Advancement Flap as a Novel Treatment for a Pododermatitis Lesion in a Red-Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2009

Samantha Haskins; Anne Burgdorf-Moisuk, DVM; Julia K. Whittington, DVM; Mark Mitchell, DVM, MS, PhD; Avery Bennett, DVM, MS, DACVS

Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, USA


Pododermatitis, frequently referred to as bumblefoot, is a common condition among captive raptors involving swelling, excoriation, ulceration, cellulitis, and abscessation of the plantar aspect of the foot.1-3,5,7,10 The cause is often multifactorial.1,2,5,6,9 Treatment varies from medical to surgical and generally requires environmental alterations.1-3,7,10 Previous surgical techniques described include creating an elliptical defect in the metatarsal pad to remove the lesion and closing the wound with horizontal mattress or purse string sutures.1,8 This report describes the use of a single pedicle advancement flap using the interdigital skin web to treat chronic, nonresponsive grade V/VII4 pododermatitis of the right metatarsal pad in a red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis). The advancement flap was developed using the interdigital skin between digits 3 and 4. The double layer of skin was incised, and the leading edge of the flap advanced over the defect created by debridement of the wound so that the entire pododermatitis lesion was covered with healthy skin. Simple interrupted subcutaneous sutures were placed along the caudal, lateral, and medial aspects of the flap, and simple interrupted sutures were placed in the skin. A bandage was placed on the foot with a gauze donut over the surgical site to reduce pressure on the flap. Fifty-eight days after the surgery, the hawk was deemed medically sound with no signs of pododermatitis and was released to a wildlife rehabilitator. The use of a single pedicle advancement flap has not previously been reported for the treatment of pododermatitis.

Literature Cited

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8.  Riddle, K.E. 1980. Surgical treatment of bumblefoot in raptors. In: J.E. Cooper, and A.G. Greenwood (eds.). Recent Advances in the Study of Raptor Disease. Chiron Publications, Keighly, West Yorkshire, England. 67–73.

9.  Rodriguez-Lainz, A.J., D.W. Hird, P.H. Kass, and D.L. Brooks. 1997. Incidence and risk factors for bumblefoot (pododermatitis) in rehabilitated raptors. Prev Vet Med. 31:175–184.

10.  Tully, T.N. 2002. Orthopedic conditions that affect the pelvic limb (bumblefoot). Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice (Orthopedics). 5(1):73–77.


Speaker Information
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Samantha Haskins
Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine
University of Illinois
Urbana, IL, USA

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