one half leaving one layer of towel on the counter. if you don't have a sink place one of the plastic dish pans in the middle of the counter/ work surface. set out your supplies neatly. with paper towels to hand. for hiping your hands and tools with bits of skin attached.
    you have to have room to lay your bird out wrapped lightly in a towel. with all of your supplies to hand, but not where your bird can knock them on to the floor, if it thrashes.



    time to check your bird. has the heat returned to the affected area(s)? if so, and the edges of the black scabs have turned light greyish and ashy like dry skin you are ready to meddle. though it's usually not necessary. on the other hand leaving a healed scab in place can cause sores to form and fester. potentially allowing and infection to take root.

    here's what you do:
    place your bird on the towel and wait for it to relax, and lay on it's belly if it can. unroll the other half of the towel over the bird and tuck under. wrap so that the wings are against the body, snugly, but not too tight. leaving the affected areas exposed. take care not to bend feathers or bang the feet if they are affected. take care: if the comb was able to freeze so could the feathers, you don't want to snap any, they might be a little fragile. place your hand on the towel on the birds back just firm enough to hold it still. take the tweezers in your other hand and gently use the tip to make upward swiping passes at the edge. Pick away gently. if it bleeds quit. it's not ready. put your tweezers back into the alcohol to sterilize, do this after every scab. put stipple powder on the bleeding spot to stop it. pick another spot and go back at the edges. if two or more bleed, stop picking. if it doesn't bleed go ahead and slowly pull off the scabs. wipe the chunky bits on a paper towel, do not put them into the sterilizing dish. the skin should appear healthy underneath. coat the comb or wattles thinly with the antibiotic ointment. unwrap your bird, replace into the holding container . follow the next step only if your bird is healed up, and a healthy weight, and ready to return to the coop.
    slowly reduce the heat in the space over a 24 hr. span of time. until it matches the rest of the coop, and put back in to the coop/tractor etc.. unless, if it needs repair, put bird back into the holding container. do not leave your bird out in the open! repair all drafts, fix ventilation etc.. add carbs to the birds diet. try again tomorrow.
    if they swell leave them time will repair it.
    [​IMG]
    photo courtesy of the internet

    it it's feet are affected: so are the wattles and comb.
    follow wattle and comb instructions first then these.
    it requires long term care (absolute minimum 2 weeks about the standard length of time for an antibiotic treatment). but usually much longer for the open sores and repairing tissue to mend.

    DO NOT flex the cold or frozen parts:
    wait patiently until the heat returns.
    DO NOT thaw in a soak. it thaws too rapidly. the tendons are under constant strain (think stretched and frozen rubber band), and if they are frozen, thawing quickly can and usually does cause them to snap. potentially causing much more extensive damage to tissue that was not already so. thawing slowly allows the tendons to adjust to the strain, and may stay intact, but this is not a guarantee.


    leave your bird to thaw quietly by itself.

    if thawing takes more than an hour :
    your space may not be warm enough. so, find a comfy seat and place your bird into your lap. cover it and you with a towel like a nursing mother. and wait patiently until the heat returns. body heat is best. DO NOT thaw in a soak.
    talk to your bird, it's scared and cold, and thinks it is going to die.
    turn on some music and sing. or hum along. the bird doesn't care if you have a terrible voice or don't know all the words. once your bird it thawed ( you'll know when it can maintain it's own heat without your help, and may even feel hot to the touch.remember when they start warming up it will be super painful, just like your hands or face coming in from the cold. once they are thoroughly warm they will regain motor function, some if not all. give them the option of a 1" perching rod. set very low to the ground, if not on the floor they may choose to grab this, let them. they won't mortally injure themselves.
    gather your supplies!
    grab your penicillin inj solution out of the fridge, and set on your working counter to warm to room temp.
    you will need both the larger and small plastic deli containers with a square if thick cotton padding cut to fit in the bottom (use the kitchen shears, it makes it so much easier). drench the cotton in the isopropyl alcohol. place your tweezers onto the cotton douse them with a splash of alcohol. press in until the alcohol can coat them. do the same for you scalpels. set this to hand. take a towel and fold it in half place it on the counter with the fold away from the sink/dish pan. roll back one half leaving one layer of towel on the counter. if you don't have a sink place one of the plastic dish pans in the middle of the counter
    set out your supplies neatly.
    you will need every thing on the supply list for this.
    you have to have room to lay your bird out wrapped lightly in a towel. with all of your supplies to hand, but not where your bird can knock them on to the floor, if it thrashes.

    soak:
    take a good hard look at your birds feet. notice the color, odor feverish temperature. take pictures for later reference. write it down if you think you won't remember the details. check the clock.
    if the affected area has liquid filled blisters, DO NOT pop them, unless you verify infection! soak in an epsom salt bath for about ten- twenty minutes until the tissue is very soft. I use one cup to a full sink of medium warm water. let your chicken soak.
    the warm water may lull it to sleep, and it can submerge it's head, don't let that happen, it can drown. lift wet chicken out and place on ready towel. drain sink if it relieves itself in the water (stress poops). and start over, reducing the time. place bird again on the towel and use betadine (follow surgical instructions on the bottle) in the sink, and dip your birds feet in it about two or three minutes. the stink will intensify as you work if it is infected.

    place your bird on the towel and wait for it to relax, the towel will give it grip to stand. unroll the other half of the towel over the bird and tuck under. wrap so that the wings are against the body, snugly, but not too tight. take care not to bend or bang the feet. take care if the comb was able to freeze so could the feathers, you don't want to snap any, they might be a little fragile. through the towel grab hold of your bird, pinning its wings just firm enough to hold it still. tip it on its side, it will fight you a bit place your hand on the towel on birds side holding firm but gentle.

    prevent infection from spreading:
    slather any black toes with 50/50 nitrofurazone/polymyxin B. to keep them from getting reinfected. the deep freeze killed the bacteria good and bad. you want to prevent it coming back for a while.

    identify and remove infection:
    then take the sterilized tweezers in your other hand and gently use the tip to make outward swiping passes at the edge of the abraded skin. if there isn't any opening but you smell infection make a small slice only in the ruined flesh where the skin is the most orange.take a good sniff, does it smell like a rotting dead rat? that's infection. nasty stuff. cut away the ruined flesh, take care not to rip into healthy flesh, you will know. it will bleed. dead rotted flesh will come off like a wet scab. if it bleeds quit. put stipple powder on the bleeding spot to stop it. slather with 50/50 nitrofurazone/polymyxin B. sterilize your tools and pick at another spot. when you find it it will look like tiny bright orange beads the color of cheap mac-n-cheese cheese. flood the area with alternately hydrogen peroxide, and isopropyl alcohol. scoop away any that remain. cut away until you have removed every cell of infected tissue and infection itself. chase all of the rotten flesh and infection. you can not stop until it is all off. you can use alternately hydrogen peroxide and isopropyl alcohol to flush the opening wound area. DO NOT pick at black toes or pads.

    dressing the wound:
    douse the foot in betadine. pat dry or let it absorb while you prep the dressing.
    if infection is present the betadine will make it smell putrid ( that's a good thing. to help you pinpoint the location, severity, reversal, and defeat of the infection. hopefully you got it all. take a square of the 2"x2" nonstick gauzy gauze slather with a thick coat of the 50/50 nitrofurazone/polymyxin B. set aside goopy side up. make as many of these as needed to cover the entire open area.take the Vetwrap and cut a 6-8 inch section then cut longway into four strips with the kitchen shears. apply the gauze to completely cover the edges of the open area hold in place with the vetwrap. wrapping like a boxer between all the toes. wrap the toes, with their own pieces.
    [​IMG]
    photo courtesy of the web.

    you will need to check and change the dressing 2-3 times a day for at least three days to make sure that you got all of the infection. the odor will go away when you got it all.

    antibiotic injection:
    get your armed syringe(syringe with needle) and the penicillin inj. solution ready. read the dosing instructions on the side. mark the syringe with the red sharpie (usually for a medium breed bird you will use the very first half mark just above or just below.) wipe the rubber bullseye with an alcohol swab.turn the bottle upside down, and draw the plunger way back. it will suck in solution and a bubble. push this bubble back into the bottle do it as many times as it takes until the bubble is out of the syringe, and the penicillin is at your chosen mark. wrap your bird in a towel with head and feet covered with chest exposed, hand your bird to your helper. if you don't have help, tuck the bird under your arm like a football. find the breast muscle. and stab good. the skin is tough. draw the plunger out a little there should be no blood if there is remove needle and stab again. DO NOT hit the bone. draw back the plunger. no blood? good push the plunger all the way in. your bird may make a fuss. wouldn't you?. hold on until it stops stressing. remove the needle. cap it and place into your sharps container. rub the area gently with your fingers. pat your bird tell it how good it was. coo to it. then return it to the holding container. only give the injection once a day for seven days. you will need to check and change the dressing 2-3 times a day for at least three days to make sure that you got all of the infection. the odor will go away when you got it all.
    resoak your bird and repeat surgery if necessary.
    always using a fresh cotton towel and sterilized equipment.


    dont give up. you can get through this.


    if you need more instructions or mental support you can pm me I will answer as soon as I can.

    Discard all eggs for three weeks after the last dose of antibiotic is given. that goes for the ointment too.


    if the infection smell won't quit, or gets worse after seven days. it's time to call your vet to make an emergency appointment.

    when your bird is healthy and ready to return to the coop/ tractor etc.:
    DO NOT turn out your bird with other birds until they are in optimum health that includes proper weight, and feather luster.


    slowly reduce the heat in the space over a 24 hr. span of time. until it matches the rest of the coop, return bird(s) into the coop/tractor etc.. unless, it needs repair! repair all drafts, fix ventilation etc..put bird back into the holding container. do not leave your bird out in the open! make your repairs then return the bird to the coop
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2015

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by