Please help. My turkey can't walk and I don't know what's wrong.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Turkey Mamma, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. Turkey Mamma

    Turkey Mamma Out Of The Brooder

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    I am having a problem with my turkey (think it's a hen but this is my first time having turkeys and Lucky was part of a straight run). No eggs, about 8 months old. She doesn't "gobble" (makes a purring sound). Lucky was purchased at 2 days old from a local store with three other turkeys. They were put out in their coop (with top cover and 6 foot tall fencing) at about four months. Just a few weeks later, a neighbor's dog jumped the fence, fell through the roof and killed the three other turkeys and then left Lucky with pretty nasty puncture wounds on her back and under her wing, plus one eye almost put out. She also had a bad case of shock. I took her in the house and was able to save her life. She grew to be a fat, healthy, happy, and very spoiled bird. We originally bought the turkeys as meat birds to feed out, but after nursing Lucky back to health and moving her to our back yard to be closer to us she has become a pet instead of food :(

    She sits in my lap or next to me on the swing and lets me rock/pet her. She follows me around the back yard, let's my two year old pet her and even sits at my feet next to our 65lb black lab and begs for grapes and cherry tomato's (her favorite) just like a dog would. I knew that she was strictly a meat bird when we got her because of her breed, but after the situation with the dog attack, I became attached to her and she has become part of the family. She has been fine for several months, in fact we were just out there with her on Sunday and she was her normal perky self....I have been busy the last couple of days with Christmas decorating so I had my older son feed and water her for me. He said he didn't notice anything was wrong, but when I went out to say hi to her yesterday she was laying on the ground and wouldn't get up. She was pretty dirty and her underside was covered in poop so I brought her in, gave her a bath to see if I could find a wound or anything that might be causing the behavior.

    After I bathed, blow dried her and got some of the feathers clear, I noticed that the tip of her wing is missing and bleeding but other than that she appears fine. She is missing most of the feathers on her belly (this could be because we had her pinned up for the recent cold snap but we still let her out during the day). The skin looks fine but the feathers are missing. She's done molting for the winter I think and she gets healthy food (layer pellets). She also free ranges in a fenced yard that is just under an acre and we don't over feed her (at least I hadn't thought so). She is very large though.

    The pic above is of her this summer. She is almost double that size now...I'd guess between 30 - 40 lbs. I know that the issue could be her weight but I wasn't expecting this to be an issue so soon. I've also read that some turkeys (even this breed) live several healthy years with the right care.

    She refuses to stand or walk and is reluctant to move her legs, but will grasp my finger when I place it in her foot. She seems to want to lean forward (unable to even hold herself straight - leans to one side or the other) and either one or both legs out behind or beside her. She is free of mites, fed healthy food, is not around other birds, does not appear to have been attacked, and has fresh hay, food, and water regularly. Her feet don't appear swollen or injured, I rubbed around on her belly, behind her legs and under her bottom and felt no lumps or other abnormalities. She has not started laying yet either. I have her on a powdered antibiotic and she is eating, drinking, and pooping just fine.

    She's actually in my kitchen right now on a pallet I made with my toddler's old nap pads. I had her in a plastic tub with hay but it was too hard for me to pick her up and put her back because she's so heavy, and I don't think she's going anywhere anyway. My husband asked me what we are going to do if we wake up in the morning and there's poop all over the house and a turkey running free....I told him I'd be relieved because she'd be walking. I have a carpet shampooer and know how to mop my floors. I just want her in with us right now so that she is not alone.

    He also thinks that if she is lame and won't recover that we should put her to sleep. There are no poultry vets anywhere near where I live (I checked it out before I bought my turkeys and chickens)....even the wild bird/exotic pet vets wont see them. If putting her down is the best option, I would rather do that than expect her to live like this. I just thought I'd try here first. I always see such helpful posts on here and haven't ever posted before so I thought I'd give it a try. Please help if you can. I'm sorry this was so long....I guess I'm just upset and needed to vent. I'm going to try some baby aspirin and see if that helps ease her discomfort. Is there anything else I could try? Here are some pics I took of Lucky this evening. They show what her legs look like, etc.

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  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    It does appear to be a female. Those feet... Are they swollen or it it just the camera? She may have bumblefoot. There appears to be swelling and a ragged hole in the sole of at least one foot.

    But this strange pose, with her legs out behind her... Spine or pelvic injury is one option, but can you confirm that the legs are straight or close to it? Because I can't figure how a turkey with normal length legs could have its feet sticking out the back yet right up under the wings like that unless it's got very disproportionately short legs.

    With extreme commercial production breeds they can become too heavy to move. It's possible that she is unable to lift her body.

    Another random suggestion is tetanus but her neck seems unaffected, so I don't know. Why is her tail trimmed?

    I totally understand your care and investment in the animal, I don't give up easily either. Those who cull before knowing what is wrong never learn what was wrong, how to fix it, or whether it is able to be fixed. And commercially oriented methodologies usually recommend culling and replacing when the cure is often simple and cost effective as compared to raising a whole new set. However, I don't know for sure what's wrong. Wish you all the best with her.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
  3. bellschick

    bellschick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You said a dog left puncture wounds on her back. I wonder if dogs teeth hit the spinal nerves and now she has permanent damage to spine which makes her unable to make her legs go in the right direction. Yes she does look like she has bumble foot.
     
  4. Turkey Mamma

    Turkey Mamma Out Of The Brooder

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    That's interesting. I have read about bumble foot before when I was looking up what could happen to her if we don't butcher her. It didn't seem swollen enough to me to look like the pictures I saw but if that's all it is then maybe we can fix her up yet. Her foot and leg are not red in color (very pretty cream actually) that was just the light but ~~There is no "hole" though...there is a pointy area that sort of looks like a hole but when you look at it closer it's just a point. That could have been a hole before and then sealed over with infection in side and I just missed it. I hope not, but I've had a deep splinter do that to me before that I was too afraid to dig out.

    Yes her leg is straight out behind her but she is able to move it. She just doesn't want to bend it very much. The joint isn't swollen either. I am baffled at that. She is trying to move. I changed her bed this morning and she scooted herself back up onto it when I was done (surprised the heck out of me and made a bit of a mess flopping around but she did it). When the dog attacked, she had a HUGE puncture wound under her left wing on her back and smaller ones on her side and under her other wing area. I guess it's also possible that she sustained nerve injury that was latent in showing. I hope that's not the case. Thank you both for your advice. I am going to try looking up what to do for bumble foot and continue the antibiotics for now.
     
  5. casportpony

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

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    I'm not saying it is this, but you might want to check out Mycoplasma Synoviae.

    -Kathy
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    I don't have experience with turkeys as some others have, but in reading, it seems that mycoplasma synoviae is the most frequent cause of lameness in turkeys. The antibiotic tiamulin or Denagard is the most effective drug for treatment of MS in turkeys, and is especially effective in combination with chlortetracycline added. Here is a link about this:

    :http://www.octagon-services.co.uk/articles/mycoplasma_turkeys.htm

    And here is a link for Denagard for sale: http://www.valleyvet.com/ct_detail....ferralID=37a815ba-69b3-11e3-9104-001b2166c62d
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
  7. Turkey Mamma

    Turkey Mamma Out Of The Brooder

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    ~~Hm. It certainly isn’t MM because she shows no signs of respiratory illness (except the panting which does seem more like stress related than infection or even weight related because it comes and goes and does not depend on moment). I have her on the Duramycin powder and was going to switch to the Superboost per some advice but after thinking about it I am afraid to switch antibiotics in the middle. Do you think it’s okay to switch to the Tiamulin while she still has the Duramycin in her system?

    Her condition has not changed. She is still spunky and happy from the neck up, but unable to walk, stand or sit straight. She’s still eating, drinking, and pooping just fine. She has even started to make a habbit of scooting herself either onto or close to her bed after I’ve changed it. She’s making an effort to move but can’t get up. I’ve never seen anything like it. Also, someone asked before why her tail is trimmed and the reason I did this (far from the cuticle to prevent pain or damage to the live part of her quills) was because several of her feathers had been broken off already and I figured it would just be cleaner for her and for me in the house while I'm pretty much having to wipe her bottom for her every time she goes, since she can't move. I know it looks terrible and I hated to cut them because she really had a beautiful fan, but felt it was necessary.
     
  8. casportpony

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

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    Maybe you could make a sling for her?

    -Kathy
     
  9. Turkey Mamma

    Turkey Mamma Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm giving her foot another soak now on her left foot. She seems stronger today. We "practiced" standing up so that I could see if her legs were getting any better and she will stand on one leg (right one) now but I have to support her almost completely. Still giving her baby aspirin and the same antibiotic as before. Still eating, drinking and pooping well. I still have hope. We are going to see how she does this weekend before we make any major decisions. I am encouraged by today. We will see.
     
  10. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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    Poor girl. I wish I had turkey experience so I could offer advice. You said you found her with blood on one wing, and that the tip was missing? The physical tip, and not the feathers? Is it at all possible she had an altercation with another bird, or a predator?

    I know with meat birds in chickens, if they get too overweight they start to have skeletal problems and sometimes cannot support themselves properly. Leg problems are often a first. If she is a breed that has been bread for rapid weight gain, is this a possibility with her?

    Best wishes. I'm sorry I couldn't help out more. I'll be thinking of you both!
     
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