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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all.

Thanks to Ivor (Ivette) for saving this lil' guy from an SF sidewalk bus shelter and giving him some good supportive care. She found him yesterday afternoon. She caught him rather easily and took him home; washed him once, fed him, and kept him warm for the day. It really is amazing that he has managed to survive as long as he did, in his condition, and considering the weather in SF has been incredibly inclement the past month (rain, wind, very cold).

He is alert and "with it". Impossible to tell his age; he is the size of a 2-week old or so, but his feathers are in and long and full, so he must be more like 4-5 weeks I would say. Just a runt and a weakling who has had clearly been getting his tiny #ss kicked...poor lil' guy.

He has not had an easy life so far, for sure. His parents used human hair for their nest, so as a result his feet were tangled and swollen badly in clumps and strands of it. His right foot looks terrible...very swollen and it looks like his rear-pointing toe is ctually dead...it's just small and shriveled. Two front toes appear not much better; one just looks limp and has no movement...the other two are swollen to varying degrees and the hair cut very deeply into them, resulting in deep, deep crevasses almost to the bone. There are some scabby lacerations obviously. On the good side, the inflammation has not transmitted up the leg at all, it is localized at the toes and sole.

We used surgical scissors and have been able to remove 90% if not all of the hair. But the gouges cut deep.

He CAN use both feet...but he comes off of the right one very quickly so obviously it is bothering him.

Looks like he has been pecked at relentlessy by other pigeons...his head is almost bald except for a mohawk of feathers down the center....and he has the remains of scabs near his cere and mouth.

He is feathered elsewhere. He has oily, greasy gunk coatiing his feathers and matting them down.

At Charis' suggestion, we cleaned him with Dawn...which took off half of the oily gunk which was coating his feathers...so his feathers look cleaner and fluffier now. I am gonna give him a second bath this afternoon.

He is severely underweight; I don't have a scale, but his keelbone is seriously protruding. I have been handfeeding him about 5cc's of Kaytee per feeding, which he gobbles. I don't wanna give more than this per meal because I don't wanna stress him. So I intend on about 4-5 feedings/24hrs. When he seems stronger, I will go to larger feedings 3x/day. That translates to 20 cc of Kaytee/day. Also, as Ivor discovered, he CAN forage and does eat safflower seed...so he is supplementing with some of that, too. So I am figuring he's gonna get 20cc formula plus a good teaspoon worth of safflower seeds per day. Does this sound like it will put on weight...or should I up it ?

His poops look good. His eyes look good. No sign of ickyness in his mouth.

I started him immediately on medacam (anti-inflammatory and painkiller) and cipro antibiotic. Tonight I will give him a dose of wormer. I wanna get the pain and any infection under control.

Now the question: how bad do these feet look to you ? Can he survive with them in this condition, assuming the meds relieve any infection ? I apologize for the images, they are the best my old camera can do closeup.

Obviously the toes look swollen and angry...I would say there is some serious infection there, which is why I am hitting it with the some wide-net meds. I am hoping that anti-inflammatories and antibiotics may improve the swelling condition ? Should some be amputated ? Ack...if so...we are in a pickle on that...because I cannot take him to the wildcare facility nearby since they would more than likely put him down (the vet there very proudly proclaims that unless they have a "110% chance" of survival upon re-release into the wild, it is"better" to euthanize them). But I know for sure that my great avian vet will charge a good $500, likely significantly more for toe amputation.

I am always one to get a sick bird to a pro....but I can't swing that. Of course, if it was a life-and-death situation...I guess I could just bite it and bury myself in even further debt than I already am dealing with.

OK, thanks in advance.









 

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It's kind of hard to tell from the photos, but the feet don't look that bad to me. I'd make sure all the hair is off. You can also remove any dead skin, which will help healthy new skin granulate. Some of the toes may lose circulation over time, in which case they should self-amputate.

I hope someone else chimes in on the feeding question, but 5 ccs per meal seems minuscule to me. I don't think feeding a larger volume will cause additional stress (esp. not if he's gobbling it up). If he's feeding himself, I would tend to let the bulk of his diet be seeds and then just supplement with the formula.

Lastly, bathing is stressful, so if you just gave him a bath, you might want to hold off for another day or two before giving him his second.

Jennifer
 

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hi Jaye,

It looks like you are doing a great job.

Whatever you do, do not amputate anything, If you are not able to restore circulation, the toes will simply wither and drop off.

Hair is a real problem; to get at it you will need a magnifier of some kind so you can get a good look at what you are doing, and some local anesthetic. At the drugstore at the dental counter you can get Ambusol or Orajel, which you will need to reduce the struggling. Also while you are there pick up a pair of tweezers with the sharp needle points. Getting hair out is largely a job of picking it out a little at a time.

Before you start rub a little Vaseline in the cut marks. In many cases the hair or string will form a granulous material in the wound which if not removed will continue to impair circulation. That has to come out too if it is there. GIve it about an hour to work its way in. Generally you want to take a toe at a time and look all around the circumference of the ligature mark. Stretch the skin a bit and probe down until you are looking at nice clean skin. When you see that you know that you removed anything cutting off circulation. You may have to go down a ways, so the anesthetic and the magnifier help alot. Try to avoid unnecessary bloodshed, so watch your tweezer points. Finish off with a rinse in hydrogen peroxide and Neosporin with pain killer.

By the way I would hold off on the worming meds if I were you until you are certain he is stable after week or so. It is tough stuff for the bird and with the washing and other meds it could be too much.

Good Luck!
 

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Thank you Jaye for doing all that, I was thinking about my baby today, and it looks very alert and cleaner, I'm sure is in the best hands right now, I can go back to work now.

Ivette
 

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Hi Jaye..........Sounds like you have the situation pretty much under control. Thanks to Ivette for saving this little one and to you for stepping up to taking in and aiding in the recovery of this poor little one.

I would concentrate on removing all the hair from the feet and addressing any infection first.

I would wait a few days between baths. When I rescued Snowflake, who was all gummed up with adhesive material, it took almost a full month of baths to remove everything. It was very stressful for the bird and I waited atleast 3/5 days between each bath. Her foot and leg was also injured, but I found that rest was the best healer for that.

I would hold off on the worming medicine until the bird is totally stable and has put on a little weight. The wormer can wreck havock to the little one's system which is already in a weakened state.

Poor little thing has really been through alot. I'm sure that with all your love and care she will recover soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi and thanks for the replies.

OK, so I will....

1) Hold off on the next bath for a day or two.

2) Hold off on the wormer a couple of more days....

3) Up his feedings to maybe 8 cc/feeding @ 4 feedings/day. I am gonna stick with handfeeding because: a. he is so underweight and formula puts on weight very well. b. formula also hydrates. c. he is so accepting of the syringe.

4) I will, over the next couple of days, re-inspect the toes and try to get out any add'l hair and detritus in there.

My only concern is: vaseline to loosen/remove ? My avian vet has always mentioned that petroleum-based ointments on lacerations/open wounds is a bad idea as it can actually attract secondary infections. I have silvadene, which is in ointment and somewhat slippery....I would be inclined to use that instead if you think it'd be OK.

Thanks again, all. More commentary appreciated.
 

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Yes I have heard that song and dance about petroleum based medications, but since more than half of all antibiotic salves are petroleum based, I wonder where they come up with it. If it attracts bacteria I ought to put some in a petri dish the next time I am trying to culture something.

Be that as it may, the reason for using Vaseline is its wonderful penetrating ability. Since it is only going to be on the wound for an hour or less, and then removed with Peroxide, I would not worry about it.

Just keep up the good work!
 

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Jaye, you have done a terrific job already with this little guy.

Few things - I'm in agreement to give this baby 5 cc per feeding at least for a few days, then increase it to 8, go a few more days and increase it to 10. When they are so badly nourished, they don't need to be overloaded with food. Also, if you can get to a pet store, purchase a product called Benebac which is a probiotic. With any malnourished or sick bird we get in, I give them a spoonful (comes with the product) one time a day. It really helps. You can also get plain yogurt and put about 1 cc in the formula which will make it 6 cc you are feeding it.

I agree too to hold off on washing for a bit. Just make sure you keep him on a heating pad and warm because anytime they are greasy, their bodies are colder but right now he needs to recuperate some before another bath.

Could you not use KY jelly rather than the vaseline?

Good luck and God bless you for the excellent care you're giving.
 

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Do you know the weight? Figure he needs about four (4) or more dry, level teaspoons of Kaytee powder per day, regardless of how much water you've mixed in. Get the weight and we can get a little better than that.

Moxie had one with a foot that looked far worse than that. It was an interesting story and it took over half a year to resolve. Judge for yourself:







 

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Can't fit more than four images per post, so... :









(Stitches is the bird on the right, by the way)


Long story, that one. The short version: foot was about to fall off but still had a little circulation, just no structural support. The splinting was to keep it from getting torn off while using medications to help solve some problems before other management could be done. In time, enough inflammation and tissue health was restored to start recombining the tissue that had separated due to the buildup of scar tissue. Even if the underlying bone never quite went back together, the overlying skin separation was resolved enough to make walking serviceable. In the very end, Stitches married another string rescue in Moxie's care. If memory serves, they were eventually released together to take another stab at life. Life's like that.

Pidgey
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Lady T....thanks for the support. I have upped the feedings to 6 cc/feeding. he starts getting antzy (sp?) at about that, so I just figure don't push it. I will definitely get a good 25 cc Kaytee into him per 24 hrs.; and he's a small bird, so that sounds like a pretty good days worth o' eatin' for one his size.

I have this stuff called Ultraflora...that's a probiotic, no ? Should I mix some in with the Kaytee ?

I am keeping him on heat...yes, only about 40% of his feathers are what I would call clean and free of the grime....so I know that those other 60% aren't doing much of an insulation job right now.

KY Jelly, eh ???....:eek:...I dunno if I wanna touch THAT comment with a 10-foot pole.....
:p

Phil...well, thanks for your short story...jeez...compared to Moxie's foot...this guy has it easy. Ick....amazing you were able to stabilize it.

Actually....after 2 doses of meds, his foot looks less inflamed & angry now than it did last night. I even saw him standing solely on the right foot a while ago.

Grimaldy, I took another sweep over the foot...dang, if I must say so myself, Ivette and I did a pretty good job at cutting thru all of the wrapped hairs the first time around. Upon moving the flesh around a bit, there IS some hair/grime nestled in those crevasses....so I will work on those.

So far, so good..... Thanks again, all.


 

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I have this stuff called Ultraflora...that's a probiotic, no ? Should I mix some in with the Kaytee ?



KY Jelly, eh ???....:eek:...I dunno if I wanna touch THAT comment with a 10-foot pole.....
:p

Phil...well, thanks for your short story...jeez...compared to Moxie's foot...this guy has it easy. Ick....amazing you were able to stabilize it.
While I'm not familiar with Ultraflora, if it is a probiotic I would think it would be fine - maybe 1/8 tsp with formula, 1 x day.

Well, :D, KY is a lubricant so I think it would work fine. I don't believe it has petroleum in it like Vaseline.

And to Pidgey - I don't remember seeing this pigeon in one of Moxie's threads but I have never seen anything quite so bad. Great job all around on this one!
 

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And to Pidgey - I don't remember seeing this pigeon in one of Moxie's threads but I have never seen anything quite so bad. Great job all around on this one!
Well, as you can see in the top picture, there wasn't much holding it on. The bone had dissolved underneath and so separated. About all that was still holding were some tendons and enough scar tissue to hold the remaining arterial blood flow and a return vein. Normally, you'd get your vet to just clip it off and seal it over but we wanted to give it a chance, seeing as how that nearly dismembered foot still had enough bloodflow to stay viable.

So, she rigged the bracing, swathed it in Prep H to help diminish some of the inflammation and put the bird on antibiotics to work on the inside. In time, we started drawing the foot back together and digging some of the obstructive scar tissue out so that the underlying flesh could re-knit back together. He had that ring groove of scar tissue that had to be dealt with just a little bit at a time and allowed to heal back properly, about like digging a scab out of a deep wound that won't heal until it's cleared. Baby steps. Immense patience. And an awful lot of splint wrapping.

No, this never appeared in a thread before. I only brought it up now to give a better idea of what can be done and just how much hope we shouldn't give up sometimes. This bird in the current thread has a similar ring on that one foot, albeit not as bad, which is what reminded me of Moxie's bird.

Pidgey
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So, Phil...other than trying best we can to clear out that "ring" of detritus as Grimaldy suggests, and keeping the bird on antibiotics....is there anything else I should do about that particular area ? Or is getting it cleaned up and medicated really the best we can do ?

Will scar tissue eventually "bridge" a ring like that ? At this point, I am wondering if what is on the "far" side of the ring (i.e. away from the leg and towards the toenal) will just plain eventually fall off on its own accord.

Update: I have done 3 courses of meds thus far, at 12-hr. intervals...and she/he is clearly using the bad foot significantly more now than last night.

 

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Can't quite tell from the pictures. You're going to have to assess whether the underlying bone has been affected. What you can get is that as the constriction pressures the underlying skin first, tissue second and bone last, the structure of each layer gives way. When a ring groove forms in the bone, it makes for a weak spot. That can be dangerous as was well demonstrated in this thread:

http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/f6/injured-pigeon-on-my-balcony-15077.html

If the bone's okay, then the flesh above (which is pretty thin) will eventually fill back in and the skin will repair itself, possibly without any meddling on your part. That's something you're just going to have to watch. If the bone was a tad affected then the bird just needs to be kept so that he doesn't have a chance to overstress it while it regains strength and the enveloping skin gets worked back. If the skin is healed all the way around then a break is simply going to heal as breaks do. If it were to break without the skin being fairly well repaired, it can break off just like the bird in that thread I linked.

All we can do is provide you with some examples of what we have seen so that you can think your way through this one. Usually in life, what you least expect is what ends up happening too doggone often, ya' know!

Pidgey
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Update

Hi all.

Lil' pidge is doing extremely well. The swelling is down on his feet, although they will always be malformed for sure. But they are not as red and angry-looking as when Ivor found him.

He has been getting a little time out of his enclosure, and he has actually been walking on them quite well...so well that he is able to scamper away from me trying to catch him (good news....he's a tricky lil' guy/girl).

Eating lots of seed and formula. Taking in a good 5 or more cc of seed a day plus 20 cc formula/day. Am continuing with the meds. He is on day # 4 of them. I will probably stop the cipro after day #8 and cut back the medacam to 1 dose/day then. I wanna see if cutting back the painkiller/anti-inflammatory has a negative effect on his feet/ability to walk. After all, he won't have the meds when he is back in the wild.

Have slowly been picking out toe detritus from the crevasses...need to do some more of that, though...admittedly.

Will give a bath tonight. May do a worming dose in a day or so.

If things continue along these lines, am figuring I can do a soft release in a couple of more weeks. Dependent on whether I can get his weight up real good and see if the feet are stable and don't relapse into infection/pain.



 

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Oh George, Thank you so much for the update, I was thinking about him today, I'm so happy that the baby is getting better and eating that well. ;)

Ivette
 

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By the way Jaye,

Once the string-hair injury crack fills up with blood, don't disturb it. If you do, it will not regrow connecting tissue and the bird will lose the toe. You won't have any difficulty seeing what I am talking about; the string crevice will look black.

In short either get it all on the first try or leave it alone. Don't go back.
 

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Hi Jaye..........So glad to hear the little one is doing so well. You are certainly doing a great job with him/her.

Please keep us posted.
 
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