Small Animal Facts, Questions and Medical Tips: Pet Owner Blog
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Small Animal Facts, Questions and Medical Tips: Pet Owner Blog

Hi, my name is Darma. I love rodents. I have a ferret, two guinea pigs, several rescued feeder rats and a hedgehog. I am an extremely conscientious pet owner, and I know how hard it can be to find medical tips on small animals. In some cases, it can even be challenging to find vet care for them. In this blog, I am going to write about everything I have learned in my decades of being a small pet owner. I am going to write about cleaning, nursing, feeding and taking care of small pets. I am also going to write about finding the right medical treatment for them and knowing when to seek help. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy my blog.

Small Animal Facts, Questions and Medical Tips: Pet Owner Blog

Bumblefoot In Birds: Symptoms, Treatment, And Prevention

Timmothy Ortiz

Many bird owners will come across a case of bumblefoot sometime in their bird-keeping lifetime. Bumblefoot is a bacterial infection in a bird's foot, mostly on the bottom on the toes or at the base. While it is very common with birds that live on the ground, like chickens and ducks, caged birds are also susceptible. Usually, it's not immediately harmful, but if not treated, it can disable a bird and possibly lead to an early death.

Symptoms: Bumblefoot enters the skin through a cut or sore in the bird's foot. Birds that live in dirty or wet conditions are more likely to get bumblefoot. Many owners may not notice any problem until they see the bird limping or unable to walk. Small pockets of puss, swelling and redness can be seen around the site of the infection. The bird may also be in poor condition and exhibit ruffled feathers and lethargy.

Home treatment: When caught early, before a large abscess or scab forms, bumblefoot can sometimes be treated at home. Home treatment may include using topical medicines found in a local pet supply or farm supply store. Some bird owners have had luck with soaking the foot in water with Epsom salt before applying any medication. The recommended dilation of salt to water is one teaspoon of salt to a gallon of water (make sure the bird does not ingest the water). Before attempting any treatment or giving any medicine, talk to your veterinarian first.

Visiting a veterinarian: For more serious cases, surgery is often required. While many bird owners might attempt to do this surgery at home, it can worsen the infection if not done properly. Taking the bird to a veterinarian is usually the best choice in this case. A check can also be done to make sure that the infection has not spread to the bones or other parts of the body. The longer bumblefoot goes untreated, the more life-threatening it gets. Birds can eventually go into sepsis and die if it is never treated.

Prevention: Changes in living conditions and diet can help prevent bumblefoot. With caged birds, padded perches can help prevent sores from developing. Encouraging the birds to move around to different perches instead of using just one can also help. Keeping living areas clean and dry with clean bedding is critical. Birds should eat a balanced diet with species-appropriate foods rich in vitamin A and a limit on the amount of table scraps or junk food. Bird owners are encouraged to do regular checks of their bird's feet to catch an infection early.

While bumblefoot is common and potentially dangerous, due diligence can help keep it from becoming bad. If it is not certain that that bumblefoot is the problem, then the bird should be brought into the animal clinic for a veterinarian like Markham Vets to have a look at it.


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