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Let's talk about amputation

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by QueenMisha, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Hello there everybody. I've got an interesting matter on my hands right now.

    I recently brought home a 4-ish month old Crele Orpington cockerel. He's got lots of small tumors/abscesses over his body, most of which seem harmless and are not growing, but one of which is and is very painful-looking. It's on his right wing, maybe 3 inches long, 2 inches wide, and 1 inch thick. He can't move the wing or hold it up. It's extremely scabby on the outside, though it doesn't seem swollen or feverish - just very firm. He was actually supposed to be posted and autopsied on behalf of my boss who doesn't have the heart to do such things, but it got too late to do it the night I brought him home, and the next day I found my mother on the porch feeding him tomatoes; and, well, that was that.

    He's been living out of a dog crate on my porch for about a week now, eating 27% pheasant starter and a steady supply of kitchen scraps. No improvement in any of the tumors. I don't know if the smaller ones are tumors or abscesses; they all have the firmness and overall appearance of tumors, but each is scabbed. They don't seem to be growing. The big one doesn't seem to be growing either, but is getting progressively more scabby and icky. He's otherwise in good health - not lethargic, not underweight, quite active and healthy - but the tumor/abscess is beginning to take a toll on his balance, and he can't walk terribly well anymore.

    Is there any possibility amputation could help this issue? I don't know how well he might mate or fly after that, but at this point he's not got much hope of surviving if this continues, and if you ask me a long shot is better than no shot. He's being started on some antibiotics tonight, but he had some last week as well (a short course just prior to my boss giving up on him and letting me take him home) and I saw no improvement in that case either, so I'm holding out a lot of hope for that course of treatment.

    Has anyone had any experience with amputation? It would be done at the bird's second joint; the elbow. I'm a caponizer and I'm dealt with quite a few stitch-jobs and animal attacks in my time, so I know what to expect somewhat in terms of blood and whatnot, but I've never even thought about undertaking such an extreme project before. This is largely a product of, "What if?" thinking.

    I do have access to vet-obtained avian pain medications, and some of the stronger antibiotics available. I've got a scalpel and gauze for the wound.

    Specifically bleeding is my worry; how bad can/will the bleeding possibly get? Where to cut in relation to the stretch of skin that connects the wrist and shoulder joints? Has anybody else out there attempted this? How did your bird(s) go?

  2. Sonya9

    Sonya9 Songster

    Feb 7, 2014
    Jones County, Georgia
    So your boss handed over the bird for euthanasia, and you are thinking about chopping off part of the birds wing to see what happens? Knowing this poor bird is full of tumors?

    Wow. This is why I would never hand an animal off for euthanasia, I will always be present.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2015
  3. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Boss didn't hand the bird over for euthanasia. That was what I intended on doing with it, but it was handed off because he doesn't have the room or resources to deal with a sick bird (a sick bird who would have been culled from the project anyways due to poor color) when he already has a lot of other crap going on right now (predator attack, break ins).

    Right now I'm just trying to do a cost/benefit analysis. I'm always interested in ways to save a bird's life, but the main question right now is is it worth it? Is saving the bird's life worth the pain that would happen during such an operation? What are the bird's chances of death? If they're high, is it still worth a shot? How much of a difference does my access to non-over the counter avian pain meds and antibiotics make?

    I can see no reason to dismiss a theoretically possible option without at least trying to get some more information on the subject first.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2015
  4. Sutremaine

    Sutremaine Songster

    Aug 19, 2014
    Is it possible he has Marek's, or some other form of herpes? Even if he doesn't and you take off the problem tumour, he's probably going to grow another large one somewhere.

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