Backyard chickens are becoming a very popular pet to keep in suburban Brisbane homes. They offer companionship just like a dog or a cat, produce fresh eggs, control pests and happily gobble up your food scraps. This is the case of Stormy and her sisters; Peppermint and Darlene. These young chicks are 3 months old and very beloved pets. Unfortunately they had a scary run in with a dog and suffered some pretty serious injuries as a result. They were brought in by their very dedicated owner for an eggs-amination here at McDowall Vets.
It was very important to check them over as soon as possible. Chicken skin is very fragile and even minor wounds can become severe if not treated appropriately. Chickens can also go into shock very easily after any kind of trauma.
Darlene was very lucky and was found to only have some very minor scrapes. Peppermint had a substantial amount of feather loss which you can see in the photo above, underneath her wings. Luckily for her, most of her abrasions were superficial; there were no deep puncture wounds. Stormy was found to have quite a severe laceration near her tail that would require suturing under anaesthetic.
Believe it or not, chicken anaesthetic and surgery is very similar to that of our cats and dogs. Stormy was given an initial sedative to help her relax and to relieve her pain, and then an inhaled anaesthetic and oxygen was delivered via face mask.
Her wounds were flushed with sterile saline and the large laceration was able to be closed with a few sutures in the skin. She was given some intravenous fluids to keep her hydrated during surgery. We did not bandage the wound as we find that it annoys the chickens, and they usually end up scratching it off. Once surgery was finished, a pain relief injection was given and before we knew it, Stormy was up and about enjoying her straw bed.
Since all 3 chickens had been bitten by a dog, they were very susceptible to bacterial infections that can come from a dog’s mouth. All 3 were given a week’s course of oral antibiotics and oral pain relief to ensure they were comfortable during their recovery. It was also extremely important that they were kept clean and dry with fresh straw every day.
The girls came back for a recheck of their injuries 4 days later and we are very happy to report that Stormy’s stitch up was a success. Her stitches were in place and her skin had healed together very nicely. Peppermint and Darlene were also doing very well and their wounds had fully healed. Their feathers will take a little longer to grow back, a little winter coat will help to keep them warm.
With a clean bill of health, the girls are hen-thusiastic to get back to normal life in their new, secure yard! An egg-cellent result.