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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of my 14 week old pullets has been acting off for the last few mornings- just wants to sit huddled up, not attempting to eat. I checked her out thoroughly this morning and feel like there is a hard mass under her wing on her shoulder joint. Is this how MD starts? Separated her now and probably will be culling this afternoon but I'm paranoid the rest of the flock will get the same thing! Or should I wait and see? Give NSAIDs and antibiotics-could it be an abscess? I don't think so as it's very hard.

Vertebrate Beard Eyelash Jaw Mammal

Bird Beak Chicken Phasianidae Galliformes

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I don't think its a tumor. But it might be a dislocation. Its hard to know without seeing just what you are. She does not look symmetric in the middle pic. The fact its hard to the touch and acts as though she's in pain. Tumors don't generally cause them not to eat when they are located outside of the body like that.

Dissolve a 325mg aspirin in a gallon of water and slowly dose her with that. Or if you have Metacam on hand, give that a try.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
robin416 said:
I don't think its a tumor. But it might be a dislocation. Its hard to know without seeing just what you are. She does not look symmetric in the middle pic. The fact its hard to the touch and acts as though she's in pain. Tumors don't generally cause them not to eat when they are located outside of the body like that. Dissolve a 325mg aspirin in a gallon of water and slowly dose her with that. Or if you have Metacam on hand, give that a try.
Hmmm, thanks for the info! I do have metacam on hand. Do you know the chicken dose?
 

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I agree , her body looks tilted in the pic. Plus the hardness of the lump and pain doesn't sound like a tumor. If it is a dislocation I would cull to end the suffering. After you do so you will be able to see if her wing is in deed dislocated , if so she can become soup. Good luck.
 

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Stick with the aspirin. Everything I found on Metacam dosage is mg per kg of the bird. That is something the vet would have to work out to remain safe. I just through it out there in case you had it on hand from another bird.

Something you could try very carefully. Is slowly move her wing to determine if the large ball moves. If it does then it does suggest a dislocation and a vet will be needed to replace it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I figured out the dose for metacam and gave it. After a couple hours she started eating/drinking. Crop feels full. She hopped up to a perch to roost. Moving around more eagerly. I was able to rotate the wing and the "tumor" moved with it in a ball-like motion. It didn't feel as hot or as big four hours later. She was flapping her wings during preening and when she jumped off the roost. If it was dislocated would she still have full range of motion like that?
 

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No she should't. But a tumor located where that area is wouldn't have her off her feed either. And the fact she picked up so much indicates she's in pain.

All I can say is its time for the vet or do as Apyl suggested. If its a dislocation the longer its out the less chance it has of staying put once its replaced.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm going to take her in to work with me today (I'm a vet tech). The issue is that there was only one vet that saw chickens around here (witching two hours) but he moved back to Toronto. I've tried three other vets who claimed to see birds and they've all been totally incompetent.

At least bringing her with me to work I can oversee what's going on, it'll be free, and my boss should be at least, even if she can't fix it, able to determine whether it's a tumor, dislocation or abcess. Should be easy enough to tell if you're a vet-regardless of the species.
 

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In case you see this, suggest an x-ray. Your vet can also put her under lightly if some procedure is needed. Avoid any caine type pain relievers. I've had several undergo surgical procedures and come out the other side without problems. And my vet was not an avian vet but a large animal vet willing to give it a go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well it appears it's an abcess. Couldn't drain anything out of it though. Very thick, cheesy substance in there. She's going on ten days of antibiotics and continuing on the metacam. I don't anticipate it will work-these kinds of abscesses are common in rabbits-and they take forever to resolve if they ever do. Anyone with experience with this?
 

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But the pus was removed, right? That's the cheesy substance. Or actually its white blood cells that attacked a foreign substance.

If it was flushed and all removed, she should heal up very quickly. Its only if there is any of the mass left that it won't heal quickly.

Glad to hear it was a dislocation.

Are you pleased with your vet? How did she feel about working on a chicken?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
She didn't remove the pus at all. I suggested we do so but she wasn't comfortable with sedating for it yet. She said she wanted to get a few days of antibiotics on board, and do a little research first on chickens and sedatives. I'm to bring her back on my shift in one week and we'll sedate and lance/drain the abcess then. She said by then it should be a bit smaller as the antibiotics start taking effect. The bacteria should start dying and the body will (hopefully) reabsorb and excrete some of it.

I think she did a good job considering her experience which is none. I guess I'll have a better idea once I see how this situation turns out.
 

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She sounds very much like my old vet. But mine had another vet in the office with many years experience under his belt and was there when she had questions.

The first chicken I took to her was my Head Tuck who had just suffered a head injury. I printed out the treatment and took it with me. She didn't hesitate, mixed up the pred in suspension, gave her an initial injection of steriods and sent us on our way. 8 years later she got to see Head Tuck, her first chicken just before we moved.

She did sinus surgery on one to remove a pus ball that wouldn't clear up. Her partner removed a cancerous tumor on the leg of another. These were not chicken vets. Mine was small animal, her partner was large animal.

This will turn out OK for your girl. Your vet will learn something outside of her comfort zone and you will have an excellent resource if something else pops up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ugh!! It wasn't an abcess at all! She wasn't getting better so I brought home some lidocaine and a scalpel. Froze the area, was going to open it and flush it out. Huge muscley "tumor." Derek chopped her head off because I couldn't. She was still eating a bit but her crop was never full and she just sat around fluffed up. It's not realistic to keep her on metacam forever and I didn't feel comfortable with my vet's inexperience. Upon further investigation her shoulder was totally dislocated. Would that cause the muscle around it to swell that much?? It's was the size of a mandarin orange. Upon even further investigation there was another very meaty tumor in the opposite breast. Hmmm. What is going on? All organs were in pristine condition. She had full range of motion with the wing while alive flying up into the perch and down--so confused
 

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Without seeing what you did I can not venture a guess to whether or not it was a tumor. The fact that the wing was dislocated would set all of the muscles up for a lot of stress. And depending on what causes the dislocation you could have been looking at a tear in the breast or muscle that was torn away from its anchor.

I take it no x-ray was done?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
No X-rays. If it was swelling from a dislocation, the metacam dose I was giving should have helped relieve some of the swelling by now. I'm awfully disappointed. When I cut into it and felt what a solid mass it was and saw his big it had gotten I just knew this wasn't getting better without causing her a lot more pain and trauma. After she was gone I tried to manipulate the shoulder back into joint but it would not go. It looked as if the the whole wing would have had to be amputated. I feel terrible and I have no idea if I did the right thing or I should have done much more to try and fix it.
 

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Do not second guess yourself on your decision. You did what you felt was best for her and that is all that matters.

I'm not a good teacher or great at explaining things but I'll give it a whirl. If you have questions, ask.

Our joints are held in place by muscles pulling in different directions and that pull is tremendous. There are also ligaments and tendons that are a stabilizing unit holding the joints in alignment. If you pop a joint or break a bone those really tight muscles are going to snap together like a rubber band you turned loose of. They can form huge lumps because they are no longer under tension because of the dislocation or break.

Remember some posts back I said the longer the wing remained out of joint the harder it would be to put it back and to keep it back. The tendons/ligaments that are a stabilizing unit are being stretched, possibly torn, out of shape because the joint is out. So, you've got the minor structures being stretched, the bigger structures being turned loose which becomes more complicated to fix as time goes by. So, its not at all surprising you found so much resistance. There is a quite a bit of training that goes in to manipulating a joint back together. I've been in the emergency room when its been done, it takes muscle and finesse to accomplish it.

The x-ray would have shown you the dislocation, that's why I recommended one be done. And no, this was too big for the Metacam to do much more than relieve her pain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
What you are saying makes sense. When I looked into it, it didn't look like anything was holding it in place besides the growth/tumor thing. The ligaments didn't even seem to be there, it was just flopping loosely. The growth was surrounding the whole thing and had started coming up on the topside of the wing. I have seen many, many tumors during necropsies in my time and this didn't look malignant or angry at all-it just looked like swollen muscle. The skin around it was pulled so tight from the size of it that it was started to bruise and look raw. I told that vet we should have taken an xray. Her response was that she for sure would be able to tell if it was dislocated on manipulation. And she guaranteed it wasn't a dislocation. I'm just confused because of the same "growth" type of thing starting in the opposite side breast. I wonder if the shoulder could have dislocated after my husband chopped her head-with all the flailing...? That would be an awful big coincidence though.... I wish I had pushed for that X-ray. But I can't even think of the pain and inexperienced vet could cause by trying to manipulate it back in.
 

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Its not pretty when resetting a joint. It takes anesthesia and like I said finesse. The muscles are going to fight hard against the need to put the joint back. If she had torn ligaments than the chance is high that the wing would not have remained in place without additional surgery.

But don't discount your vet on being able to do it. They are taught in school how to replace a dislocation because it happens in other species as well.

Something big happened to her. It would have to be big for that wing to be dislocated. If that lump on the breast was that large you would have felt it when you handled her. Lumps that shouldn't be there are very noticeable to our sensitive hands. Its all tied in with everything else that has gone on.
 
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