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29 March 2020 Effects of Perching Surfaces and Foot Bandaging on Central Metatarsal Foot Pad Weight Loading of the Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)
Trinita Barboza, Hugues Beaufrére, Noel Moens
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Pododermatitis is prevalent in falcons and is characterized by inflammation and infection of the plantar aspect of the feet, particularly at the central metatarsal pad. Suboptimal perch design and increased weight loading on the plantar skin have been proposed as major risk factors for the development of pododermatitis. Prevention and treatment are challenging, but weight load reduction on the affected area of the foot is an accepted goal of initial treatment. To date, to our knowledge no studies have compared the performance of different bandage-perch surface combinations on weight redistribution away from the central metatarsal pad. An ex vivo factorial experiment was designed using the feet from a peregrine falcon cadaver to quantify weight load reduction on the central metatarsal pad with different combinations of perch surfaces (wood, neoprene, artificial turf) and bandages (none, interdigital, silicone shoe). Feet were attached to a digital force gauge mounted on a manual test stand for compression testing. Weight loading at the central metatarsal pad was measured using a small force sensor. Perch-surface combinations in randomized order were tested at 250 g, 500 g, and 1 kg with 9 replicates per foot. At 250 g, all combinations reduced measured metatarsal pad forces, but otherwise performed similarly. As compression forces increased, differences emerged with the shoe combinations performing better overall, followed by a group including the neoprene and artificial turf-interdigital bandage combinations, and a third group including the interdigital/wood and no bandage-artificial turf. All combinations performed better than control (no bandage on wood). This study may assist veterinarians in selecting appropriate perching surface/bandage combinations when treating falcons with pododermatitis.

© 2020 by the Association of Avian Veterinarians
Trinita Barboza, Hugues Beaufrére, and Noel Moens "Effects of Perching Surfaces and Foot Bandaging on Central Metatarsal Foot Pad Weight Loading of the Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)," Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery 34(1), 9-16, (29 March 2020).
Published: 29 March 2020
Falco peregrinus
perching surfaces
Peregrine Falcon
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