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Wednesday, May 25, 2016
How I Cured Bumblefoot Without Surgery
Let me preface this by saying that I bring my own peculiar
personality quirks to this article and they are these:
1.I am very fond of
my chickens, even if I do expect them to be productive egg-layers.
2.I tend to be a
pragmatist—that is I tend to go with what works and am willing to try things
with this criteria—might it work?What
does it cost?What are the side effects?
4.I have raised
goats for something approaching forty years.
5.What follows is reporting, not prescribing.
So, when I had a chicken with bumblefoot, and all the
literature I could find said surgery is the only solution….well, given the
above, I started looking around for a better solution for my chicken.
Bumblefoot is a foot infection that can cripple and
kill.Everything suggested that the bacteria responsible is Staph aureus.Nasty little bugger.It is the culprit in MRSA hospital
infections, those resistant infections for which almost no antibiotic
works.I had personal experience with
one after a hip replacement.Doctors had
me on various antibiotics for months and months with no improvement.I was pretty sure unrelenting antibiotics
that were not working were not a good thing for me, neither short nor long
On a parallel track…Milking goats (and cows) occasionally
get mastitis, an infection inside their udders.If the infection presents with internal lumps, it is caused by Staph
aureus—same bacteria--and there is a medication specific for that problem in
milk cows and goats.The medication is
‘Today’ or ‘Tomorrow’ brand mastitis infusion—one for milking animals and one
for non-milking (dry) animals.When I
finally gave up on human medicine for my own medical problem, I used one of
these mastitis treatments topically on my own MRSA infection and it was gone in
a matter of days.
Facts at my farm:I
am not a chicken surgeon and the prospect for a huge veterinarian’s bill
doesn’t cut it.
In the spirit of experimentation and necessity being the
mother of invention, I began squirting some of this medication all over the
foot of my affected chicken.It comes in
a large syringe type applicator in an oil base (that clings well) and is easy
to just bathe the chicken’s foot when she is on the roost—both night and
morning.That precluded extra handling
and especially at night, she was standing in it all night long.
I wish now that I had kept records of how long I applied the
Today.But I applied it night and
morning until I could see a lot of improvement.I think it was for about two weeks.In hind sight, that was not long enough.In a while (sorry, don’t remember what that ‘while’ was) bumblefoot
returned.I began the treatment the
second time and continued it long after her foot appeared well.The second time cured it permanently.Her foot had a little residual deformity but
she was well, happily foraging and productive.
The mastitis treatment, Today (or Tomorrow) is used on food
animals.The milk withdrawal time after
four treatments is 96 hours (four days).Using an antibiotic off label is totally experimental but I had nothing
to lose.I did not use her eggs for a
couple months after this treatment.
If I ever have to do this treatment again, I would make one
simple change.The medication is not
cheap and could have been extended considerably I think.I would dump it into a small jar and apply
with a brush next time.She was not
excited about having something squirted on her foot and quite a bit was wasted
by the squirting method.Other than
that, I’ll be forever glad I didn’t have to try the surgery route.