Anything else can I do to up Iseult's chances of survival? Long post, sorry!

HollyWoozle

Crowing
Jun 12, 2018
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Bedfordshire, United Kingdom
I thought Iseult hen was a goner but she is still hanging in there and I am doing what I can to give her a chance, but thought I should check with my 'chicken buddies', ie. BYC members, in case I could be doing more. My post is long and I know the forums are busy but I'll post in case anyone has time - I accept that it is unlikely she will recover.

Iseult is an RIR cross, ex-battery hen from a rescue charity, who arrived with us in July. She is probably around 22 months old. Can't be certain she was laying prior to illness but I would assume it likely as she is our rooster's favourite (but he isn't overly busy with her, quite polite as far as that goes). On Friday 13th November she presented with the common ill chicken symptoms... head and tail down, puffed up, eyes shut and lethargic. I confined her to our 'hospital' with water and her food made into a mash and I noticed evidence of roundworm in her droppings, argh! They have been wormed but clearly not effectively - I immediately treated her with Ivermectin. The only licensed wormer here in the UK goes in the food for 7 days, tricky when they aren't really eating, and I had Ivermectin to hand.

By Monday 16th was looking beyond the point of return (I don't live there, she is with my parents, and I didn't see her much over the weekend but they did their best for her). At this point I noticed lots of blood/intestinal lining (more like lining) in her droppings and a spot or two of blood on her legs and I began treatment with Amprolium in the water. Within a day or two the bloody droppings stopped but she has continued to have yellow foamy diarrhoea ever since. I thought on 16th that she would die very quickly but we are now 10 days on from her original ill appearance and she is still fighting - in the last few days I have read a lot and really tried to up my game for her, getting hold of Critical Care Formula. Originally I was adding probiotics, vitamins and calcium to the CCF and water but I understand that you shouldn't give B vitamins when treating with Amprolium and have stopped that.

Current situation:

- she is in my parents' kitchen in a crate to be warm, access to water with CCF although not drinking without encouragement. She is on a bed of towels which I am changing several times a day to keep things as clean as possible (although she is pretty grubby at this point).

- she has not eaten in many days and is critically thin but I have been giving her CCF in water by hand for the last few days and she has shown some improvement, going from no interest and only taking it by dropper to eventually drinking it by herself (although she needs coaxing and it takes time). Yesterday evening she drank as much of it as she could, got through a lot, and she has had two good amounts of fluid so far today as well. She can still stand up alone and will do so from time to time, but just for a short burst to stretch her legs and sits back down again. When I arrived there today, both morning and lunchtime, she was sitting but with eyes open, although she closes them when you start to give her a drink as I guess she is exhausted.

- this morning I dosed her with Amprolium in her first round of CCF liquid to be sure she is getting enough, rather than just putting it randomly in her fluids throughout the day. This is day 7 of treatment but I wonder if I should continue as I believe she didn't take in many fluids until the last few days? I have been back at lunchtime for another dose of CCF fluid and I will go again this evening.

- her crop does not completely empty, there is a smallish ball (maybe an inch round) of what feels like corn and dough. I believe she got dehydrated and that hasn't helped this situation, but I am massaging it gently when I have given her the fluids to try and help. She doesn't have that sour smell.

- I have taken delivery of a worm and coccidiosis test kit and I will send off a sample. Also have Amprolium to treat the rest of the flock and tomorrow we are taking delivery of 10 bags of wood chips to cover the muddy part of their run. I have also bought ground sanitiser and I will worm them all again.

- she is producing regular droppings but they are still yellow/foamy and very watery, nothing solid (since she doesn't eat) but there is still a hint of the dark part and the white urates as well.

- she doesn't seem to have an egg stuck that I can tell and I daren't bathe her as she is so thin and I think it would shock her. No discharge or anything from her vent, no swollen/watery belly, no straining.

- no respiratory issues, eyes are bright but often closed

I cannot get antibiotics without a vet prescription here and I am a bit anxious about a car journey for her. She is very fragile - despite being with us since July she only recently started to grow feathers on the bald parts rescues often have and I think that weakened her. She now has lots which are half grown and have stopped coming through now she is ill! She has never been a 'foodie hen' compared to the others and couldn't be coaxed with eggs or the usual things when initially poorly.

I am hoping the CCF gives her enough energy to try eating some very sloppy mash of her pelleted food but any other ideas welcome! Have a drink if you got this far!
 
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azygous

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Dec 11, 2009
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She desperately needs an oral antibiotic. Intestinal lining in great amounts can signal either/both a bacterial infection and coccidiosis. Amprolium will only treat the presence of coccidia, not the presence of bacteria. Any chicken that is not responding to amprolium by improving, very likely also has a bacterial infection.

I understand how difficult it is to locate and obtain an antibiotic in a lot of places. People here in the US in some states face exactly the restrictions you are, and my heart aches for them and you. Finding a vet to treat our chickens is extremely difficult so it limits even more our ability to help our sick chickens.

What I recommend you do is to practice being assertive and convincing and phone up some vets and plead your case for an antibiotic. Tell them how you are treating this chicken and that she isn't responding to the amprolium and it's more than reasonable to suspect necrotic enteritis. A sulfa antibiotic is what this bacteria responds to best.

Be calm and firm and let the vet know you are not willing to take no for an answer to your plea. My motto is "everything is negotiable."
 

HollyWoozle

Crowing
Jun 12, 2018
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Bedfordshire, United Kingdom
Thanks @azygous, I appreciate your help on this! Unbelievably I called a practice very close to my parents' house and they will see her in 35 minutes! The car journey should be less than 5 minutes and she is already in a small crate carrier so I hope it won't be too stressful.

I think he will say she should be PTS but maybe I need to hear that, although she is drinking of her own accord and is really fighting.
 

ackie

previously jwehl // dogs & cats & squirrels oh my!
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Long posts in the emergency forum are great. Sparse posts lead to a battery of questions and delays treatment. You did great. Good luck at the vet. :)

I personally forcefeed mash and syringe feed water when mine arent eating or drinking, respectively, but that seems uncommon here. My thought process is that she definitely cant fight off whatevers going on without calories, so... any risk of me messing up and getting water or food 'down the wrong tube' is worth it.
 

azygous

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Tube feeding or syringe feeding are both necessary at some point to help a chicken survive an illness as they become too weak to eat. It's a shame some chickens could possibly be saved if feeding intervention were undertaken soon enough.

Finding the "right tube" isn't difficult if you know what to look for. By opening the beak and slipping a syringe or tube into the right side, sliding it under the tongue to avoid the airway just behind the tongue, anyone can syringe liquids, including liquid food such as raw egg and yogurt, down into the crop.
upload_2019-3-15_10-22-30.jpeg
 

ackie

previously jwehl // dogs & cats & squirrels oh my!
Nov 3, 2020
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Tube feeding or syringe feeding are both necessary at some point to help a chicken survive an illness as they become too weak to eat. It's a shame some chickens could possibly be saved if feeding intervention were undertaken soon enough.

Finding the "right tube" isn't difficult if you know what to look for. By opening the beak and slipping a syringe or tube into the right side, sliding it under the tongue to avoid the airway just behind the tongue, anyone can syringe liquids, including liquid food such as raw egg and yogurt, down into the crop. View attachment 2422455
My birds arent always quite that pliable haha.
 

TheOddOneOut

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You don't ask a dying chicken's permission to save her life. You wrap her burrito style in a towel to confine wings and feet and pry open the beak and do what needs to be done.

What you are effectively trying to subdue and overcome are your own doubts that it can be done.
:goodpost:
 

ackie

previously jwehl // dogs & cats & squirrels oh my!
Nov 3, 2020
5,131
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Atlanta GA
You don't ask a dying chicken's permission to save her life. You wrap her burrito style in a towel to confine wings and feet and pry open the beak and do what needs to be done.

What you are effectively trying to subdue and overcome are your own doubts that it can be done.
Oh I DO. I just mean I put stuff in their mouths and raise their heads up to slide it down. I dont line up the syringe in the sweet spot.
 

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