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fungal infection, nystatin, and a questionable vet...help!!

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

I brought my chicken to the vet today for what I suspected was sour crop.  She has a very enlarged, watery feeling crop, has had runny poo, some leakage out her beak, and looks like she has the dry heaves.  This has been happening since Friday.  I kept her inside most of the weekend and fed her scrambled egg and yogurt.  She seemed much better on Sunday so I put her back out.  By Sunday afternoon she was just as bad off as Friday.  Oh yeah, I had also tried flushing her crop with water and baking soda on Friday but am pretty sure not all of it was going to her crop.  It got very scary.  So, the vet today sucked some goo out of her crop and said it was a fungal infection.  He have me a prescription for nystatin and said 2X a day for 7 days.  He said she can be out with the other chickens eating and drinking as normal, as long as she is getting the nystatin.  He was looking up information in a book and did not seem very knowledgable in chickens after all.  I'm not sure if I completely trust his recommendations.  I really don't want to separate her because the other two chickens were horrible to her after only 2 days in the house.  They can be so mean to who was once a friend!!  I have also read so many stories about chickens who die from sour crop and am really starting to get worried.  She seems happy enough, especially now that she is out of the dog carrier.
So...
I think I agree that nystatin is a good choice.  Do you?

The vet never emptied her crop so it is still full.  She is on the antifungal, but also eating and drinking at will.  Is this okay?

How will I know the the nystatin is working?

How long can this go for before I need to worry about losing her?

Please help.  I don't want to loose her, but I also don't want to spend a fortune on vet bills (especially with someone I don't completely trust)

post #2 of 26

all I can tell you is feed the medication like the vet said and give it a try


Edited by Glenda L Heywood - 7/1/09 at 2:40pm
Glenda L Heywood Brookings SD
frizzlebird7@yahoo.com
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Glenda L Heywood Brookings SD
frizzlebird7@yahoo.com
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post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 

I had a feeling that her crop should have been emptied and am furious that the vet did not do it.  My husband and I tried this on Friday and it was very unnerving and scary.  Hattie sounded like she was choking and her crop started getting very dark in color.  We obviously were not doing this right.  How can you be sure that the liquid goes into her crop and not into the airway?  How far down does the syring go?  How much liquid should be squirted in for each flushing?  Is there any was the nystatin will work without flushing her crop?
Thanks for your help so far.

post #4 of 26

Do as the others suggest and then the chicken will be okay
threehorses knows her stuff


Edited by Glenda L Heywood - 6/29/09 at 9:49pm
Glenda L Heywood Brookings SD
frizzlebird7@yahoo.com
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Glenda L Heywood Brookings SD
frizzlebird7@yahoo.com
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post #5 of 26

I know that Nystatin is used for young children for thrush, which is a fungal infection that they get in their mouths. If my memory is correct, they swish it around in their mouths and swallow it. Based on this, I think it would also work well for a fungal infection in a chicken.

If you can make the chicken swallow the Nystatin, I believe it would go into the crop where it's needed. When I had to make one of my young pullets swallow olive oil to try to flush out a full crop, I just held her mouth open and put the oil in there with a child's medicine dropper a little at a time. The chicken automatically held her head back and swallowed it the same way that they swallow water.

Good luck!!

post #6 of 26

Go to Walgreens and buy Gentian Violet.  You have to ask for it.  It's the best stuff I have every used.  My 2 year use to get thrush everytime he drank cows milk and this is the only thing that work.  But be careful as it will stain you and eveything else purple.  A little goes a long way.

Wife to a wonderful husband, mom to 4kids.  My zoo Beezis my Percheron, Heart my Paint, 10 Saanens, 4 Alpines, 3 cats, English Mastiff.

RIRs, Cuckoo Marans, Welsummers, Buff Orps, Jesery Gaints, EE's and more and Ancona ducks.
 

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Wife to a wonderful husband, mom to 4kids.  My zoo Beezis my Percheron, Heart my Paint, 10 Saanens, 4 Alpines, 3 cats, English Mastiff.

RIRs, Cuckoo Marans, Welsummers, Buff Orps, Jesery Gaints, EE's and more and Ancona ducks.
 

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post #7 of 26

Nystatin is a very commonly used drug for birds with yeast infections, yes.  So the treatment is standard.  It works BEST mind you on an empty crop.  But it will work with some crop contents.

Diflucan is really the better choice (as it doesn't require an empty crop).  If she doesn't improve, ask him for it.  It's the choice of avian specialists.

When you say he didn't empty the crop, and you referred to him removing contents of the crop, did he remove most or just enough for a sample?

As for her crop having contents, of course that will happen if she's eating.  I would back up the treatment of the yeast infection by using probiotics.  I would not use any other products (like apple cider vinegar) without consulting the vet.  But probiotics work in tandem with the nystatin and he SHOULD have prescribed them, but then again most vets don't.  Even avian vets, even avian specialists.  If you ask about them they'll usually say "Wonderful idea!" and make you wonder why you pay *them*.  smile

I want to send you a very good article on fungi (yeasts) in the crop.  The thing about them - they're usually present in a static (slow/stopped) crop.  The question is rather chicken/egg-like:  which came first - the yeast infection, or the crop stasis?

Another thing about avian digestive systems... if the bird is stressed or ill or medicated, the digestive tract will slow down.  The bacterial load in the tract will diminish to some degree (sometimes minor and insignificant, other times major and detrimental). 

Better yet, it's important to know how the digestive tract of a chicken works.  Simply put:

MOUTH (no chewing) ->
CROP (storage) ->
PROVENTRICULUS (some enzymes to break down via bacteria, light acid - very light) ->
GIZZARD (muscular walls and grit break down cell walls of plants) ->
INTESTINES (bacteria do the rest of the breaking down of food into absorbable particles, produce vitamins and enzymes, protect the system....absorbtion of nutrients happens here ->
CLOACA (remaining non-digestable material mixes with products of the kidneys and are excreted).

So you see, the majority of nourishment occurs in the intestines.  If the bacteria are diminished by (insert whatever reason here) then the whole system slows down.  When that happens, the crop doesn't empty.  When the crop doesn't empty, food goes rotten and bacteria and yeast form.

Voila.  Yeast infection.

Nystatin will treat the contents of the crop, although again it's best used on an empty crop.  You can use it simultaneously with yogurt or another probiotic.  Honestly for a true yeast infection, I'd hit hard and use a combination of not only Lactobacilli but also Bifidobacteria.  That's the "magic bullet" for women's yeast infections which is the same (Candida albicans) as crop yeast infections.  C. albicans is present in a healthy system - just not in the extreme blooms that cause the problem you're seeing.

If you can't get a probiotic capsule at the health food store for women's yeast infections (no joke here), try using simply acidophilus capsules or tablets from the grocer.  You can also use plain yogurt, no bits please.  Or you can use an avian-specific probiotic (but unlikely you have one sitting around) or a prepared probiotic like Probios brand dispersible powder.  The latter is my favorite, but I've used all of the above with success as a general probiotic. 

Also at this time NO solid foods unless they're easily dissolvable.  Test:  put the food in a glass of water. In ten minutes if it's not basically mush at the bottom of the glass, it's not dissolvable.  You want nutrition to trickle down through the digestive system without having to rely on the gizzard right now.

Good foods:
her pellets - 90% of her diet at the very least.
a little egg yolk, boiled (not scrambled - the glass test fails) and mashed.  Freeze what you don't use.  Protein is acceptable.
Yogurt - 1 teaspoon per adult bird daily or so.
Babyfood applesauce:  highly recommended in small amounts (1/2 teaspoon or so) as a cleanser of the digestive tract. (More on this below)  Also acidifies the gut without interacting with the nystatin.

I personally would hold off on apple cider vinegar until after the course of Nystatin is finished.  Then I'd use it (organic only because of the bacteria) at 1 teaspoon per gallon of water every other day or so until she's fully back on track.

Now the applesauce - I had a parrot who was diagnosed with a neurological disorder that basically shut down their entire digestive system to a slow trickle.  The bird, while being fed even formula, had problems emptying her crop.  A very experienced aviculturist told me the applesauce babyfood trick used on exotics sometimes.  It cleanses the digestive tract, is already broken down mostly, is full of pectin which does the cleaning as well as feeding the GOOD bacteria.  The pH helps make the tract healthy for GOOD bacteria = bad for yeast!

And good bacteria fight off yeast.  They're your best friends in the chicken biz.

This is a lot of info so here's the summary:

Continue the nystatin, putting it the crop when empty if possible.
Feed only easily digested foods - that means no free range grass.
Feed probiotics daily during this treatment and for a week thereafter.
Don't put anything in the water unless the vet indicates it - especially and including vitamins.  If you need them, feed them.

Follow up with your vet and absolutely do NOT expect him to be your bird's advocate.  You are.  For that reason, I'd like to share an article with you I think you'll find handy.

http://www.avianweb.com/candida.html

IN the mean time, sorry for the long LONG post here and my type-errors. smile  I hope you find the information useful.


Edited by threehorses - 6/29/09 at 7:50pm
Nathalie Ross  threehorses@horsemail.com
(http://hoovesandfeathers.homestead.com/index.html in progress)
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Nathalie Ross  threehorses@horsemail.com
(http://hoovesandfeathers.homestead.com/index.html in progress)
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post #8 of 26

you have the nystatin (personaly I would not do those flushes)
dont give scratch or grains (shouldnt anyway in this hot weather)
give it a chance to work (at least a week maybe more)...

post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 

That was very helpful, and very overwhelming information.  The vet only took a sampling from her crop so he could look at it under the microscope.
So...I will keep her on the nystatin.  She is with the other chickens outside right now with access to layer pellets and water only.  I'm assuming pellets are considered okay as they easily disolve.  The ground is pretty much dirt, so she'll only get a little grit and bugs there.
I will give her some acidophilus tomorrow, mixed with a little yogurt.
I'll read the article tomorrow, it's getting kind of late here smile
Oi Vey!  Am I forgetting anything?

post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by dlhunicorn 

you have the nystatin (personaly I would not do those flushes)
dont give scratch or grains (shouldnt anyway in this hot weather)
give it a chance to work (at least a week maybe more)...


Agreed on not doing flushes.  You'll flush out the nystatin.  It has to sit in there to work - just as DLHunicorn says...it needs time.

Good thinking there - thank you, dlh.  You always remember the important stuff.

Nathalie Ross  threehorses@horsemail.com
(http://hoovesandfeathers.homestead.com/index.html in progress)
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Nathalie Ross  threehorses@horsemail.com
(http://hoovesandfeathers.homestead.com/index.html in progress)
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