Poultry Fly Strike...a cautionary tale with GRAPHIC photo progression.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Pharm Girl, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. Pharm Girl

    Pharm Girl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Backstory...

    So, last spring we decided to put our house up for sale and possibly move to California. In the meantime, one of our renters moved out of a condo down the street. Lightbulb went off....let's move into our condo and leave our beautiful house as a pristine museum for potential buyers as it is such a nice house it's surely to sell in a matter of weeks, right?! WRONG!

    We decided to leave the chickens and coop at the 'for sale' house and run back and forth. Two months in and I was over it. Begged my husband to let me get rid of the ladies as I knew a wonderful home that would take them in and our next house wil likely have a HOA. My sister took a couple, but my husband said, "no way!" From there the baton was passed and the chickens became his responsibility throughout the summer. He did a great job feeding, watering, and even cleaned out the coop more than I did! Amazing! Who is this guy??!!

    One thing I did tell him was he needed to keep Buffy's butt clean. Our nearly 3 year old Buff Orphington gets dingleberries and I bathe her once a month or so. Well, that job didn't sound too appealing, so he didn't do it. I'm not blaming him, it's no fun and I feel equally guilty for not checking on the girls more and making sure they were healthy. I knew about fly strike, I just had never seen it before. Well, due to our laziness, he discovered her nearly dead one morning. When he flipped her over, a horror was discovered near her vent. Hundreds of maggots eating her alive! Flesh hanging off her side. A red, angry wound about 4-5 inches in diameter eaten down to the, well, chicken! Poor poor Buff.

    I hate to admit it, but I voted for the ax, or at the very least, euthanization at the vet. Nope. With our 8 year old crying over his favorite Buffy Britches, my husband scooped her up, hand picked all 150 maggots off her WITH MY EYEBROW TWEEZERS! He then bathed her and brought her back to the condo. Great.

    The next morning he took her to the Emergency Animal Hospital and spent $175 to have them clean and disinfect her wound, give her anitbiotics, and many meds to take home. Yep, that's right folks. We just spent nearly $200 on a $2 chicken. Worse, we now have a condo chicken sitting in a box under a hear light. OK, we all love Buffy. She was our first chicken and our 8 year olds favorite lady. She is also the big bossy britches of the chicken yard. She's ruled the roost since day one. What will the others do without their leader?

    When we discovered this condition, we also discovered that there is not much information on the internet about fly strike. There is the same discussion pasted and clipped on most websites with little to no pictures. That's where I come in. I was too horrified to think straight at the beginning and missed taking a picture with the maggots and infections, but I've started snapping a picture a week so we can see what happens. Will this heal? Will she die?
    For now, she resides in a cardboard box in our condo under a 50watt reptile bulb. The box is long, so she can choose to be under the light or not. My husband gives her a pill hidden in a pea every morning and puts antibiotic salve on the wound once a day *gag* When (if) the wound heals enough, I'll take her back and put her in the broody coop by herself. It's in the same run as the others, so they can see each other, but they can't peck on her wound until the feathers grow back.

    Now that you're caught up, here are the gross pictures, which I'll update every week or two. Maybe this can be prevented in another pet!

    Buffy in healthier times....



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    Buffy in her condo box under the heat. I fed her some scrambled egg at first, because she wasn't up to eating much. This was week one. Now she stands most of the time and wants out for walks.


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    Fly strike rears it's ugly head, er...This is about a week in. That is her vent at the top left of the wound. She's stopped laying eggs completely. Can you blame her? The maggots were all up her side as well, under the skin.


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    Nearly two weeks now. How is that going to close? I guess we'll see what happens. It no longer seems to bother her and she goes from sitting to standing quickly and walks around just fine..


    [​IMG]

    Stay tuned....
     
  2. ChicksWereDinos

    ChicksWereDinos Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for sharing. So what is a fly strike? And what causes it? Could you share as much as you know, in your own words? It is new to me. Flies are heavy in our area right now for some reason, and today I noticed TONS of them in our chicken yard and many around my silkie with a messy bum.
     
  3. Pharm Girl

    Pharm Girl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh yes. Well, as I understand it, when chickens (sheep, goats, rabbits, cats,etc.) get a nasty bottom, flies will lay eggs in the feces which then hatch and release baby maggots. Those maggots will literally eat their way into the animal and eat them from the inside out. It happens very quickly, so it is good to check your birds over every week or two. We had such a hot, dry summer with a lot of flies, although it only takes one! As well, we just caught a rat in the coop. We wonder if it wasn't also eating on the wound?! Gross, I know!!
    Here's what they say on About.com


    Question: What is Fly Strike, also known as Myiasis?
    Maggot infestation is also called "fly blown" or "fly strike."
    Answer: Maggots are the larvae of flies. Flies are common in the warmer months, and love dead, stinky, and rotting material. They lay eggs, and the eggs develop into larvae that need to eat. They larvae eat dead and rotting tissue, and look like small, white grub worms.

    Fly larvae appear quite fast (8-12 hours), and will eat away tissue on your pet if the conditions are present - vomit, diarrhea, skin infection (blood, pus), poor skin/matted hair attract these pests.
    This condition can occur in all animals, including humans. Maggots are also used medicinally to clean up (debride) wounds, but only under very controlled conditions.
    The larvae only eat dead tissue, but they can beextremely painful and irritating to the pet. These conditions can appear and get worse within hours. Additionally, this condition can be fatal if left untreated. Please contact your veterinarian immediately, rather than wait.
    It is important to find the cause of the initial maggot attraction (is your pet vomiting? have diarrhea? a wound?) and to prevent further maggot infestation. Very old, young, or compromised animals will be more at risk.
    Treatment involves physical removal of the maggots, wound flushing and cleansing, removal of remaining dead tissue or fecal matter, clipping hair from the area to aid in drying of the affected areas, and often an antibiotic to speed healing. Also, the inciting cause of the myiasis (i.e. diarrhea) must be addressed and treated to prevent reinfection of the maggots.
     
    eclecktic1 likes this.
  4. Pharm Girl

    Pharm Girl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, Buffy is feeling quite a bit better, so I fashioned her a mini coop with perch today so she can go into somewhere and perch for the night. Here are the latest pictures. The wound has turned black, but the skin around it looks nicely colored and the edges of the black are starting to peel, showing fresh pink skin underneath.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Fly 2006

    Fly 2006 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aaawww, poor Buffy, this is why I was so angry when someone said that maggots wouldn't eat a chicken! As you have found out, YES THEY WILL, I hope she makes a full recovery X
     
  6. Pharm Girl

    Pharm Girl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What a difference a day makes! I took a picture on Thursday:

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    And this one on Friday!

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    This is just a gross thread isn't it?!?! Proof that chickens have amazing healing power though...
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  7. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Bless Buffy and you for sticking it out with her, looks like she is going to make a full recovery, I'm sure you are a hero in the eyes of your 8yr old.
     
  8. Pharm Girl

    Pharm Girl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The good thing is, being in the house has thrown her into a mini moult, so I'm hoping her tail feathers will start to grow back in and cover the wound. Otherwise the other chickens will just peck it back open. Luckily, when it's healed more, I have a small broody coop she can stay in until she's 100% again. The red has come back to her face too. Wondering if she will lay me an egg soon.
     
  9. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    You can put blue kote on her bottom but I think your moving her to her own space till completely healed is your best bet. Heres hoping for an egg! [​IMG]
     
  10. Pharm Girl

    Pharm Girl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All healed! We moved her back with her sisters a week ago, so I haven't taken a picture, but the wound is all covered in pink skin and her fluff has come back and covered the hole. She's one tough bird!
     

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