Painful inflammation of the soles of the feet, i.e. the underside of the feet, is unfortunately quite common and is often only noticed when the infection is far advanced and the affected bird is suffering from great pain. As with all infections, it is crucial to recognize and avoid the triggers and initiate prompt treatment to provide relief as soon as possible.
Development, Causes And Symptoms
Plantar bunions occur on the bottom of the feet. They progress rapidly and are very painful. Inflammation and eventually even large ulcers develop from slight pressure points or cracks. They can usually be traced back to very specific mistakes in posture: If the perches in the cage all have the same diameter, the bird always has to grip in the same way when sitting and landing, which places severe stress and irritation on the skin on the balls of the feet. Painful inflammation and ulcers develop over time. Sometimes the inflammation penetrates deeper tissue layers. Blood poisoning or the need for a leg amputation can result. Perches covered with sandpaper or plastic also irritate the sole pads and thus promote infections. Sandpaper-covered perches are therefore considered “animal protection-infringing accessories” and should be avoided at all costs. Other risk factors are obesity and lack of exercise and the associated prolonged sitting on bars.
Prophylaxis and Treatment
As a preventive measure, it is advisable to provide natural branches (e.g. fruit tree, willow or hazelnut branches) with different diameters so that the birds always have to grip differently when sitting and landing and no selective overloading occurs. Ideally, the branches are only attached to one side so that they spring slightly when sitting and landing. In addition, birds should be given the opportunity to fly freely for several hours every day. Obesity is to be avoided by paying attention to sufficient exercise and a healthy diet.
Lots of exercise and a variety of perches, preferably natural branches, are key to preventing plantar bunions.
Mild sole ulcers are treated with antibiotic ointments, with severe symptoms, antibiotics are given orally. For more severe ulcers, treatment can be quite lengthy. To avoid recurrence, it is important to eliminate the triggering factors.
Plantar pad ulcers are unfortunately common in birds and cause great pain to the affected animals. But that doesn’t have to be the case, because they can largely be prevented by taking appropriate precautionary measures. A healthy diet, sufficient exercise and suitable perches can effectively prevent pressure points, inflammation and ulcers on the feet. Our employees in our Kölle Zoo stores will be happy to support you in furnishing your bird home in an animal-friendly way!