lame chicken- no obvious injury- not Marek's or other neurological problem- not bumblefoot

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by lcatty, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. lcatty

    lcatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi folks. There are NO vets in my area that treat chickens. I've got a little hen who has been limping badly for the past two weeks. DH and I checked her out. It is not bumblefoot, and there are no obvious external injuries to leg or foot or thigh. I know it isn't Marek's or curly-toe paralysis (seen those). She holds her leg stiffly and kind of hops to avoid putting weight on that leg, which makes me think an injury to a joint (?) She is not in so much pain she cannot walk at all (which I would think would indicate a broken bone) but she clearly hurts. We tried gently maniuplating the leg, foot and joints to see which produced the most reaction but really, everything we did ticked her off the same amount, so we are still clueless. I'd really rather not put her down if I can avoid it.

    This stinks. I wish I had a poultry vet. I might call one vet in my area who doesn't treat birds but will still look at any animal if it is in severe pain (she's got a big heart).

    Any suggestions on how to attempt a diagnosis, or what I should do, would be appreciated. Like if you've splinted a chicken leg before and you have time to respond, let me know how you did it and if it worked.

    Hope you all, and your chickens, are well.

    : )
     
  2. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    I don't want to sound rude, but how do you know it's not Marek's?
     
  3. lcatty

    lcatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi! No worries, you don't sound rude. I've seen Marek's. The paralysis on one side, usually wing drooping, legs eventually splay out front and back with curled toes. None of that here. Just hopping and holding the one leg out straight only when she's ambulatory. She doesn't do that when she sits. She also roosts with the others.

    Plus, Marek's tends to be progressive, and no change with her.

    I think it is broken or sprained or maybe a torn muscle but I cannot tell where the injury is.
     
  4. TinTennessee

    TinTennessee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have one doing the same thing. No obvious signs of injury. Will hop around, no wing droop. I've isolated her from the others. It's been a week with no change. I'll be following this post to see if there's an outcome.
     
  5. LadyofChickRose

    LadyofChickRose Out Of The Brooder

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    Have you checked that her tendons are in allignment? I once had a chicken who symptoms match your description and the treatment is holding the leg back and straightning and massaging it. For my chicken it took a few months to heal.
     
  6. lcatty

    lcatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Maybe it is the tendons. I had time to sit down with her and check more closely myself. On the injured leg, her hock is quite swollen now- noticably bigger than the other side-and it is warm. I can move the joint and it does not cause a reaction. However it is obviously causing her a great deal of pain when she puts weight on it.

    Maybe this does involve tendons. Could you pm me and tell me how you did the massage? Did you keep her still? I thought it might help to put her in a very small enclosure- guess I will have to purchase a rabbit cage or something similar tomorrow, maybe keep it on the porch.

    I wish there were pain relievers you could give to chickens. I picked up the Chicken Health Handbook by Gail Damerow and I'm going to start searching in there.
     
  7. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She must have had a fall or she's been getting picked on. If she's getting picked on, she needs her own space for awhile. I've used plain aspirin, maybe an 1/8 or so, crushed in water and droppered (once a day). Sometimes you can dropper on top the beak and they will sip. Add something tasty like a pinch of cherry jello mix or a splash of gatorade. Or, you can just squirt in the mouth. They can choke on that but what I do is set the chicken with a knee down behind the bum so they can back up. Then wrap one hand around the head from behind, thumb and forefinger pressing gently on the cheeks right where the beak starts. They'll open up. Hold head in level position as best as possible. You gotta do it all pretty quick. Then squirt. Don't use too much liquid though in one squirt (just 1/2 cc or so). Now she may have a dislocation or a break. I'm not sure it's feasible even for a vet to fix it. However, as long as she's still eating, drinking and getting around, I'd just give it some time. Keep her comfy. Give her the vitamins and electrolytes. A splash of gatorade in the water helps. Make sure she doesn't get overrun with mites. A little extra protein is helpful for strength. Good luck and give us an update sometime.
     
  8. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You know if it's warm and swollen, it could be infected. It wouldn't hurt to do some antibiotics. If she's getting up to the roost, that's pretty good. This was an interesting thread about a slipped tendon on a little chick. Also while you are looking at that hock, is there any kind of a scabbing under the feathers just above it? Check the front of the hock just under the feather line.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/483203/chick-with-slipped-tendon-swollen-hock-with-sore-update
     
  9. lcatty

    lcatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No sores under or around the hock. Oddly, ankle started to swell too. This is a grown hen, of course. I ended up keeping her on our screened-in porch, away from the pickers. Tried to manipulate the tendon or massage it into place but she'd flinch really badly so i just gave up. She was getting worse. No antibiotics at the feed stores in our area. No vet to treat chickens or any birds for that matter in our area. She looked miserable, and even though she wasn't being picked on by other birds, I think she didn't like being by herself.

    I finally fed her a nice big juicy chunk of watermelon, which she seemed to enjoy, and let her sit in the sun for a bit. Then DH put her down ( I just couldn't). She wasn't a very friendly bird and she wasn't a bird I was interested in breeding (split wing), but I still cried. I hate this. [​IMG]
     
  10. Marce705

    Marce705 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a similar problem. I have a week old chick that was fine. Actually she was a total terror...tearing around the brooder and picking on everyone. I come in to check them in the morning 2 days ago and shes totaly lame on her right foot. Nothing seems broken, dislocated, swollen, nothing. She just won't put any weight on it. She's eating, drinking and pooping like a champ. I have her seperated now. She doesn't seem to be getting any better. Any suggestions? Please??
     

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