GROSS emergency...serious...weak stomachs stay away...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by akcskye, Jun 18, 2007.

  1. akcskye

    akcskye Songster

    Apr 11, 2007
    As many of you know, my Roo, Billy was attacked by dogs on Friday.

    I went to check on him this morning after getting off work (4 a.m.) and I noticed a dark color on his left side, like old blood.

    I lifted up his feathers and that area is INFESTED with maggots!!!

    I know that maggots kind of help heal the wounds, but what do I do? Wash them off, let them stay (wouldn't that eventually kill him?)???

    SO GROSS, but there are no poultry vets in my PLEASE...HELP!!!

  2. thechickenwhisperer

    thechickenwhisperer In the Brooder

    Here's one site:

    Here's some more info on removing:

    Don't Leave Injured Animal Outside if Flies are Swarming It
    Don't read this posting unless you are prepared for graphic descriptions of maggot-related injuries.....

    It was a horrible week for maggots on animals admitted to Flint Creek Wildlife this week. So many of the problems we encountered this week could have been prevented if rescuers would have brought animals inside and gotten help immediately at the first sign that the downed animal was being swarmed by flies.

    For those that aren't familiar with maggots, flies lay eggs on injured or debilitated animals. They are particularly attracted to open wounds; however, even a debilitated animal without open wounds is vulnerable. Flies can lay thousands of eggs on an animal in a very short period of time and fly eggs can begin hatching into maggots in a few hours. Once the maggots hatch, they begin eating the animal. Although some people believe that maggots only eat necrotic (dead) tissue, they will actually consume perfectly healthy tissue as well. They will also tunnel deep inside of an animal - especially when a wound provides a convenient entrance. And don't think they won't quickly enter the inside of the animal through its ears, mouth and anus.

    Animals that could have been saved if promptly brought to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator cannot be saved if maggots are not quickly and properly addressed. We had two instances this week, one with an Eastern Cottontail and one with a Great Horned Owl, where we were forced to euthanize animals due to maggot issues. In both cases, the animals stood a good chance of survival if they had been promptly brought to us. We also had one close call where just another hour or two would have rendered a juvenile Fox Squirrel beyond help.

    The Eastern Cottontail arrived at Flint Creek almost a full day after its rescuers found it. Unaware of the devastating impact of flies, they left it lying in the grass about 12 hours before taking it inside and placing it in a box. Even then, they were completely unaware that maggots were essentially eating the bunny alive. By the time the bunny arrived at Flint Creek, its stomach was eaten completely through and maggots were even eating its internal organs.

    The Great Horned Owl was found at the side of the road at approximately 6:30 pm. Its rescuers, unaware of the fly eggs that had been laid on the bird, didn't contact us until the next morning. When they called they were already at work and couldn't bring the bird out until 6:00 pm.

    The bird was being kept in a garbage can with screening loosely covering the top of the can. Blood was spattered on the inside of the can and the birds head and neck feathers were covered in blood. I lifted the bird from the garbage can and, in horror, realized that the bird's entire face, head and throat were engulfed in thousands of maggots that were eating it alive. The blood was from the raw flesh that was being created by the maggots.

    In both of these cases, we would have likely had a good chance of saving the animals if they had received prompt treatment. Below are some general tips to help you deal with maggots.

    1. Although it is often proper to leave wildlife outside so that the parents can continue to care for it/so that the fledgling can learn to fly/so that the mother squirrel can retrieve her baby and return it to the nest, you must watch for flies during this process and should immediately bring the animal inside if flies appear.
    2. If you cannot bring the animal inside, at least place it in a covered box with a sheet or blanket over it (in a shady location) so that the flies cannot get to it.
    3. Check the animal for fly eggs and maggots. If either are present, you should immediately get the animal to a licensed rehabilitator. Fly eggs look like miniature pieces of white rice. They are often stuck in the fur and will also frequently be found in the mouth and ears. Remember that these can become a major maggot infestation in a short period of time - do not delay seeking immediate assistance.
    4. In extreme cases where you have unsuccessfully tried to reach a licensed rehabilitator, use a pair of tweezers and a flea comb to remove maggots and fly eggs. You must get EVERY single maggot and every single egg; otherwise, some number of maggots will still hatch and begin eating the animal's flesh.
    5. In some cases, maggots cannot all be removed using tweezers. Newly hatched maggots, particularly when there are hundreds or thousands of them present, can be difficult to pick off with tweezers. If necessary, use cornstarch to smother the maggots. Please be careful not to get cornstarch in mouth, ears or eyes. Get the animal to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator immediately.

    Also check out this site (I know its for squirrels but...same principle):

    It appears that a flush of 1/4 hydrogen peroxide and 3/4 water will get all the larvae out.

    Hope this helps some.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2007
  3. akcskye

    akcskye Songster

    Apr 11, 2007
    Thank you for this information.

    I couldn't live with myself after I posted this, and I went out at 4:30 a.m. and washed Billy down with a hose and got what appear to be all the maggots off of him.

    The few remaining were lifeless, but I have no tweezers to pick them off.

    The wounds are not bleeding, so hopefully they just nipped things in the bud, but I will continue watching for signs of reinfestation.

    Our optimism on his recovery has always been "cautious", but things like this just seem like there are no hope.

    Thanks again.
  4. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    One thing to remember when dealing with this type of thing is that the water coming from hosing them off with a garden hose is often cold and the (temp)shock and prolonged wetness will often induce hypothermia in a bird... use lukewarm water and if possible put it in an clean soap bottle for instance (you will need several perhaps for repeated flushing) the cap will concentrate to a particular area and use both hands to expell the water if necessary if you feel you need more "power" in severe cases where you want to initally get as many off as possible with the least amount of water....dont go overboard and powerspray your bird with a hose!... (not saying you did this but I have read recently several deaths of birds after htier owners hosed off with a garden hose and feel sure hypothermia is the initial cause of death and thus this warning) sure to dry and keep warm and out of drafts afterwards.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2007
  5. OHChick

    OHChick Songster

    May 8, 2007

    One of my alpacas got a cut last year and it too was infected with maggots (within a few hours of her cutting herself). Its disgusting, I agree. The one thing too is that even though it looks like the hose got them all out, there still can be some in there. Try and pick them out by hand or with tweezers and then go get some good wound & fly spray (we use this stuff
    ) not sure if it would work on birds or not.

    Good luck.
  6. annrich

    annrich Songster

    May 27, 2007
    Western NY
    my feed stores has a dusting powder for chickens I seen yesterday. I was getting fly spray for the horse. I didn't buy it but I know it's avail. if you need it.

    Good luck
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2007
  7. chicknmania

    chicknmania Crowing

    Jan 26, 2007
    central Ohio
    Don't know if you have done this already, but you might want to look for an exotic pets vet, in your area. They may not promote the fact that they treat chickens, but they will treat chickens, if they treat cage birds. We have not used ours for a long long time cause it's just so expensive to do it that way. One thing, though...the vet told us that any chicken who is ill or injured should be carefully monitored re his food consumption; you should try to make sure they are eating as much as possible and give him anything he likes. When Whitey was so sick a few years ago the vet had us force feed him with this green stuff from a syringe; it was a vitamins and veggies powder mixed with water, all kinds of stuff mixed in. He was eating his regular food anyway, but the vet still had us force feed him this stuff. He didn't like being force fed but it did seem to help. Also, you might want to try calling university agricultural schools in your area; they might have a vet or poultry specialist to help you. Ohio State University's ag school has helped us a lot before and they were always interested in our efforts to save our birds.
  8. countrygirl4513

    countrygirl4513 Songster

    Apr 14, 2007
    Portland TN
    Also consider using DE in the hen house and surrounding area. It is amazing the difference in the fly population. I dust my chicky areas that they frequent to make sure they are getting some ingested. It is wonderful stuff.
    Mine were attacked friday morning, and there were 4 with injuries varying from scratches to punture wounds. And I haven't seen a maggot one. I mean not 1. No flies pestering them either. But like I say I am a strong believer in DE and I think this is the reason for the quick and sanitary recovery in my chicks. Not to say yours isn't. But in all honesty... I can tell you that I have not done anything to the chicks as far as cleaning their wounds. I have let them be and it is all working out well. Mine are 14 wks old and after the shock of the dog attack I didn't want to further their distress by poking around at them. I still have one Partridge that wants to stay close to the house but the others are well on their way to a quick recovery.
    Good luck in your efforts I will remember your poor little roo and his valient efforts to survive.
  9. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Songster

    Apr 8, 2007
    I worked at a vets for years - maggots were pretty common. We always used peroxide daily-poured over teh wound- to "drowned" them out. Then of course, keeping the wound clean after. Hope it heals up well.
  10. MTchick

    MTchick Songster

    Feb 2, 2007
    Western Montana
    If you cannot get Billy into a fly free area, check him at least twice a day for new maggots and keep him as clean and dry as possible. The flies are attracted to the wetness and moisture of the wound, so once he is clean and scabbed over he shouldn't attract too many more flies. Don't let your guard down, of course. Keep checking him until fresh skin is covering all the wounds.

    Hosing the maggots off is a good temporary solution but try to dry him as thoroughly as possible when you are done (both to avoid attracting flies and to avoid hypothermia). You are right to try to treat this ASAP before they damage him further.

    By the way- there are many kinds of maggots. Some are actually therapeutic, but they are specially bred for medicinal reasons and are not "wild" type maggots. Regular fly maggots are very damaging.

    Good luck


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