Thursday, 18 April 2013

Bumble Foot Surgery and Post Op Care

Warning graphic photos of wounds

On Tuesday the three kids and I took Washington down to the Ballina Veterinary Clinic to have minor surgery on her bumble foot. The vet nurses were all glad to see her back again. 
Kirsty, the vet, was so good reading up about the procedure from the links I emailed her. She has never seen a case of it before. Washington was put under with some gas and we picked her up later that day.

Right foot before surgery
I am sooooooo glad that I took her to the vet rather than attempt this surgery at home with one of the kids holding her down. It was a lot more complicated than even the vet thought it would be. I knew the right foot was bad. It was evident from the  blackened circle however the left foot was just as bad once they opened up the tiny speck on the outside.
Left foot before surgery
Yesterday, I went back down with Washington to get wound dressing lessons from the nurses. . They snipped off the right foot bandage and I saw it for myself - the gaping holes in her feet are huge - roughly the size of a Smartie each. Full of necrotic flesh! The right foot bled a bit too. They did the first foot and I made myself do the left foot. I learn best by doing.
Right after before surgery

I have to wear gloves because I could contract the staph infection from the chicken too. They showed me how to fill the void with a syringe for of the antibacterial cream - Flamazine (the Veterycin arrived only after the operation ).  Then put gauze in place and wrap the wound with this amazing stuff called Vetwrap. It can be a bit tricky and sticky with gloves on!

Today I had to dress the wounds by myself at home. I had all the gear ready. Washington flapped around maybe four times (stuff flying everywhere) but for the most part she was patient lying on her side as I cut away yesterday's bandages and re-dressed the wounds. I was sweating profusely and I got a sore neck and back from the tension and posture I had to keep. 
Add caption

I am a bit in awe of vets and nurses now. They are so cool under pressure. My parents are coming to chicken sit while we are away next week, so I have arranged three vet appointments so that they can take her down to be re-dressed by the nurses. My folks are in their twilight years and I just cannot see them managing this job between them. It may be enough for them to try and catch her anyway!
The patient chook patient, Washington. All re-dressed.

I do really pray (and so do the kids) that the infection has been cut out and treated before it spread to Washington's foot bones. After everything she has been through I would be so devastated to see her die from a pine cone puncture wound.

Her first dressing was PINK!
I have done some serious pine cone eradication these past 2 weeks. I must have cleared out about 30 bucketsful of them. Some buried quite deeply in the leaf and needles litter. I also gave some lower branches a prune so that the chickens can get around. 

Washington spent the first night in our bathroom but last night she was back in the hen house and able to sit on the roost. It must have hurt though. Her right foot bandage was a bit bloodied today and she has spent most of the day lying down. I have been out to give her tasty treats and water so she does not have to walk far. She has enjoyed two dust baths though and has been clucking loudly.

Still part of the flock whilst recuperating

Linking up to 'Down Home Blog Hop #33' at Tilly's Nest.


  1. Awww poor girl!....Hope she's on the mend.

  2. I am in awe that Washington has such a kind family to take care of her. I googled Bumble foot and learned something new today. Thank you. Hope she feels perkier soon.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.