26 Sunday May 2019
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Bumblefoot in Falcons:

Pododermatitis

Bumblefoot is very common, especially in captive kept falcons here in the Arabian Gulf.

Bumblefoot, with its medical term pododermatitis, affects the plantar area of the foot.

It can be differentiated in 5 grades, depending on the stage of the disease:

Grade 1: describes an early stage of the disease with mild damage of the superficial layer of the skin. Normally without major swelling and infection.

Grade 2: shows already deeper damage of the skin, caused by a puncture or necrosis, accompanied by an infection.

Grade 3: the infection in this stage is clearly visible; the foot is red, swollen and hot. This degree is very painful for the falcon.

Grade 4: here are the deep structures damaged, which can include the tendons, joint and even the bone.

Grade 5: the prognosis of this stage is very poor as we have a loss of pedal function.

The prognosis of the first two grades is good. It gets guarded to poor, the more damage we are facing (grade 3-5).

The etiology of bumble foot depends on multiple factors:

It can start with a small puncture on the bottom of the foot from an overgrown talon.

Poor perching, either wrong material or under unhygienic conditions.

Permanent perching without training and flying the bird.

Overweight bird.

The treatment depends on the stage of the disease. Early cases can respond to a change of management and is usuallly treated topically with anti bacterial and anti inflammatory creams.

In advanced cases, with infection and swelling, oral, as well as topical antibiotics become necessary. Additional shoeing of the feet will remove the pressure.

If the damage is not too severe, surgery can be done, to remove the necrotic tissue.

The prevention of bumblefoot is the best method to avoid this disease.

Recommended is:

Perches with Astroturf or sand.

Weight reduction.

Exercising and flying the falcon.

\High quality diet with vitamin supplements.