Antibiotics cause severe diarrhea in hen?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chickbliss7, Jun 14, 2009.

  1. chickbliss7

    chickbliss7 In the Brooder

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    Oct 2, 2008
    I have a year old Barred Rock that is on antibiotics for a "fecal infection" (vet term). She's been on them 2x/day for a little over a week. She also is showing signs of severe broodiness. Her diarrhea is now MUCH worse--like water when I make her leave a nest box. Her butt is covered with gross poop. She's all puffed up and aggressive to the other chickens. I isolated her in our bathroom, but she hasn't gotten better, so I moved her back to the coop. This doesn't seem to affect the others for some reason, but I'm afraid it might. She has had another bout of this a few months ago, but it's much worse now. She's never laid eggs. I don't have a separate pen and this is starting to look like a hopeless case. I've never had chickens before, so I don't know when to give up! I am stopping the antibiotics as I think it's making her worse. Can illness cause broodiness? Help! I'm at my wit's end!! How does one put a chicken to sleep? Any suggestions as to what to do?
     
  2. annek

    annek Songster

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    Mar 12, 2009
    You need to give a little more information. What kind of antibiotic is she on? Why was she put on it in the first place? What happened a few months ago? Was the same medicine used? What were the symptoms then and now? What type of fecal infection- worms or cocci? There is a sticky that has questions, can you fill that out. I don't know how many of the medical type readers will be on now but get it posted so they don't have to ask.
     
  3. chickbliss7

    chickbliss7 In the Brooder

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    She is on Metronidazole solution 50 mg/ml, 1.5 cc--explained to me as a broad spectrum antibiotic and anti-inflammatory. She had a period of puffed up body, irritability, diarrhea, not wanting to leave the nest box. I took her to the vet, they x-rayed her, and found no eggs (she's never laid), but took a fecal sample and said she had an infection. I put her in our bathroom for 4 days, she seemed better, put her back out there and she seemed fine for a month or 6 weeks. Then she began to exhibit the same symptoms. She's been on the same antibiotics (I got a new Rx) as before, only she is not getting better. She's in the nest box, all fluffed up when I put her out. She drinks a bit, eats a bit and can't wait to get back in her box. What is the "sticky" you refer to?
     
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Don't really use antibiotics for anything...but I can understand how it would make her digestion worse. Antibiotics will kill 99.9% of all good and bad bacteria. For proper digestion, you need that 99.9% of bacteria to be doing their work breaking things down.

    Did the vet run a fecal float test to see if she has internal parasites? Antibiotics would do nothing other than make her sicker and make antibiotics useless when you really need them, if she has worms or cocci, both which can make a bird lose weight, become listless, and cause diarrhea.
     
  5. chickbliss7

    chickbliss7 In the Brooder

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    Vet just took her stool sample in the other room and came back later saying she had a particular type of infection, which I can't remember, but she didn't say the word "cocci" or worms or parasites. My girls have a large coop and run with covered roof, so they don't get exposed to wild birds all that easily. And I control what they eat--mostly organic grains and crumbles, fruits and veggies, some yogurt, cottage cheese, sunflower seeds and organic spring mix twice a day. In addition, I go to the feed store and get them crickets and meal worms once a week. I clean their coop and pen every day of fecal matter, including their roosts, keeping their environments as clean as I can. This girl came to us at 2 days old with pasty butt. Is this just a genetic flaw that we must deal with forever? And can this kind of illness mimic or cause broodiness? Would probiotics work to restore her "good" bacteria?
     
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Pasty butt is just from when they get chilled so that wouldn't be a life long type of thing. I don't know much about the probiotic stuff but often see recommendations of live active cultured yogurt.

    You don't need to keep them "too clean" since they do need some exposure to the world to keep healthy and gain immunities to things that can make them sick. Low doses of everything is good. If it is cocci or worms, they can both live in the soil and inside of bugs that can get into their coop, or even though food from the petstore. Never heard of a fecal infection. I would ask if they looked for worms or cocci.
     
  7. chickbliss7

    chickbliss7 In the Brooder

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    Good suggestion about the live active culture. Maybe that will help her replace the good bacteria that was wiped out. Will pick some up at Whole Foods tomorrow. Just hold the antibiotic for a few days and see if the diarrhea subsides. What is an easy way to clean a chicken's butt--she really is a disgusting mess back there. I've head no soap, only a bit of soap, etc. Is it necessary to immerse their bottoms in the water? BLOW dry their feathers? Seems like they wouldn't sit still for that.
     
  8. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    If you have started the antibiotics finish them. Never, never, ever stop a course of antibiotics if you started, unless you have a severe allergic reaction. That is the fast track to resistant bacteria.

    In the mean time, you can give her a bath in warm water with no problem to clean her up. Just towel dry and then blow dry if she lets you.
     
  9. chickbliss7

    chickbliss7 In the Brooder

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    What if you suspect the antibiotics are actually giving her worse diarrhea? Is that reaction bad enough? She's losing a lot of fluids.
     
  10. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    I would finish it personally, because I would risk the hen over the risk of never being able to use that type of antibiotic again on the birds or yourself in the future when you need it. Bacteria both good and bad can share the antibiotic resistance plasmids and thus can travel very easily.

    Stopping may be a double edge sword too, since you likely killed off more of the good than bad, and stopping half way could give the bad the upperhand if that is what is causing the problem. Bacteria is 99.99% good and being colonized and covered in good bacteria is a great line of defense against the ones that can make you sick.

    For now, I'd just try to get her to eat and drink. As for holisitc type of care, you might have to wait for someone else to chime in.

    Hope she can make it and that there isn't an underlying issue.
     

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