Anyone had experience of a mycoplasma gallisepticum outbreak?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by caralouise1974, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. Hi everyone.

    My five week long experience of being a chicken owner gets worse! Not only have we endured dealing with a cannibal buff orpington (and failing) and had two severe cases of bullying which has seen two hens have to go back to the breeder, we're now in the throes of a MG outbreak.

    The problem originally started when we had to bring in a new friend for a bullied hen that was being kept away from the others. As all the birds came from the same breeder (and in the case of the two we were going to keep as coop-mates, from the exact same pen) we were told there was no need to quarantine. However, on Sunday morning, after three days of fierce bullying after she arrived, the new hen got so run down that the stress made her develop MG (yes, she was obviously already carrying it, but the stress caused it to rear its head). Needless to say, we immediately took her back to the breeder, along with her coopmate, got a couple of large doses of soluble Tylan antibiotics into our remaining two girls, just in case, and disinfected everything in sight!

    Nonetheless, our buff orpington appeared this morning from the coop with a frothy eye and a runny nose and we immediately knew she'd been infected. So, after a £20 trip to the vets, and a prescription for more Tylan Soluble (7-10 days worth of doses), we're worried.

    Can any of you guys out there share with me your experiences of the disease progression of MG, and reassure us if our girl is likely to recover, whether the Tylan Soluble is likely to work, and whether it is inevitable that our other hen will also come down with the same thing?

    We also wonder if bathing her face in the Tylan will help too, as we'd heard that can sometimes be enough to get the active ingredients into all the right places. She's not a big drinker, and we think that's why the original doses of soluble Tylan didn't stop her becoming infected. She just didn't drink enough of it to have an effect.

    From what I can make out, MG alone is pretty unlikely to kill a 20 week old pullet, but is incredibly contagious, and likely to affect her coop mate sooner rather than later. As they are both going to be drinking the antibiotics, is this likely to supress the disease in the, as yet, unaffected hen anyway?

    Finally, we were told by the breeder that we should cut out the pro-biotic in their feed (as we are also currently right in the middle of a course of Flubenvet worming meds too - bad timing, but we don't want to stop without completing the seven day course) and should also stop the poultry vits and calcium in their water whilst giving the soluble antibiotics. I'm not sure this is right - surely the one time you really need to give pro-biotics is when the girls are weakened through worming meds and antibiotics, and, having had soft shelled eggs for the last three days, I'm not happy about reducing their calcuim/vitamin supplements either. Am I right to continue with all these supplements or not?

    Sorry for so many questions!
  2. Redtractorranch

    Redtractorranch Chirping

    Mar 3, 2009
    San Martin, CA
    MG, by itself, is unlikely to kill a 20 week pullet. Unfortunately, it often piggybacks on a virus like Infectious bronchitis or Newcastle. If that happens, then mortalities are much more likely. The only way to know for sure is to have serology done on your birds. Since you are in the UK, I don't know much about where to send or cost. In California, I send samples to the state lab and they charge a few dollars per bird per test of virus/bacteria.

    Once a bird has MG chances are they will become a carrier and break with the disease during times of stress (this bug likes cooler temps, so it is often seen when there is a cold snap). Hens also transmit the disease through their eggs, so the egg and resulting chicks will also be infected (the eggs are still ok to eat, though).

    I have used Tylan on birds to treat MG. I usually do 10 days on Tylan before I notice improvement.

    The best source of info on MG and other poultry diseases I have found is the book:

    Diseases of Poultry
    Ed: Y.M. Saif
    Published by Iowa State Press

    As it is an American book, some of the info in the book may not apply to you (ie here we have vaccines for MG, but I dont think the UK does) and it is EXTREMELY technical. It is geared for more of a factory farm approach, but a lot of the info on treatment and prevention are still applicable.

    I ended up with MG and IB in my flock. I ended up depopulating and starting over after years of trying to treat it. Hopefully you only have MG and can deal with it easier.

    I hope this helps.
  3. Birch Run Farm

    Birch Run Farm Biddy up!

    Sep 5, 2008
    IM injections will work much better than putting the Tylan in drinking water. I've never had a bird die from MG but some do get very stressed out and have distressing respiratory infection. Those are the ones I inject. The birds who get a mild infection are allowed to work their way through it like we have to with a cold.

    I feed calcium suppliment as a bowl of ground oyster shell chunks and have no egg shell issues. This means the hens select how much and when they want calcium. I feed mostly turkey pellets (higher protein than layer ration) to my birds so keep bowls of calcium and other suppliments around for them to choose what they want in their diet.
  4. gapeachy

    gapeachy Songster

    Oct 21, 2008
    Rome Ga
    I am having trouble with MG here also....I wished I had read and researched more on the chicken diseases and stuff before I got some chickens....I am at wits end about it....different people on here have different views on this disease....
  5. Birch Run Farm

    Birch Run Farm Biddy up!

    Sep 5, 2008
    Yes, there are lots of opinions about it. In eight years I have never culled a bird because of it nor have any died from it. All of my hens lay well. My oldest bird has had it and she is fine, turning eight this spring and my best broody. She has raised a lot of chicks. I treat the really ill birds.

    Most birds recover from the infection in my personal observations. But that is in my flock.
  6. Wow, thanks everyone, I'm hugely relieved to hear that she'll probably be okay (as long as it is just MG alone - which we simply have to hope and pray about). It's 6am in the UK, and I have been awake for an hour and a half already worrying about her. She's absolutely adorable (everyone at the vets yesterday was totally captivated by her!) and I would be devastated to lose her.

    Our breeder has been reluctantly badgered (as all this is kind of her fault!) by my husband into injecting her with IM Tylan today if she has shown no improvement overnight (we cannot afford another £20 at the vet), so that option is available to us if she's really getting distressed. I will continue on the 10 day course of solubles in any case.

    Can anyone enlighten me on this pro-biotic question? I really want to continue to give it while the girls are being wormed, especially as they'll be on antibiotics at the same time, but am I right to do so? I'm putting a drop of calcium supplement in their feed instead of mixing it with the Tylan-laced water, along with stirring in some extra oyster grit, just to be on the safe side. (They have had oyster shell grit and flint grit free-choice all along, but the soft shells really did co-incide with three days without the soluble calcium supplement, so I'm tempted to link the two states of affairs together.)

    And would any of you try batheing her face in the soluble Tylan, to get some of it directly down the upper respiratory tract? Our breeder told us she did this alone (no IM injections) with the first hen that got infected (which was in a much worse state than Henrietta is now), and she is already recovering very well.

    Crumbs, I'm such a worry-wort-new-egg aren't I?!?! We just love our girls so much it breaks our hearts to see them suffer [​IMG]
  7. Quote:Blimey, the cheapest one on Amazon is £95! And that's a used copy. Anyone got a spare copy they could sell me a little cheaper?
  8. Update: upon first letting the girls out today, Henrietta was looking quite bright. Interested in her surroundings, wanting to eat some sunflower seeds (no drinking of the antibiotics though). And Bella is continuing to busily drink all the antibiotics meant for Henrietta and strutting around as right as rain.

    But, after about 20mins, her eye started to froth up, she was open-mouth breathing, and started to look really listless. She's now inside the coop looking really miserable.

    I don't know what to do to help her. It's awful.

    Should I try and syringe some of the Tylan solution into her mouth? Should we bathe her face? Should we bring her inside the house so she's warm, or would that stress her unnecessarily?

    We can't get over to the breeder for the IM injection until about 10am - it's going to be awful doing nothing until then.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2009
  9. Highlander

    Highlander Tartan Terror

    Oct 1, 2008
    Hi there

    I'm sorry, I have had no experience with this and cannot offer you any advice, but I just wanted to let you know someone was around and reading your posts. It is the middle of the night over there so not many around but hopefully an insomniac with some answers will pop in soon.

    Wishing the best for your girl.
  10. Thanks so much for the support Highlander. I'm feeling rather lost, and it's just my luck that in the wrong part of the world and right now, everyone's in bed! [​IMG]

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