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coccidiosis back after multiple treatments?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
We have 16 nearly 7 week-old chicks and they were doing great until about 3 weeks ago I noticed signs of coccidiosis. Lethargy and bloody stools, not good at all. The next day I tracked down some Corid after driving 2 hours to the nearest Tractor Supply that had it in stock. Symptoms eased in just a few days and within a week I thought we were in the clear. We treated for 6 days then stopped for a week as the instructions said. Last Thursday I noticed bloody stools AGAIN and a few chicks looked really pitiful.

The next morning our sweet lavender Swizzle died literally in my arms after convulsing and vomiting--her BMs had been straight blood that day. I was shocked bc everything I've read says if they're still alive past day 4ish they should be in the clear. We of course started treating again and are almost finished with round two.

My question is: at what point will these guys be over the hump? I know coccidia are hard to eliminate, but don't chicks who survive a bout become immune? I'm surprised that they're still trying to overcome it after all this time. Can I expect to have to go through another round of treatment or do I need to try something else? Each time the Corid appears to be working then suddenly it's back with a vengeance.
post #2 of 5
Welcome to BYC. How are they being kept? Are they getting outside or out in their run to roam on clean grass during the day? The less they are exposed to cocci in their droppings, the less they will get. What dosage were you using and was it liquid or powder? They have to drink enough of the medicated water to get the right dosage. Also change the water daily, and keep it up high enough to not become soiled. I would make sure that their bedding is clean and dry, and you can stir it to help dry thing out. The more they can get outside where they can get on grass, the better they should do. Be sure and follow up the Corid with vitamins and plain yogurt for probiotics for a few days. Chicks have to be exposed to small amounts of cocci to develop resistance, but when they get hit with too much at once is when they get sick. There are two more serious strains of cocci that are more deadly than the other strains. So sorry for your loss, and I hope things start turning around.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Eggcessive, I am SO SORRY I am just now seeing your reply. I'm still a novice with this forum and was waiting for a notification that someone read and replied to my post, so I assumed I'd gone unanswered. I really appreciate you responding. We learned the hard way that we didn't do such a stellar job of giving the chicks fresh grass and ground to walk on to give them a break from the brooders and possible recontamination, not to mention we kept them with 3 baby ducks which made a complete wet mess of the brooder (HUGE mistake). We were overwhelmed by the number of birds we had--first time we raised baby chicks we only had 6 from TSC and I was able to give them so much more TLC and fresh ground to run around when they were younger (they're all doing awesome and thriving). Trying to corral almost 3 times as many babies was too much for us to handle, so they were pretty much cooped up in a brooder with not so ideal conditions. My husband and I are still kicking ourselves over it.


We ended up losing one more to the coccidia, but several of them never really seemed to bounce back after that and I think it's made them more susceptible to other illnesses. Over the past few months we've had bouts of respiratory symptoms that they all seem to bounce back from after treatment, then randomly one will start looking "off" and we eventually lose them. All in all we've lost just over half of those babies (just lost another one today). And each time we think we're in the clear, everyone is looking good, then one day they start looking weak and lethargic. They usually start showing signs by sitting with their eyes closed frequently, or just sitting on their haunches, others have been wobbly, unable to stand up or walk, or have a limp, crooked neck (neuro signs). I'm not convinced it's Marek's, but am clueless otherwise. My little Luna (chocolate cuckoo orpington) who died today had always looked anemic but otherwise fine and had a good appetite; she just looked really sleepy, eyes closed and not moving this morning and only a few hours later she was gone. After she passed I examined her for signs of external parasites and saw none. I could feel that she was skin and bone though, which shocked me because she appeared to be such a full, healthy girl.


The flock was just wormed 2 weeks ago with Safeguard. Multiple trips to the vet haven't done anything except drain our bank account--fecal tests and mycoplasma test both clear, otherwise the vet has no ideas and the exams were inconclusive. The only place that can do a necropsy is over an hour away and we just can't commit to it. We've had to cull several of them showing the neurological signs but have kept our fingers crossed the ones remaining who seem strong and sturdy will make it.


Could this all be related to chronic coccidia?  

post #4 of 5

@bamachick86, welcome to BYC and sorry your losses. It's possible that you have a strain of coccidia that's resistant to amprolium, or it could be something like necrotic enteritis. Would be best to have a necropsy done, and you don't have to drive them there, just call the lab and ask if you can use their FedEx account number and ship them.



post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for your response, Kathy, and for the tips on shipping for a necropsy. I didn't know that was an option (figured there'd be an issue with biosecurity) but I'll see if any of the labs in GA will accept a shipped bird. I spoke to one lab that was pretty difficult and not so helpful--they required the (dead) bird to be a patient of an avian vet and told me to get a necropsy order from my vet (2 hours of driving) then take the necropsy order and my bird to the lab (another 2 hours of driving). I just gave up on that.


I had considered necrotic enteritis in the past because of how severe their coccidia was, but looking at it again they definitely had many of these same symptoms. I'm afraid we'll have to wait and see if we lose another one to offer up for necropsy--I already placed Luna in the freezer until my husband can get home to help me bury her. Sadly (but hopefully not), I may have another little gal not far behind her. She's in our chicken hospital with a slightly gimpy leg (no injury, is eating and drinking great and still alert and energetic, no other symptoms, but her two brothers died after showing similar but more severe symptoms). I had no idea chicken keeping could be such heartbreak and hand wringing :( 

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