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Wounded goose with maggots HELP!

 
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Howdy!
I know, I generally offer advice, but I'm in a sad quandary.
I have/had a broody goose, the one who is the most maternal and smallest, smartest in the gaggle. She brooded her current nest until Saturday. She stayed under the porch, where I kept an eye on her but didn't bother her.
I feel guilty for not bothering her.
Sunday she broke her sit and started out with the rest of the gaggle. She was walking gingerly and had a curious amount of what I had assumed was mud (it's been raining and soggy/muddy for awhile here).
I, again, feel guilty for not checking on her.
I cleaned the nest out of the two remaining eggs, both BAD, and noted that the third egg that had been there had broken in/around the nest.

Yesterday, she didn't go out with the gaggle for their late day grazing. She was walking slowly, but not wanting to get anywhere. The "mud" had spread, and I finally got close enough to her to smell ... the BAD egg that had broken. I took a quick glance. That was all I needed. I had her tucked under an arm and was up to the front steps to get her some space and quiet.
My husband gathered supplies and held her while I debrided what I could, and we "swished" her around in some clean water to try to knock off some of the maggots that were infesting her. She got a good spray with isopropyl alcohol to try and help kill some of the mess, but there was just too much damage to take in or thoroughly clean, and I was unprepared. When we set her down, she joined the flock and was doing the bird version of "I'm FINE. Go Away."

Today I've been doing research and watching her behavior. I'm firmly of the "Give them a chance" and "If I wouldn't easily and voluntarily go through a procedure, I won't force a critter to either" schools of thought. She's moving slowly, but is alive and moving. My research effectively and graphically said if I didn't clear or kill all the maggots, she's effectively dead. I know I didn't clear them. I don't think I could have killed them all, without more extensive treatment.
I'm currently torn between, 1. If she's still alive, should I treat her thoroughly, now that I know more and have gathered the supplies? Or should I euthanize her to stop the pain?
                                               and
                                                2. If she's alive but obviously suffering, should I bother attempting to clean the wound? I can put her down quickly, which sounds like the better option, but I don't know how well critters in general heal from fly strike. She's been a fighter, overcoming a number of difficulties in the past couple of years, so I want to honor that drive, but also want to honor the critter.

Seriously, HELP! I'm of two minds about this and want to be mentally prepared for going out to the yard and what I may be focused on doing.

 
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Flystrike is NOT a death sentence! And it sounds like your goose could recover.
But you DO need to get rid of all the maggots.
You will need to wash and wash and wash the wound, irrigate it with betadine or salt water solutions. You will need to pick off (and out!) the maggots and isolate the bird, preferably indoors, for a time where they can't get more flies on them, that way you can catch maggots as they hatch out. Spray the bird down with permethrin under the wings like you're treating for poultry lice - it might help with the maggots.
After the maggots are gone you're faced with good old fashioned basic wound care - neosporin no pain relief, daily washing, etc.

Pictures could also help.
 
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Personally, I'd probably try again, to get them all and heal her, then watch her like a hungry hawk. Often, animals will rebound and still be very happy (even if she does end up with a limp), and if she doesn't, you'd at least know in your heart you'd done all you could. If you don't, you'll always wonder. If she doesn't get better, or worsens, you can still put her down, as soon as you can see that she's really not going to make it.
 
Kristine Keeney
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Thank you!

I don't know that I have pyrethrum, but I may have something similar. Betadine and saline, Epsom salts and buckets of water, as well as a surgical kit (from when I was a vet tech), and other things to be discovered in the "animal care" box are also available.
Thank you for the installation of backbone!
I can get pictures when I bring her inside. I'll go prepare a tote for her to rest and recover in - easily done with pine pellet horse bedding and blankets.

Washing and picking and tweezers are all doable.
Thank you for Hope. I had worked myself into a state. I had forgotten the First Rule of Critter Care - "do all things with hope and understanding". I guess I got caught at the 'DO' part of it.

Pictures incoming.
 
Kristine Keeney
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Thank you!

I have often treated the chickens with a quick bath, a quick evaluation, and a puff of BlueKoat or magical blue dust.
I have more than one hen who has survived awful wounds because I was willing and able to act immediately.

Really, thank you for your words of hope and motivation. I can't say how much I appreciate the both of you for responding so quickly and giving me a kick in the motivation.
I really appreciate it!
 
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I don't know if it still exists but there used to be a bright purple spray for treating pink eye and wounds.(don't remember the name of it.)  The maggots would fight to get out of the wound where they were easy to pick off.  If you find it and use it be aware you need to keep that chicken apart from the flock as the other birds will attack the color and will end up killing the wounded bird.

 
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I would put a bunch of DE in her nest as well.
 
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When our rooster had a mild-ish case of Flystrike (in other words, he wasn't dead already), we soaped him up really good, dried him up really good, and covered his butt with diatomaceous earth. In the process of cleaning him, we also cut off all his butt feathers so it would be easier to keep him clean. We put DE all through his coop, and kept washing and drying and applying more DE to his bum. He pulled through! (We didn't use any sort of insecticide/pesticide or medication, other than diatomaceous earth.)
 
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Howdy Kristine! Just wanted to provide more reassurance that she can bounce back. I've never dealt with it in a bird, but my cat got maggots once after getting bitten on the butt by a coyote. They were really deep in there, at least half an inch. I was not as brave or confident a soul as you, so I took her to the vet. They removed all of them and sent us home. We cleaned her wound daily with antibiotic wipes from the vet and applied a plantain and calendula salve. She was fine in a couple weeks.
You've got this. Hope your feathered friend is feeling better in no time!
 
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Pull out those old vet tech boots!

Soak in saline/epsom salt water and dig out the tweezers.

You already know what to watch for as far as infection (elevated temperature, pus, discoloration, heat in limb) and that if the leg/foot turns cold or blackens that you have reached the point of no return.

Soaking/drowning the maggots is likely the best option, done with long soaks, perhaps extended swims in the bathtub? Keeping the bird in a fly free area with the wound uncovered is ideal. They "say" maggots will only eat dead tissue, not so sure I buy that, so I am always about total removal.

Contrary to many I would NOT use alcohol/hydrogen peroxide due to the pain and damage they inflict when used on open wounds or raw tissue. I would stick with a clear salve, ideally something like viaderm, but any ointment (not cream) based antibiotic like polysporin should do.

IF impossible to keep in a fly free area, then cover with a telfa (non stick) pad then loosely wrapped in gauze and topped with vet wrap; but open and uncovered would be ideal.
 
Kristine Keeney
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Hey, All.

I appreciate all the lovely advice and boost from y'all. I did dig out and sterilize all of my gear, and gather all the medications we had talked about.
I'm not sure why this circumstance was different for me. (Maybe because I wasn't sure when the initial event happened? I may never know.)
I've sewn the tip of a thumb back onto my husband, and stitched up our dogs over the years. Putting my critters back together isn't something I'm generally shy about doing.

While actually enjoying a "spa bath" of warm, moving water and Epsom salts while I picked maggots and debrided damaged tissue, Magellan died. She passed quietly and I'd like to think that she knew I was trying to help.

Thank you, everyone who has been part of this thread. I do appreciate your experience, expertise and willingness to (kindly) tell me to get off my motivation and go do something.
The pictures I had been taking during my last treatment of her aren't of use, except to show how little I had been aware of her situation. I think the triggering incident happened last week, around mid-week. Her treatment yesterday was helpful, in part, but also not as effective as it could have been.

Again, thank you all so very much.
 
Kristine Keeney
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Howdy!
I don't remember a bright purple spray, but I also firmly believe in the power of bright colors to help medically minded people spot pre-treated wounds and check on them. Bright purple would never be accidentally considered part of most livestock's coloration, so very easy to spot.
I'll keep an eye out for it. You never know when something like that might be of use.

Thank you for the kind suggestion.
 
Kristine Keeney
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Howdy!
We recently purchased a "giant economy sized" bag of DE because the one I have been using was running low.
I use it for the broody chickens, treating nests, dosing their sand pit, and dusting the fire ant mounds in easily accessible areas.

I have used it when one broody, the hen who hatched a gosling this year, was being eaten by fire ants and still refused to leave her eggs. (She's one of the few with a name for that reason.)

I have also used it when the pullets pecked the tail off of my current Main Rooster while he was a cockerel. He wouldn't let me near him with the Wonder Dust, but DE was okay.

Thank you so very  much for your kind suggestion.
 
Kristine Keeney
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Howdy!

Once I started thinking, instead of reacting, I made her a 5 gallon Epsom salts spa in the bath tub. She seemed to enjoy it and was relaxing into the water. I was doing the patience thing with removing all the nastiness - reminded me of sorting fruit flies in my uni biology class labs.

I think the use of the isopropyl was more of a *OMG What to do!* reaction on my husband's part. To be fair, being presented with large maggoty poultry will throw a wrench into anyone's train of thought.
We keep that spray bottle for disinfecting the kitchen and anything else that might need sterilization. As he firmly believes that treating wounds with isopropyl is a Good Thing (we all have our little quirks), I figured it couldn't hurt given the extent of the damage.

Today, with a clearer head, I wouldn't use H2O2 or isopropyl for fear of sending her into traumatic shock. Any of the iodine compounds (of which it turned out I have 2, the old favorite Betadine, and one of the older dropper bottles of medical iodine tincture) would be preferable, and less damaging, though I wouldn't turn a bird so treated out into the larger flock. But, yes. I would have used the Betadine as a rinse before applying one of the many antibiotic ointments and a loose bandage. (It turned out I have three different antibiotic ointments. I definitely need to clean and reorder my kit!)

Thank you so much for your kind suggestions and thoughts. I do appreciate them.
 
Kristine Keeney
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Howdy!
Mammals are easier to treat, imo, because they are so similar to us in basic reactions and responses. There are many differences in tolerances and what you generally shouldn't do, but the basics are the same. It's safer to deal with and that makes it easier.

Birds, because of their higher metabolism and more complicated potential reactions, can be tricky. I'm never sure which way to go with birds - do I over compensate and do the more complete and stressful thing (or take them to a vet for the same)? Or do I just treat the symptoms in a slapdash way and call it good?

I have given birds who had awful wounds a quick bath, a dusting of DE or Wonder Dust, and some sort of bandage or covering. After a night in the "Hospital Tote" , they were good to go and I let them back into the flock. After a few days, it can be tough to see the differences unless they have a limp or some other permanent change.
After the Big Freeze we had here in Texas, both roosters and a few of the hens lost a good portion of their combs, and one hen lost all of her toes (I really need to get a picture of her!). There were other bits lost to gangrene thanks to frost bite, but those were scary enough. Not a bird lost, though I was kept busy for a time. I would have thought that was too much stress and the possibility of infections and rampant troubles was amazing. But, I smeared the damaged areas with udder balm, or other medicated ointment, and used an antibiotic ointment on the nearby healthy tissue, and they were okay.

Then you have today. She actually looked much better when I brought her inside to start the more thorough treatment.
I can see where I made several mistakes and will be careful to not make those mistakes next time.

Mammals, I understand. Birds confuse the expletive out of me.
Thank you very much for your kind words and thoughts. I really do appreciate them.
 
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I'm very sorry for your loss - it sounds like the infection was well advanced by the time you got to it. Flystrike is treatable, even when it's severe, but the infections can wreak havoc. <3 I'm sorry you had to go through with that.
 
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I'm so sorry that you lost her.

Lorinne Anderson wrote:They "say" maggots will only eat dead tissue, not so sure I buy that, so I am always about total removal.



I do not have the source information... I read somewhere that there are maggots that do eat good live flesh and maggots that will not. The only way to tell them apart is under a microscope. At this point, I filed maggots under the SHTF don't use for wound debriding file.
 
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The purple spray that was mentioned is an antifungal known as "gentian violet".

I have used this many times over the years for just about any animal I have ever owned from horses, dogs, goats, etc.

It is really great stuff.

I am not sure it can be bought nowadays but it is probably an ingredient in several solutions available.  Using in a spray bottle keeps you from turning purple.  
 
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Just also wanted to add it is pretty difficult to drown maggots in my experience with reusable fly traps.
 
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So sorry for Magellan's passing, Kristine.
It does sound as if the problem was far advanced when you discovered it, and the best treatment in the world would not have saved her. A gentle passing enjoying a bath is the best gift you could have given her.
 
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Anne Miller wrote: "gentian violet"


Besides the usual online sources, you should be able to get it via a pharmacy, new mothers often use it for thrush in baby's mouth. generally comes in a tiny bottle. I also put it in my shampoo in the winter to help with itching, we used to use it in hoof care for horses, it's good stuff but it can sting, so beware if you're using it on an open wound. Will stain everything as much as it possibly can and there's no easily getting it off, so use with great caution (in my house the rule is over the stainless steel sink or outside and with gloves, no exceptions).
 
                  
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I had this happen to a dog once.  Here is what worked, via emergency advice from a good vet.

Put the goose in the shower.  Trust me on this.  There will be so many maggots, you won't want them on the ground\porch\you.

Use warm water, preferably from a flexible shower head, but you could just cup water from the tap and pour it on her.

Give her a good rinse to remove dirt.  Maggots can't exactly burrow into your flesh, but use a glove if this freaks you out.

Take the lice shampoo and wash her in it from the neck down.  You have to start at the neck.

TRUST me on this.  The second the maggots feel that shampoo, they are going to bolt for high ground!  If she's not wearing the shampoo around her neck, they will crawl up her neck and settle elsewhere like eyes and nose.  

When they bolt, it will look like a horror movie- not for the faint of heart.

My dog had a tiny one crawl behind his eye while I was washing him and he got an eye infection from it.

Then finish off the entire rest of the bird.  MAKE sure you coat EVERY patch of her skin and every feather from the neck down.  You will need to make sure you wash the exterior of whatever a gooses anus is called.  (I can't spell it, though I know the word.  In a hurry to get this to you.)  If you don't the maggots will find that place and settle there\build a new colony.  

MAKE sure and get the shampoo into every crack and crevice!  

The reason I say that is my dog had a colony in the fur of his chest.  He was an active sheep dog and always out chasing\hunting something.  He got a tiny cut on his chest and this attracted flies.  The maggots started to eat his skin in an ever bigger pattern centered around that cut.  They did not burrow, just irritated his skin

We shaved him clean, but some of the maggots settled in the folds of his paws where I had not thought to treat him! Had to treat him one more time and get every crack and crevice.

Generally, maggots won't lay on a live animal that's healthy.  But if they are attracted by a bad egg or a wound, they will.  A bird is going to be as bad as my curly haired dog because of all those feathers.  And her skin will be irritated by their munching.  They don't actually burrow in because the immune system will repel them.  Instead they irritate the skin and eat just the top level, leaving it to ooze like a rug burn.

Lice shampoo will work wonders and wipe these... these maggots out.  (So tempted to call them something else.

Check her over real good and make sure you get all her skin from neck down to the bottom of her feet.  Then you can rinse her and if you got ALL her feathers and skin from the neck down, she should be ok.  

Set her somewhere she can rest quietly and make sure she stays clean.  Flies will be attracted to that sore skin for a while yet.  Don't hesitate to give her another lice shampoo if she shows maggots again.  It should not hurt her.  It has ingredients from pine trees that are non-toxic to skin, but death on insects.  

In you leave even a small amount of skin untreated, or a feather not coated, THAT'S where they will setup shop again!

I know this is utterly gross, but the good news is the goose will recover and be fine.

Just don't do this on a full stomach...  Seriously gross.  
 
Lorinne Anderson
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I would be cautious using a shampoo for lice on a dog, for a bird, they can be super sensitive, and depending on the "medicinal ingredients", such a shampoo COULD be fatal for a bird.

The second issue is that if one were to "shampoo" a bird one would strip the bird of it's waterproofing, which could also be fatal.
Without being water proof their down gets wet leading to an inability to keep warm (regardless of it being summer...) and literally cause hypothermia.

Sadly, the goose in question has passed.  I only address this due to the severe complications that could result if someone in a similar situation were to follow this suggestion and an inappropriate medicated shampoo were used.

Please never assume cat/dog/mammal products are appropriate for birds.
 
Carla Burke
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I'm so sorry, Kristine. They become family, and it's hard, losing them...
 
Kristine Keeney
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Hi.
Yeah, losing Magellan has made me paranoid about the health and safety of the geese. The chickens are tough and not shy about asking for help.

She was 3 years old and this was her 2nd clutch. She was the smartest and the smallest goose in the gaggle. She was a pet and I will/do miss her.

Patty (the current name for the Very Confused Large Chicken) is her child by blood. I'm trying to not make a pet of of Patty, but even goslings do have personalities and are so wonderfully derpy about things.

Big Goose (one of the ganders) has a scabbed over wound on his tum, so I have been treating it with medication. Even though it's scabbed and he's a LOT of goose to be arguing with.
Basically, I'll miss Magellan as she was one of the first 5 geese I have had the privilege of knowing and raising.

If my experience with her can help others, and me, from making that series of mistakes again? It's worth it.  
Front-yard-geese-relaxing-2020.jpg
The entire gaggle last year
The entire gaggle last year
IMG_20210623_100346140.jpg
Magellan on her nest in Late June
Magellan on her nest in Late June
 
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How to prevent fly strike in sitting birds

I’m sorry you lost her. Unfortunately, losing animals for various weird reasons is a big part of farm life. There are so many things to learn about each animal and even specific breeds have their issues. Sitting fowl are very vulnerable and some die doing it or shortly thereafter.
It sounds to me that your goose died from “sitting fly strike”, which occurs when bad eggs start oozing or good eggs break and attract flies, which lay eggs on the egg. Maggots hatch and eat the egg first, if they can get through the shell, then attack the sitting bird. When a bad egg explodes under a sitting bird, the belly of the bird is plastered with sticky, tasty maggot food. There can be many types of flies laying eggs and some maggots eat live flesh, right into the organs.

So what can we do to prevent some deaths?

-If an egg breaks in the nest at any time, for whatever reason, you need to clean all the eggs, the bird and replace nesting material. Wash the bird with Dawn and blow dry. If there are maggots present, wash with shampoo containing permethrin, which is safe for fowl. Check human lice shampoos or dog flea and tick shampoos in your country.  
-Write with indelible marker on the eggs you want her to hatch. Other birds may add to the nest, some birds steal and add to their own nest. Any egg that appears three days after she starts sitting, is not going to hatch because she will abandon it 2-3 days after the others start hatching. Remove the newcomers, hatch them yourself or eat them.
-If the bird kicks an egg out of the nest, candle it before putting it back in. Some birds remove dead eggs, some good eggs may get accidentally moved out. Candle to be sure. Dead eggs make great compost.
-Only leave an appropriate clutch. Extra eggs risk breakage and rot, which attracts flies and predators.
-Candle the eggs on day 12 to make sure they are growing. By day twelve you will be able to see veins clearly. If they have a crack or are not growing, compost or feed them to livestock.
-Protect your bird from predators as best you can.
-Place food and water nearby to encourage intake. Some birds sit and stay, some take breaks. Make it easy for them to care for themselves during this draining process.
Happy hatching!
 
My favorite is a chocolate cupcake with white frosting and tiny ad sprinkles.
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