Rooster's wing torn completely off by our dog- Is there anything else I should be doing for him?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by kdwhita, Mar 28, 2014.

  1. kdwhita

    kdwhita Just Hatched

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    I came home three days ago to find that our Australian cattle dog had gotten loose from the runner she was on. She was excited to see me when I got home, and I decided to leave her out for a while to let her get some exercise (our chickens were fenced in the backyard).
    A while later, my fiancé and I went out to feed all our animals as usual, and I went to the opposite side of the yard from him to feed two dogs I recently rescued (they are staying in a kennel). He was tossing scratch grains for our chickens, and saw that our rooster (Big Red is his name-he’s a RIR) was outside the fenced in backyard, lying behind our well house. He was also not acting like himself when he got up and tried walk toward the scratch feed being thrown out. My fiancé went to check on him and saw a lot of blood on him. He picked him up and started yelling for me to come look that "His wing is gone!!" I couldn't even fathom what he meant as we've never had one of our birds injured that badly. Sure enough, I ran over and below the mangled mess of bloody feathers and dirt, I could see that his entire right wing was totally ripped from his body. It was just gone, nowhere to be found. I knew that our dog was the culprit since the injury was so new, and she loves to chase after our chickens anytime she gets a chance.
    We sat the rooster down on the ground to get a better look at him, and he just started pouring blood like someone had turned on a faucet. Pressure wasn’t stopping it, my fiancé and I were both frantic, and I was just sure he was going to bleed out on us. I had even asked my fiancé to go get the gun to put him down and out of his misery so he didn’t have to suffer. In a last ditch effort to stop the bleeding, we rushed him inside, and my decided our only choice was to cauterized the source of the bleeding. He used a thick kitchen knife heated on the burner of our stove. It sounds horrible and I was very scared about it hurting him, or even killing him from the shock of the pain. Almost immediately when my fiancé stuck the hot knife to the wound to cauterize, Big Red closed his eyes and got very still, and I was just sure he had passed away. We stopped what we were doing to check for signs of life, and he was still breathing!! Luckily, the cauterization worked and the bleeding stopped immediately. I’m assuming him going limp and closing his eyes was the chicken equivalent of passing out from pain like humans do. With Big Red fast asleep on his side, we started cleaning him up so we could really take a look at the damage.

    Below is a photo of how Big Red looked after the wound was cauterized, before we started cleaning him up (see why I thought he was dead?!)

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    We started by cleaning off dirt and debris from the wound, and checking him all over for any other injuries. Luckily, the only other thing wrong was some irritated skin and feathers missing from his behind, which I knew from experience would heal with no problem. We cut down all the feathers that were around or could reach the wound with scissors to keep them from irritating it. Then, we got down to actually figuring out what to do with what was left of where his wing used to be. It was late in the afternoon, so there was no access to a vet. So, I started googling what to do to see if anyone online had dealt with this problem before, and came across several threads here on backyardchickens.com. One of the main things I saw we needed to do was to get the bone to be below the skin so that it could heal over it properly. So, we took a pair of our wire snips that we use for fencing, and snipped what was left of his bone down probably an inch below his skin so that it wouldn’t be poking out. Then, we cleaned out the wound by pulling out several broken shards of bone (some had to be separated from the skin around it by cutting them free) and poured alcohol over the area to kill bacteria. We also slathered the area with neosporin, and covered it with the only thing we had available at the time which was band aids(which worked good because we were able to pull the wound together), and wrapped a small strip of duct tape across the ends of the band aids to keep them secured to his little nub that was left. We cut the sleeve off of a t-shirt to put on him to keep from pecking at the wound (I didn't think he could reach it but just in case)

    Here he is all patched up the first night.
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    After we patched him up, it was almost like he knew we were finished and he started to come alive again. He would open his eyes and just look at us, and stretch his feet while lying on his side. Once we were satisfied with his bandages, we moved him into a rubbermaid container with cedar bedding and a pillowcase to lay on under a heating lamp so that he could rest and recover. He slept all that evening/night with his beak straight down on the pillowcase, only opening his eyes when we would get really close to his new home or touch him. I put some sugar water and food in the container with him just in case he wanted to eat or drink, but I didn't force fluids in him that night-he had been through enough. I really wasn't sure how he would do, or if he would even make it through the night, but we had to give him a chance.

    Sleeping on his side with his beak straight down.
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    The next morning, I was thrilled to wake up and find that he was alert and sitting over by his food and water. I was cautiously optimistic that he might just pull through! I checked to make sure his bandages were still secure, and went on in to work.

    [​IMG]

    On the way home from work, I stopped and bought proper bandaging materials, some peroxide, and a bottle of injectable Penicillin G from our local feed store. I came home to find him alert and standing in his cage, his food was all eaten, bowel movements had been made, and almost all his water was gone. My boy was back!

    My chihuahua Ella is there in the photo. She's a great little mommy when we have sick animals. She routinely goes and peeks her head over the side of the box to check on him.
    [​IMG]

    GRAPHIC PHOTOS OF WOUNDS BELOW! My fiance and I laid Big Red on his side once again the day after his injury to change the bandages and make sure infection was not setting in. We used his little t-shirt to cover his head and help keep him calm. The area of his wound that was charred black the day before from being cauterized had become lighter in color, and we checked to make sure that there were no bone fragments that we missed sticking out. Everything looked healthy enough to me considering what he had just gone through, and the wound already seemed to be coming together. We cleaned everything well with peroxide, covered it again with neosporin, rebandaged him with a breathable bandage, gave him an injection of antibiotics, and moved him into a larger box so he can walk around and stretch his legs.


    On his side with bandages removed. Day 1 after injury.
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    Closer view
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    Here he is rebandaged on day 1 after injury.
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    It is presently day 3 after his injury, and he seems to be getting better day by day. We didn't change his bandage the second day after, I figured we would change bandages every other day to try and mess with the wound as little as possible and let him heal. So..have any of you ever had a chicken survive such an injury? What else can I be doing for him besides keeping the area bacteria free and giving him antibiotics? What will his future look like being without a wing? I will update with his progress as he continues to improve!
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2014
  2. chickenlover80

    chickenlover80 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I am so glad that your rooster is ok! That must have been so scary! I'm sorry! I am glad he recovered nicely :) How long are you going to keep him insulated?
     
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    You are doing a great job with him. Stop using the peroxide now, as it is nowadays thought to prevent healing. If it needs cleaning, use weak betadine or saline. Neosporin without pain reliever is good to put on the wound. Penicillin G injections are good, and about the only antibiotic for wounds that we can get in the feed stores, but I would ask you vet to prescribe a better one since bone infection is a great risk to him. You may need some BluKote later on when he has healed to disguise his wound when he is back in the flock. Please keep us updated on his condition and and progress.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  4. MySweetChickens

    MySweetChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow quick thinking with the hot knife don't give up hope he will pull through [​IMG]
     
  5. ClovisMan

    ClovisMan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    New Braunfels, TX
    That's one tough dude! I commend you in your efforts in his healing and not just putting him down. I'll be rooting for him around the campfire this weekend.
     
  6. Aacre

    Aacre Chillin' With My Peeps

    Wow! You guys did a great job with him! Looks like he is going to be just fine. I am so glad that he has another chance at life!
     
  7. sarahswank

    sarahswank Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You did great! Personally, i would try and get him off of ceder bedding. The aromatic oils from it are not very good for chickens. Short term use is definitely not a big deal though. Otherwise, I think you have done completely amazing work!

    I personally haven't had a bird THAT injured, but I have had one who lost all the skin on her back to damage to blood vessels after a dog attack and as long as we watched and treated any infections that seemed to pop up she pulled though just fine. There was alot of open wound and it took almost 3 months to fully close over with skin, Your guy should do much better since the opening is rather small, and your largest worry is more the bone.

    This is only an idea for the future, but consider creating a sectioned off area with chicken wire inside of your current chicken pen. That way once you feel the wound is slightly healed, you can give your rooster the company he needs and is still safe from any hens who might pick on him. You also will need to take a look at where he will roost in the future. Depending on how high your roosts are, he might not be able to fly up and will need a step or ramp to help him up, and potentially down. I dont know how concerned you are with fertility, but you might have a dramatic drop in fertility rates because without both wings, he might be less balanced on a hen's back and have difficulty aiming.

    Good luck!
     
  8. nab58

    nab58 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    wow, it isamazingwhata chicken can endure!! great job! I love looking at pictures of injuries.....especially when there's a happy ending!
     
  9. kdwhita

    kdwhita Just Hatched

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    Mar 27, 2014
    South Carolina
    We plan to keep him warm and in the house as long as it takes for him to heal. Thank you all for the suggestions and encouragement! It’s greatly appreciated. He’s an extra special bird to us because he’s the very first animal we got when we decided we wanted to start our little farm over two years ago, so we couldn't just put him down without a fight. Like I said earlier when I made the post, today is the third day since the injury. We didn't change his bandage yesterday to keep from messing with it too much, so we changed it today. I am worried about what we saw when the bandage came off. Photos are below.


    The dark part I realize is just the wound starting to scab and heal over (that plus I'm sure still some color from the cauterization) and it does look a lot smaller than it did even the day before yesterday. What I'm worried about is the green. I'm hoping that it is just bruising and not gangrene..but I've never dealt with either so I can't be sure. There is no smell to it, it's not especially hot or anything either. It's normal body temperature and not especially swollen. The wound isn't seeping and has no puss or anything that would indicate infection-his bandage was completely clean. I mean his whole "arm" was just torn off, I would expect some bruising, but the green color is what has me questioning it..thoughts??
    [​IMG]

    Also..he is acting perfectly normal! We took him outside for the first time since he was injured to get some fresh air and let him scratch around in one of our small pens so he would be protected. He really loved that, and kept looking up like he wanted to jump up on the roost, but never did work up the nerve to do it. When he eventually does go back outside, we will be sure to make adjustments so he can have access to all his favorite spots :)

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]
     
  10. sarahswank

    sarahswank Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Garden City, Kansas
    It sucks that it happened, but I think he was with the best family for it to happen too! Great that you already had a place for him to get some sun! The wound looks good, and I agree, it looks like deep tissue bruising. Here is another hen who lost part of her arm and also had the green bruising 3 days later... https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...turning-green-pictures-included#post_10856252

    Of course if someone disagrees, I will admit, I have never had to deal with gangrene before.
     

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