BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures › Severe ascites- necropsy photos- GRAPHIC! update: could be fatty liver hemorrhagic syndrome
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Severe ascites- necropsy photos- GRAPHIC! update: could be fatty liver hemorrhagic syndrome

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I had to cut her open and look before I buried her today.  There must have been at least a QUART of yellow clear fluid in her abdomen, poor thing. Pretty awful.  She had not laid for 1 1/2 years and had been swollen for a few months, penguin stance the past month. We put her out of her misery last night.  Please take a look below if you like and let me know what you think. I didn't take the time to pull everything out all nice, but there sure looked to be several things wrong.

Her gut had swelled up but I think that was due to the 16 hours between death and necropsy. Please excuse my sloppy work- wanted to get it over with! And my shears are dull :(












1. her liver is smallish and has this weird pale cheesy mass in several this a tumor? Liver was adhered to it,



2. obviously egg material or tumors stuck in her oviducts...hard brown lumps.



3. What is this swollen sac above her heart? Firm, has yellowish dots inside it. I don't recall seeing this in the other necropsy I've done.




Would love to hear any input.  This hen was 3 years old, and the 3rd out of 5 different breeds that I got at the same time (maybe from the same hatchery, will check with feedstore) that have developed issues. So far, the Americaunas and the barred Rock are doing fine.



Edited by AbbyDog - 6/15/12 at 9:33am
post #2 of 6
Thread Starter 

Can any of you experienced chicken people please take a look at these pics and let me know what you think? Frustrating to have had a hen not lay for 1.5 years and gradually get ascites- please help me figure out what was going on inside her.  This might also help others whose hens are experiencing the same (common symptoms).  Thanks!

post #3 of 6

I'm sorry you lost your hen, but I'm glad you posted pictures of the necropsy. I hope someone comes along with answers soon.

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

Well, I asked a friend who raises organic poultry to look at my necropsy photos, and she thinks that my hen was suffering from Fatty Liver  Hemorrhagic Syndrome. I am just going to paste in her complete response to me, as it might help some of you out there who are wondering about this condition in your birds.


"Well, the liver is extremely pale.  I mean really, REALLY pale.  It should be darker than the color of the gizzard muscle, even in a chicken bled out for eating.  The unconsolidated fatty deposits look pretty much like fatty liver hemorrhagic syndrome.  It's not Marek's Disease, lymphoid leukosis, or any of the other really tumors from these common diseases.  
There's not a good causative agent for FLHS.  It occurs in younger, really well-fed pet hens, and it also occurs in hens that are your best layers.  Makes sense, when you think large output = high food intake, which means the liver is working harder to process food.  The biggest link is to aflatoxicosis, which is more or less, mycotoxins from moldy feed.  Our feed company tests for mycotoxins twice yearly, and they've never come up positive.  *shrug*  I make my hens scrounge for a lot of food, and still have had two hens come up with it.  I think it might be one of the side effects of breeding for greater and greater production in hatchery birds.  I've never, ever seen a case in a show bird or a bird from a conservation flock.  Not much you can do - I've tapped off the fluid and made a hen more comfortable, but there are no liver transplants for chickens, LOL.  It'd make her comfortable, but it won't stop the process. 
It's not unusual to find weird nodules on the inside tissues.  They are discrete and isolated, for the most part, and don't mean much.  Broilers get those from time to time.  I don't know about the one in the oviduct, but it looks like she hadn't been laying.  Her ovaries don't look active.  
My guess on her would be FLHS, again, if she had the same fluid.  The yellow plasma fluid swelling the abdomen and the wasting of the breast muscle is kind of the classic gross symptoms."
post #5 of 6

Sorry, for the loss of your chicken. From the pictures you posted, I can tell you that your chicken had ovarian cancer, late stage.  You can see the "cottage cheese" like tumors on the oviduct, surrounding the liver in the peritoneal cavity and very apparent on the ovary.  Also evident of late stage ovarian cancer is the abundance of ascites fluid in the abdomen.  The laying hen is the only animal model that spontaneously develops epithelial ovarian cancer similar to human ovarian cancer.   Cancer generally shows up in chickens between 2.5 to 4 years of age.   Very sorry! 

Also, I believe your friend was correct in the liver diagnoses.  This too is often seen.

Edited by Neochickenlittl - 1/15/13 at 12:59pm
post #6 of 6

Neo, i appreciate your input, may i inquire of your background?  thank you.

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