A Fatty Liver Hemorrhagic Syndrome death

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Leihamarie, Jul 20, 2019.

  1. Leihamarie

    Leihamarie Songster

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    Hey all,

    Well, I just had a pet chicken drop dead suddenly on Wed morning. The initial necropsy findings were death caused by fatal liver hemorrhage due to Fatty Liver Hemorrhagic Syndrome.

    I'd never heard of it before the results. In the last 24 hours I've read every study I can find on the subject, so in addition to being incredibly sad, my brain also hurts, lol! I've also read through the forum posts on death due to FLHS and thought I'd add my necropsy results and chicken feeding in order to help anyone out there who is also baffled by a similar sudden chicken death. Maybe over time we can find a pattern since according to every study I've read so far, very little is actually known about the how/why/how to prevent it. The common thread is that estrogen is directly involved, it's most often seen in overweight hens, it's a major cause of death in caged laying hens and high-protien/ low-energy diets seem to do a good job of circumventing it.

    Name: Myrtle
    Breed: Olive egger (Healthy BCM female X Healthy Easter Egger male)
    Origin: Hatching egg from a friend of mine's flock
    Age: 14 Months
    Date of death: 7/17/19
    Laying habits: She began laying almost a year ago and was an excellent layer. She did not have a drop in laying prior to death.

    Behavior/symptoms: Myrtle has had a weepy right eye since shortly after hatch. It was deemed a possible malfunctioning tear duct by the vet after undergoing rounds of anti-fungals, antimicrobials and antibiotics with no change. She had zero symptoms leading up to her death. She laid an egg the day before dying, ate and drank well, foraged voraciously, had normal stools (a couple of loose ones during peak heat that returned to normal when cooler), did not have any major weight fluctuations, had a good colored comb, alert and active. I also check on all the chickens just before I go to bed and Myrtle was sleeping normally the night prior to her death. The morning she died, I went to let the girls out of their run for the day to free-range as normal. Myrtle was laying on the ground in a corner of the run, pale comb and having a hard time breathing. I went to pick her up to see what was happening and she seized and died before I could even pick her up all the way.

    Feed: My girls have free access to the yard all day starting around 9-ish am and ending just before sunset. I free-feed them a fresh blend of fermented organic Scratch & Peck Grower with Big Sky Organics Layer mash twice a day. Neither food has any corn or soy. The main protein source is fishmeal. They get barley sprouts/almost fodder several times per week, whatever greens/berries they can get their beaks on in the yard and I also give them cabbage, radish leaves, beet greens, kale, broccoli leaves, cauliflower leaves, brussels sprouts leaves to snack on from the garden. They have been known to eat tomato leaves whenever they droop down over the garden fence, but that is very rare and I shoo them away and trim the leaves. Additionally, I raise black soldier fly larvae and mealworms. I give 8 birds a handful of live grubs once every couple of weeks in the evenings. A couple of months ago I had several instances of them chowing down on avocados that had dropped from my neighbor's tree and fallen under leaf litter. I took them away as soon as I saw, but quite a bit had been consumed by the time I found them. Since then I've been much more vigilant about checking for them and have had no repeat incidences.
    Body Condition: She had a good body condition. Not underweight and not obese.

    The histopathology hasn't come back yet from the necropsy, but when it does I'll update. I'm a little lost as to how this happened. I keep wracking my brain with possible causes, so I can prevent it from happening again. I've been resistant to going with a pelletized feed because I don't like feeding such processed food, but I think I might start keeping pellets in a treadle feeder in the run and only feeding the fermented blend once a day, leaving it out for an hour, maximum. I wonder if mold could have developed on some of the feed over the course of the day. Or maybe it was the avocado. Or maybe it was the weepy eye, perhaps it was mycoplasma instead of a malfunctioning tear duct. GAH! Chickens!!!!!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

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    I'm sorry to hear about your loss :hugs

    Thank you for sharing your results with us so we can learn more.
    I did see in the observations section it was mentioned, "Body condition good, with large deposits of adipose tissue in the coelomic cavity". You may want to clarify with the pathologist what that means - to me it says large deposits of fat in the abdomen.
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    Eggcessive likes this.
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    Sorry for your loss. It sounds like a straightforward case of fatty liver hemorrhagic disease, which can be common in some hens. Normally you would see hemorrhages in the liver, large fat deposits throughout the body. It has a number of causes, and I don’t see any mention of fungal deposits in her body, which would be evidence of mold and aspergillosis. Feeding primarily a good balanced pelleted feed or crumble will prevent them from picking out their favorite things to eat. I would limit any extras in the diet to less than 10% of the diet.
     
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  4. Leihamarie

    Leihamarie Songster

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    [email protected] Rock. Yeah, I saw that. I'll clarify with the pathologist. It's a bit confusing with the body condition listed as "good" and not obese. I can say from personal observation, her keel bone protruded a good amount. She wasn't an overweight chicken. I'm not sure what large amounts of fat in the abdomen mean in this case.
     
    Wyorp Rock likes this.
  5. Leihamarie

    Leihamarie Songster

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    Thanks for the support, I appreciate it. It's hard to control how much they eat when they forage, but I limit any extras that I give them. As I mentioned, I've been resistant to the high-processing of pellets or crumbles, but you know what I'm even more resistant to? Dead birds. :hmm

    I've ordered some Non-corn/Non-soy Organic crumbles to keep in their run and am small-batch milling their existing feed into practically flour (still to ferment) so there will be no more picking out their favorites if that's what has been going on, lol!
     
    Wyorp Rock likes this.
  6. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

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    Let us know what you find out. I'm thinking the "body condition" is a body score that's referring to feeling of the breast/keel bone.
    I have had hens with reproductive problems where there breast may be scored as thin to good, but they had some fat deposits in the abdomen or around the organs.


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    Amelia Egghart and Eggcessive like this.

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