Any advice on treating a possible bowel obstruction?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by AC77, Mar 29, 2016.

  1. AC77

    AC77 Out Of The Brooder

    21
    3
    24
    Apr 19, 2012
    Bucks County, PA
    My 4 year-old buff orp has been unwell for over 2 weeks. I am playing the usual game with trying to identify and treat the problem.

    Symptoms:

    Lethargic, periods of walking around, lots of laying around, somewhat stiff walking
    Not eating - but rarely will accept a small amount of treat of some kind
    Little drinking
    Weight Loss
    Abnormal Droppings - Mostly urates, small amount clear fluid, tiny amount of normal green/brown dropping that looks gluier than usual. Droppings are getting on her fluff. Droppings are very skinny and squeezed-looking, not wide and looser like normal droppings.
    Crop - not enlarged, however not emptying completely at night, some emptying is occurring, no sour smell, feels slightly spongey, no hard masses or lumps at all
    Egg Laying - 4 years old, but still occasionally laying. history of thin-shelled eggs after first 2 yrs despite layer crumbles and oyster shell and treats of yogurt. Hasn't laid in weeks. No set egg-laying schedule.
    Underside/Abdomen - Firm but not hard, not bloated or liquid-filled, but feels firmer than other hens comparatively. Not hot.
    Comb/wattles - normal
    Current Condition - getting weaker from weight loss

    Treatments so far:

    Started out guessing may be sour crop even though not all symptoms present. Gave proper dosage flucanozole according to merck vet manual. Medication says it works for three days after dosage. Crop not very full, partial emptying at night. did not manually empty.

    Much crop massaging and checking every morning and night, feeling for lump, liquid, emptying. Smell while massaging but not detecting sour odor.

    Moved on to egg-bound treatment, although not straining/panting. Over course of one week - Much underside massaging, manually checked vent twice up to first knuckle of index finger, felt all around, do not feel any egg. Inserted olive oil into vent for lubrication anyway (at night while roosting). Administered recommended dosage of calcium (crushed tablets mixed into applesauce, oil) from BYC three times. No egg laid. Could she even be eggbound after all this time - 2 or 3 weeks??

    Obstruction treatment: Also syringed olive oil by mouth two times at night. Then crop massage and underside massage. I offer water every night when i go into the coop and she does take a few sips.

    We have no long grasses, btw. My girls free-range for large parts of day in fenced yard with run door always open - they go in and out.

    She is extremely difficult to get meds into orally, she shakes her head even while wattles being held onto. I have learned from this site about the vent checking and oil lubrication and pretty much everything over the past 4 years.

    I'm leaning towards a digestive obstruction based on her symptoms but not finding advice on how to treat besides oil and surgery. Advice on treatment from any seasoned keepers out there? Love my girl as you all love yours! Don't have a poultry vet but would not do bowel surgery anyway.
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

    30,475
    4,829
    541
    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    This sort of problem can be hard to diagnose and treat. I just lost a 3 year old and a 5 year old within the last week from a similar illness. Both developed crop problems and even with much treatment they died. I never had one with a crop problem in 5 years. Crops were then empty, but gizzard was mostly blocked with black material during necropsy. I felt sure there would be egg peritonitis, but neither had it. Both basically starved themselves. I hope you can help your chicken, but it might take tube feeding to help. Here are some links to read:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/805728/go-team-tube-feeding
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/impacted-slow-and-sour-crops-prevention-and-treatments
     
  3. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,656
    271
    208
    Aug 11, 2014
    Magnolia, Texas
    Weight loss, poopy butt, runny poops, and lethargy... I'm honestly leaning towards worms.

    When was the last time you wormed your flock?

    I'd start there after checking her over for mites/lice or their eggs.

    Hope that helps!

    Edit to add: If she stops drinking completely, you may have to tube liquids to help her stay hydrated.

    MrsB
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2016
  4. AC77

    AC77 Out Of The Brooder

    21
    3
    24
    Apr 19, 2012
    Bucks County, PA
    Thank you both for taking the time to reply! I have only 3 chickens, they are all 4 yrs old, and I have never wormed them. They are the first chickens I have ever owned. I know, shame on me for not worming! I am going to read up on worming them tonight and I will go to my feed store and buy the wormer tomorrow. With her extremely limited food and water intake, I am wondering how to get the medicine into her, but I will find out during my reading, I'm sure! The other chickens appear to be ok, and I have never observed worms in their droppings which I do examine frequently, but I know they should be wormed nonetheless. If this is all from worms I will never forgive myself.

    They have no parasites externally, I hold them all the time and look through their feathers and do not see a speck.

    I started reading the two links suggested. The medicating has been so difficult - I could really use a suggestion/method for how to hold the head still and get the beak open to syringe meds into the mouth. Pulling down the wattles causes her to open her beak but then she shakes her head all over the place and really fights and we end up squirting medicine everywhere and I am scared we will rip her wattles off!

    I guess I might consider emptying her crop (yikes!) but I really have a feeling the crop is just slow/backing up because there is an obstruction somewhere further along the tract, and sometimes a very small amount of droppings is able to squeeze through. So if I empty the crop, then I'm not sure what to do. I don't feel any lumps, dough, or impaction whatsoever, and it's not yeast, she is lacking the yeast symptoms and anyway has already been treated for the yeast, so I am at Extremely Slow Crop for unknown cause. I am off to read that crop link again! I'm not going to empty her crop without a plan!

    I am not educated about where along the tract the urates/urine enter into the droppings, since she is passing urine that could be a clue as to possible blockage location?
     
  5. AC77

    AC77 Out Of The Brooder

    21
    3
    24
    Apr 19, 2012
    Bucks County, PA
    I'm sorry, Eggcessive, that I did not tell you I'm very sorry to hear that you lost two of your hens in the last week despite all your treatments! Back to reading those links...
     
  6. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,656
    271
    208
    Aug 11, 2014
    Magnolia, Texas
    Eggcessive, I am sorry to hear of your losses. I wonder what the black stuff was??

    AC77, the only way I can tell you to hold the chicken still is "just do it." [​IMG] I know that's not much help... But I've found that coming around from behind (the back of her head will be toward your palm) with gentle pressure at the corners of the beak will cause them to open their mouths. They may try and shake, but you will be able to determine how much (very gentle) pressure you will need to "control" her head while holding her beak open. I've never found the "wattle hold" to be terribly effective.

    The best way to give liquid wormer/antibiotics/etc is a syringe down the left side (chicken's right) of the throat. If it's a paste, just shove it in her beak, I guess!

    Chicken medicine is always very scientific!! :D

    Let us know which wormer you decide to go with.

    MrsB
     
  7. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

    30,475
    4,829
    541
    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Thanks Mrs. Brooke and AC77, but I'm not sure of what their problems were. I had a hen a couple of years ago die of gizzard impaction from eating sun flour seeds. This just looked like black dirt almost, probably just rotted food. There was some black in the cecum, and the intestines of one looked necrotic.
     
  8. AC77

    AC77 Out Of The Brooder

    21
    3
    24
    Apr 19, 2012
    Bucks County, PA
    I did much reading of the two links.I went to the feed store after work but they did not have the liquid wormer fenbenazole or safeguard. they had only wazine ( or watrazine?- only worked on roundworms and said on bottle not safe for egg-laying hens whose eggs are consumed by humans) and Strike III, a medicated pellet food. I got the strike III even though my hens do not eat pellets they eat crumbles. not going to work for my sick hen who will not eat food but i will worm the well ones with it by crushing it up and mixing with layer crumbles.

    onto her crop - although it was definitely smaller this morning so still is slow-emptying, i felt the dreaded "dough" last night. it has taken 2.5 weeks of severely slow crop to develop this gumminess. now i think i will try the treatment to dissolve it involving baking soda, ginger, lemon juice, cinnamon. maybe if any of this liquid passes through the crop it can help elsewhere in her tract. i know some liquid is getting through or she would be dead by now. if any of you have tried it, let me know because i am nervous to put this caustic-sounding liquid into a crop that i know will not empty. i will try to get the several tbsp of this down her throat with syringe in small doses by getting tougher and holding her head better!

    i'll let you know what happens in case it can help any other chickens with similar problems. thanks for the help and advice so far.
     
  9. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,656
    271
    208
    Aug 11, 2014
    Magnolia, Texas
    You're doing a great job. :)

    MrsB
     
  10. AC77

    AC77 Out Of The Brooder

    21
    3
    24
    Apr 19, 2012
    Bucks County, PA
    Update - Last night after roosting time I mixed up the suggestion concoction for "doughy" crop from the previous crop link. It FIZZED! Then we proceeded to syringe it in small doses into my hen's beak, which took awhile - as I said I am probably BYC'S Worst Medicator. We got it down, i did some massaging to get it mixed around in there, then I went to bed and prayed that stuff wouldn't kill her - she is so emaciated at this point. The medicating was extremely stressful for her and she seemed weak from the fighting.

    This morning she was alive, but unfortunately the mixture has not broken up the "dough" at all. I can clearly feel that all the liquid in the mixture has passed through the crop and still the small lump - smaller than a golf ball- of firm playdough-like stuff remains, and her crop is very tight around it and does not feel swollen at all. I think what is in there is not a "yeasty dough" ball but the remains of the stuff she has eaten over the last few weeks minus all the moisture and water in it which is passing through.

    I won't attempt getting this stuff out manually - I don't see how it would come out? It is exactly like clay and holds whatever shape I push into it. At this point I think I will just keep massaging her crop am and pm and maybe try some more oil. I think I"m out of ideas.

    She is still not eating except a few bites of treats like blueberries here and there, and her droppings remain the same - urates w clear fluid only, or urates w tiny tiny amount of very squeezed-looking poop. She is walking around some with her flock and pretending to peck at stuff and laying down alot.

    Thanks for the advice and experience so far from this supportive and caring community.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by