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Possible MG - One dead and State vet requiring culling to test a live bird?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

We had a hen (Nibbles) die last night after about a week of treatment with Duramycin.  She presented with foamy eyes about a week and a half ago, and after researching we decided to treat her "in case" and her eyes cleared of foam after treatment began, and besides off and on not opening her eyes, she was just mildly less active.  She was improving, and still eating and drinking until yesterday afternoon, when I brought her into the house for ICU besides not been opening her eyes much for the last 24 hours before she died.  She is about 2.5, and came from a friend with 2 other birds (one died a few weeks ago, no outward signs of cause; the other never came back one Summer afternoon from ranging).  

 

We have one other hen (Poufy) that presented with foamy eyes on Monday and began Duramycin that afternoon, she is 6 months (we ordered a batch of pullets straight from the hatchery, arrived early June).  The last 3 birds that have been added were in October (poultry barn at local fair, all birds are cleared by the state vet prior) 

 

Winter has finally arrived in NH, and we are dealing with a frigid blast.  The entire flock has been on laying strike for 2 months, and only just started laying again in the days leading to Christmas.  Most of the eggs are definitely from the pullets added in June. (copper Marans)

 

We did lose our broody (Cheese) last week, though she was 3 yrs, so it may have been old age, she had no sign of being unwell.  She hadn't laid in almost a year, and gave 2 eggs randomly, in the days before she died.  I want to take Nibbles in for testing (necropsy is $30, plus $10 for a fecal swab that they run as routine with it, so really $40) and they want me to bring Poufy for a blood draw and to check for MG, but they will euthanize her either way.  Yesterday and today, she does not have any foam in her eyes, and we are continuing with the Duramycin for the course (10 days, 1/8t daily)  We are all attached to our birds, and I want to continue to treat her and watch for improvement.  

 

So, am I right in that thinking?  If this is MG, the whole flock is exposed, as they all roost in the same coop.  It's only a matter of time that they show symptoms, and culling one now will not change that, right?  I don't mind treating the sick ones (dosing on her food, in a hutch inside the coop, she is not segregated) but don't want to treat the whole flock as there are no other birds that are symptomatic, as that would mean still no more eggs for another month.

 

 
I just don't understand the need to euthanize a bird that tests negative :(  Do I have any other options?  We were planning to hatch chicks this year, with our mixed flock of 30 birds - Easter Eggers, Salmon Faverolle, Cukoo Maran, Bantam Belgian Speckled D'Uccle, Blue Cochin Roo, Welsummer Roo, Bantam Barred Rock, 3 guinea roos and a guinea hen - but if they are all carriers that ends those hopes.  If we dose the whole flock, we won't be able to sell our eggs (ever?) and can't even eat them ourselves for a month, or eat the meat if we cull them later.  So much opinion, not enough facts.  
 

Before Nibbles presented, we had never seen foamy eyes before.  We have kept chickens for 6.5 years, fluke passing has happened in that time, but animal attacks and a rooster cull in the fall of 2014 have been our only losses.  Our birds are our pets, and they give us eggs, snuggles and smiles in return for shelter, water, food and ranging.

 

What should I do???

post #2 of 7

What I would want to know before killing off any other birds is what exactly you are dealing with.  So I'd have Nibbles necropsied and go from there depending on what you hear back.  I've never had my state poultry path lab demand I bring in a live bird AND a deceased bird when I've taken one for necropsy.  Once you know exactly what's going on in your flock then you can make the decision as to how you want to deal with it.  Some of these things are much worse then others in terms of how often they recur, how hard to manage they are and what kind of carrier status they produce in the affected birds.  Good luck, hope you get some answers.

wife to long suffering husband who has built more miles of fence, barns, coops and enclosures then one man should have to, two teenage boys, current flock of 13 assorted hens, 1 big red roo and a list of other assorted farm animals. 
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wife to long suffering husband who has built more miles of fence, barns, coops and enclosures then one man should have to, two teenage boys, current flock of 13 assorted hens, 1 big red roo and a list of other assorted farm animals. 
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post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

That's what I am thinking.  She asked if any other birds were showing similar symptoms, and I mentioned Poufy.  That's when she said I needed to bring them both in.  I just really don't understand how the simple process of testing a bird will require euthanasia.  Seems foolish.  If the test is negative, I have killed a pet unnecessarily.

 

If we go forward with just the necropsy, would it tell us anything about specific virus/bacteria?


Edited by Egg-cation House - 1/6/16 at 10:12am
post #4 of 7
If you're mixing Duramycin 10 in the water, the 800mg dose is 1.5 tablespoons per gallon.

-Kathy
post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Egg-cation House View Post
 

That's what I am thinking.  She asked if any other birds were showing similar symptoms, and I mentioned Poufy.  That's when she said I needed to bring them both in.  I just really don't understand how the simple process of testing a bird will require euthanasia.  Seems foolish.  If the test is negative, I have killed a pet unnecessarily.

 

If we go forward with just the necropsy, would it tell us anything about specific virus/bacteria?


Yes, a properly done necropsy by a state vet should tell you exactly what you are dealing with, whether viral or bacterial.  I'm not sure either why she would want to euthanize Poufy after simply taking a blood sample, unless she just thinks a symptomatic bird should be put down not matter what.  Blood samples and other tests can be taken and sent off without killing the bird.


Edited by cafarmgirl - 1/6/16 at 10:29am
wife to long suffering husband who has built more miles of fence, barns, coops and enclosures then one man should have to, two teenage boys, current flock of 13 assorted hens, 1 big red roo and a list of other assorted farm animals. 
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wife to long suffering husband who has built more miles of fence, barns, coops and enclosures then one man should have to, two teenage boys, current flock of 13 assorted hens, 1 big red roo and a list of other assorted farm animals. 
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post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

We mixed it in the water for the first dose, but the little qt waterer is so small it froze.  After that, since they have been eating well, we are sprinkling it on the food.  We are dosing at a rate of 1/8 teaspoon daily per bird.  Hubby is not a fan of getting the necropsy - $40 would go a ways in re-establishing the flock if they die (also if we had to cull/close the flock) or would buy a good amount of antibiotics if we need to treat further hens for a bacterial infection.  We are in agreement that we do not want to lose Poufy.  If it gets to the time that she is not improving or takes a turn, then we'll revisit taking her to the lab to be tested and killed.  At that point, we will have information on how to proceed with the rest of the flock.  If she regains complete health, we'll be happy as can be!

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cafarmgirl View Post
 


Yes, a properly done necropsy by a state vet should tell you exactly what you are dealing with, whether viral or bacterial.  I'm not sure either why she would want to euthanize Poufy after simply taking a blood sample, unless she just thinks a symptomatic bird should be put down not matter what.  Blood samples and other tests can be taken and sent off without killing the bird.

Yes, I was caught quite off guard when she said that, and I asked her 3 different times - then she put me on hold to confirm with the vet.  I've had hens survive and thrive after "less than stellar" surgical conditions here on the farm, so a simple blood draw from a docile bird should not require her death!

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