Leg pain getting worse, questioning euthanasia...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by rbrose75, Mar 23, 2015.

  1. rbrose75

    rbrose75 New Egg

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    Hello Chicken Experts,

    I posted this initially in the New to BYC and it was suggested to post here as well.

    I have 5 chickens of various breeds, 2 10 mo pullets and 3 1-year old hens, 2 egg layers so far. One of my chickens, who is the one my 6 yo daughter is holding in the avatar picture, injured her leg at least 2 months ago. I checked for everything that could be causing her pain (bumble foot, fractures, infection) and it appears to be coming from her hip region. When I palpate it or extend the leg, she appears in pain. It's not dislocated or swollen, no masses. As a physician, I checked her for anything I could think would cause pain. She was putting some weight on it and hopping around the yard initially for the first 2 months, getting up and down the ladder of coop even. I thought it would slowly improve. But now she can't walk at all. She sits in 1 place and wobbles mostly because she can't walk. She hold her wing out to balance. Her other leg is fine. She's still alert and eats and drinks. We have her in a box in the house now. What am I missing? I feed them a balanced diet of organic layer feed, scratch and then leftovers from family meals. They have the entire backyard to roam. I put down Ca as well. Is this Merrick's? Or some other disease? I don't know her vaccination history since I bought her off a young girl raising her chickens in the country here. My other chickens are fine though. If it's a disease, is it likely my other chickens will get sick?

    I wanted to ask if anyone thinks it's cruel of me to consider euthanasia. I see her suffering and I can't fix her or make her more comfortable. She can't function as a chicken this way. I see my daughter care for her and it is slowly breaking my heart. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

    Thank you!
    Ruby
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC. It can be difficult to diagnose lameness in chickens. Injuries occur fairly frequently, and the higher on the leg they occur the less likely they are to heal. Leg bone deformities are also quite common, and some affect the hock or elbow causing the gastrocnemious tendon to rupture as time goes by. Mareks disease causes tumors along nerves, causing paralysis in one or both legs or wings. If you do decide to euthanize her, I would get the state vet to do a necropsy on her to look for Mareks, since it can remain in your environment for more than 7 years. If she is in a lot of pain, I would want to help end her suffering. A low dose baby aspirin twice a day can be used to treat pain. Metacam is also used for pain and inflammation.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2015
  3. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It could be tendons or ligaments, chickens hide everything! Would any of that show on xray? Are there any other symptoms at all? I know vets have special ways to wrap injured legs of dogs and cats. One is where they wrap it to their body. Now, of course the chicken would need human transportation, but it seems like daughter is willing? You could get a blood test for Mareks and other neurological disease maybe? I had a BO with a limp and swelling. I kept her leg wrapped for a year, it seemed to help her get around with less pain. She always did limp a little for the rest of her life but she was ok.
     
  4. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One of my girls had a leg injury and it seemed to take forever to heal. She initially injured it - got better - and then got worse some months later. The second time, it took 3 months of her being confined in a cage in our house to restrict her movement for her to heal. Once she began improving a bit, we'd put her out in a very small outside area alone so she'd get fresh air but she wouldn't have a lot of room to walk around. We kept her out of the hen house to prevent her from jumping off the roost, scratching, being picked on, etc.

    I wrote a thread about it that you'll find at this link if you're interested: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/910647/hen-with-leg-injury-and-open-mouth-breathing

    My last entry in that thread was last October, 5 months ago. I just got back from the coop and Shirley was chasing a much bigger Buff Orp around. You'd never know she ever had an injury. I guess some of these leg injuries take a long time to heal. I think that confinement and rest is an important part of the process, it seemed to be for her.

    When she seemed to be in pain, I would dissolve one baby aspirin in 1 cup of water and put it in a 1 qt. chick waterer. I had to keep an eye on it and refill it about once a day. Each time I'd put another baby aspirin in it. Only had to do that a few days and her pain seemed much better.

    Best of luck to you and your gal!
     
  5. rbrose75

    rbrose75 New Egg

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    Thank u! So helpful
     
  6. rbrose75

    rbrose75 New Egg

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    Can I ask how you wrapped your chicken's leg?
     
  7. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wrapped it as you would for a sprain I guess. I used vet wrap, cut it lengthwise so it was one inch instead of two. I wrapped the top of lower leg with a little tension and same at the ankle. I cut a hole for the toe so that foot pad had a little cushion. Then took the two inch and wrapped from knee to ankle just to hold all in place. At first of course, you have to watch the swelling and re wrap as needed. For the last few months I only had to wrap the ankle. I did not wrap above knee because the thigh did not seem to be part of the problem and I didn't want to have any atrophy or restriction of the knee. Vet wrap is so flexible, you can get creative, use cotton or make up pads for cushion, add splints when called for ect.
     
  8. rbrose75

    rbrose75 New Egg

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    Update:
    I recently noticed that her thigh muscle is completely atrophied now from not using left leg. She can't stand up right and even falls on her side and gets stuck in that position. Her legs are not paralyzed. No swelling or masses.
    In your opinions, any chance of recovery with the atrophied leg? I think I know what I need to do but trying one last push to rehab her. Thank you all for your suggestions and personal experiences. It's helping me so much. I love this site!
    Gratefully,
    Ruby
     
  9. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As a physician, you would be best able to know or ask colleagues if atrophied body parts have a chance of therapy and recovery. I know this next idea may not help as I don't remember who posted the treatment. What they did was, to make an artificial joint out of a pair of child scissors. they cut off the handles and some of the tips. They were able to attach it to the chicken's leg, I don't remember if additional splinting was used, but it helped the chicken to walk and eventually recover enough use of the leg. I don't remember how long this took but I do know that chickens, like most animals, want to live. If she has not given up, don't you! Are you giving her aspirin or metcam? I would think you could talk Dr. to Dr. with a vet and get a script for pain, worked out for the weight of your bird. If I can find the treatment I mentioned, I will post the link. Hang in there! [​IMG]
     
  10. rbrose75

    rbrose75 New Egg

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    Thank you, I will look into it.
     

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