Still unsure of hen's leg problem

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Country4ever, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. Country4ever

    Country4ever Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My 10 and 1/2 year old easter-egger hen became suddenly lame about a month ago. I thought it was a broken/sprained leg. After waiting a couple weeks for it to heal, it didn't. I took her to an Avian specialist and she took xrays. No breaks. She said she saw maybe a mass around her left ovary. Can't know more without a scope, which I'm choosing not to do. The vet gave me an NSAID and a pain med. I've been giving it to her for over a week and there's really no change. She's eating and drinking and pooping fine. I have her in a dog crate, and in the mornings for about 10 minutes, I put her with the other 3 old hens I have just in the coop area. She seems to enjoy it.
    She is still limping alot and is essentially walking on her tip-toes on the bad side. The vet (who is new), is thinking the mass is causing irritation to the nerve that runs down the leg.

    I just don't know. I'm not convinced that's the problem. The picture I'm showing doesn't show much. Her foot is swollen, but the vet said it might be fluid not flowing out of it well..........perhaps from the mass compressing things.

    The hen holds it out in front of her alot with outstretched toes. Why is she only stepping on her tip toes? Its not her foot that's hurt. I can move it all around and it doesn't bother her. She has no sign of bumblefoot in that foot........however, she does have a big black scab on the other foot (with no swelling)......probably from having to put all her weight on that foot.

    I just don't understand why she doesn't put her foot flat down. Seems like putting her weight on just her tip toes would be hard.

    Its all very strange. Her abdomen is soft and has no swelling anywhere.
    I asked about gout, but the vet said you usually feel alot more crepitace in the joints.

    Any ideas??
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    You old girl likes to keep people guessing. So nothing odd showed up in the swollen part of the foot on the x-ray? Has that swelling stayed the same the whole month? Did the vet try to aspirate it or anything? Wouldn't fluid retention affect more the whole foot and toes?
     
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    That swollen area really resembles some cases of bumblefoot that I have seen where the swelling is on the top of the foot or between toes. Is it pinker than the other foot near the swelling? I can't remember from your other post--did you give penicillin?
     
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Aww I hope your girl gets better! She has lived so long and you must really be attached to her! [​IMG]
     
  5. Country4ever

    Country4ever Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks everyone.

    No sign of bumblefoot on the bottom. I did poke the swollen part of the foot with a needle a couple weeks ago, and just a little blood came out. She was on Baytril for a week before I even took her to the vet. When I called the vet for med refill a few days ago, she said "After looking at the labs again, one type of cell from her white count is up.....maybe we should try an antibiotic?" I reminded her that she had been on an antibiotic for a week before I brought her in. And it was a hefty dose of Baytril.
    Just seems to me if it was something like "lymph edema", it would affect her lower leg too.......which it doesn't.

    I can move her foot/ankle/toes all around and it doesn't bother her. Her "knee" seems to be the most painful when I flex it.

    I'm trying to think of some home-made prosthesis I could make, so when she put pressure on that leg, the weight would be distributed around her trunk. Its hard to think of something, though, that wouldn't interfere with her sitting down and resting.

    Anyone ever see a chicken with gout?
    I'm still wondering if something in her leg got hurt/twisted. This happened suddenly. Seems like a tumor would have affected things over time.
     
  6. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Hate to sat it but at this point I would consider just cutting it open and taking a look to see if I could get a better idea at what is going on tumor/bumblefoot/puss/gout who knows. You'd think with a sprain you'd see some difference with the swelling by now. Have never seen one with gout that I know of, but it really doesn't read like typical gout since it doesn't seem to be affecting the toes and only one foot? Course this bird doesn't seem to be doing anything typical. It just looks so darn much like bumblefoot. Know bumblefoot can be really slow to respond to antibiotics and it is months sometimes even if you do surgery before they are back to normal. That Tricide-neo soaking does seem to help on bad or chronic cases.
     
  7. Country4ever

    Country4ever Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Kelsie.......have you ever seen such a lameness with a not-so-obvious bumblefoot?
    I've also wondered about a stroke? Sometimes it seems that she just doesn't know how to use her leg.
    Very strange!
     
  8. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    The lameness really seems to be pretty individual. I've had some where the foot looked pretty bad and the bird was not really lame, and others which barely had any swelling and they wouldn't stand on the leg. Like you said, it probably has something to do with if the nerves etc being impinged upon... and the individual hen's pain tolerance.
    With yours, you do have to wonder about a tumor, especially with them maybe seeing another on an ovary, though the left ovary is normally the working one, so maybe it would look like it had a mass on x-ray even in a hen that isn't laying anymore?
    Can you see anything different about the knee? Is it only her leg she is odd about sometimes? Anything weird about how she uses her head, wings etc? I could see if the nerves are being affected one way or another that sometimes she couldn't use her leg if it happened to be numb/hurt from how she was holding it or jumped on it or something?
    She is not on an antibiotic now? She was on Baytril for a week about a month ago now?
     
  9. Country4ever

    Country4ever Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't think this vet has had too much experience with chickens. I think its mostly pet birds, and other exotic animals. She may not know what an old ovary looks like. There's absolutely nothing else about this chicken that seems out of place. Although I have noticed that when she lays down, her left side/wing is a little higher......meaning maybe she's lifting it a little to take the pressure off something.
    when is limps, she is very high up on the tips of her toes.
    Yes, she was on Baytril for a week before seeing the vet a week and a half ago. There was absolutely no change in the look of the foot at the end of the week, so I stopped it.
    Like I said, her good foot has a large black scab on it, but no swelling. Makes me think maybe she's been putting more weight on that side for longer than I've noticed.
    Are you suggesting that maybe I make a small incision in that area on the ankle that's swollen and seeing if I can express anything out? I thought by just puncturing it with a needle, pus would come out if it was there. And the swelling isn't hard at all. I would be a little afraid of slicing a nerve or a vessel, since I'm not real familiar with foot stuff.

    The vet said that the hen has some atrophy in her upper leg muscle. To me, the hen seems to flinch when I flex her "knee". I tried wrapping her leg with some self-adhesive bandage, but she hated it so I took it off. Then I wrapped her foot (leaving her toes out), in case it was her foot hurting her, and she just kept limping away just the same as before wrapping it.

    The NSAID doesn't seem to do anything either. I'm thinking at the end of this week, to just put her with the others and see if there are any changes. If it gets worse, I'll put her back in the dog crate. The other thing I worry about is her getting in and out of the coop (into a very safe run), or where she will sleep. What's funny is that I removed their old ladder roost because they were getting old and I didn't want anyone to get hurt. Then she got hurt! Anyhow......they are mostly sleeping in the low nest boxes. One of the other hens actually sleeps on the floor under the raised nestbox, so I'm hoping this chicken will join her there.

    Who knows.......maybe her leg will get better if she uses it more. I know that sounds strange........but who knows???
    My 4 remaining hens are very old. I laughingly told some people that I now have an "assisted living" coop. :)

    I appreciate your input!
     
  10. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It could be a cyst,can you move it around? If she has had it that long,and antibiotics have not helped,then it is probably time to open it up and see what is in there. Yes her leg would show signs of atrophy as she is not using it,muscles are wasting/weak or could be a result of poor circulation. watch the black scab on her other foot as this could be the start of bumblefoot.
     

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