Hen with swollen legs after death of another in flock

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Lyranonamous, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. Lyranonamous

    Lyranonamous Songster


    My older hen Lizzie died Tues night from impacted crop and probably other complications. I will post more later about this, after info from the necropsy. She had swollen toes on one foot. The vet looked at it. It did not seem like an abscess.
    Now one of my younger chickens has very, very swollen ankles and legs on both sides. I'm not noticing this on any other chickens, but will do an more thorough inspection after this.

    She is a Speckled Sussex, 2.5 yrs old. She is walking, went into the run with the others, and was interested in sesame seeds. Other than the legs her behavior seems normal.
    If I need the vet I would have to do that today, so any help is appreciated.
    Thanks again

    Attached Files:

    SongBaby33 and TwoCrows like this.
  2. A.M. Eggs

    A.M. Eggs Songster

    Jan 7, 2018
    Wichita Falls, TX
    Looks like bumble foot but it could also be mites of some kind. Check the bottom of her feet and see if there is something that resembles a scab. If there is, it’s bumblefoot. If not, test for mites or wait and see if she gets worse or better. Do you live in an area where there are fire ants?
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    The swollen ankles look like possible bacterial synovitis, and mycoplasma synovitis (or MS)is the most common type. There is no cure, but Tylan and tetracycline drugs sometimes are used to treat it. I believe that @TwoCrows has some experience with it. It causes breast blisters on the keel bone sometimes and swelling of the hocks as well. Here is some reading about the disease:

  4. Lyranonamous

    Lyranonamous Songster

    Thank you . No fire ants here. Would bumble foot affect both legs?
  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Bird is the word

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Sorry your bird is suffering here! :hugs

    It does appear to me to be MS, synovial fluid drains down the tendon sheaths and pools in the hocks, foot joints and foot pads. I have MS in my flock. (I say "have" because even though you beat the bacteria down and heal the birds, they carry this bacteria the rest of their days.)

    The only medications that will treat MS is Denagard, Baytril or Doxycycline. I had no luck with Denagard, although some people have. It depends on the severity and in your case, this is quite severe. I had to use both Baytril and Doxycycline combined to heal my birds, along with a daily bumblefoot surgery to drain the fluid out. Not all birds with MS will drain into the foot pad. If you see what looks like a scab on the bottom of the pad, then yes it is draining. If you can do a surgery, it will help them greatly. If I didn't do a surgery daily, the birds that were most effected could not walk and were lame.

    Some people will suggest you cull the flock with MS because it is VERY difficult to treat. If possible, a vet can take a blood sample for MS to find out if they do in fact have MS.

    Baytril is not listed for use in poultry anymore so I won't insist you use it, but it was the only drug along with Doxycycline that healed my flock. For a 5 to 7 pound bird, the doses were 1/2 of a 22.7 mg Baytril 2 times daily, along with 50mg of Doxycycline capsule 2 times daily until all swelling is gone. A daily bumblefoot surgery on birds with drainage in the pads. You don't HAVE to do a surgery on them, they can heal over, but if the bird is lame, this will get them moving again.

    If you have never done a bumblefoot surgery, this article describes how to perform one. Scroll down to Bumblefoot. There is also a section on MS too.


    Good luck and keep us posted!
  6. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Bird is the word

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Bumblefoot will not cause this sort of swelling. Bumblefoot generally remains in the foot pad, if it gets bad enough the bacteria can go systemic and travel all throughout the bird, eventually killing it.
    dawg53, Cragg Klefor and Wyorp Rock like this.
  7. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Egg Pusher

    Jul 31, 2015
    Houston, TX
    My Coop
    I was going to recommend reading about MS but see it's been said.

    Is your vet doing the necropsy or your state lab?
  8. Lyranonamous

    Lyranonamous Songster

    Thanks very much TwoCrows. I was trying to find your post on this as another person said you had experience with it.
    Oddly, she isn't lame altho that can change. All else seems normal with her but I need to pick her up and check her over. Thanks for the links.
    I will probably take her to the vet, since my other girl just died and this does not sound promising at all, and of course its the weekend.
    Wyorp Rock and TwoCrows like this.
  9. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Bird is the word

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Did the other bird that died have swollen legs too? MS does kill if not addressed.

    There is a virus that can cause severe arthritis that looks like this too.

    Definitely see if your vet can run some tests, blood work and such and maybe he/she can help you figure this out.

    Keep us posted! :)
    Wyorp Rock likes this.
  10. Lyranonamous

    Lyranonamous Songster

    Update; We now have another Speckled Sussex with swollen legs....so far all vets are at a loss.We just got back from the vet for the second one.
    What I know so far- legs are hot, and my vet tried to draw the fluid out of the first sick one, and there is no fluid. The swelling goes up the bone, beyond the feathers-so it's not scaly leg mites. The second chicken is swollen mainly in the joints. My vet has been collaborating with another Cornell vet and he suspected heart problems..... But now that another Speckled Sussex affected so that rules out heart. It does not look like Marek's at all.

    I did ask about MS-(thanks TwoCrows) it does not appear to be that but still waiting for answer from Dr. Jarra Jagne, who isn't in the country now.
    SO FAR it has only affected Speckled Sussex chickens and has not affected my Jersey Giant, Welsummer or Silver Laced Wyandotte. That could be just chance-I have 6 SS, so more than other breeds. (I ordered the SS chicks at the same time-so maybe they were not vaccinated against something)
    Of course the the chances of a SS getting infected are greatest bc that's mostly what I have, but any other SS people on here have anything similar?
    I'm posting the photos of the newly affected chicken. Any ideas?
    We have considered: the "new " feed has too much protein and we are switching back to old feed.
    or the sunflower seeds or the new bag of worms is somehow contaminated. (mold or?) We are stopping these.
    Anyone have something like this?

    Attached Files:

    Texas Kiki, Wyorp Rock and SongBaby33 like this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: