Bumblefoot is another common problem that bird keepers and breeders may encounter with their pets. Bumblefoot is a bacterial infection causing skin inflammation under the foot. The infection penetrates the skin because the layer has become impaired against defenses, allowing harmful microorganisms to reach the tissues under the skin.
This type of infection is common in chickens, larger parrots, and birds that hunt for a living and can sometimes occur in canaries, finches, and budgies.
Causes of bumblefoot
Bumblefoot may develop in waterfowl if their feet become very dry or their skin becomes worn out. Birds that are relatively heavy and inactive and always stand on the same thickness of perches and do not get exercise are exposed more to bumblefoot.
Other contributing factors include dirty and unclean environments and lack of nutrition, such as vitamin A, which impacts the integrity of the skin and can also develop bumblefoot.
Treatment depends on the stage of the infection. Bumblefoot infection goes through three or five stages depending on the medical source:
The first stage
It is the least concerning and the easiest to treat. The skin layer becomes smooth and flat due to constant friction against the perch, accompanied by skin redness.
Treatment: At this stage, NewSkin is used to help control the problem. It may be available in pharmacies under other commercial names. Diversifying the thickness of the perches and temporarily covering them with a cloth to soften them and keep them clean periodically, placing the bird in a larger cage, and using medical applications such as NewSkin to strengthen or toughen the skin and disinfect and protect the affected area.
The second phase
The affected area swells slightly, and there is no indication of any inflammation, ulceration, or open wound.
Treatment: This condition is treated with a topical anti-inflammatory (directly on the skin) to control the infection, prevent its progression, and not resort to surgery. Diversify the thickness of the perches and cover them with a cloth temporarily, put the bird in a larger cage, and provide vitamin A. These steps will improve the affected area. It is recommended to use an anti-inflammatory such as Hydrocortisone or Meloxicam.
Most of the cases that come to the veterinarian are at this stage or higher. During this stage, the bird may need surgery. A pustule forms at the site of infection, containing pus and covered with a skin crust. The pus can contain microbes, including Staphylococcus aureus, E-coli, and Proteus spp.
Treatment: the vet carefully opens the pus bag to get rid of the membranes, dead cells, and materials that appear the color of the cheese. We must be careful not to stay away from nerves, tendons, and blood vessels. Then irrigate the affected area with Sterile Saline to clean and moisten the area. He may also apply antibiotics to the affected area and use a wound bandage to cover it for 2 to 3 weeks.
The area should be cleaned with saline, the bandage changed and an antibiotic applied every day for 10 to 20 days. Depending on the severity of the infection, antibiotics such as Enrofloxacin or Cephalexin may be given orally for a period ranging from 5 to 7 days.
During the treatment, the bird must be supported with food rich in vitamin A, diversifying perch simulator sizes and covering them with a soft cloth, and moving the bird to a larger cage or releasing it in a bird room.
The fourth stage
An advanced and dangerous stage where infection reaches the bones. The treatment is the same as the third stage, but the chance of success is slim, and the recovery period is long and may take more than 6 months.
A stage of deep infection in which the bones and soft tissues become infected, and the possibility of successful treatment is zero.
How to prevent bumblefoot from forming?
To avoid dealing with bumblefoot infection, we end with five tips:
- Put the bird in larger cages.
- Diversify the thickness and shapes of the perches on which the bird stands.
- Periodically examine the bottom of the bird’s feet
- Keep the cage clean, especially wherever the bird stands.
- Avoid placing birds in a dry environment.