Foot Infection Treatment
Bacterial infection of the foot pad can not only damage a foot but can also lead to the bird's death. A few years ago my friend Donna Zuendel had about 30 canaries with infected foot pads called "bumblefoot". This was odd because Donna kept her aviary very clean, usually changing papers three times a day. When her birds started dying daily, she was so upset and depressed that I volunteered to take the sick ones and try to cure them.
So we brought the sick birds to my house and put them in an isolated separate room far away from my birds. I took care of my birds first in the morning, washed my hands constantly and even changed my shoes to make sure my birds were in no danger of catching this life threatening disease.
Then I took samples to my friends at the best hospital microbiology lab in town and had the bacteria identified and an antibiotic sensitivity test run to tell me what antibiotics were capable of killing the organism. The infection was due to a gram negative bacteria, Klebsiella and not the usual gram positive cause Staphylococcus. With information in hand, I met with my vet and got the recommended antibiotic solution that I would gavage into the crop every so many hours around the clock. With such a demanding schedule, I took a vacation from both of my jobs and began religiously carrying out the treatment.
Each day, I called Donna and gave her a progress report which unfortunately had become a mortality report. Not only Donna was depressed, I had caught it! After a week and continued daily deaths, I knew that even doing it the way it should be done, it was not going to work, and the only way that the problem was going to stop was when the last bird died... Giving the antibiotic orally just did not get enough of it where the infection was, even if I used an ointment too, it still did not work....
Feeling about as down as I have ever in my life felt, I sat down to think about a different treatment that would at least save some of Donna's birds. Reflecting on my childhood, I remembered that my mom had a home remedy, black salve, that she always treated me with that at least seemed to work on most of my childhood injuries. She rubbed black salve into the problem areas and whether it worked or it was a placebo effect, I always got well. I remembered this black salve contained iodine.
Being desperate, I got out my bottle of vanodine (strong iodine) and dipped the sick birds feet in it. The following day there were no deaths and all the remaining birds feet healed!
Just like other discoveries I have made during my lifetime, I went from being totally down to euphorically elated when the problem was conquered! I promptly wrote up a case study of my experience and with a veterinarian as second author, it was published in a veterinarian scientific journal.
Critical Concept: Prevent and treat Foot infections by dipping the bleeding or infected feet in an iodine solution such as vanodine or betadine daily as needed.