Help with Bumblefoot

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by tlmancuso, Jul 6, 2018.

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  1. tlmancuso

    tlmancuso Chirping

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    Three of my hens are exhibiting bumblefoot symptoms. They have hard dark scabs on the bottom of their feet. They don’t seem to be painful. I have been researching causes of bumblefoot and I think my roosts are too high. They are just over 2 feet and 3 feet in a small coop. The hens in question are large girls and I think that the impact of them landing off of the roost is causing too much pressure on the foot pads. I will be lowering the roosts this weekend.

    I have treated the scabs by soaking the feet with Epsom salts, scrubbing the scabs and pulling off what I can, packing with hen healer and wrapping with vet wrap for 48 hours.

    My questions are:

    is this the proper way to non surgically treat the infection? Is there something better to use?

    Do I need to worry about these scabs if they aren’t causing lameness?

    I am considering adding impact mats to the floor of the coop in addition to lowering the roosts. Any suggestions would be very helpful as this has been a frustrating problem.
     
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  2. Moomin2

    Moomin2 Chirping

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    Also dealing with the same issue - following.
     
  3. tlmancuso

    tlmancuso Chirping

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    Has anyone had any experience with this?
     
  4. Moomin2

    Moomin2 Chirping

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    Hi Tlmancuso. I am in no way qualified to give you bumblefoot advice as I'm struggling to treat my chicken who has a serious case. Though I would say that you need to act before your chicken is lame. My girl has never been lame despite a very bad case which is now infected and will need months of intensive treatment. She is not even lame now, despite two surgeries in three days. People have given very good advice in my thread - it won't answer all your questions but it's worth a look. - https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/post-bumble-surgery-care-advice-needed.1257795/
     
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  5. tlmancuso

    tlmancuso Chirping

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    Thank you
     
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  6. Kathy Golla

    Kathy Golla Songster

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    I think you will find the scabs will go away on their own.
    Usually when you have a bumblefoot outbreak look for something that’s causing it, which you have.
    Sometimes a scab doesn’t come off with normal activity and starts to form a callous around the scab. At that point the scab should be pulled off and you start from scratch/cream/wrap that.
    If you’ve opened up a foot to the outside elements you should wrap the foot until it gets a good scab on it.
    I looked at impact mats but in my research didn’t love the out gassing info I was seeing for any mat in a closed coop, decided not to take the chance.
     
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  7. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Crossing the Road

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    When ever you're working to with Bumble Foot wear gloves. It's a staph infection that will transfer. There was an article about treating without surgery and it takes alot of patience. I've had dealt with it 2x, both times I just left it alone (I was told by the gal at the feed store), never bothered the girls (4 Buffs & 5 Wyandottes). I have dirt floor with shavings (DLM), I'd pick up pebbles/stones the girl did up, added alot more shavings. I've read about lowering the roosts but they do enjoy being up.

    CHICKEN - Bumblefoot/Non-Surgical
    December 13, 2015 by Melissa
    Supplies for Non-surgical Bumblefoot Treatment, Tilly’s Nest/FB
    Here is what you will need to help your chickens with bumblefoot:
    • Bath Towel
    • Clean kitchen sink
    • Gloves
    • Epsom Salt
    • Neosporin or Duoderm Gel
    • Vetericyn
    • Duoderm GFC (available online or at your local medical supply store)
    • Vet Wrap
    • Medical Tape
    Treatment Plan for Chickens with Bumblefoot
    Fill the sink with about a gallon of warm water and add Epsom salt to create a bath that even you would like to soak in.

    Then wrap your chicken in the bath towel; being sure to wrap the wings securely and leaving her feet out. The towel will help keep her calm and also allow you to do the treatment all alone without any helpers.

    Next soak your chicken’s feet in the Epsom salt bath for 10 minutes. This helps to loosen up the plug that had built up. The plug is actually comprised of dead tissue and other exudate from inside the foot that develops on the pad of the foot when it attempts to heal. The black “scab” is called eschar. In people sometimes we leave them alone and other times we soften the eschar and remove it gently in order to speed up the healing process.

    In bumblefoot, the eschar can vary in size. They are hard but soften beautifully with a nice good soaking. This allows you to work on the plug in a non-surgical manner without this use of a scapel.

    [​IMG]
    A view from above- the bigger one is pencil eraser sized.
    Next with a gloved hand gently try to work the plug from around the edges of the eschar on the bottom of your chicken’s foot. If it is not ready do not force it. You don’t want it to bleed. Simply return to soaking for another 5-10 minutes. Give it time and be patient.

    The plug should release with a bit of manipulation. It should not bleed, but if it does, don’t worry. Apply a bit of pressure to the bottom of the foot for a few minutes. It will stop.

    The goal is to have to plug release naturally without much trauma because right underneath the plug is healthy tissue already working to heal the foot. When that bed of healthy tissue is damaged or cut into you are actually taking steps backwards in the body’s healing process.

    [​IMG]
    The underside of the kernels. No blood just nasty soft tissue from the body trying to heal itself. The tissue on the foot pad looks nice and healthy.
    Once the plug is removed, dry the foot completely and spray with Vetericyn. Allow it to air dry. While waiting give your girl some love. She is going to feel much better now.

    Next apply a bit of Neosporin to the bottom of the foot pad. Instead of this you can also use Duoderm Gel to fill the wound. Next, cut a circle to fit the wound from the Duoderm GFC, center it on the wound to completely cover the wound edges and then wrap the foot pad with vet wrap. The vet wrap should be snug but tight. You don’t want to affect the circulation and blood flow to the foot. So the toes should be warm even once you apply the vet wrap. Put a bit of medical tape over the end to prevent it from coming undone. Phew, you did it!

    Be sure to disinfect your work area and sink with a 10% bleach solution after you are done.

    This girl should be separated for a bit from the others during healing. A diet of layer pellets is good, but supplement her with high protein snacks like meal worms and sunflower seeds to help her heal faster. Add some vitamins and electrolytes to the water too. Birds that are deficient in Vitamin A are more prone to developing bumblefoot. For her makeshift home, do not allow her to roost until healed and have a thick layer of pine shavings so her feet are comforted when walking. If she must roost, add a layer of padding by wrapping the roosts in towels to soften where she sits.

    Change the bandage in the same fashion every few days or sooner as needed. Because of the Duoderm GFC you can change the bandage less frequently (you can even leave it on for a week if the bandages remain intact and the foot is showing no signs of infection). Also monitor for signs and symptoms of infection that can include warmth and redness at the site, foul smelling drainage from the wound and an overall sick appearance. If this occurs, a visit to the vet is probably necessary for some oral antibiotics and possible surgical wound treatment.

    There are many reasons why chickens can get bumblefoot- from ill fitting roosts, small wounds, “splinter” like cuts, scrapes and trauma. It can also be from lack of Vitamin A and Niacin in the diet. For Lucy, I believe that it probably started with a cut or splinter during free-ranging.


    NOTES:
    For mild cases of pododermatitis, changing to a softer substrate, exercise to increase blood supply to the foot, soaking the affected foot in warm water, and the use of keratin softeners (petrolatum jelly, A & D ointment, e.g.) may be all that's needed. The foot can also be soaked in a dilute chlorhexidine or iodine solution which are available in your local feed store. If there's a break in the skin, then soaking in a solution called Tricide-Neo with an antibiotic can speed healing Dr Michael Salkin
     
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  8. tlmancuso

    tlmancuso Chirping

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    That’s very helpful information! Thank you! I checked out all of my girls today and 5 out of 9 have it. Only one scab was red and meaty. The rest were hard kernels with healthy flesh right underneath the scabs. I did some minor cutting away of the dead flesh and then applied vetericyn gel, applied a waterproof pad and wrapped the foot. The two that I have been treating for a few days now seem to be responding well.

    We lowered the roosts today and are flipping the 2x4’s that they sit on so that they are on the narrow side. The veterinarian recommended tree branches, but I don’t have access to those. I’m leaving town in 10 days and am hoping they show improvement before I leave them. I then plan to discuss our situation with the vet and see what he recommends to prevent it.

    Should I be spraying my coop down with a bleach solution? I am assuming that they could be contracting whatever is causing this from anywhere in the yard. They have a large area that they free range.

    It doesn’t seem to progress very quickly. My small hen who had the worst infection today (and it wasn’t very bad) has had the scab for a few months now. I’ve been monitoring her to see if it progressed and it appears that it has very slowly, but not to a level where she would need veterinary care.

    They encounter all types of substrates. They also come off of their roost pretty hard in the morning because they don’t have room for a ladder. So my solution is to give them just a hop down instead of a big thump every morning. I have plans to make a larger coop, but that won’t be for another year or so.

    I will keep this thread updated on how they progress and what the veterinarian suggests later this month. Thank you again!
     
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  9. Kathy Golla

    Kathy Golla Songster

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    Ya that sounds like an outbreak, something is wrong with a substrate, roost height, roost type.
    Consensus on byc is 2x4 roosts laid flat. Where the front claws rest over the front and back claw rests over the back and the bird can lay in their flattened feet. Just checking to see if that what you mean by narrow side. The narrow part facing up would be bad. Search for this info on the coop forum.
    What did you have them roosting on and in what configuration?
    Branches as roosts are a no no for poultry with foot problems.
    Check your other substrate. Does you chicken ladder or roosts have splinters?
    My Exp has been once you id the source problem the bumblefoot is also solved.
    No need for disinfection. This is either caused by bruising or a substrate where they are picking up pebbles or splinters. It’s not something that is contagious or a virus/bacteria that needs to be killed.
    Check the ground/material for something that’s giving them thorns/pebbles/splinters.
    Keep your chickens weight at a healthy level.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
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  10. tlmancuso

    tlmancuso Chirping

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