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Lame Hen following infection

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

Hoping you can provide us with some suggestions for our very frustrated lame hen.

Around 2 weeks ago our hen Petunia (about 3 years old, warren) contracted an infection of some kind. At first we thought she was egg bound as she was very listless, didn't seem to like walking and had lost interest in food and drink. We tried a few things, but after a couple of days realised it wasn't that as she started pooping what looked like egg yolk and besides from getting progressively weaker was doing this wierd thing with her neck.. Her eyes would glaze over and her head would slowly slide backwards into her shoulder blades, almost as if she was hypnotised. So, because of the yolk poop we instead thought it was EYP and so feared the worst.

However, 5 days after she started going downhill, when she was at her weakest she suddenly decided she would like to eat food again. At first all we could get her to eat was (her favourite) Cheerios in milk/yogurt and she was so weak we had to almost push her head into the food, but eat she did. It is now a week later and she is very much back to her normal self and eating proper mash and corn however, whatever infection she had has had an unwanted side effect - it's made her lame.

At first we just assumed it was because she was still weak and building her strength back up, but she has made no attempts to use her legs at all. When trying to do my own research the first thing that pops up is mareks disease however I'm not convinced that is it. For one no other hens in the flock are showing symptoms (although she has been isolated from the others since she became ill) and second her legs are not splayed about in different directions, but curled up neatly underneath her like a cat and her feet are curled up, and pretty rigid. When you pick her up the feet remain curled and she doesn't make any effort to move her legs. They are warm though and you can feel a bit of muscle twitching going on.

I'm not really sure what to do going forward as she is getting very frustrated. We currently have her in a make shift sling but she is starting to injure herself; I can tell she wants to move around as she is very flappy and tries to use her wings as leverage to move around.. Which of course she can't so they are getting very bruised.

Has anyone come accross this kind of thing before? I'm loathe to put her down as she is otherwise so feisty, and clearly doesn't want to give up!

Thanks in advance,

post #2 of 9

Welcome to BYC. With egg peritonitis and internal laying, there can be large egg masses in the abdomen. I'm just guessing here , but perhaps one of those masses has put pressure on a nerve that has caused her to lose control of her legs. Hens that age usually don't suddenly come down with Mareks symptoms unless they have been exposed by a new carrier bird over 3-4 weeks before she became lame. Hens with EYP and internal laying do tend to not want to walk or have pain walking. Riboflavin (vitamin B2) deficiency can cause curled leg paralysis, so you may want to put some vitamins in her water or food.

post #3 of 9
Hello PBeksa, I am going through that same thing right now. It's been about a month now that her infection has gone and she tries so hard to walk but is still very weak in her legs, and gets so frustrated. You name it I'm trying it. I just started yesterday giving her starter crumbles mix with buttermilk with rooster booster liquid B-12 plus vitamin k, along with 1/2 a baby's Bayer aspirin . I'm gonna see if this helps and I will keep you posted. If you have luck let me know. Thanks Jen
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you eggcessive for your suggestion. We got stocked up on B2 yesterday so looking forward to seeing if that makes a difference.

Jeni1209 I hope your hen recovers soon - its so frustrating not knowing what to do! Did you take yours to the vet at any point? I have considered it but am worried they will simply advise to put her down :s
post #5 of 9

Doesn't sound like Marek's if both feet are neatly pulled under but I do believe a severe illness absolutely could trigger Mareks even if the bird had been exposed months/years before.

Edited by Sonya9 - 10/30/15 at 1:41pm
post #6 of 9
hello PBeksa, no I didn't , spoke to one briefly on the phone. He really wasn't sure just recommended she eat, drink and give her vitamins. It's very frustrating, but as long as she keeps trying, I'm gonna keep at it. Hope yours gets well soon to.
post #7 of 9
Hello Pbeksa, how is petunia doing?
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Petunia is no different really, and I'm starting to consider putting her down...

We've been pumping her full of vitamins following the suggestion above but it has had no effect unfortunately.

We've given up with a sling as it wasn't supporting her properly and sawdust is too abrasive for her (no feathers underneath any more and they dont appear to be growing back - friction I suppose) so she is sitting on dust sheets. The downside of that of course is that she is sat in her own poop so we're having to bathe her every other day to keep her clean. Plus we can't get her in a position where we can leave food and water by her to peck at, so we're having to hand feed her. We must be spending a couple of hours a day at least trying to feed / clean her

The only difference I can see is that her legs are no longer tucked underneath but splayed straight out back which means she can't really hold herself up and has to be constantly propped up. Also and she does *not* like to be moved now, but I can't tell if she's in pain or just stiff and uncomfortable or what. when holding her in the air she makes no attempts to move her legs.

It has been nearly a month since she first got ill and to be honest I can't see any signs of improvement. It's really sad as despite this she still has a good appetite and seems in good spirits...

post #9 of 9

Sorry that she is probably a little worse. It may well be a good thing to put her out of her misery since she is uncomfortable. Is there a veterinary school or local vet who could do a necropsy on her to find out what illness was?

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