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Chicken limping but does not appear to be a leg issue--- Anyone who can help pin point what's up?  RSS feed

 
Tirzah Schmaltz
Posts: 29
Location: NWA
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Maybe 3ish weeks ago feeding the girls, I accidentally stepped on one's foot. Shortly thereafter a hen was limping and assumed it was my fault. BUT, that hen continued limping and it seems to have gotten progressively worse. She will step normally with the right foot, but the left she lifts slightly to the side in an exaggerated motion shaking the foot quickly before it touches back down of the ground. (Almost like some of it is a nervous tick.)  It has continued to get more exaggerated and because it moves out to the side a bit when she does all this it seemed perhaps it was some orthopedic thing in the "hip" area and not the hen whose foot was briefly stepped on at all. There aren't many vets round here period- let alone an avian orthopedist.

Fast forward to tonight. Chooks are happily free ranging and this girl catches the eye. Seems even a tiny bit more severe tonight. ...Wait! Now there's a pink featherless lump between her lower midline and the top of the thigh when she's at just the right angle. Have not seen that before and am always watching for her. She is a tough cookie go getter who forages with the best of them and does not let her handicap slow her down at all. In fact, catching her to check it out was the hardest catch of any of them to date. Took two okay photos and it was hard. The only way to do it alone was lay her on her back so the lump is flatter and less impressive than in real life.

It kinda has an egg shape but doesn't feel to these novice hands to be an egg It also doesn't look any pinker or feel any hotter than the self plucked areas on the broody hens here. Soaked her in some epsom salt and sprayed it with Vetericyn (or similar) and returned her to the flock as she was uber feisty and NOT impressed with any attempts to assist her! So far unable to find a match for her issue on the www. Any experience with this? Help is greatly appreciated. Thanking you in advance. Sincerely, Tirzah.
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Elizabeth Griffith
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I will apologize up front: If this is what it looks like, it could be pretty bad.
I do not think it is egg binding.
It looks like a minor vent prolapse. If a prolapse gets worse, it can be fatal.  There could be an egg involved
I have a link to a site with a fairly tame picture and a set of instruction on how to reverse the prolapse.
A vet can do this is they accept chickens.

So, here is the tale of Anna the chicken:
http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/04/prolapse-vent-causes-treatment-graphic.html

P.S. Anna recovers.

A video of prolapse with egg: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vveBgm_Cc7Q
Merck Veterinary Manual page: http://www.merckvetmanual.com/poultry/disorders-of-the-reproductive-system/prolapse-of-the-oviduct-in-poultry

A vet would be the best one to make the call on this issue.

I hope your hen gets better!
 
Tirzah Schmaltz
Posts: 29
Location: NWA
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Elizabeth, I had already seen the article in the link. It's hard because in the photos my hen in laying on her back but her lump is much less angry appearing and down on the bottom of her body not next to the vent. Plus she acts totally healthy and looks lovely except for the limp and lump. I am mystified.

Jim, it's hard but think there is some wisdom there. Once worked for a gov't agency that dispatched animal control. A lady turned in an injured bird and wanted to be there the day it was rehabbed. Same thing happened as to the rabbit which left the woman screaming and freaking out and the animal control officer at a loss to console her,
 
Deb Rebel
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She may have a tumor, a hernia.... a benign cyst. 

She may live for a goodly while yet and be a happy chicken, or it will drag her down quickly. It is a decision on whether or not to find a veterinarian-though if there is a veterinary school near you they might take her as a teaching case and not charge you. In the end quality of life should be the important issue.

I have spent $100 twice to have male gerbils neutered. I didn't want a gerbil explosion. The first male lived about 3 years after that-he was done at about a year old, his son who was a year younger and was also done at a year old, lived another year and a half. They were kept with females but no litter after litter anymore. They were in my office next to my computer and entertained me a lot with their antics, great therapy.

There was a seal they did a rehab on, many thousands, they released it and an Orca leaped up and took it less than a minute after release. I have seen that footage. I would think if you spent that much time and money rehabbing an animal at least release them right next to or in, cover or a protected place.
 
Elizabeth Griffith
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I am happy that it doesn't seem to be a prolapse.

The shape makes me think egg binding, but it is so low.
If it is a cyst, a warm bath may help - if you can get to into it.

I am sorry, Tirzah, I have nothing definite for you.







 
Todd Parr
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I hope your chicken is okay.
 
Tirzah Schmaltz
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Location: NWA
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Sincere thanks, everyone. Been soaking her and watching. It is so low as to not seem vent related, and other than the limp one would never know there is any issue 'til that cyst-ish thing showed up. Ugh. Will keep looking.
 
Marcus Billings
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Hello Tirzah,

Based on your post, it seems your not sure if the one you stepped on is this hen?  Hard to tell in the picture, but I agree that it's in the wrong spot for prolapse.  (I am by no means an expert on prolapse, only saw it once and it wasn't my bird).  It seems to be to more prevalent on one side.  Is that the same side the chicken limps on?  I've seen a lot of sprained chicken legs and they don't look like that.  However, it can be hard to tell if the limp and the swelling are connected.  Could you tell us what the swollen area feels like?

Good Luck
 
Tirzah Schmaltz
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Location: NWA
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Sorry, rural www was too slow to get on here last couple days. Don't think this is necessarily the hen whose one foot I stepped on as that was so quick and this has gotten progressively worse. Watching her even more closely recently, wondering if that naked lump isn't simply irritation from where her left foot rubs her lower body when she pulls it up and kicks/wiggles it as what appears to be a "nervous tick?" To the touch the spot is soft and warm... feels very much like the bald area a broody hen makes on herself which sitting on eggs- soft, bald, and warm. I have soaked her in a warm epsom bath and sprayed Vetericyn or similar on it. But, Honey! She does NOT appreciate being handled no way no how for any reason. No sign that she is in pain as she is quite the go-getter in spite of it all. Inclined to Deb Rebel's guesses, or just that it is irritation from that foot rubbing. Wish there was a chicken neurologist who had a sure explanation. She does not appear to be in "pain" that can be noted. If it does get to a point that that was a issue, humane action of whatever the appropriate sort is would be taken. But, as she appears to be dealing with it and not held back by it, just monitoring for now. Thank you everyone for the concern and attention to the issue. Much appreciated. I love my little hen.
 
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