And so we begin another episode of veterinarian's hospital. Jesus Christ, when it rains, it freakin' pours! So I was slathering on the petroleum jelly to Sweet Pea's legs to get rid of the mites, which I might add is a real pain in the ass with all of her lovely leg feathers, and I notice on the bottom of her foot that there is a ball of something that looks like a goat poo pellet. Being the picker that I am, I scratched at it. Cluckin' A! Wouldn't you know it, that was no piece of poop. It was a scab masking a big bleeding hole. Cluck!
And I was just talking about this in my chicken class and breathing a big ol' sigh of relief that I've never had to deal with it: the dreaded bumblefoot. Contrary to the name, this does not mean that my chicken stepped on a bee. Bumblefoot is caused by a staph infection and can be gruesome to get rid of. If you notice in the picture, the pad of the foot is swollen under the sore. This is the "plug" or "seed", basically a mat of staph bacteria that needs to be dug out. Gross!
After reading a few different discussions on the topic at Urban Chickens, Backyard Chickens (warning graphic pics), and Yuku's Backyard Chickens, I decided to start with something that didn't involve a scapel and digging around inside the tissue of the foot. I tore the scab all the way off, palpated the foot to see if any nasty things popped out, washed it in some special blue liquid that I got from the vet a year and a half ago when I ripped off Sweet Pea's toe (you can clearly see my handiwork in the pictures), soaked the foot again in diluted Betadine, shoved a buttload of triple antibiotic ointment in the wound, wrapped it up, and put a shoe on it made from foam insulation used for copper tubing and duck tape. That's right, I made a shoe for a chicken. Don't laugh. I'm like McGyver over here.
My fear is that I will have to go in for the "plug". We'll see how this goes first. What is up with Sweet Pea and her foot? This time it is so not my fault.