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Splint Leg Recovery

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by PTFowl, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. PTFowl

    PTFowl Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 16, 2011
    A few week old Polish fractured her leg. Took bird to vet and vet splinted the leg. Kept leg splinted for 14 days as indicated. Have been hand feeding and watering now for over two weeks. Took splint off yesterday but bird does not bend the leg and still just drags it behind her, often falls on her face when she tries to walk. Only difference is that now the leg is not bent out in a weird position, as it was set straight in the splint. Called vet and asked what kind of physical therapy might help—no call back yet from vet and now it’s the weekend (if I provided this kind of lame service in my business I’d be out of business fast). Don’t want to bring bird back to vet as I’ve already spent over $80 and the bird is no better off than she was before bringing her in. Also, vet talked about re-breaking the leg, which I’m not going to do. Honestly, I don’t think the vet knows what to do and it’s the only vet in area that does birds. Any one dealt with a splinted chicken leg before? How long after splint comes off does it take to see improvement?
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    Where was the fracture located in the leg? Why would the vet want to re-break the leg? Are the joints all working?

    Broken legs take quite a long time to heal completely in birds. It's been a while since I had a leg fracture in my flock, but I want to say that I didn't notice marked improvement for about 6-8 weeks after the initial injury. I was never able to splint the broken legs in my flock because they belonged to my very shy ducks, so I left them be until they healed on their own. The legs healed nicely, but seemed to take forever. One bird had a pronounced limp for the rest of his life, but the other healed without any residual signs of damage.

    I don't believe that you are going to need to perform any PT on the bird. Chickens are very foot oriented, so the Polish will figure out how to use the leg again in short order, I predict. Give the bird some time to get used to having an unsplinted leg again, and I think you will be surprised at how quickly she bounces back. Hopefully, there is no nerve damage or joint fusions resulting from the injury. If there isn't, she should be fine. If there is, then her full recovery may be a bit more complicated, but continues to be possible.

    Good luck.
  3. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

    May 11, 2010
    You gal is used to using the splint as a crutch. As mentioned, give her time to adjust. However, there are a few things you can do to help her along. Assuming there are no open sores on her legs or body, you can give your gal a warm bath twice daily-IF she is comfortable with taking a bath. Encourage her to put weight on her leg using the water as buoyancy device. Don't freak her out and let her break her other leg. You can also do very gentle massage on her upper leg. Gently rotate the leg-DO NOT FORCE the leg- to get that leg limber again.

    If she is too freaky to handle allow her to adjust on her own. With some birds doing nothing is the best.

    Good luck with her and kudos for taking such good care of her!
  4. PTFowl

    PTFowl Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 16, 2011
    CMV and TheOldChick, thanks much for your responses. I was discouraged with so little visible improvement but it sounds like it's just going to take more time. CMV, i don't know if all the joints are working as i'm afraid of messing with the leg and forcing something in a way that might cause damage. Maybe I'll try TOC's warm bath suggestion. She puts weight on the leg but doesn't bend the knee. Although in the last 12 hrs i can get myself to believe that she has maybe started to ever so slightly. Your questions make sense but i don't know the answers, though I do have a photo of the pre-splinted fracture but not sure if re-posting it would help any.

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