Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Dealing with Bumblefoot

So... what is bumblefoot anyway?

Bumblefoot is an infection of the foot (No joke; shocking isn't it?).  Most often it is caused by staph infection. When a chicken gets an abrasion on the bottom pad of its foot, often caused by a splinter or by scratching on the ground, the abrasion can allow bacteria to enter the foot pad.

The tell tale sign of bumblefoot is a dark, crusty scab on the bottom of the foot that doesn't go away on its own.  It is often followed by swelling of the foot, then toes, then up the leg.  Hopefully, you can catch it and address it before it gets that far.  Bumblefoot, like any infection, can be fatal if allowed to spread to the blood stream.

So... I noticed Wilma, my White Leghorn, was limping a bit and had a swollen foot pad. I was pretty confident as to what I would find when inspecting the bottom of her foot. Yep, you guessed it... that dark, crusty scab.

Well, first I had to give her a bath to determine what was dried mud and what was not.  It's been so rainy here lately.  After a nice (in my opinion, not her's) bath and foot inspection, it was easy to see the scab and surrounding hard, swollen area.  On a side note, when a chicken has a pocket of infection, it is generally hard and calcified.

Wilma, post bath and ready her foot inspection.

So, next in the process is to get together the required tools and sanitize them. Cuticle scissors work best for me, along with some tweezers.  I lift the edge of the scab with the scissors and kind of sweep under it feeling for a lump while squeezing gently on the foot pad. The kernel will often pop out or at least begin to rise to the surface. Sometimes it comes out in one big piece, sometimes a few small pieces... sometimes both.

Removing the kernel
"The Kernel" and smaller pieces of kernels
So, after all this is done, I flush the wound with peroxide and treat with triple antibiotic ointment WITHOUT PAIN RELIEVER (very important... pain reliever is toxic to chickens), cover in a gauze pad and sports wrap and give her a quick blow dry since she's still wet from her bath. I follow that with a treatment of Lavender Comb and Wattle Salve since it has a calming effect and give her a few treats as a reward for being such a good girl!

Special thanks to The Chicken Chick for all the great information, instruction and encouragement she provides on how to deal with just about everything chicken related... and also a special thanks to my husband who never freaks out when a sick or injured chicken is brought in the house for special treatment!

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