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HELP! Infectious Coryza...too late to vaccinate? How do I properly diagnose?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

We had a week of dumping rain and suddenly I have some sick birds and a few have died.  I gave the first few a shot of penicillin and then as the birds began to have symptoms that seemed like coryza I started adding Sulmet to their water.  Some birds seem to be getting much better and are eating while a few have died.  I don't want to just kill all my birds and start over.  These are pets, expensive, and at the beginning of the laying season.  I saw that there is a vaccine and I certainly wouldn't mind spending the $52 if I could vaccinate all my birds and then never have a problem with coryza again.  The question is:  How do I get a diagnosis and if they do have Infectious Coryza will the vaccine prevent any future outbreaks and keep them from transmitting the disease or will the vaccine only do what the disease is now partial immunity to the survivors?  Also, I have chicks of two new breeds that I wanted to add to my flock.  These are still in the brooder.  Should I vaccinate them and then will they be safe to house next to the rest of the flock?  Thanks for any input!

post #2 of 11

I recommend that you contact your local extension office and find out how to go about getting a necropsy performed on one of your sickest birds to verify that it's coryza. Birds with coryza can also be infected with mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) at the same time in conjunction with ecoli infection. Vaccinations may not be good enough since there are different strains. One particular vaccination may be effective against one or two strains, but not others. A necropsy will also determine what strains are involved and you can ask if there's a vaccine available for them.

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks, I'll do that. Hopefully the worst is at least temporarily over and hopefully I don't lose any more birds during this outbreak. This evening all the sick birds seemed to have full crops so they are all eating. I've been using a syringe to force medicated water into their beaks a few times a day just in case they aren't drinking enough during this cool and rainy weather and once the initial struggle is over they almost seem greatful for it.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
I've been meaning to do a follow up on this thread. I lost a few birds but the rest seemed to recover. Egg production was low. I had one rooster that got sick again but I didn't want to lose him so I nursed him back to health with injections of penicillin. Meanwhile I put a bunch of young cockerels in the cage next to him actually hoping one would get sick so I would have a fresh one for a necropsy. None appeared to get sick and my rooster recovered so I added some pullets in there too. Well, a few did get sick...they didn't die...but you could see gaps around their eyes which suggested facial swelling. I had one pullet that had a beak that was extremely curved to the side that I was going to use as a bit of "cannon fodder" when introducing new pullets as she would be the bottom of the pecking order. Well, that bird got very sick and died. She was alive in the afternoon and then dead in the evening so I refrigerated her and then sent her Fed-Ex the next day in a cooler with ice. The report found very little food in her system (a crooked beak, bullied by larger birds and an underlying issue certainly did her in). All the organs appeared normal. She had sinusitis and they did both an eye swab and a sinus swab. The eye swab was negative for mycoplasma gallicium (maybe spelled wrong) the main culprit in CRD (Chronic Respiratory Disease) and the sinus swab was overrun by a bacteria (I should have had the form in front of me for this) but it wasn't a disease causing bacteria and was due to "poor condition of the carcass" but I wonder if that was due to mishandling on their end. So...all of the big major scary diseases seem perhaps to be ruled out. It may be CRD caused by something else that only causes problems when my birds get stressed out by weeks of rain. My rooster that recovered didn't get his crow back and sounded like a cockerel trying to learn to crow but I have every bird in my flock a round of penicillin and Tylan (1/2 cc of each, one in each breast) and he got his full crow back. I plan on repeating those shots but dread the process. I need to put a roof over at least half of the run and add some drainage.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

So...yet another follow up!  Hopefully this will be the last one.  It sure seems that I keep going from one disease to the other thinking for sure that my birds have whatever it is that I finally think I've figured out.  Well, I think that they actually all have eye worm.  Yes, eye worm!  more specifically Manson's eye worm (is there another kind?).  It turns out that eye worm can mimic respiratory disease with swollen, closed eyes with possible discharge and clogged sinuses.  There might even be some sneezing.  Some birds can go on as if nothing was bothering them while some birds will actually die.  The worms thrive in moist conditions and the worm itself is found mainly in the southeastern U.S.  


So, what happened is that I had a Buff Orpington rooster that as a cockerel got a bit sick and had an eye problem.  I had put him in with older hens a bit too soon because when I had him in with a little Cream Legbar rooster that had matured more quickly he was getting beat up so I figured I may as well put him in with the hens.  He had to spend several nights sleeping underneath the coop and there was a lot of rain and even flooding.  His eye got swollen but he grew, matured, ate well and mated.  Everything seemed fairly normal except that his eye was always swollen like a marble and inside the eye was swollen white tissue.  He never tid-bitted for the hens and he wasn't great about grooming himself.  He had accumulated a lot of external parasites and I had dusted him with sevin dust quite a few times but still he seemed pretty bad. day I was putting Frontline on my cats and afterwards noticed a drop in one of the corners and since I had heard about people using it on their chickens I decided to put a drop on him.  The next day his whole attitude was different.  He ha a lot more "pep".  I even thought the swelling in his eye looked better but he always kept this good eye on me so it was hard to tell.  I went out of town for three days and when I got back the swelling in his eye was almost completely gone.  I could even see a slight glimpse of his eye which I hadn't seen in almost a year!  Now (almost a week later) there seems to be a lot of loose skin around the eye but his eyeball is clearly visible at all times (I don't know if he can see with it or isn't clear or normal).  Most of the other chickens have a slight gap around their eyes which I now assume means that they have an eye worm or two (there can be up to 200!).  My Buff rooster is strutting, crowing, tid-bitting...he's just a whole new bird!  I checked him out for external parasites and saw NONE!  I may give them all a second dose in a month (I got enough frontline for an 88 lb. dog and I only used slight more than half on about 55 birds and if each bird only gets one drop on the second round there should be enough to take care of all of them again).


Here's the rooster with the IMPROVED eye (this was a few days ago and it looks even better now).






Here's a more typical looking bird.  Right now she's the only one that has a bad eye and I'm assuming that she has an eye worm and that the frontline will clear it up.  It's been about two weeks so I hope that her eye will return to normal.  Some of the other birds have had this and some do seem to want to scratch the eye.  I haven't seen any damage from scratching but some have said that they can actually scratch the eye out of the socket.





Many birds have this gap in the corner of the eye (if you can see it in this photo).






I guess I should note for anyone who found this thread and has birds with eye worm the usual treatment involves either using VetRx or a goat wormer and putting a few drops in the eyes and sinuses as well as either a few drops down the throat or in the water.  There are other threads that give more detail on those treatments and I would encourage you to look those up.  I used the Frontline but I'm not sure if it is as effective (or more so) and it would probably be best to use the more tested treatments.

Edited by RobG7aChattTN - 8/23/15 at 3:59am
post #6 of 11

I think that getting some testing through your state vet or local extension service would probably get a definite answer, but respiratory diseases are far more common than eyeworm. Or a necropsy on a sacrificed sick bird. Eye worm is pretty rare unless you live in tropical areas where the Surinam cockroach lives. Valbazen 1/2 ml given orally them repeated in 10 days, along with valbazen mixed with water 1:1 ration applied to the eyes with the same schedule is one of the few ways to treat eye worm. Vet RX won't treat it, and neither will fenbendazole (Safeguard goat wormer.) Below is some information from Parasitapedia:


OXYSPIRURA spp, chicken eyeworms, parasitic roundworms of POULTRY - chicken, turkey, geese, etc. Biology, prevention and control. Oxyspiruriasis, Oxyspirura mansoni, Oxyspirura petrowi

Oxyspirura is a genus of parasitic roundworms that infects the eyes of poultry (chickens, turkeys, pigeons, guinea fowls, ducks, pheasants, quails, etc.) and numerous wild birds. It is closely related to the genus Thelazia, the eyeworms of mammals.

Anterior end with mouth capsule of Oxyspirura mansoni. Picture from http://cari.res.inThere are about 20 species worldwide, all on birds. The most relevant species for poultry are:

  • Oxyspirura mansoni, also called Manson's eyeworm or thetropical fowl worm (= Oxyspirura parvorumFilaria mansoni, Spiroptera mansoni, Yorkeispirura mansoni, Microfilaria seguini). It s found mainly in tropical and subtropical regions of America, Asia and the Pacific.
  • Oxyspirura petrowi is found mainly in grouse and pheasants in America, Europe and Asia.

It is mot very frequent, but can be a problem in birds reared on soil under traditional farming conditions: in endemic regions up to 50% of birds in a farm may be infected.

These worms do not affect dogs, cats, cattle sheep, goats, horses or swine.

The disease caused by Oxyspirura worms is called oxyspiruriasis or oxypirurosis.


Final location of Oxyspirura worms

Predilection sites of Oxyspirura worms are the eyes and associated organs: nictitating membrane, conjunctival sacs and nasolacrimal ducts

Anatomy of Oxyspirura worms

Adult Oxyspirura worms are up to 20 mm long, have a whitish color, whereby males are shorter than females. As in other roundworms, the body of these worms is covered with a cuticle, which is flexible but rather tough. They have a tubular digestive system with two openings, the mouth and the anus. The mouth of the females has a characteristic ring with teeth and papillae.  The worms also have a nervous system but no excretory organs andno circulatory system, i.e. neither a heart nor blood vessels. The female ovaries are large and the uteri end in an opening called the vulva. Each male has a bursa with two uneven spicules for attaching to the female during copulation.

The eggs are ovoid, measure ~45x60 micrometers and are embryonated when shed with the feces.

Life cycle of Oxyspirura worms

The Surinam cockroach, Pycnoscelus surinamensis. Picture from http://diertjevandedag.classy.beOxyspirura worms have an indirect life cycleIntermediate hosts arecockroaches (e.g. Pycnoscelus surinamensis, the Surinam cockroachforOxyspirura mansoni). 

Adult female worms deposit eggs in their predilection sites around the eyes. These eggs are passed in the tears through the lacrimal duct to the amouth, are swallowed and shed with the feces. Cockroaches ingest these eggs that release the larvae after digestion. About 8 days later these larvae penetrate the gut's wall, get into the haemocoel (the body cavity of insects) and become encysted, mainly in the fat bodies but also in other tissues. Development to infective L3 larvae is completed about 50 days after ingestion by the cockroaches.

Birds become infected when eating contaminated cockroaches. After digestioninfective larvae are released in the bird's gut. They migrate along the esophagus the pharynx and the mouth to the lacrimal duct and the eyes. This migration is very fast: 20 minutes after ingestion of the contaminated cockroaches worm larvae were already found in the lacrimal ducts. Once there, they complete development to adult worms and start producing eggs.

The prepatent period (time between infection and first eggs shed) is 4 to 5 weeks.

Harm caused by Oxyspirura worms, symptoms and diagnosis

Oxyspirura infections are not very frequent in poultry operations and usually the affect single animals, not whole flocks. However, in endemic regions with abundant intermediate hosts many birds in a flock can be affected.

Infections are often benign, but severe infections cannot be excluded. In these cases, the eyes are severely inflamed and watery, and the birds are restless and scratch the eyes continuously. The nictitating membrane may be swollen and moves constantly. The eyelids may be stuck together with a sticky material under the eyelids. Conjunctivitis, excessive lacrimation and photophobia have also reported as well. Infections with secondary bacteria can also occur. In severe cases the birds become blind and the eyes may be destroyed.

Diagnosis is based on clincial signs and detection of adult worms under the nictitating membrane or the conjunctival sac. Eggs can also be detected in the droppings after fecal examination.

Edited by Eggcessive - 8/23/15 at 9:40am
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
I actually did send a bird off for necropsy but there wasn't anything difinitive (as far as I could see). There were some problems due to "the poor condition of the specimen" but I got her pretty fresh, refrigerated her and FedEx'ed her in a cooler with ice so I don't know what else I could have done. Anyhow, I doubt that I have any Surinam cockroaches. I was just going by the dramatic results from the Frontline. Maybe the other eye worm is more common?
post #8 of 11
Hi ROB.. so Frontline worked well on your birds...
post #9 of 11
Frontline that Kills fleas and ticks in dogs...
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
It did but many have said that Ivermicin "pour on" works better than anything and they may be right. I'm not quite sure the dose so it might even be cheaper.
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