Peachick with slipped tendon

Discussion in 'Peafowl' started by Garden Peas, Apr 1, 2016.

  1. Garden Peas

    Garden Peas Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Came home yesterday evening to discover poor chick #5 had slipped a tendon -- arghhh!!! [​IMG] He was perfect when I left, and has been doing great for days. While I waffle about whether it could be related to his earlier spraddle (this poor little guy has been through a lot already), as sound as he was, I tend to think he just got injured. The chicks have been really rambunctious the last few days, playing jump the pea and chase the pea and ring around the pea -- lots of activity in the brooder. He was one of the two smallest, and the big ones were having a growth spurt. I guess it doesn't really matter, but I hate to see him go through this, and I'm not at all sure if we can get it corrected.

    Disclaimer -- I don't know if this chick will make it. Slipped tendons are pernicious and not necessarily easy to get fixed.

    Here's what we did last night.

    PART 1 -- REPLACING THE TENDON AND STABILIZING THE HOCK JOINT

    First, I popped the tendon back in place, and gently flexed the hock to see if the tendon would stay. No joy. This is still a very young chick, and the grooves at the hock are not really deep yet. With the swelling already starting, getting it to stay in place with just repositioning it didn't work. You can see in the photo that the tendon is back in place, but slightly swollen. Didn't have enough hands to record it popping back out, and didn't want to put the chick through that. Got it back in and held the chick in position to keep it there while stabilizing it. (At some point early on, we wrapped the upper bird gently with vet wrap (only sticks to itself), which helped keep the bird calm and prevented it from injuring a wing while we worked on it)

    [​IMG]

    So then we moved on to taping the tendon in place. I tried a couple different ways of taping; finally ended up with this:

    [​IMG]

    I was reluctant to put tape on the joint itself, due to the swelling and the mechanics, so settled for taping above and below the joint to try to keep the tendon in the correct position. I was concerned that flexing the joint (which will have to happen for a full recovery) would pop out the tendon again if the swelling hasn't had a chance to go down and the movement isn't controlled while healing. So we made a splint for the leg, to stabilize it for the time being.

    [​IMG]

    (I scavenged the nerf darts from my son's room [​IMG]) Nerf darts (or whatever they are actually called) are already hollow, a perfect size and shape, and both rigid and soft at the same time. I put it on with the open side to the back, to allow the swelling to subside and not cut off circulation, and I think the edges of the opening will help further stabilize the tendon for the next few days. Once I had the nerf dart trimmed to size, I taped it down, again keeping the tape above and below the hock joint:

    [​IMG]

    Here's our chick with the leg stabilized, ready to move on to part 2, chick support...

    [​IMG]

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    The vet wrap is gently around the bird to help it remain calm and not injure a wing. It's loose enough so the bird can still breathe easily and wiggle it's upper body around.

    Next post... Part 2
     
  2. Garden Peas

    Garden Peas Chillin' With My Peeps

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    PART 2 -- BUILDING A CHICK SLING/ CHICK CHAIR

    The chick needs to stay off the tendon while it heals. There's some conflict in what I've read -- some folks recommend keeping all weight off, other suggest the bird should be able to touch toes and get a little flexion. After experimenting with it, I think they were dealing with birds less strong than peafowl. Do not underestimate how strongly a peachick can spring, even with one leg out of commission. They have explosive jumping power (more on that later).

    Fortunately, I had just looked up a bunch of old chicken threads about chick chairs a week and a half ago, while still dealing with the spraddle/ splayed leg issue. So I thought I had a good idea of how to do it. However it took quite a bit of tinkering to get it functional.

    I started with an empty, quart-sized yogurt container and a pair of ultra-cheap cotton garden gloves (about $1/pair at Home Depot), and the ubiquitous duct tape. I was going to try to use the hot glue gun, but the duct tape got the job done, so I'm keeping the glue gun in reserve for the next model.

    [​IMG]

    You can see that I cut down the yogurt container to make it shorter, and I put some duct tape on the bottom. Well, that didn't work. The yogurt container was too short, and I didn't like the tape because I thought it could catch pea toes (bad).

    We worked on the gloves for a little while before cutting down another yogurt container (Container #2). First, I cut the wrists off of the glove:

    [​IMG]

    Then I cut the glove up the center to cut off the two outside fingers and cut the ends off those fingers:

    [​IMG]

    Also had to cut an opening for tail feathers and vent:

    [​IMG]

    We worked this onto the chick (two people is a huge asset at this step), and tried to figure out how to suspend it from the yogurt container. By now, we knew that the whole bottom needed to come out of the container, and it only needed to be cut down a little in length. But when we tried to suspend the glove, it was too lopsided. So I used the second glove (good thing they come in pairs) and cut off the ends of the middle two fingers, and we tried suspending the chick with that. Notice the chick still needs a tail hole:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Chick #5 looked totally adorable in his little jumpsuit, but when we tried to hang it in the cup, the chick used his toes to grab those other fingers/thumb of the glove and eject himself. So I had to trim off all the fingers and thumb of the glove to stop him from escaping. Here, I'm working to position the glove around the outer edge of the yogurt container, which has already had the bottom cut out:

    [​IMG]

    Here's Chick #5 taking a quick nap while we figured out how to attach food and water cups. The glove has been taped down with duct tape, and the chick is stable.

    [​IMG]

    We got the food and water cups taped down with duct tape (I thought we would figure out how to change/maintain them later), added food and water (I'm now using pedialyte), and got ready to move the chick back to the brooder. We used little liquid medicine cups like the ones that come on liquid ibuprofen or tylenol.

    At that point, chick #5 woke up. As I was reaching for the cell phone to take a picture of the finished chick chair, chick #5 used his mighty pea legs to do one of those amazing pea-springs (peas are SUCH good jumpers [​IMG]) and he launched himself, yogurt container, chick starter crumbles, water and all, headfirst up and over into my lap.

    After @PeaLover130 stopped laughing long enough to breathe, she fetched me lots of paper towels, and I tried to mop up one-handed while still holding the cup so that chick #5 didn't launch himself head-first into the floor. My helper was still laughing hysterically, so wasn't much help.

    We then started over with yogurt container #3, now having learned that cutting any height at all off the container was too much, and that suspending the chick by the glove may be a better future option. After cutting the bottom out, we gently detached the glove (chick and all) and moved it over into the latest yogurt container. Also fiddled a bit with the chick's position when taping down the glove.

    [​IMG]

    Then duct-taped down the food and water containers. Having discovered that the chick could launch the entire chick chair with vigor, we decided to add a roll cage to provide a little more stability. So we plunked the entire set-up into an empty coffee canister. (Okay, I've just given every hoarder on the peafowl forum a new reason to save leftover junk, right?) Here's chick #5, finally ready to be tucked back in the brooder:

    [​IMG]

    Here's a picture of chick #5 parked in the brooder today:

    [​IMG]

    After I took this photo, I ended up taking all the water out of the little medication cup, and I added a second medication cup, just stacked into the first one, with pedialyte. That way I can slip it in and out to clean it and refill it without disturbing the whole set up. There was quite a lot of consternation around the time I took this picture, as new peachicks #7-10 had just joined #5 & 6 in the warmer brooder, and the bigger chicks, #2-4, had just joined chick #1, Mikey, for the first time. Boy oh boy, was everyone upset!

    I've checked the leg a couple times today, still looks okay. We'll try some physical therapy tomorrow to see if it stays in the groove when I flex it. It's a tough thing, because if it pops out too much, it will never heal correctly, but if it is immobilized for too long without stretching it, it will become too short and the bird will not have use of the leg. So I'm going to try stabilizing it for 24 - 36 hours to let it heal a bit, then start the stretching and flexing. We'll see if the tape helps hold it in place at that point. I understand there's a surgical repair that can be done -- I'm hoping if this ends up not working that we won't be too late for surgery as long as it's been correctly positioned in the meantime.

    Anyway, we'll see if this works [​IMG]
     
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  3. barkerg

    barkerg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great post, that chick is in good hands for sure.[​IMG] Gerald Barker
     
  4. barkerg

    barkerg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hows he doing?

    Gerald Barker
     
  5. Garden Peas

    Garden Peas Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sadly, the little guy isn't doing very well. I was more optimistic earlier today, but now I am not sure if he is going to make it.

    I pulled him out of his chick chair to practice stretching and flexing. The tendon was still in the groove at that point. But his toes were curling from lack of use, and he was banging them on the ground instead of using them to push up with. I had to work with him stretching the toes so that he didn't walk all curled.

    I took the splint off to see if the tendon would stay in the groove. It seemed as though it was going to stay and that the tape was helping hold it in place. I tried putting him in the brooder with just the tape, so that he could work on getting his toes straightened out -- I was thinking I was going to have to put chick shoes on him.

    While he was in the brooder, he got his feet straightened back out, but it looked like he was going back into a splayed leg situation. I left him for awhile to see if it was just from not having been on it for a day and the bandage, which was obviously bugging him. When it didn't straighten out, I pulled him out so I could put hobbles back on him.

    At that point, it became clear that he had slipped the tendon again. I could pop it back in, but the swelling was increasing. I pulled the tape off (it wasn't doing any good), and modified the splint so he could flex the leg at the hock. But the tendon was not staying in. I added more tape at the joint itself, put on a hobble (which definitely made him more comfortable, and fiddled with the splint to get it to support the tendon better. Unfortunately, the swelling continued to increase and I am concerned about the overall health of his leg.

    I got some pedialyte into him (I think he has still been eating and drinking, but wanted to be sure he's not dehydrating), and put him back into the brooder, because he was shivering.

    I'll check on him after a bit, but am running out of things I can do. I'm thinking perhaps I could re-splint and put him back in the chick chair with the leg flexed, wearing chick shoes, but with the redness and swelling in the leg already, I don't know if that will just make it worse.

    I'm not thinking there's going to be a good outcome here. If he makes it through tomorrow, I can get him into the vet on Monday, but not sure that the vet will be able to fix this either, at this point.

    Wish I had better news.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2016
  6. barkerg

    barkerg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You've still got time and your doing great, hang in there, it sux but maybe it will work out, fingers crossed.[​IMG]

    Gerald Barker
     
  7. thndrdancr

    thndrdancr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am so sorry to hear about the little guy.
    I don't know if it would work on a chick, but when Answer had to slipped tendon, I taped his leg up close to his body, I saw it on Dr Pol. Not sure I have a picture, let me check.i think I was lucky that Answer was a healthy well fed young male of 5 months instead of a baby.
     
  8. thndrdancr

    thndrdancr Chillin' With My Peeps

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  9. Garden Peas

    Garden Peas Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We went to the vet yesterday, hoping for surgical fix. No luck finding that, but the vet taped it and made a "splint" out of tape -- he's doing pretty well today. I took photos of the finished tape job yesterday, will post later. (Still recovering from flu, sorry).

    Anyway, I think there's still hope for the little guy. Vet said to try leaving it for five days. He's actually getting around surprisingly well on it. [​IMG]
     
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  10. new 2 pfowl

    new 2 pfowl Overrun With Chickens

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    Go little #5!
     

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