Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard cub (7 mos old) - Cape May County Zoo

Saturday, January 26, 2013

I See Chickens Too

Yes,  I see chickens as patients too. I don't generally do birds, but by "birds" I really mean what are classified as Psittacines - parrots and the like. I never saw enough of them to feel very comfortable doing the best for them or their owners. I would of course, on an emergency basis but most people who have these birds - if they seek veterinary care - want and deserve someone who does a LOT of bird work.

I love raptors too but I rarely get the chance to work on them either. I did a little at a few jobs and in my time at the Cape May Zoo.

I am very familiar with chickens, however. This is because of my time at the Univ of Delaware - and not just because we ARE the Fighting Blue Hens. Delaware is a huge poultry producing state - both eggs and meat. There is a lot of research at the University regarding poultry health and nutrition, as well as related topics like agricultural methods, environmental impacts, etc. 

I did research as an undergrad in poultry nutrition and I loved it. I also helped a few grad students with other topics like poultry immunology, etc. It was here that I learned what I now use to treat the occasional chicken that comes in to my office.

The chickens I see are often pets. They may be used for eggs but overall they are truly dearly loved and very sweet to work with.  

This is a sweet girl named Buffy who was attacked by a beagle one morning that had gotten out of his owner's property. She came in with multiple lacerations to the left hind end - thigh and very close to the vent (which is the shared GI, urinary and reproduction - egg laying - outlet).  

She was in stable condition but needed some wound cleaning and closing. Due to the discomfort she was experiencing we used gas anesthesia to sedate her and cleaned up the wounds. One involved muscle so I sutured that up as well as closed most of the skin. Fortunately there was not a lot of tension on it. And also fortunately, the vent was untouched and in tact. Her tail feathers were torn off and the the tail head itself was shredded pretty  bad but we got it back to a pretty normal anatomy. 

Here are some immediate post op pics:

We sent her home on some injectable antibiotics that we showed her owner, a knowledgeable pet parent, how to give. 

This is her one week later and all the sutures are still there and the tissue appears to be healing very nicely.  She is enjoying a pampered life at home in a very protected area and is apparently the envy of the other chickens in the flock!

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