I bundled Betty & Mabel into their wicker carrier and headed off to our appointment. The receptionist wasn't sure what bumble foot was. As popular as backyard chicken keeping currently is in the UK, hens are not a regular at veterinary clinics and consultations are often an amalgamation of chicken keeper experience and veterinary knowledge.
The vet was very receptive to my internet babble, as she looked at the girls' feet. Betty's black plug was more raised than Mabel's, rather like a scab on your knee when it's ready to come off, raised and puffy. When she pulled it off there was, as text books would have it, cheesy cream-like pus and blood.
She said that Betty's feet seemed worse but Mabel was the one who was limping. Bet's other foot and both of Mabel's were not as forthcoming, so the vet left them and suggested I remove them at home.
As bumble foot is a bacterial infection (it seems to involve bacteria that live quite normally on the outside of the foot which get inside through a cut or damaged foot) the girls had antibiotic injections and an antiseptic wash to be used twice a day. Mabel also had some pain killers, to be administered orally (fun!) as she was obviously finding one of her feet quite sore to walk on.
The girls behaved themselves, mostly. Betty lay down on the table and considered a nap, Mabel stared at her surroundings and tried to eat the needle as the vet injected her. She has been labeled 'feisty' by the vet and I'm sure they've marked her card 'trouble maker' for future reference.
When we arrived home, I settled down to remove the remaining plugs. I didn't use a blade, I donned gloves and eased the edge of the plugs up and pulled them off. I was surprised to discover that one of Mabel's and the remaining one of Bet's had no hole or pus under it. Mabel's other one bled but no gloop came out. I am totally confused about whether this is a good or a bad sign.
|Mabel's foot the day after the vet's visit. |
Minus black plug and three antiseptic washes under our belts.
All four feet were cleaned with the antiseptic wash and washed with water after 10 minutes. This is repeated twice a day. We're back to the vets on Friday for another antibiotic injection.
|My preferred chicken grappling position for foot cleaning.|
And in case you're wondering, the oral pain killers took over 5 minutes to administer and I ended up wearing quite a lot of it.