Orthopedic nightmare chick (of course owned by veterinary orthopedic surgeon)

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by SciFiDVM, Jan 4, 2016.

  1. SciFiDVM

    SciFiDVM Just Hatched

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    Dec 27, 2015
    Alberton, MT
    Hello,
    I have been using this site for wonderful advice for a while, but just signed up as a member. As a veterinarian, I didn't get the most chicken training in school, but did work with a lot of raptors and parrots working part time in the Zoo Med dept many years ago. I would love the advice of some of the veteran chicken pros here on if there is anything I can do with this chick of mine.

    I have a small mixed flock of 10 month old chickens on my family's 7 acre farm in North Florida. When our Salmon Favorelle rooster was killed, my mom was distraught. So I bought her an incubator (forced air with the automatic egg turner and thermostat - high end because mom is useless for stuff like this and I don't live at the farm) and told her we could try to hatch out the next 2 weeks worth of eggs and raise his offspring. Mom really loves the birds, but is clueless when it comes to husbandry, medicine, etc. Instead of just collecting the Favorelle hen's eggs, she also collected the eggs from our Easter Egger and Silver Laced Wyandotte. They were all eating commercial layer feed (hadn't been expecting to hatch anything out), meal worms, dried fruit/veggie/nut mix, and day time free range of the 7 acre horse farm.

    Everybody started hatching out beautifully right on time. The first 5 (of 28 eggs) were perfect. Then the 6th pipped but died (egg necropsy revealed some deformities to the body wall and almost no absorption of the yolk). Then Nugget hatched (one of the SLW x Favorelle eggs). The pipping and unzipping were right on schedule, but the membrane was obviously sticky and she had trouble getting out of the egg - looked like a leg was stuck. I helped her out, but she never stood up normally and seemed uncoordinated and weak. By day 2 she was half the size of the chicks only 2 days older than her and she never walked. I took her home with me the day before Christmas for some TLC. At day 3 she wasn't eating and started seeming weak. She would drink a little when syringe fed, but I started tubing her blenderized starter crumbles and water with Sav-A-Chic electrolytes and probiotics. She got stronger and it became obvious she was lame on the left leg. I could then feel a low tibio-tarsal fracture just above the hock. I splinted her and she hobbled around poorly. I started her on intramuscular injections of butorphanol and oral meloxicam for pain. At day 6 I noticed her hyperextending the right rear leg as well and starting to curl the toes (losing control) on the left leg like there was a neurologic problem and she seemed more lame.

    Day 7 she went into a chick chair and I started feeding her vitamin supplements, and chopped boiled egg and spinach. She began eating really well on her own. I ended up splinting both legs (the right was starting to over extend at the hock). She did well in her little chair until on day 10 I noticed a lump over her left hip. I took her to work and took radiographs.

    The left tibiotarsal fracture had healed well with a great callus, but she had a more recent high up femur fracture. And both femurs look bowed. I am guessing that the tibial fracture happened during hatching and the femur fracture happened on day 5-6 when she began knuckling. She obviously had some vitamin/calcium deficiencies. More pain meds were given, I continued the supplements, changed bandages every2-3 days, and she loves her chair and eats like a champ.

    We are at day 14 now. She has doubled in weight over the past 4 days and she had better movement of both legs, so I removed the bandages. I think the vitamin deficiency/rickets is under control now. Legs are doing great and her movement is a little uncoordinated but getting better, except she is extremely bow-legged and walks with her feet extremely rotated inward (she walks on the outer part of her foot instead of the pads. And her left knee is slightly swollen now.

    I know femoral deformities are usually reason to cull and that she will not likely improve her foot rotation and remain unable to walk on her own. But I have now spent a ton of time with this girl, she goes with me to work, my BF's house, etc., and she is completely happy in her chair. I really don't want to euthanize her just for orthopedic reasons. My big questions:
    1.) Being so young, is there a chance that with the chair, bandaging, and PT I could get her to functional?
    2.) I am trained extensively as a small animal orthopedic surgeon and my specialty is actually angular limb deformities in dogs - what about corrective surgery? At what age should I consider it if it is an option?

    Thanks for any advice!
    CJ
     
  2. SciFiDVM

    SciFiDVM Just Hatched

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    Dec 27, 2015
    Alberton, MT
    [​IMG]

    Here is a pic of one of the x rays
     
  3. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

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    @SciFiDVM , welcome to BYC! Have you seen this book?

    Clinical Avian Medicine

    Greg Harrison, DVM, Dipl ABVP-Avian, Dipl ECAMS and Teresa Lightfoot, DVM, Dipl ABVP-Avian, have compiled the expertise and experience of 50 international contributing authors (and 50 reviewers) to produce an extraordinary two-volume reference, with over 1000 pages of text and over 1300 color images, for veterinarians and other avian health professionals.
    The purpose of the book Clinical Avian Medicine is to provide some highlights of emerging thoughts, techniques and procedures that are currently being assimilated into avian practice.

    These are printable .pdf's: Click here to download Adobe Acrobat Reader[​IMG] for free

     
  4. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

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    Or this book?
    Avian Medicine: Principles and Applications

    Avian Medicine: Principles and Applications
    Ritchie, Harrison and Harrison
    This highly regarded was developed to provide a definitive reference text that blends the science of health with the art of clinical medicine.
    By applying the information presented in the book, the competent avian practitioner will be able to effectively provide the highest quality care for his patients and guide the companion bird client or aviculturist in implementing and effective preventative health programme. Less experienced practitioners can learn basic evaluation, support and surgical techniques while developing an expanded understanding of advanced procedures that can be performed by specialists in avian medicine and surgery.
    Avian Medicine: Principles and Application is the essential reference and the most comprehensive why to, when to and how to guide for companion and aviary bird management, medicine and surgery.

    These are printable .pdf's: Click here to download Adobe Acrobat Reader[​IMG] for free
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    Thank you for sharing your story and welcome to BYC. There are quite a few people who try to help their chicks born with various orthopedic problems such as varus-valgus deformity, slipped tendon, and vitamin/mineral deficiencies. I can't really offer advice, but I can look up some links and a few threads to help. One in particular from Ciquala is about her chicken who lives with a slipped tendon and is over a year old.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...chick-anyone-ever-try-to-fix-this-experiences
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/978353/rooster-chick-with-weird-leg
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1790586/
    http://www.thepoultrysite.com/articles/1051/leg-health-in-large-broilers/
     
  6. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

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    Had not seen that one before!

    -Kathy
     
  7. SciFiDVM

    SciFiDVM Just Hatched

    8
    1
    12
    Dec 27, 2015
    Alberton, MT
    Thank you everyone for the posts and information. Casportpony, those are both great reference books. I used to have digital access when I worked at a University, but lost it when I switched jobs. The surgical approaches were what I needed to brush up on. Most of my surgeries were on Raptors and for traumas (somewhere in Montana there is a total jerk of a red shouldered hawk flying around with a titanium plate on his tibia). Congenital and vitamin deficiency induced deformities are new to me.

    Right now Nugget is only 70 grams and about the size of a typical 3-4 day old chick. I think I will give her a couple weeks of good nutrition and PT and then consider surgery if she still can't walk - bigger stronger bones will make the external fixator work so muck better.

    Also last night I put a small horizontal bar at the front of her chair so she can flex her legs and grab it like a perch. I figured it would encourage foot gripping, proper foot alignment, and hock flexing. She loves it! It has only been about 18 hours, but I think it is helping with foot strength and hock flexion.
    Here are some pics of her conformation and how she stands.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  8. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

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  9. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

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    Another thread:
    1. Twisted tibia
      My TT male (now almost 4 years old) has learned to roost No idea how he managed it, and so...
      In Forum: Peafowl
      • Replies: 22 | Started: Dec 8, 2014 | Last Post: Oct 27, 2015 at 8:08 pm
    2. -Kathy
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
  10. Colorado Chick

    Colorado Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 27, 2014
    Most of my surgeries were on Raptors and for traumas (somewhere in Montana there is a total jerk of a red shouldered hawk flying around with a titanium plate on his tibia).

    This cracked me up. My husband is a master falconer, so I completely understand!!!! Welcome, you already have some of the best people on this forum helping you, so good luck and thanks for the laugh!!!!!
     

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