Urgent: post-amputation care, advice needed/I thought I would spend my Saturday doing this...

darlingdarla

Songster
Oct 28, 2018
305
597
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Laurel, Maryland
She's healing up faster than I expected. There's a nice healthy scab around the tip, the end is just bone, which is super bizarre but it looks okay to me.
The holes are also healing. The two on the front of the leg are completely closed up, the one on the back is still stabbed. I pulled it off today and a perfect little plug came out like before, but the hole is much smaller so I think we're on the right track.
The joint is very stiff and only wiggles when I try to bend it. I think it's because, even with me trying to move it every day, it's pretty much in the same position all the time. It could become more movable over time, after the bandage is off and she's able to use some kind of prosthetic.
I was wondering what her healing will look like from here? Specifically will new skin grow around that bone? I assume so, but it's such an an odd separation and that point is sharp. Also, will her scales come back? Or will she keep that thin pink skin she has over the area? Just wondering.

Meanwhile, her relationship with the flock is tense. She hasn't been out with them in months because she no longer bothers to fight back, and she's still in pain. A few of them really go after her, and will continue attacking even as she runs away. She's in full sight 24/7, but it's not helping.
So, I'm going to do a bit of modification on the coop/run.
Rosie's going to be living in the bantam coop for a while, that coop has its own run but it's only about ten square feet and she has been sharing it with two 1 lb bantam hens. They get along well but obviously I can't keep them in such tight spaces forever.
I'm planning on splitting the main run down the center, and giving Rosie and the bantams full access to the space. My run has two doors, so I'll be able to access both spaces separately. I'm going to do the same thing with the rest of the yard, the main flock will get the coop side and the bantams and Rosie will take the other.
I'm also trying to rehome some of my more aggressive birds. They're important to me, but between Rosie, Rapunzel, and Elvira (all my special needs birds), it's becoming a bigger challenge to keep the weaker birds from getting hurt. So I'm looking for a new home for them, they're mostly older birds, so finding someone willing to keep hens who don't lay many eggs has been a bit of a challenge.
Anyway, here is her leg today during her bandage change. I'd just plucked a lot of her feathers away so her skin is a little red.

How's it looking?
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Wyorp Rock

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Premium Feather Member
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I think it's looking better!

For some of your questions - I just don't know. Your thread in itself is a wealth of learning, trial and error. I'm learning a lot just from your posts and do hope that others following along are as well.
The best I could say is time will tell about the scales. I have never even thought of that so it will be interesting to see what happens over the long haul.
I do think (hopefully) new skin will eventually cover the bone, but could be very wrong about that.

It's a great idea to expand the run for her and the bantams. I would say at this point, her returning to the main flock won't happen. If she's doing well with the bantams, then I would call that a success. She's got a flock of her own!
 

Allsfairinloveandbugs

Crowing
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Feb 10, 2020
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Hi @darlingdarla . As far as Rosie's scales growing back, chickens also lose and regrow their scales during their annual molts. (I never knew that until Matilda lost Her feet, and like you I was curious about her scale-less skin.) It might be Next year's annual molt before Rosie's scales grow back, since her healing process is on-going. Matilda is currently going through a fairly hard molt. Both stump tips are still smooth and fragile, so will be interesting to see if/when her shank scales regrow.

As far as Rosie's exposed bone, her stump resembles Matilda's left foot when it detached, leaving behind a bloody "protusion" extending beyond the shank. Someone commented on her thread that it might be difficult for her body to repair/cover the bone, & their input proved to be correct. The bony tip of her left stump is still fragile, (as is the scale-less skin on her right shank.) Both issues are manageable by keeping the stumps well-padded and wrapped. No issues with infection, but I continue to make sure her bandages are kept clean and dry. Sometimes simply the weekly act of removing the bandages causes the tip/skin to bleed. When that happens I spray with veterycin or coat with antibiotic ointment before re-wrapping.
 

darlingdarla

Songster
Oct 28, 2018
305
597
186
Laurel, Maryland
Hi @darlingdarla . As far as Rosie's scales growing back, chickens also lose and regrow their scales during their annual molts. (I never knew that until Matilda lost Her feet, and like you I was curious about her scale-less skin.) It might be Next year's annual molt before Rosie's scales grow back, since her healing process is on-going. Matilda is currently going through a fairly hard molt. Both stump tips are still smooth and fragile, so will be interesting to see if/when her shank scales regrow.

As far as Rosie's exposed bone, her stump resembles Matilda's left foot when it detached, leaving behind a bloody "protusion" extending beyond the shank. Someone commented on her thread that it might be difficult for her body to repair/cover the bone, & their input proved to be correct. The bony tip of her left stump is still fragile, (as is the scale-less skin on her right shank.) Both issues are manageable by keeping the stumps well-padded and wrapped. No issues with infection, but I continue to make sure her bandages are kept clean and dry. Sometimes simply the weekly act of removing the bandages causes the tip/skin to bleed. When that happens I spray with veterycin or coat with antibiotic ointment before re-wrapping.
Thank you, the bone is definitely what I am most concerned about. There is a thick healthy looking scab covering most of it, but the end is like a shiv. She kicked me with it today during a bandage change (her attitude has gotten considerably more aggressive towards me, and honestly I respect it) and I'm really surprised it didn't break the skin. I had some choice words for her, but gave her some after treatment nugget treats anyway, I'd want to stab me too if I was in her position.

My plan is to fashion a type of prosthetic/peg leg for her to use anyway, that's assuming she has any use for the limb at all considering how stiff the joint is. At the very least I want to mold a nub to fit over her stump, that will ease any discomfort or rubbing from the bandages.

I'll update when there's something to update about, this entire process is happening so slow I feel like tearing my hair out, but she's definitely making good progress.
 

darlingdarla

Songster
Oct 28, 2018
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Laurel, Maryland
It got infected. I'm not sure if it's the infection that was already there or if it got exposed, probably both. It was looking really good, seemed like skin might heal over the bone, and then Rosie ripped off the bandage overnight and pecked at the wound. I cleaned her up first thing in the morning, I'm still cleaning her coop a few times a week so I was hoping it wouldn't be too bad.
A few days later she did it again and while I was cleaning her up she started thrashing and ripped off the scab and the freshly healed skin where the necrosis was.
Again I cleaned her up, irrigated everything with betadine, and re-wrapped.
The leg isn't looking great right now. There's a new scab on the inside of her leg where she cut herself and the scab on the tip is a darker color.
She keeps getting out of the bandage, and pecks me when I put on a new one. She's keeps getting out of them and I have no idea how.

But honestly this may have been supposed to happen from the getgo, I always thought it would detach at the joint because of the yellow buildup.
So I don't know right now, I'm keeping an eye on it and checking on her more frequently to watch that her bandage stays in place. At this point I'm considering sneaking her into the house and hiding her in a closet.
If it gets worse I'm going to consider giving her another round of antibiotics but I don't know.

Here are some new pictures. The tip is pretty swollen. The leg is also a darker color, I feel like I can see a line on the inside of the leg where the healthier part starts. I'm less concerned about the dark colors and more so about the yellow running down the back of her leg, which has been there since the old necrosis began. The pressure sore is yet to heal completely, but isn't nearly as deep as before.
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Allsfairinloveandbugs

Crowing
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Feb 10, 2020
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My immediate thought re Rosie's pecking and pulling her bandage off is the possibility of using an elizabethan collar (e.b. collar) same as is used for dogs and other animals to keep them from picking/licking at surgical incisions/stitches. I googled to make sure putting an e.b. collar on a chicken could be used, & the answer is Yes they sometimes are. You can order a collar online if you think that might work.

Exactly how are you wrapping & securing her bandage? It's possible she may get any bandage off if she tries hard enough, and I understand you are reluctant to wrap too tightly since that is what caused the loss of her foot in the first place. Which is why trying an e.b. collar may be your best bet.
 

darlingdarla

Songster
Oct 28, 2018
305
597
186
Laurel, Maryland
My immediate thought re Rosie's pecking and pulling her bandage off is the possibility of using an elizabethan collar (e.b. collar) same as is used for dogs and other animals to keep them from picking/licking at surgical incisions/stitches. I googled to make sure putting an e.b. collar on a chicken could be used, & the answer is Yes they sometimes are. You can order a collar online if you think that might work.

Exactly how are you wrapping & securing her bandage? It's possible she may get any bandage off if she tries hard enough, and I understand you are reluctant to wrap too tightly since that is what caused the loss of her foot in the first place. Which is why trying an e.b. collar may be your best bet.
I can give it a try. I could probably make a temporary one until a better one comes.
I'm wrapping the tip as I always have, before she never tried to get it off though. I start at the joint and wrap down past the nub, then back up and over the nub to cover it completely, then back up over the joint and a little higher so it stays secure.
I think the bone makes it easier to get out of too, since it's sharp, but I don't really know.
 

darlingdarla

Songster
Oct 28, 2018
305
597
186
Laurel, Maryland
I wonder if she's in pain if she's just now started to pick at it, pull of the bandage and thrash about when being treated.
Any way your vet can prescribe some Meloxicam to see if that helps?
No vet :he I'm in a very suburban area. I'm looking for one I can make the drive to, but even then money is tight right now, my hours got cut and I lost one of my jobs. If I can find one I'll do my best to get there.
I'll ask my old exotics vet, he takes care of my tortoise but he also does birds, not chickens but maybe he'll make an exception. He never has before but it's worth a shot.
And I can only imagine the pain she is in and has been in these last few months. I think she's just getting done with me, she used to be tame and now she sees me coming and the claws come out.

Anyone else able to see that line on the inside of her leg? Where the darker skin meets the healthier area? I'm wondering if it'll detach from there eventually. I don't know, but in the beginning we all thought it would separate at the joint but then it broke off really unevenly.
This all just really sucks. I feel awful for her, I wish I could do more.
Every day I get closer to putting her down but then I think of all she's gone through and how unfair it would be to act when there's still hope for her, and she really does seem to enjoy her life. I think she likes being separate, getting special attention and treats, and I think she likes the bantams she lives with. It's all come from a really really bad scenario, but I think she's pretty happy with her little flock.
 

Allsfairinloveandbugs

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
Feb 10, 2020
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I'll ask my old exotics vet, he takes care of my tortoise but he also does birds, not chickens but maybe he'll make an exception. He never has before but it's worth a shot.
I hope he will make an exception in Rosie's case since you are really needing help with her. Veterinarians are prohibited from prescribing RX meds without establishing a patient relationship, but an online consultation may be acceptable, same as is currently done in human medicine. If your old exotic vet declines, you may be able to find an online vet licensed to practice anywhere in your state that is willing to consult and prescribe meds for Rosie.
 

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