Limping with swollen thigh

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by danimoo, Dec 8, 2010.

  1. danimoo

    danimoo New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Apr 13, 2010
    Hi everyone,

    my wife and I have been enjoying reading the forums for the past 3 month to learn how to treat our chickens, from feed and care to coop building. Our chickens have been a lot of fun. However, today we have to ask for help, we couldn't find the exact answer to our chicken health issue.

    Our little Flower -a 14 weeks old silver sebright bantam- is scaring us:
    Two weeks ago we found her in the coop with half her plumage gone, not moving and barely breathing. We put her inside on a sweater and under a heat lamp, and two days later she was eating, drinking and seemed she would make it through. On Monday the 29th, it was pretty warm here in Pittsburgh and we decided to put her back out. I stayed with her to see how she would be treated by the rest of the flock and realized she was limping. She only got into small fights with a small silky bantam until 5 minutes later she got attacked by a hawk that missed her but left 2 talon wounds on her back => back in the basement.

    Anyways, today we can tell for sure her limping is getting worse, she can barely use her right leg. With further examination, there is pretty massive swelling on the right part of her back, her thigh and leg. It looks kind of yellowish and seems filled with fluid. The feathers are not growing back and she has been having some kind of small bloody bump close to her tail feathers for 2 weeks now. Her poop has been very foul smelling and, lighter brown and more liquid than the healthy flock outside. She kept pecking at her back the whole time she spent inside.

    My first guess would be she is suffering from an infection, however I wouldn't know how to treat it. And we're afraid it might be Marek's due to the leg impairment...

    We really love this little chick and feel very sorry for what she has been put through... Please help us fix our little survivor [​IMG]
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    453
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I doubt very much she has Marek's. It makes sense she would be limping from what sounds like a massive infection.

    I expect she needs a broad spectrum antibiotic; I have no idea which would be best.
     
  3. danimoo

    danimoo New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Apr 13, 2010
    thank you, that's a relief, now we'll look into antibiotics with more confidence :)

    Any guidance would be welcome too.
    Also, are we supposed to drain the fluid?
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    453
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I'm a people nurse. All I could do is guess. This sounds like a serious situation. Not sure I'd have an opinion even if I could see the bird. I was hoping someone would come along who's had success with home treatment of something like this.

    If you choose to try draining, I would have a dose of an antibiotic in her first.

    Good luck.
     
  5. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    69,849
    5,564
    671
    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    I know much less just hope someone comes along soon to help. Does it look like it's an abcess?
     
  6. danimoo

    danimoo New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Apr 13, 2010
    The little bump close to the tail looks like an abscess, however at the main swelling the skin looks just fine, except it's puffy and very slightly yellowish.

    We tried to drain, and turns out there is no liquid in, it is purely gaseous. It's like the skin got disconnected from the underlying muscle. We got rid of most of the gas and we are treating her with antibiotic cream as well as systemic doxycycline/penicillin/streptomycin...

    Not sure... Hoping for the best...
     
  7. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    69,849
    5,564
    671
    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    I sure hope she heals for you, if you think she has an abcess on her bottom you might want to lance it clean it good and since you have her on antibiotic hopefully she'll heal fine.
     
  8. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    453
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
  9. danimoo

    danimoo New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Apr 13, 2010
    thank you so much for the links, very helpful.

    As I understand it, there are 4 possible causes for this subcutaneous emphysema:

    1) Cutaneous wound that would result in filling the bird through suction due to differential movement of the skin over the muscle,
    I do not see any open wound... And it probably would have healed by now... Resulting in deflation.

    2) Punctured air sack that would leak into the muscle/skin interface,
    When I pressed the puffiness, it didn't seem to be receding into the air sac as it probably should if that was the problem... And if it were closed by now, then the ballooning should have recessed.

    3) Deep wound leading to gangrene bacteria multiplication and anaerobic gas production,
    She hurts when trying to bear load on her right leg (she keeps her foot closed most of the time now) and it has been getting worse, there is no visible wound, and I can not find out where the pain comes from by touching and manipulating the leg/foot/thigh.

    4) a broken 'pneumatic' bone,
    it should have recessed by now.

    My best guess is that she has some kind of gangrene... This is bad news [​IMG]
    At least penicillin seems to be somewhat of an appropriate treatment.

    My plan is to add kanamycin and if she doesnt get better by saturday I would put her on vancomycin and gentamycin, but I would hate to have to do that...
    Please let me know if you have any other input...
     
  10. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

    4,617
    20
    264
    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    A lot of time has passed since the 29th. She has a life threatening infection from being attacked and needs emergency treatment NOW if you want to save her. Run, do not walk, to the nearest avian vet. Failing that, start her immediately if not sooner on the right antibiotic.
    JJ

    Edited to add that she also needs pain relief. Doc may prescribe Metacam. Aspirin water anotehr option (1 baby aspirin crushed per cup of drinking water). This will not solve her problem but may take teh edge off pain. Antibiotic is still needed immediately.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2010

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by