Green Toes and Surgery

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by audfish7, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. audfish7

    audfish7 Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    24
    Feb 13, 2014
    I have a hen that was found with some really nasty peck wounds from a rooster. Upon separating her from the group and treating in the wound I noticed that three toes on her left foot were swollen. I treated her with oral antibiotic, scrubbed head and foot with soapy water and applied vetrycin. I was sure the head would was going to do her in, but the head would looks perfect, and is scabbed up nicely. The foot, however has gotten worse. It does not appear like bumble foot, those seem to have a central pustule, this wound has scabbing the spirals around the longest toe, slices up another toe, and caused the littlest to swell up. The underside of the footpad was green and the foot seemed filled with fluid. With a smidge of would care experience as a summer vet tech (no birds though) I decided that the hen stood no chance of making it if the wound wasn't drained.

    A pre-op photo:
    [​IMG]

    I soaked the foot in Epsom salts to soften the skin, scrubbed with iodine, scraped off old scabbing with a pair of sterilized tweezers. I made a small incision with a sterile scalpel in the parts of the toes that appeared most filled with fluid. Since the toes had gone green I was thinking that the foot might have succumb to gangrene; I was expecting large amounts of foul smelling, cloudy, yellow-green pus. The wound drained only clear or light brown fluid (not cloudy, clear) the fluid did not have a foul odor. Some of the green skin peeled off to reveal pink fresh skin underneath. I scrubbed the wound again with iodine, packed the wound with triple antibiotic ointment and sterile gauze, and wrapped with vetrap. I also gave .20 CC of penicillin-G IM and have planned on a four day course.

    My plan is to re-dress the wound daily when I provide the injection. Today when I unwrapped the gauze I was not as hopeful as I was yesterday. I guess I expected more improvement. Parts of the toe look less fluid-filled, while others seem still swollen. Still not a bad odor, but less pleasant than yesterday. She is eating and drinking normally and showed interest in the peaches I offered her today.

    It might also do to say that my husband planned to cull the bird before the surgery. Since this particular bird spent almost two weeks living in my house due to a close over-heating call when she was a chick, I'm rather attached. Since she "talks" to me and perks up when she sees me, my husband thinks she's an imprint. Even during the surgery my husband mentioned that she seemed much calmer when I talked to her, vs when he was trying to talk to her. I would hate to get rid of her. Can anyone say when they might throw in the towel? Obviously, any streaking up the leg or fever in the bird might indicate a turn for the worse. If nothing else can you find a moment to say a prayer for Lucky? His eye is on the sparrow, perhaps His eye can also be on the chicken.
     
  2. boskelli1571

    boskelli1571 Overrun With Chickens

    2,886
    397
    261
    Mar 7, 2011
    Finger Lakes, NY
    Hello & welcome,
    I tried to access your photos' without success - page doesn't exist?? Anyway, sounds like you are doing everything possible foe Lucky (well named). The only things I would possibly change: don't use iodine on healing skin, soap & water do just fine (dilute Dawn detergent), if you absolutely feel compelled to use iodine dilute it well. Secondly, depending on how she responds to the antibiotic, you may have to extend the Penicillin regime or change to another antibiotic - but give it a few days.
    Will certainly send up a prayer for the Lucky chicken!! [​IMG] Keep us posted.
     
  3. audfish7

    audfish7 Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    24
    Feb 13, 2014
    [​IMG]


    Let's see if that works. I'm wondering now when I should make the call. Healing is not going as planned. The toes, while not swollen, are dark red (bruising?) And the tips of two of them are black. She is still very interested in food and pigs out after her treatment each night. No signs the infection has spread. Does anyone have experience with toes dying/falling off? Did the bird make it? I know when a comb gets frostbitten it can loose blood supply and fall of with no harm to the bird. I'll take another photo the next time I change the dressing for a comparison.
     
  4. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,290
    285
    208
    May 9, 2013
    MB,Canada
    Black indicates necrotic tissue(dead)looks like a severe infection. Is this spreading up foot? Pus in birds is not liquid like in other animals,but more of a thick substance.

    What was the cause of infection?

    Is a vet a possibility,she should really see one.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2014
  5. audfish7

    audfish7 Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    24
    Feb 13, 2014
    I am not able to take her to a vet. My husband would rather cull her. The infection has not spread.
     
  6. audfish7

    audfish7 Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    24
    Feb 13, 2014
    The cause of the infection is unknown. I think she got the foot ripped up by something based on the scabbing.
     
  7. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,290
    285
    208
    May 9, 2013
    MB,Canada
    Keep cleaning toes,worst case scenario is that you may have to remove toes/foot if gangrene sets in. Search forum many have had to remove toes/limbs due to injury/frostbite,this does save their lives b/c if infection spreads it will kill them. Not a death sentence having to remove limbs,i would if any of mine had an out of control/spreading infection,i would not even hesitate if it meant saving their life.

    Are you sure she did not have frostbite? Are you sure the green coloration is not gangrene? You are not wrapping foot/toes too tight? Try leaving toes uncovered.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2014
  8. pwand

    pwand Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,368
    71
    208
    Sep 10, 2007
    BC Canada
    It looks gangrene.
     
  9. audfish7

    audfish7 Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    24
    Feb 13, 2014
    Updated photos
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    How might I leave the foot undressed without it getting poop in it? I was thinking it might be beneficial for the wound to dry out, but I was worried more dirt would be harmful for it since it's an open wound. I have no idea if the wound is getting better or worse. Parts of it look improved, others look worse. Still no signs of sepsis.
     
  10. Bogtown Chick

    Bogtown Chick Overrun With Chickens

    5,636
    1,544
    361
    Mar 31, 2012
    Northern Minnesota
    My Coop
    Hi Audfish:

    Last winter I had a Roo lose his toe. He broke it and then while circulation was compromised from the break it frost bit and he eventually lost it. I kept him outside and I think if I would have kept him in the house it probably would have had half a chance. But I knew he was happier outside. Plus crowing at 4 AM in the morning does not make for a happy spouse! LOL

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...-your-chicken-more-prone-to-frost-bite-photos

    I took lots of photos during the time from when I first noted the break to frostbite and various stages of healing. I really thought the toe would make it as the coloring remained good for a long time but then it was obvious it was black and dead and he eventually dropped the toe and has managed a successful life without it for a year now. I might also add that during the time we were taking care of this toe he suffered frostbite to his comb and wattles so badly that he developed a stinky infection and I went begging to our local vet and she did give me cephalexin liquid (Keflex) to treat his comb and wattles but no doubt it also helped the toe from becoming infected and probably just helped "dry it up" . She wanted to give Baytril but I pressed my luck with her and asked for a cheaper medicine. [​IMG] Total pain in the butt I'm sure! Ha.

    If I might offer my opinion on your bird. I think if you can keep the infection under control and isolated at the toes and save the foot pad, you can save this bird and she will go on just fine without a few toes. I think the toes are done, though. They will eventually need to go or will dry up on their own and fall off. It takes literally months for this to happen though...It's a haul of constant cleaning, treating, bandaging. But if you really love her, and I know this can be a labor of love, just go for it. I used dilute iodine flushes with Hydrogen peroxide for these wounds. Necrotic wounds need a bit of oxygenating. Clostridium perfrigens, the bacteria associated with Gangrene is anaerobic (grows and prospers without O2) when you add oxygen to it's environment it is less hospitable for this bacteria. Once wound beds are clear and clean then that's when you don't need to use H2O2 as it then begins to remove healthy granulating tissue. If the infection travels to her main foot pad then I think this scenario is not as good and her ability to ambulate will be lost, and she'll have problems. Personally, I'd cull if a whole foot was lost.

    So I think what you are doing with the Pen-G is good. I think for bumble foot they've put the Pen-G right into the foot pad. Do you think injecting a bit at each toe, right where you start to see healthy tissue would be doable? I'm not entirely sure about this local injecting versus IM systemic injections, though for chickens. More research might be beneficial on that subject. I would also continue with debriding dried up peeling away skin, Veterycin spray, triple antibiotic to occlude the Veterycin, non stick guaze and wrapping with narrow strips of Vet wrap along each toe to keep the poo out as much as possible.

    you've got your work cut out for you and it's important to know that when you are sick and tired of doing it one day, overwhelmed with it all....Do give yourself permission to skip a day. Sometimes the bird needs a break too. You'll come back to it and be much more refreshed in your efforts.

    Edited for some typos. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by