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Will My Hen Have a Chance? Open Wound to the Bone

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by jemmerson, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. jemmerson

    jemmerson Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 2, 2010
    My 6 mo. hen has a very large open wound that is approx. 3 - 4" across "square" on her "hind quarter" behind her wing and it is all the way to what I think would be the pelvic bone and then down to her underside there is only what seems to be a very thin membrane holding her intestines in. I cleaned the wound with hydrogen peroxide, iodine and put on neosporin two days ago the night I found her. Today I took her to the vet who gave a shot of antibiotics. He told me to wash it several times a day with a mild soap and to not put more ointment on it. This seems contrary to what I've been reading here on the forum. There is also signs of green in the white unscathed areas around the wound. I know this is not good. Can the Baytril shot take care of this infection or is it just bound to get worse? Do I need to have the vet keep giving me more of the antibiotic until the wound is healed? How do you know when to stop administering it? My guess is that you would have to administer until healed or infection could set in otherwise? I just don't feel real comfortable with the doctors instructions. I just am not understanding of how skin is going to grow over such a large area of bear bone. He said suturing or stitching was out of the question due to the wound being too old and the skin being so thin that it could not be done. I just hope that I'm not a fool believing this will heal. I am so emotionally drained already. Does anyone have a similar story where there chicken made it through something like this? Oh and let me not forget to mention that the hen, Smokey, is amazingly doing well considering her condition! She is still eating and drinking (lots of protein with her crumble) and even likes to preen herself still. She is such a good girl and handles all my care well. This is just unbelievably trying. Please help if you can. I will try to get a picture later, she is sleeping now.
  2. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2010
    It seems like he should have given you a course of antibiotics. It also seems like there should be something you could flush the wound with. I wouldn't use any more of the peroxide right now. There have been some pretty horrific injuries and to the bone on this forum and as far as I know they recovered. It's amazing what chickens can survive. Now the fact that she's eating and drinking says something hugely about how this is not necessarily a sure mortality. Many wounds this severe can heal over and feather over. A bird who is injured severely enough will go into shock and die. They won't be eating and drinking like your girl. Keep searching the forum, post a picture of the wound if you can, go to the feed store and ask to talk to their chicken specialist. Better yet, ask the doctor for a good sort of antiseptic flush and some more antibiotics. Keep her in a clean, comfy, warm place and keep her eating and drinking as much as she can. A good supplement might also aid her to recover.
  3. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    Could the green coloration be bruising? Chickens bruise in green instead of in the color we commonly associate with bruises. The injection the vet gave the chicken is likely a massive dose that should deal with any nasties brewing since the wound was so fresh. Vets can't stitch a wound that is older than 12-24 hours old because of the risk of sealing in an infection/debris and causing abscesses down the line. As long as the wound doesn't show any overt signs of infection- angry redness, lots of heat, a sudden increase in oozing, a foul odor- I would not worry about an infection at this point. (Worry is interest paid on trouble not yet due.) You need to concentrate on healing her and lowering your own stress level. She has an awful wound, but chickens survive some devastating wounds all the time, so she can survive this. Keep her in a quiet, dim, warm, non-drafty area with access to plenty of high protein foods and water. Give her BOSS, yogurt, some scrambled eggs, maybe switch her feed to a grower formula with a higher protein content, meal worms, bits of leftover meat, maybe a little cat food in limited quantities, high protein snacks. Add some organic ACV to her water to help rebuild her intestinal bug load (yogurt will also help to do this). As far as the daily care for the wound goes- call the vet and ask him to tell you exactly what he wants you to do. Ask him:

    Wouldn't it be a better course of action to do the cleanings with a weak salt water solution? Why or why not? (He may have a rationale for why he wants to use soap and water, but what is it? [In humans, long-standing, uninfected wounds are cleaned with saline.])

    Why no Neosporin? Does he have a cream available (Silvadene comes to mind) to keep the area moist? (Moist wounds heal faster than wounds that are allowed to dry out.)

    Should you continue with some sort of antibiotic treatment? Why or why not? (This question is mostly just to ease your mind as to why he just did a one shot deal and not a daily oral antibiotic.)

    You paid him to treat the bird, so a phone call shouldn't cost you any more and he should be obligated to clarify some of his points.

    Lastly, take a deep breath and try to relax. A nice hot shower always helps me. You can treat this injury. It is going to be a long slow process for her to heal, but it will happen. She is getting excellent care, so she will likely survive. Keep her inside until the wound is healed or nearly so. If it is at all possible to bring a friend in when she is feeling better I would recommend doing so. Flock animals heal faster with a friend close by to chat them up while they are in the hospital.

    Good luck.
  4. Sjisty

    Sjisty Scribe of Brahmalot

    May 18, 2009
    Hi -

    It sounds like you are doing the right thing. Take the doctor's advice and let nature do the rest. Chickens are tough little beasties!

    My dark Brahma, Frack, last year was gored on both sides down to bone. Her skin on the worse side, the right, was just hanging like an empty pocket. The muscles and flesh were torn and you could see bone. The injury on the right side was about 3 inches long and it gapped all the way down her side. I soaked her in a sink of warm water to wash any dirt out. I tried ointment, but the next day when she took a dirt bath you wouldn't believe the mess stuck to the wound because of the ointment! After another couple of soaks two days in a row trying to get all the dirt out, I decided to keep her inside for a while. I never bandaged her because I just couldn't figure out how.

    I kept checking her wound, which stayed dry and scabbed over. One more time I soaked her in the sink because the scab seemed to have dirt in it and what feathers were left were stuck so she seemed a bit uncomfortable. This was about 3 or 4 days after the initial injury.

    To make a long story short, Frack healed nicely. Her side never looked quite normal, but after almost a year finally grew in enough feathers to cover. There is still an area that doesn't have feathers. I think the follicles were torn away and so it has stayed bare under her right wing.

    Frack is now my "house chicken." She comes in every day to lay her eggs and occasionally comes in just to visit for a while. She decided to go brooder over the summer in my kitchen in her crate and hatched several foster-babies.

    I never gave her any antibiotics because the wound always looked good, aside from the dirt. I did give her extra protein in the form of mealworms. Unless you lift up her wing, you would never know that she was ever injured.
  5. jemmerson

    jemmerson Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 2, 2010
    Thank you all so very very much with all of your input. I can't tell you enough how much it means to me! GMV, I am going straight to the vet with all those questions. Thank you! Thank you! I will keep you all posted. And by the way, Smokey layed an egg this morning!!! Phenomenal.
  6. wood&feathers

    wood&feathers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2009
    E. KY
    What gets into our roosters in the fall after molt!?

    My little RIR hen Boldy just suffered a similar injury last Friday. I went in after dark and swabbed the would with Blu Kote. Her wing concealed the true scale of the injury since I was treating in bad light out in the coop. She doesn't have bone showing, but a large area where the skin has drawn away, leaving just muscle. There is a small area where you can almost see her insides. It wasn't until Sunday night I really realized how bad the wound was.

    That night I gave her a long bath and trimmed feathers away from the wound. Then the Blu Kote, some wound powder to dry, and the next morning some SWAT ointment (it is hot here right now, lots of flies). She has been spending the nights in a cage inside, then going out with the flock all day. When she dust bathes she seems to keep that side up and I haven't noticed much foreign matter washing out of the wound each evening. I bring her in at sunset and give her a bath. She really likes it now and falls asleep as I flush the wound. Then she sits in someone's lap or wanders around sightseeing for a little while. I wish I had a video of her walking around the kitchen after her bath - she nearly gave herself whiplash looking everywhere.

    Just last night there appeared a sort of pinkish film in the center of the wound. It looks like healthy new tissue, but does it normally appear in the center like that?

    Anyway, I put a saddle on her to protect from further injury. Then Monday night, after I realized just how awful a wound it was and how little protects her from being gutted, I twisted off the rooster's spurs.

    Me, I would be in the hospital with an injury like that!! Boldy is limping a little, and taking a lot of little breaks hiding from the roo. She is even laying better than the rest, probably due to spending evenings in a lit up house! Amazing critter!
  7. Qi Chicken

    Qi Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2009
    We had a dog attack recently and got a lot of the same advice you are getting. Ours recovered well, in fact a week and a half later, all the scabs have fallen off the hen and you can see her feathers growing back in. They noticably lengthen every day. It's kind of amazing.

    Our roo was worse off, his tail feathers were mostly gone and his rear end was kind of detached. His back also turned a terrible shade of green. I thought I detected an odor to it. HOWEVER, at this time I did not know that chickens bruise green. mypicklebird said that bruising would be bright green.

    Our roos back was definitely green (kind of like the green sheen on salmon skin) and a vet friend of mine said that pseudomonas (a nasty bacteria) has a green sheen to it. Our regular vet did not see the bird but gave us oral baytril. I am not sure how much he is getting as it is hard to get it in his mouth but we did try.

    My vet friend also said that silvadene would be better than neosporin. She recommended it when I told her about the green part. He really started to heal after we started that. Purely conjecture that the silvadene and antibiotics had anything to do with it though. Maybe the bruise was just fading.

    Silvadene is a salve usually used for people, mostly with severe burns. I think I paid around 10$ for a fairly small tube. If you have a dr. friend they can call it in for you. I picked it up at our regular pharmacy. The label said Junie Stephens (Chicken). Our roo's name is Junie B Jones and our last name is Stephens. [​IMG] When I went back to get regular people medicine they asked if I was the one with the chicken. Something new at the pharmacy that day!

    Ours were kind of like yours. Eating well and drinking, all happy. Nobby was laying her eggs as usual. I think this can give you some peace of mind that there are not internal injuries that you have not detected. Once they started healing (I would say it took about a week) It seemed to happen REALLY fast. I hope your chicken is fine. The signs all point in that direction!

    One word of caution: A few nights ago we were squirting the hens back with iodine and I turned around and she was DRINKING it. Keep the lid on that.

    Just FYI We have been squirting with dilute iodine (getting more dilute every day) and then squirting with water to get the iodine off sensitive skin, then putting on the silvadene cream daily. The vet said to continue this with the roo until it was more of a flesh wound not a gaping hole type thing.
  8. Qi Chicken

    Qi Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2009
    PS A week after the dog attack my husband had to go out of town. It is a 2 person job, one to hold the chicken and the other to clean and put on cream. Because he was going to be gone I thought I would spray them with blue kote and put them back with the others. Both my friend and our regular vet recommended against that. Both said it was Nasty Stuff. I will ask more questions about that but essentially they thought it would be too irritating on a wound that big. I ended up having my 6 year old help me (I held and she squirted) and it went fine.
  9. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2010
  10. jemmerson

    jemmerson Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 2, 2010
    Thanks all for the input. smile I followed up with my vet and he said the reason for only washing the wound with mild sop and water was just to keep it clean and to mostly stimulate healing/skin growth on the area by the water pouring from the faucet onto it. I wash it twice a day. He didn't want to have neosporin or anything put on it because he thought the wound should stay dry in my case to keep out bacteria. So far I think it's working just fine. I also think keeping the wound dry helps keep flies at bay. I also did get Baytril shots so that I can give her one every day for 5 more days including today. I have to call and follow up with him before I get more if needed. I think she is going to make it at this point. Whew!

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