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Just performed impacted crop surgery - update post #54: caution!!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by technodoll, May 31, 2010.

  1. technodoll

    technodoll Songster

    Aug 25, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    First, let me say that my little silkie hen's impacted crop was so severe, she was going to die from it.

    Not even liquid was passing through anymore, she kept vomiting clear goo the past two days.

    Her crop was bigger than a baseball, filled with thousands of pebbles - it weighed a ton and was distended beyond belief - looking at photos, I can see this had been going on for months but I never imagined it was impacted crop... I feel like such a failure [​IMG]

    I tried massaging for days, with injections of oil to loosen the mass. I tried flushing the crop with baking soda and warm water.

    Nothing budged.

    And she's gone broody, so not eating nor drinking.

    Just skin and bones, my poor sweet Angel!

    So I had no choice but to perform home surgery to empty out her crop, the very last resort - and after reading as much as I could on the subject. I'm not squeamish but the thought of cutting into one of my pets like that, without sedation or anaesthesia, well it just makes me super ill. Thank goodness DH was there to hold Angel, encouraging me along the way, steadying my nerves.

    She was a SUPER patient. Hardly moved at all, did not cry or struggle, nothing!!

    Her chest was quite bare so I didn't need to pluck any feathers. Used a new, sterile razor blade to make a 1" vertical incision through the skin, to reveal the distended crop - there was surprisingly very little blood, hardly any at all. We had plenty of sterile gauze pads on hand to wipe up messes. I then made a 1/2" horizontal cut through the crop and the junk just started to ooze out.... Oh, the stench... unbelievable.

    I used a sterile, glass twizzle stick to gently reach into the crop and pull the rotten brown mess out, it was hard going and very, very messy - there was at least 1/2 cup of tiny rocks in there, mixed with brown liquid, undigested grains and grasses - I couldn't get everything out as I would have had to make the incision much larger, everything was a giant stinking soggy mess everywhere and the hole was hard to see after a while. But we got a good 2/3 to 3/4 of the gunk out. I had to keep flushing with warm water to see what I was doing.

    When she started wiggling, I stopped. Had been scooping junk out for about 15 minutes at that point and was afraid she would go into shock or something (DH was monitoring her breathing, eyes, heart rate, etc). We had her wrapped in a towel, laying on her side on the table, on a towel. She was wonderful.

    To end the surgery, I used a swab of alcohol and chlorhexidrine (hospital stuff) to disinfect the crop incision, sutured with a fine needle and cotton thread. Again swabbed, then sutured the outside skin as best I could, I could tell this part was hurting Angel a bit. Made sure the sutures were separate, and that the crop was not stuck to the skin. Disinfected one last time, flushed with warm water, and the little lady is back in her crate on newspaper with only fortified water for the next 24 hours.

    So far she seems to be doing good, cooing and busily trying to clean the mess on her chest.

    *big sigh of relief*

    I checked on her again, and she is bright-eyed and looking a bit confused, not sure how much pain she's in or if she feels much better now that the giant ball of rocks is mostly gone from her crop??

    Praying no infection sets in... praying, praying for a fast and easy recovery...

    I love her more than anything and would be devastated if she didn't make it after going through all of this.

    Hope you found this informative, and I will update tomorrow on how the little Angel patient is.

    Please send good healing vibes!

    Thank you!!
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2010
  2. klf73

    klf73 Mad Scientist

    Jun 1, 2008
    I am sorry you had to do that, but I have a question....I have never done this but know a lot about people anatomy etc. Won't the stitches on the inside pose a problem? since they aren't disolveable?
    Hope she pulls through for you [​IMG]
  3. technodoll

    technodoll Songster

    Aug 25, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    I don't know... I read somewhere that it was ok to use one or two cotton thread stitches inside on the crop if there was nothing else available (and I had nothing else...) so it's a wait-and-see situation. I assume the crop will mend itself and the thread will stay there forever?

    Anybody know?
  4. ChksontheRun

    ChksontheRun Songster

    Mar 18, 2010
    Central Virginia
    I expect just like any foreign body, the chickens body will wall it off in a sort of tissue envelope. You may notice a bit of extra scar tissue around that area.

    I was amazed to read about your experience. Hope your little girl recovers quickly.
  5. technodoll

    technodoll Songster

    Aug 25, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    Quote:I sure hope she heals and isn't in too much pain... what a trooper.

    This is the girl whose 1st egg got stuck in her cloaca (she had a hymen of sorts) and I had to surgically remove the egg from her body and treat her for prolapsed vent - she healed superbly and never had a problem laying an egg after that!

    I only have two silkie hens and 10 days ago had to perform surgery for bumblefoot on my other hen.

    Yeah, I'm that lucky with my girls [​IMG]
  6. bakohens

    bakohens In the Brooder

    Mar 28, 2010
    OMG, you are amazing! I hope she's doing better!
    Keep us posted.
  7. Tallgirl17

    Tallgirl17 In the Brooder

    Apr 24, 2010
    St.Louis area/IL
    [​IMG] Sending good vibes! [​IMG] That's amazing(and scary!) you did that! Pat yourself on the back for doing what needing to be done. Very brave.
  8. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Songster

    Sep 4, 2009
    Bravo, Technodoll & Angel!

    I have a bunch of questions. Where'd you get the chlorhexidrine? What did you use to sterilize everything? Was it a regular single blade razor - the kind you can get at the drugstore? What kind of needle, sewing?

    Keep us updated on how she recovers, okay?
  9. technodoll

    technodoll Songster

    Aug 25, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    Quote:The clorhexidrine is a staple at the drugstore, you can find it in the first-aid section or ask the pharmacist. It's a pink liquid in a plastic bottle here, sold under different names depending on the brand.

    I used rubbing alcohol to sterilize everything, even the sewing thread which was the plain cotton kind you use for sewing clothes... and the needle was a very small fine one for darning.

    The razor blade is the kind you would use for arts and crafts, found at the drugstore and looks like this: http://www.homedepot.ca/wcsstore/HomeDepotCanada/images/catalog/11-515A_rgb_4.jpg

    wish I had a scalpel though, i didn't find the razor blade to be all that sharp [​IMG]
  10. Swampwood

    Swampwood Songster

    Apr 25, 2010
    Krotz Springs, LA
    Great job!! You are cool in my book.
    I hope you are giving some kind of ATB(maybe in the water..they have at Tractor supply), the stench may have been infection in the crop already.

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