Sudden death during bumblefoot treatment

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by erkmos52, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. erkmos52

    erkmos52 In the Brooder

    Oct 15, 2015
    This afternoon I was treating my 4 year old Lavender Orpington rooster for a minor case of bumblefoot. I had soaked his feet (he seemed a little stressed but no worse than normal for that situation) and I had him flipped over and was trying to dislodge the scabs from his foot pads so I could dress and bandage them. He started twitching and shaking so I flipped him back right side up, and he continued to twitch and flap and promptly died. I feel absolutely horrible - he was such a good rooster to the hens and we were very attached to him. Has anyone else had something like this happen before? I’m guessing it was a heart attack from the stress. I have other birds in my flock that I’ve been treating for bumblefoot and now I’m scared to do anything to them! Any insight would be appreciated. Thank you.
    PrettyChickens15 and Chick-N-Fun like this.
  2. annaBsChick

    annaBsChick Songster

    Nov 24, 2014
    Herndon, VA
    It was probably very painful for him. Imagine if someone performed surgery on your foot without proper medical training or meds to help with the pain? I suggest next time you take him to see a vet who sees chickens. Here is a directory of them -
    Chick-N-Fun likes this.
  3. coach723

    coach723 Crowing

    Feb 12, 2015
    North Florida
    I'm very sorry about your roo, that must have been awful for you. :hugs I've done a fair amount of bumblefoot treatments with no issues, a couple were pretty bad, so it's hard to say what happened. He may have had another condition that made the stress too much for him. Without a necropsy it's very hard to say for sure. Learning to do an informal necropsy on your own can allow you to look for obvious abnormalities in organs, or you can send one off for a professional one which will give you lab work also which can be very helpful when you suspect something infectious. Many people do informal necropsies and post pictures here and get suggestions from others with more experience as to what may have happened, you can search and check them out if you are interested.
    Here are some resources by state so you will have them in the future when needed:
  4. Chick-N-Fun

    Chick-N-Fun Almy Acres Farm

    Jun 26, 2014
    Upstate NY
    I am so sorry about your sweet Roo! ♥ Bear hugs! :hugs
    PrettyChickens15 and erkmos52 like this.
  5. erkmos52

    erkmos52 In the Brooder

    Oct 15, 2015
    Thank you for your kind words. I have done many bumblefoot treatments as well, and nothing like this has ever happened, so I wondered too if there wasn't an underlying condition. He just seemed so healthy! I will be proceeding with lots of caution as I treat the others today.
  6. HeavensHens88

    HeavensHens88 Remembering the Forgotten

    May 17, 2015
    on a major memory trip
    Oh, that's so sad he had to go like that! :hugs
    Sometimes SDS (sudden death syndrome, can be caused by virtually any underlying problem) strikes cruelly from the even the most tolerable stress.
    I lost a hen back a decade ago in a similar way. I'd hand-raised her from day 1 and she'd been my special little buddy all throughout her adult years. One day I approached her while free-ranging and scooped her up in a hug atypical of any day. She tensed, and died instantaneously. I was overwhelmed by the same guilt I assume you're feeling. :(
    You cared about him and attempted remediating an uncomfortable condition, remember that. :hugs
    And the rest of your flock should be fine with the same treatment. It'd be almost an impossible chance to lose another one in the same way.
    Kathy Golla and erkmos52 like this.
  7. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Apr 9, 2016
    California's Redwood Coast
    Sorry for your loss. :(

    A necropsy would be a good ideal...

    I have to wonder why are you treating multiple birds fro bumble foot? Should we review your set up and see if there are changes to be made that might help avoid this in the future... for example roost height or landing surface?

    It could have been kidney issues including gout or failure (causing sudden death) if he has been eating "layer" feed his whole life... as too much calcium fed long term to birds not in lay *can* (doesn't mean will) happen. It is often in birds that may be genetically predisposed or have been fed excess treats. Sometimes even the fancy non pelleted feed can allow them to pick out just the goody stuff.

    Also, how bad the infection was could have had an impact. If it was just a scab maybe no big deal... but if was all fill of puss and such... maybe the infection was effecting other parts of the body as well.

    He must have been a pretty good boy to make it 4 years! I would love to see a pic in his honor if you have the time and desire to share. :)

    IMO... there is NO such thing as SDS... there is always a reason and that's just what people say who don't know why their bird died. :confused:

    Heart attack?? I would wonder about blood clot causing a stroke type situation... kinda like they do with human patients after surgery. I am NO expert... and just here to share and learn like most other people. But my mind SPINS as many possibilities as it can possibly come with in the search for truth. I NEED to know the truth. :oops:

    ETA: I see the SDS poster also states it IS underlying issues. :thumbsup
  8. Criticalicious

    Criticalicious Songster

    Feb 25, 2017
    New Market, VA
    I'm no expert here, but you say you flipped him over - do you mean on his back or upside down? For how long? Because they can aspirate if they're flipped upside down for too long, if fluid from the crop is inhaled into the lungs. But it could have happened to anyone and for many different reasons. Sorry about your roo.
  9. erkmos52

    erkmos52 In the Brooder

    Oct 15, 2015
    I had him cradled on my arm on his back, not upside down holding him by his legs. I'm not sure if this could be part of the cause?

    His bumble foot infection was not bad at all - just very small scabs. It makes me feel even worse about the whole thing because I don't even know if it was bad enough to warrant treating him - I just wanted to be thorough and do the whole flock. I know there are set up factors that need to be changed. We are currently in the process of moving to a new property and I am designing my chicken set up there from scratch. I am going to have lower roosts (~2 feet off the ground) and use pine shavings for bedding rather than straw. All my birds free range and are fed lots of scraps and fresh vegetables along with layer feed. The bumblefoot problem started when I adopted some older hens from a questionable environment - I noticed they had it soon after we brought them home. That was a couple years ago now and I just recently noticed a lot of my younger chickens have it too. It is fairly minor in most of them too so I am treating with Tricide Neo and hoping this fixes it. Like I said they free range so I doubt they are vitamin deficient, but I am adding vitamin supplements to one of their waterers (and extra sunflower seeds to their diet) anyway.

    Here is a picture of Adrian in happier days. He was such a good boy. IMG_2754.jpg
  10. Labradors

    Labradors Chirping

    Mar 18, 2017
    ON, Canada
    Sniff! He really was a beauty!


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