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Abdominal Draining Advice?!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by tenderkat, May 19, 2011.

  1. tenderkat

    tenderkat Songster

    I have spent so much time reading so many posts, and I have become so confused. In the meantime, my dear Lily is sitting in my bathtub suffering, waiting for me to do SOMETHING!!

    Lily has something that is causing her belly to become extremely swollen. Her breathing has become very labored, and her abdomen is getting firmer and firmer. I have no idea if it is fluid or solid mass building up inside of her. Yesterday, I did the bath and vent probing thing, to no avail. She is still eating, but not as willing to drink.

    Last night I went and picked up a needle and syringe from the pharmacy. I had been told in my other post that I should use a 18 gauge with a 6 mil syringe, but all the pharmacist had was a 22 gauge needle with a 3 mil syringe. Will this be large enough?

    I am hoping for some type of laymens tutorial on attempting to drain Lily's abdomen.

    The only place I have to do this is in our bathroom. I have not given Lily any antibiotics, nor do I have access to any. I am reaaly worried that what might be inside of her is infected, and I'm not sure what the consequences might be if i poke into an infected abdomen. If she is infected, would she be running a fever? Is there any way I can check for that?

    Is there anything I can do in the preperation to eliminate the chance of introducing infection into her body, which is already so stressed?

    How do I insert the needle, and where?

    How deep, just under the skin?

    Will any fluid just flow out of the hole by itself once I poke in the needle? I'm not sure how to 'draw' the fluid out without having to keep reinserting the needle. Can I just poke her while she's in the tub, pull out the needle, and massage/push the fluid out of her belly? It is huge!

    If I DO get fluid out, how will I know if it is septic or not?

    When it's all said and done, what do I need to do to the area where I inserted the needle? Will it continue to bleed? Should I put some neosporin over the area?

    Please, please, please - help me figure this out. I'm not even sure if I can do it, but if so I want to know exactly what I'm doing!!!

  2. Clay Valley Farmer

    Clay Valley Farmer Songster

    Sep 7, 2010
    I would not attempt to drain anything near the body cavity unless it was very clear there was something to drain and some way to get at it. Punturing things in the abdomen is almost certainly going to have serious consiquences.

    My sugestion is go through the questions in the sticky up top, maybe something in the history will give more clues to what is going on. Importaint to know these things to work towards a diagnosis.

    Internal laying or related reproductive issues is a big problem and sadly there is almost nothing you can do about it. Based on the limited info I would look into that possibility and try to rule it out first.
    Last edited: May 19, 2011
  3. tenderkat

    tenderkat Songster

    See, that's the thing. I don't think she is eggbound, which leaves something worse such as cancer, internal laying, heart/liver issues, etc. And from what I've read, none of those have positive prognosis. Her belly has become so darn hard!! I had read in one of Speckled Hens posts that a hard enlarged belly is definitely NOT a good thing!! I'd hate to poke her, and just drag out the inevitable. She has always been my most affectionate, easy-going hen. I hate the thought of doing nothing and just 'letting her go', but I also don't want to add to her discomfort.

    So, I guess if she is going to go, how bad will she get beforehand? I have never lost a hen before, and the thought of her screaming in agony just breaks my heart.
  4. coloradochick

    coloradochick Songster

    Dec 19, 2007
    Brighton, CO
    Sorry this is happening. You might want to PM Speckledhen aka Cynthia. She's pretty knowledgable on this stuff. Good luck [​IMG]
    Last edited: May 19, 2011
  5. tenderkat

    tenderkat Songster

    Thankyou!! I think I am pretty much resigned AGAINST attempting to drain Lily, as horrible as that may be. I'm just not sure what kind of quality of life Lily will have IF the draining worked but became an ongoing problem. But, I think i will PM Cynthia, just to see what her take is on it.

    I just went in and checked on her again, and she ate some crumbles mixed with yogurt, milk, and water. Bright-eyed and sweet as could be. I guess at this point I will consider her a sort of hospice patient, as I don't feel there will be any resolution to whatever ailment she is suffering.

    I'm just wondering if she is better kept in my tub, or if I should put her back outside with her sisters? Sooner than later my husband will consider having a sick chicken living in our tub an inconvenience, despite the fact that he is sweet on her too. And I can't stay in there by her side for the rest of her life, however long that may be. Would she be more content to be in familiar surroundings with her flock when she goes?!
  6. ReikiStar

    ReikiStar Songster

    Tenderkat, sounds like she might have a case of egg yolk peritonitis.

    Is taking her to an avian vet an option? You might have seen this person's experience with draining his chicken: http://blog.siffordsojournal.com/2010/01/operation-chicken-peritonitis.html

    . [​IMG] Scary to be poking them. Have a good look at an anatomy chart if you decide to. Become familiar with what's in the area you're inserting the needle into.

    Wishing you both luck. I know how stressful and helpless this must be for you. Please keep us posted.
  7. Clay Valley Farmer

    Clay Valley Farmer Songster

    Sep 7, 2010
    If it helps, I have yet to see/hear a chicken screaming in agony. They tend more to slip down into unconciousness and fade.

    Don't mean to jump to conclusion, but internal problems are very difficult to treat and as you stated there are some that for all intents can't be treated. In those cases when you have exhausted what efforts you can do to help and have made the decision that a vet is not an option then the responsible thing to do is end the suffering and not let it linger.

    Though to eliminate some things that might be more easily treated going through the 12 questions would help other to help your chicken.

  8. Country4ever

    Country4ever Songster

    Oct 26, 2007
    Here is a copy of the instructions that I wrote awhile back. Let me know if you have any questions.

    How to drain a chicken

    I’m fortunate in that I obtained an “intracath” to drain my chickens. This is a small rubber tube that’s over a needle. Once I stick in the needle, I thread the tube over it, and pull the needle out. With this intracath, I don’t have to worry about puncturing an organ. But I don’t think they are available.

    #18 gauge needle or intracath.
    A 10 cc syringe
    Collection cup
    Cotton swab and alcohol

    You must be very careful to stick the chicken in the right spot, or you could puncture an organ or a blood vessel. Actually, its good if the chicken is really full, because that helps to keep the needle from hurting anything else.

    The best place to insert the needle is on the right side of the chicken’s abdomen……right close to where the leg is attached. It’s mid-way down the abdomen and off to the right side.

    The first thing you do is pull out some feathers around where you will be inserting the needle.

    This is really a 2 person job. The person holding the chicken should hold her like a football on their right side (the person’s right side). The chickens head will be under their arm and the chicken’s butt will be facing you and be up a little. Make sure they hold the wings down well. You don’t want the chicken taking off in the middle of this. But be careful not to squeeze the chicken so much that they can’t breathe. Their breathing is already compromised from all the fluid.

    When you’ve decided on the best spot (over to the right side of the abdomen, about even to where the leg connects), clean the area with rubbing alcohol. Use preferably an 18 gauge needle to pierce the skin, going in only about ¼-1/3 inch in (bevel up). You don’t go straight down in, but more parallel. You should immediately get fluid out. In my experience, it’s a better sign to get clear liquid than green.
    When fluid starts coming out, I use at least a 10 cc syringe to attach to the needle and begin to pull out fluid. Be very careful as you attach and detach your syringe, since you can easily accidentally move the needle around and it could puncture something important. If it accidentally comes out, put it in again.
    There have been times when I pulled out hundreds of cc’s of fluid…….so be prepared for this to take a little while. Have a container there to collect a lot of fluid in.

    When it starts getting hard to withdraw any fluid, have the other person gently tilt the chicken around a little, to help trapped fluid get over to where the needle is. Fluid should come out easily…….so don’t pull back on the plunger too hard or you might hurt the chicken.
    My hen always continued to drain fluid onto her bedding for about a day….which was a good thing. In fact, I’m thinking if some people don’t feel comfortable about using a syringe to withdraw fluid, maybe they could just make a needle hole or 2, and let the fluid passively flow out.

    I always give my hen a 22.7mg Baytril before I drain her, and then 2 pills a day for 2 days afterwards. I don’t know if this is completely necessary, but it’s what my vet told me to do.
    We drain our chicken in our house, on a plastic covered ironing board. Put it where there’s lots of light so you can see better. I think doing it in the house is a lot cleaner than in the coop.
    You could possibly put triple antibiotic ointment over the needle site afterwards, but I never wanted to obstruct the outflow of anymore fluid, so I quit doing it.

    There is always the chance of the hen having big problems once all this fluid is taken out, but in my experience, they actually feel sooooooo much better. My hen Nobie suddenly becomes very active and eats a ton of food. She usually doesn’t poop at all when she’s full of fluid, but poops constantly afterwards.
    Always look for signs of infection for about a week afterwards.

    If your chicken’s breathing is too compromised from someone holding her like this, you can figure out a way to get her up higher….like a TV tray on top of a card table….so that she can be set up on there, with someone just stabilizing her, and you can drain her from below. This way, no one has to hold her too tightly for her to breath. When they are full of fluid, holding them seems to make it close to impossible for them to breath. But I think its easier to deal with the procedure, if someone can hold them.
    Good luck!
    A 22 gauge needle is pretty small. It would take forever to drain her.
    What you might do is make several small pokes (only going in about 1/4") and rotate the needle around, to make the hole bigger. Then just set her down and let gravity/pressure drain the fluid.

    You do have to be very careful not to puncture any organs. In my experience, its best when the hen is VERY swollen, since you'll be less likely to poke anything important.
    As I said above, I always drained to the right side of the abdomen, close to where the right leg attaches. That's where my vet did it a couple times. Supposedly on the right side, there's fewer organs right there.
    Good luck to you.
    Last edited: May 19, 2011
  9. tenderkat

    tenderkat Songster

    The 12 questions?! Gosh, I'm just not sure what that is. Is this something I can cut and paste into this post?
  10. Clay Valley Farmer

    Clay Valley Farmer Songster

    Sep 7, 2010
    Go to the very top of the Emergency Forum where this post is and it is the first post held there with a sticky. [​IMG]

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