Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Help! My hamster has bumble foot on his back left paw, what should I do?

I can't go to the vet, anything else I can do to stop it? How did it start? - he does'nt have a wire bottom on his cage, what else could it be from?Help! My hamster has bumble foot on his back left paw, what should I do?鈥?/a>

Read that, there's a lot of useful info. :3Help! My hamster has bumble foot on his back left paw, what should I do?
First of all, one of the main and difficult culprit organisms involved is Staph aureus. It is an anaerobic bacteria which thrives in the absence of oxygen, such as in an internal wound such as the foot. Its colony also involves usually a hard plug of tissue, which must usually be removed in order for eradication to occur, antibiotics won't just magically cure it unless you get the mass of infection out. In bumblefoot you usually see a black appearing scabby surface, underneath that is a sort of dense, hard waxy plug, sometimes there is a pussy abcess behind that but sometimes not. Other bacteria can be involved, pseudomanas spp, and others, but Staph is usually the main and difficult to cure part of the problem. Staph is sort of always out there and on many of our skin, in soils, but then a wound gives it a place to grow, often in our chooks this is on the base of their feet.

You often read to lance, to me this is not effective, more painful for the bird, and more risky because you put infection possibly into the bloodstream, and make a more complicated wound. What I came across is a method to actually pull out the plug of Staph.

You need a very thick pad of sterile cotton gauze, absolutely drenched with Bactine, which is benzalkonium chloride. You wash the chook's foot with soap and water on a facecloth and try to rub off the black superficial surface scab. Then you put that soaked gauze on the bottom of the foot where the ';bumble'; is, and wrap it up very well with vetrap. So the bactine will really soak into the nearby tissues around the epicenter of the bumble. Bactine is sort of irritating, very slightly ';caustic';, so just be warned about that, I really try to center it on the infected area, but it does need to be soaking. If the chicken had a foot that was all cut up I'd think twice, but generally the rest of the foot seems to tolerate the treatment. Then you leave it for the right amount of time - I have found this to be somewhere just over an hour, when I've left it longer I sort of missed the window and it didn't work and I had to re-soak.

After this approximate generous hour, you take a sterile scalpel blade, and you gently work away the infected mass away at the edges. Kind of like ';picking'; a scab but carefully in away at all edges. You go all the way around the ';bumble';, and pull it toward the center away from the edges as much as you can, being careful to get all of it from the very edge of where the chicken's good tissue begins, and if the bumble is deep, try to peel away from the edges fairly deeply too. When you have the whole thing sort of lifted away from the edge and toward the center, you grab the central mass as deeply as you can with sterile tweezers, and you slowly but firmly pull the whole thing out. In one case, it was sort of like pulling the whole foot pad inside out, it pulled out very deeply, and cleanly. If there is any pus, when you remove the ';plug'; of staph, you should make it possible for the pus to come out.

Now you clean out the hole and area with your preferred strong antiseptic, (I also wash and sterilize down the whole foot with betadine) get some antibiotic stuff in there, and re-bandage. I like to keep the treated chook in a nice area on clean soft bedding, usually scrap towels which can become a full time job to keep clean. You can vetrap and bandage up the foot, but you will need to change this bandage often, as you can cause other skin abrasions between the toes etc if the vetrap is left on too long. You will need to keep other bacteria out of there until the wound is healed.

Now as for antibiotics, this is my two cents. For antibiotic cream for the surface of the wound, IMO it is worth it to get some Mupiricin which is Bactroban from a vet, as that is extremely effective on Staph for the local antibiotic cream. Chlorhexidine as the ';cleaner'; disinfectant you use is also one of top effectiveness on staph, alhthough one vet I saw assured me the Betadine is also fine. IMO chickens will also need a systemic (ie oral or injectible) antibiotic to cure this usually, and of sufficient duration of treatment. If your chicken is very ill from the Staph, maybe Pen G is a good first place, it seems to knock it down quickly, and with minimum stress for the chicken to process the antibiotic, and minimum effect on the GI of the chicken. The first chicken I found bumblefoot in was very ill, refusing egg yolk (imagine that!), and the PenG shot helped her dramatically within 24 hours. The other good first place IMO is erythromycin, in strong enough dosage to be effective, but erythromycin especially oral erythromycin is hard on the GI. The thing about the PenG according to one vet I saw is that it may or not completely eradicate the staph, as after a week or 10 days it MIGHT show some resistance. Now in bumblefoot in my understanding, one mistake is to treat it too short. I don't think there's any hope of a 3-5 day course of anything completely eradicating a complic
You can buy antiseptic wipes from the chemist and wipe it with one a few times everyday, also soaking in warm water and salt can help.

It really should go to a vet though it can be painful.

It comes from not cleaning the cage enough really.
Does he have a wire wheel? That could have caused the bumble foot...

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