Ascites - a question of timing

MandS

Songster
5 Years
Apr 14, 2016
241
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156
Berkshire, UK
Honey is not well. From previous threads, she seemed to have a reproductive organ issue which the vet solved by implanting a contraceptive. She's done well and put on weight again, however she developed ascites. I spotted this (in a large part because I read things on BYC) and so we took her to the vet about 4 weeks ago and he drained 400ml out of her. It was sent off for tests and it came back as sterile (not bacterial infection).
Honey - draining.jpg

She is due to go to see him again on Monday as he's on holiday this week, to get a blood sample to identify the issue if possible, however she has swollen up again. She's molting, which doesn't help, but she is quite large at the back (not huge but big) and her comb is a dull red. She is standing around a bit hunched up (which they do when molting) and she is having periods of closing her eyes. She is not panting and her breathing is OK. She stands on one leg quite a bit (left if that is helpful) and isn't mad about food. However if she goes into the garden, she forages as normal and if given a treat will become as animated as ever.

So, the question is this. We have another 4 days to go until she sees the vet. Am I risking losing her by not trying to drain her myself? I don't know how acute these things can go before you really can wait no longer. Ideally, I'd prefer him to do it. He uses a tap and only one needle on tube, so he's very good at it.

Advice would be very welcome.

Thanks
 

Wyorp Rock

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I'm sorry to hear about your hen.

It's good that you have a vet that is knowledgeable about chickens.
It would be hard to know if she can wait the 4 days to be drained or not. Is the whole vet office closed? If not, then it would be best to contact and speak with a Vet Tech and ask their opinion since she is under their care.

If you can't do that, then you may want to try to drain her a bit. Do it slowly.
 

MandS

Songster
5 Years
Apr 14, 2016
241
242
156
Berkshire, UK
Thanks. I have spoken to them but the other vets don't want to go near her! He is brilliant. He's treated all of them at one time or other and with Honey has removed a blockage in her crop and implanted the contraceptive.

I know it is only the symptom of something else (which is why he is doing bloods) but I am nervous about doing it an nervous about leaving it until Monday afternoon. Kind of caught between a rock and a hard place. As she is not panting, just miserable and hunched up when not actively foraging or chasing others away, I hope I can leave it. I did try, since posting earlier, to get a syringe and 18 gauge needle, but I couldn't. These things are not easy to get in the UK. I think you have more access to things in the US.

When I was in the US earlier this year, I took the opportunity to get some of your triple antibiotic cream that is often spoken about on here. You simply can't get it over here. Glad I did as it cleared bumblefoot up pretty quickly. Wonderful stuff. Will get more next time I come over.

Anyway, unless someone has any "look out for these symptoms because it's critical" - I'll just keep observing her as best I can.

Thanks again.
 

MandS

Songster
5 Years
Apr 14, 2016
241
242
156
Berkshire, UK
UPDATE:

Honey was getting worse. Her cob was purple and blue tinged spikes. She basically stood around with her eyes closed. Time wasn't looking on our side and waiting until Monday looked risky. So I got the syringe and 18 gauge needle and bit the bullet.

We drained 300ml out of her. Clear yellow liquid, which continued to drip for about another 15 mins after we finished. I didn't go more than that because I didn't want to overdo it. She is still a bit bloaty but the vet can sort that out on Monday.

What I did spot was, pretty quickly, the comb went redder and stood up more. The blue tinges disappeared. She is still quite lethargic but she did scratch around when I put her out in the garden.

Glad I did it. Didn't realise I had a cut on my hand until I got some of the fluid on it - which stings a bit. Washed it with alcohol and then some iodine, so hope I don't get anything. Liquid clear and was previously tested by the vet lab and came back as sterile.... fingers crossed I don't have any repercussions! So we have bought her a bit more time and hopefully she will get through to Monday without a problem.
 

Wyorp Rock

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Sep 20, 2015
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UPDATE:

Honey was getting worse. Her cob was purple and blue tinged spikes. She basically stood around with her eyes closed. Time wasn't looking on our side and waiting until Monday looked risky. So I got the syringe and 18 gauge needle and bit the bullet.

We drained 300ml out of her. Clear yellow liquid, which continued to drip for about another 15 mins after we finished. I didn't go more than that because I didn't want to overdo it. She is still a bit bloaty but the vet can sort that out on Monday.

What I did spot was, pretty quickly, the comb went redder and stood up more. The blue tinges disappeared. She is still quite lethargic but she did scratch around when I put her out in the garden.

Glad I did it. Didn't realise I had a cut on my hand until I got some of the fluid on it - which stings a bit. Washed it with alcohol and then some iodine, so hope I don't get anything. Liquid clear and was previously tested by the vet lab and came back as sterile.... fingers crossed I don't have any repercussions! So we have bought her a bit more time and hopefully she will get through to Monday without a problem.
I'm glad you were able to drain her. Hopefully that will give her some relief until Monday.

Likely if the fluid was sterile when the vet drained her the first time, it was sterile when you drained her.
Thank you for the update, please keep us posted.
 

MandS

Songster
5 Years
Apr 14, 2016
241
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Berkshire, UK
We've lost her.

She was OK most of the day but when I picked her up to take her back to bed, she spewed and inhaled it. She died in about 10 seconds if that. A horrible way to go. I simply cannot take it in. I tried so hard and the draining went so well.

I absolutely loved that bird. We are all distraught. I wish I hadn't picked her up and just left her in the nursing cage. Words are failing me at the moment.
 

Wyorp Rock

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We've lost her.

She was OK most of the day but when I picked her up to take her back to bed, she spewed and inhaled it. She died in about 10 seconds if that. A horrible way to go. I simply cannot take it in. I tried so hard and the draining went so well.

I absolutely loved that bird. We are all distraught. I wish I hadn't picked her up and just left her in the nursing cage. Words are failing me at the moment.

:hugs:hugs:hugsI'm so, so sorry!
 

rebrascora

Free Ranging
5 Years
Feb 14, 2014
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Consett Co.Durham. UK
Oh goodness, I'm so sorry. I just read your other post and was going to congratulate you on plucking up the courage to drain her yourself.... I still think you were incredibly brave to do that. She was clearly going to die from your description of her decline so at least you can console yourself that you tried to save her. Would you consider getting a necropsy done or opening her up yourself to see why she was filling up with fluid? I appreciate that you cared a lot for this bird and you probably can't face doing that but it can be helpful to learn from a death like this.
 

MandS

Songster
5 Years
Apr 14, 2016
241
242
156
Berkshire, UK
Thank you. Still not dealing with this too well. The fact that, as I lifted her up to put her back with the others, she started to spew and then choke. The death was quick but horrible and she was in my arms. It is a vision I cannot get out of my head and I feel like if I hadn't have lifted her up and had left her in the nursing cage, she wouldn't have died. She was coughing earlier in the day and my other half thinks something came out of her mouth. Yet she was so excited by food. Literally, 5 mins before she died, she raced over and took some sweetcorn out my hand.

What little comfort I can get is, that by draining her, it took the pressure off her. She had been making little whimpering chirps for a few days and once drained, she picked up and seemed happy. So maybe her final day was not a painful one. That said, if I could wind the clock back, I'd just have left her in the nursing cage. My rationale for taking her back was: if she is not well (and she wasn't) will she be hassled when she is reintroduced. Don't know.

The vet appointment is today. We are still going. I need some sense of closure and that I did the best I could for her. We are terribly sad and I am struggling quite a bit and I am worried that I could have done something that contributed.
 

Wyorp Rock

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Sep 20, 2015
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:hugsI don't think that you did anything to contribute to her death.
With Ascites, fluid can rapidly increase, as you know it can cause difficulty breathing as well. I think the coughing was a symptom of the Ascites, but could be wrong.

Please don't beat yourself up. Going back over all this in your mind is not productive.
Hopefully the vet can shed some light on the situation and give you some answers.

I do understand your loss. I have lost a few special ones and it is very sad.
 

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