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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 21257
Experience:  As a veterinary surgeon, I have spent a lot of time with bird cases and I'm happy to help you.
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One of my hens fell from the coop roof (approx 4 1/2 ft

Customer Question

Hi. One of my hens fell from the coop roof (approx 4 1/2 ft high) 10 days ago. She is still limping. She puts some weight on the foot. Can get around fairly well. Eats and drinks normally. Can still fly up to the roof of coop. No visible protrusions or swelling. She doesn't squawk when I pick her up and she can curl her toes around my finger. I'm concerned that perhaps this is more than a sprain because she is still limping.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
Since you noted giving a half of a low dose of aspirin, can you specify how my milligram she is getting?
Does the leg feel stable when you palpate it? No instability or bony crunching?
Are the joint stiff when you flex and extend them at all?
Has there been any positive progress on her limping or is there no change at all over these 10 days?
Does the lame leg seem the same length as the other?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I only gave her 40.5 mg of aspirin one time. It didn't seem to help so I didn't give her any more.
She seems to be moving around at a faster pace, but the limp itself doesn't really seem much better.
The leg does appear to be the same length as the other one. When standing still she appears completely normal. I haven't really done much more with the leg than make sure she could curl her toes around my finger. I am new to chickens and have been afraid of possibly hurting her more.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you Brenda,
Now when birds injure themselves in this manner, we do have several concerns. Still, your very thorough exam and history does let us rule out a lot of issues. To start, falls like this are notorious for hip dislocations, but her ability to use the leg makes that less of a worry. Spinal and nerve damage is less likely since she has motor control of her food and can curl those toes. Therefore, with those aside, her signs fit most with muscle based strain (which can be severe if this was quite a tumble), hairline fractures (since her leg was stable enough to use), or tendon damage.
Now if she is quite static in her recovery and we are not seeing improvement, then we really need to tread with care. This is because we could still have a lingering issue with strain or those other differentials would also be a concern. Your supportive care has been really good and we do want to keep that up. The only modification we need to make is to keep her on an anti-inflammatory stably (since one dose won't do very much). Now 10 days on, you can choose to use aspirin (since there is less risk of an active bleed that could be affected by its blood thinning effects), but I would advise doing so at a dose of 25 mg per pound of her body weight once daily. That way we are administering a therapeutic dose that should reduce inflammation properly. If we do so for the next 3-4 days and do not see some progress, then we'd need to think about having a check +/- xray for Clara. Her vet can rule out damage to her tendons or any minor bone damage (which can take 4-6 weeks to heal even if it doesn't need intervention). As well, her vet can start her on a stronger hen specific anti-inflammatory if need be to help get her back to using the leg properly.
Overall, you have done well thus far. Still if she is struggling to improve, we need to consider using a regular course of anti-inflammatory to see if we can address and/or rule out inflammation/damage to the muscle. If she doesn't make progress, then we'd have to consider these other issues and getting her local vet involved to facilitate her recovering from this traumatic incident.
Please take care,
Dr. B.