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Bumblefoot

Video discussing bumblefoot in poultry.
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Bumblefoot– pododermatitis. Bumblefoot is a common inflammatory condition affecting the plantar aspect of a bird’s foot. The primary inflammatory condition can gradually become an infectious process. Typically, a bird will previously be presented with a swollen foot and a hard, pus-filled abscess covered by a brown- or black-coloured scab. This is often accompanied by heat and redness. Lameness may not be a presenting symptom in mild cases, but as the severity of the condition increases, along with the discomfort, chickens will be reluctant to walk. Large breeds and heavier birds are more at risk as they put more pressure on the bottom of their feet.
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Any type of skin wound provides a route for infection to enter, and owners of chickens should be encouraged to check their perches and ground surrounding perching areas for sharp objects and uneven perch surfaces. Chickens that are fed on a diet lacking in vitamin A and biotin may lack integrity in their skin, with dry, flaky skin which weakens the natural barrier which protects the skin from infection from and by bacteria. A diet lacking vitamin A can be a predisposing factor, as well as lack of exercise and chronic trauma. A five-point grading system is available for bumblefoot.
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Grade 1, loss of definition of the epidermis, localised inflammatory response seen as shiny, red on the surface or small lesion with no apparent underlying infection. Grade 2, infection of underlying tissues in direct contact with the surface lesion with no growth swelling. Grade 3, abscess state with infection now present, serous or caseous fluids draining from a fibrotic lesion. Grade 4, infection with swelling of underlying tissues involving deep vital structures, usually a chronic wound at this stage, which may or may not be currently causing tenosynovitis, arthritis, or osteomyelitis. Grade 5, crippling deformity and loss of function. Treatment options, depending on severity, include environmental modification, foot soaks, barrier cream, bandaging, surgical debridement by a veterinary surgeon, and antibiotic therapy.

Bumblefoot (pododermatitis) is a common condition in poultry, which can result from a combination of factors including inadequate bedding, lack of exercise, poor diet and infection of superficial wounds.

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Poultry Health

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