Acites operation a huge success

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by azygous, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    10,822
    4,288
    501
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    My four-year old Brahma hen Nancy has been developing Acites for almost a year. Acites is where fluid builds up in the abdominal area due to liver problems, and it swells up so much it pushes the legs apart. I knew I needed to do something when she swelled up like a water balloon, making it hard to walk and roost. Typically, hens with Acites will develop a wide stance and waddle like a duck. The symptoms are also similar to a hen with internal egg laying problems.

    I took pics of Nancy to show how far apart her feet were. Also pictured are the hypodermic needle I used and how my friend positioned her for the operation with Nancy's head tucked securely under her arm. This position is very calming. The fifth photo shows the patient enjoying some treats afterward.

    I inserted the needle in just far enough to pierce her tough little hide, figuring the fluid was just beneath her skin. I went in at the rear and to the side and just a couple inches from her vent. As I pulled back on the plunger, I was relieved to see the liquid was yellowish, but clear. If it had been dark with blood in it, I would know it was an infection. As I withdrew the needle, the liquid spilled all over my friend and me, but there was no odor of infection, either.

    I kept inserting the needle and pulling out fluid until I had about half of what was in her. I didn't want to send her into shock by removing it all at once. I got about a cup, I guess. But when I put Nancy down on the ground, I saw that she was still leaking fluid, and she continued to drain for the next few hours. By the time it stopped, her swollen pouch was down to the size of a tennis ball!

    The outcome exceeded all expectations. Nancy showed no signs of shock or pain. She appeared to have a healthy appetite for a change, too. Best of all, she was able to roost tonight without flapping and losing her balance because of her huge belly, and her feet were back where they belonged, close together.

    With Acites, it's almost certain that the fluid will build up, and I'll have to aspirate it again. But I think it may buy my Nancy some extra months of quality life. She was my very first chick. I'm not ready to lose her just yet.
    1 hour ago
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    1 hour ago
    [​IMG]
    1 hour ago
    [​IMG]
    1 hour ago
    [​IMG]
     
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    6,771
    132
    281
    Apr 15, 2009
    Congratulations on a job well done. I hope you continue to have success in treating her.

    Good luck.
     
  3. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    10,822
    4,288
    501
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I appreciate the encouragement. The patient was alive and well this morning, although noticeably weak. She wasn't willing to leave the comfort of the coop until 10 am. But she's eating, even if with a meager appetite.

    The amazing thing is her belly is all the way back to normal. Losing all that water, after carrying it around for months, has had to have a huge effect on her system.

    I encourage others who have hens with swollen bellies like Nancy to give this procedure a try. You won't know whether your hen has a terrible infection or just Acites until you poke a needle into her and see the fluid.

    I vaguely recall stories of old time farmers who would simply poke a hole in a farm critter with a swelled-up belly to release whatever toxic fluid was inside. It would either fix the problem or kill the poor animal. Poking a drainage hole in a chicken, should be done with a clean needle and care taken to avoid any veins, and not go in very deep. I wish I had had the courage to do it sooner.
     
  4. Karhog

    Karhog Out Of The Brooder

    82
    1
    33
    Feb 15, 2012
    Well done to you for being brave enough! Thanks to you that poor lady is now much more comfortable with a much better quality of life.[​IMG]
     
  5. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    10,822
    4,288
    501
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Update: Nancy is still alive after her operation two days ago to remove her fluid buildup. However, she's lost all interest in eating. Even favorite things like raisins, scrambled egg, yogurt, and chicken soup are ignored.

    It's almost as if she's planning to die.

    Any suggestions on how to get some nourishment in to her?
     
  6. Karhog

    Karhog Out Of The Brooder

    82
    1
    33
    Feb 15, 2012
    Have you tried soaking her pellets with hot water and allow to cool to warm (ends up like a mash). I also add a drop or two of kids multi vitamin (without the added Iron)-
    Give her some sugar water to give her energy and hopefully perk her up nough to want to eat. I also give mine live white maggots- a great source of protein.
    Failing all the above just keep trying with anything at all to kick start her- beef cat food, apple and chopped grapes, corn on the cob have all worked for me.
    Good Luck!
     
  7. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    10,822
    4,288
    501
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Thanks for some terrific ideas! I was running out of them.

    I've cooked more for this hen in one day than I cook for myself all week.

    I finally got her to take a few nibbles of cooked oatmeal with cream of rice cereal with molasses and pureed cooked carrots. I did try to give her some Poly-vi-sol, but couldn't get much in her.

    I do understand that she has to eat enough to be strong enough to want to eat. It's an awfully fragile balance.
     
  8. Karhog

    Karhog Out Of The Brooder

    82
    1
    33
    Feb 15, 2012
    I know exactly what you mean- I am also battling with a sick hen who has lost interest in her food. I too am cooking up all sorts of things to try and regain interest. You are doing all you can and now it's just a case of wait and see (and hope)
     
  9. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    10,822
    4,288
    501
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Nancy's dying. I took her outside to the garden yesterday, and dug some worms for her as she stood weakly watching. She ate about a dozen of them, along with five of the little meal worms I had bought at the aquarium store that day.

    Today, she was barely awake on the perch in the coop. I took her down but she couldn't stand. I brought her indoors and put her in the infirmary crate where I tried to interest her in a worm. She had just enough energy left to grab it in her beak, but no energy to eat it.

    There the hapless worm died in her beak as Nancy herself is slowly slipping away.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Organizedmom

    Organizedmom New Egg

    5
    0
    7
    Feb 29, 2012
    U.P. Michigan
    I am so sorry that you are losing her. I grieve with you. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by