Abscess in cheek of 4 year old hen. How to treat?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Leucite, Apr 1, 2018.

  1. Leucite

    Leucite Hatching

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    My 4 year old Maran has developed a lump on the side of her face, just behind her beak. Her eye is slightly closed by the swelling. On opening the beak there is a white swollen area and a lot of yellow white pus. On the outside it looks infected. It also smells unpleasant. She is obviously in discomfort with this but is otherwise healthy and trying to eat although must be struggling with a pus filled mouth.

    How can I treat this? I assume it’s an abscess in her cheek which is infected. Unfortunately I don’t think I can justify vets bills for this. I’m based in the UK.

    Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    It could be canker (trichomoniasis,) a protozoan infection spread by pigeons, but it may also be a respiratory disease, depending on where the swelling is. Canker is best treated with metronidazole (Fish Zone, Flagyl) 250mg twice a day. Respiratory sinus infection usually causes eye bubbles or pus, and nasal drainage. A picture would be helpful.
     
  3. Leucite

    Leucite Hatching

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    You can see the abscess (or whatever it is) on the inside of her cheek - it extends into her mouth and down her throat so that it makes eating difficult - she's trying to eat and running after me around the garden so I don't think she's actually ill, but this is obviously a serious problem.
     

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  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    That does look very much like canker (trichomoniasis.) However, I have seen posts by @casportpony who has said that her vet in California has never seen but one case in 10 years. If you could get it cultured by a vet, that would be ideal, or I would start treatment for canker with metronidazole. Fish Zole is a generic that you can find online pretty reasonable. Dosage is 250 mg daily divided into 2 doses twice a day (125mg every 12 hours.)

    Bacterial and viral infections can also cause caseous (yellow pus) deposits in tissue inside the beak, throat, and airway.
    Wet or diphtheritic fowl pox, mycoplasma, E.coli, and coryza and other can all cause deposits inside the beak, airway, air sacs.
     
  5. josie1

    josie1 Chirping

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    Hi Leucite,
    I replied to your post on my thread about my similar problem and I was wondering if you managed to treat your hen. My rooster looked just like your photo of your hen but 3 months on he looks much worse. He still wants to live though and hasn’t given up! I’ve tried pigeon medicine for canker and gentian violet and listerine for thrush but not antifungal cream as I’ve seen suggested. I’m now going to try an antibiotic for bacterial infections. Have found baytril on vetmed website so just researching if that’s ok for chickens. I think I may have left it too late but still going to try.

    Really hope you’ve had better luck with your hen.
     
  6. Leucite

    Leucite Hatching

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    Hi Josie,
    unfortunately not. I tried everything I could get my hands on, which in the UK is not much, as antibiotics and other prescription medicines are not available. I tried Nystatin (anti fungal) which was very out of date and may not have been effective. I tried pigeon treatment for canker and I finally did get some metronidazole (under a human prescription). Nothing seemed to have any effect, and eventually she stopped being able to eat due to the mass in her beat and throat and lost so much weight that I had to cull her. She was quite bright and tried to eat and peck around, and her comb was still red, so it was really the inability to feed which killed her, not the canker itself. I think if I had got it earlier and treated her before it had spread so much she might have survived, but it had spread too far. It was very sad and I'm annoyed I didn't notice the problem earlier. I think it was caused by poor biosecurity and the wild pigeons being able to access the chicken's water and feed. Not quite sure how to deal with this problem short of locking the chickens in which I don't want to do.

    If your rooster can still eat there may be hope - my research really showed that the main thing to use is metronidazole if you can get hold of it.

    good luck
    Helen
     
  7. josie1

    josie1 Chirping

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    Thank you so much for your informative reply. I’m so sorry to hear about your hen, especially since you tried so hard to find treatment for her. I am in the UK too and have found it extremely difficult to find any of the meds people advise on here without a prescription.

    I have spent what feels like hours researching what Sylvester’s problem might be and a treatment plan for it and everything has failed yet he is still here. I thought that since the pigeon canker meds did nothing that it wasn’t canker but it might well be that he needs metronidazole as you say which is the first thing one of the experts on here suggested but I couldn’t get or so I thought. Did the rest of your flock stay healthy? I’ve read that canker is contagious and infected birds are carriers for life and since Sylvester is still here and no one else has been affected, I thought it must not be canker.

    Before I read your post, I decided it must be a bacterial infection so ordered Baytril, an antibiotic, this morning. I thought I could get it from the vetmed site but it was prescription only along with every other site I looked at. I then randomly came across a rat forum where someone said they got their meds from pigeon mercasystems website so I checked and it’s true, finally a place that doesn’t need prescriptions! They have metronidazole as well but it’s out of stock. So I will try the baytril (£12 for 50ml and only need 0.02ml per injection!) and then if that doesn’t work and he’s still around, I will do what you did and get a prescription for me for the metronidazole. I like how you thought of how to do that!

    One more thing, did your hen have a bad smell from her mouth? Sylvester has had a bad smell from the beginning. Some people on here say canker smells and others say it doesn’t so that confuses me again as to whether he has canker. If the Baytril and then metronidazole don’t work, then I’ll have to conclude it’s cancer. I’ve had him for 6 years and like you I’m annoyed with myself that 3 months on, I’ve still not managed to treat him or catch this earlier. I also have a lot of wild birds around eating and drinking what I leave out for the chickens and ducks so that is not good. I know you can get something like grandpa’s feeders which birds can’t get into but they are expensive and I’ve also seen buckets that lie on their side with a lip so no bird faeces can get in and they range from £15-£30. My ducks wouldn’t be happy with that set up though and everyone (20 chickens and 2 ducks) free range together.

    Anyway, thank you again for your help.
     
  8. Leucite

    Leucite Hatching

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    Yes, the hen did have a very sour smell- this was what made me realise she was ill in the first place. I was advised this was sour crop and I treated it with potassium sulphate (available on amazon.co.uk) in the drinking water along with apple cider vinegar. It did seem to solve most of the sour smell, so I think it was not the canker causing the smell.

    Two of my other chickens are unwell with diarrhoea so I am treating for worms with flubenvet and hoping this will do the trick. Otherwise they do not appear to have canker and I will continue to use apple cider vinegar in the drinking water from time to time - apparently this kills the trichomaniasis protozoa which live in the water. The pigeons which carry the canker drink the water and the protozoa pass from the pigeon to the water to the chicken. So if you can't separate pigeons from chickens this seems to be the best approach.

    Every vet site in the uk which said it could sell metronidazole for pigeons seems to be out of stock so I'm not sure they actually sell it legally. The fish version is also not available. I did get some from Ukraine via eBay but it arrived too late.

    Good luck but perhaps in older birds they just are more susceptible to disease - 6 years is a pretty good age!
     

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