Several older hens with swollen feet; one is lame;a.m. UPDATE post #19

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by verlaj, Jun 20, 2009.

  1. verlaj

    verlaj Songster

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    I have 9 hens age 4-5 years and one that is 7 years; 4 GLWs, 3 BOs, 1 BA, 1 BR.

    8 of the 9 are housed in an open air, roofed coop with a dirt floor, with shavings and straw over that. Fed layer pellets, water, and free range during the day. Number 9 hatched chicks a few weeks ago and is separated from the others; same housing except in a
    broody pen within the coop on straw and fed the chick starter.

    I noticed a couple of weeks ago that several of them seemed to have "fat toes" with a little pinkness to the skin where the toes come together. One of the hens had one toe that appeared to have an enlarged joint and the toe was crooked. No lamenesses, discharge, or anything else. Not all of the 8 had fat toes, and the hen with the chicks is unaffected. Didn't know if this was something normal with age and I hadn't really looked at it before. Looked up foot problems here and elsewhere on the web and none of the common foot ailments described seemed like what I was seeing, so I decided to wait and see what developed.

    The feet seemed about the same to me, until just now. I saw one of the GLWs has much greater swelling in the area of the foot "pad" and is lame on the foot. Haven't been able to catch her yet to examine closely.

    We had planned tomorrow to sanitize the coop with OxineAH and fill the base of it with sand to improve the drainage. We did have torrential rains a few weeks ago and the floor was wet for several days, but did not seem too bad, plus I added bedding to the floor to try to keep it drier.

    What are your thoughts? Does "bumblefoot" start out looking like fat toes? Is there something else I should be thinking about?
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2009
  2. threehorses

    threehorses Songster

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    I'd more suspect bumblefoot in the hen who is lame. If you can catch her and have a good look, I would.

    My older hens all developed what looked like puffier toes with age from arthritis. But sometimes that can be beginning signs of mites, etc. Are you seeing any scale lifting? I'd also consider the possibility of a sort of 'mud fungus' from continuing wet conditions.

    The wetness can also cause some of the irritation.

    As for the enlarged joint/toe, sounds like she jammed it and its healed.

    I'd go on with the new bedding and sand and see if that helps things. Spot treat the red part with antibiotic ointment containing no steroids. (Neosporin is a good choice).

    If the swelling continues, or any other symptoms develop, let us know as they might point more clearly in the direction of fungus or scaley leg. But at this point I'd mainly be concerned with getting the lame girl and checking her out.
     
  3. verlaj

    verlaj Songster

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    Right. I forgot to mention - no leg scaling on any of them. Checked the pads when I first noticed the swollen toes and did not see any problem. Didn't seem painful to touch - no more reaction than you would expect from a hen when you squeeze her toes.

    Waiting until they go to roost to check them all out, especially the one that is now lame. I read the link at First State Veterinary Supply someone posted on another thread (http://www.firststatevetsupply.com/poultry-health/bumblefoot.html) and it mentions here that the "foot and/or foot pad" becomes swollen and it also mentions that if you catch the problem when the foot is simply swollen there is a good chance of correcting with antibiotics alone.

    I have no antibiotics here at the moment anyway. Will sanitize the coop and feet, check out the lame one, and see how things are tomorrow.

    Please chime in anyone, if you have ideas.
     
  4. Last edited: Jun 20, 2009
  5. verlaj

    verlaj Songster

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    No, it doesn't look like the photos. I just came back in from the coop. The one that is lame has one normal looking foot and the other foot is definitely swollen - not in the toes like several of the other hens - but where the toes all come together and in the webbing. In one of the webs it looks like a blister is under the skin and there is clear liquid that drips out with a little pressure. This hen also now has what looks like a small wound on her comb - a little red blood and a little dried blood.

    The others either have normal looking feet or the "fat toes" that I described before with a little redness between the toes - where the scales are not so prominent. The pads are soft and none of the hens seem to be painful in the feet. Everybody is eating.

    I dipped everybody's feet in some povidone iodine solution for the night and will check on them in the morning.
     
  6. threehorses

    threehorses Songster

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    You might be able to soak that swollen foot in epsom salts to draw out the infection and help the swelling pain tomorrow. Just be sure to rinse thoroughly.

    I'd definitely clean up that blister and coat it with something protective to keep her from getting a staph infection up in there tho. They're tough to treat.

    Glad that they seem ok. I wonder what got to her?
     
  7. verlaj

    verlaj Songster

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    Thanks for your suggestions. I will indeed soak/medicate the swollen foot tomorrow and thereafter until the swelling comes down. It doesn't look like it is infected yet - only clear fluid comes out. Maybe a fire ant bite? What other than a bite or sting could have made one foot swell up and blister like this? She is not one of the ones with the "fat toes;" the other foot looks normal.
     
  8. pips&peeps

    pips&peeps There is no "I" in Ameraucana

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    Have you recently changed their food? Sometimes high protein will give them gout.
     
  9. verlaj

    verlaj Songster

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    Nope. Haven't changed the food. They get 16% protein layer pellets and free range during the day.
     
  10. Judy

    Judy Crowing

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    Scorpion, maybe? There was a thread on here not long ago about treating a chicken for a scorpion sting. I agree that fire ants could explain it too. I get a clear fluid if I have a severe one and squeeze it.
     

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