Ascites hen - attempted draining

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by jkulp00, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. jkulp00

    jkulp00 Out Of The Brooder

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    After a long period of drama with my RIR posted under Sick Chickie on this board she is back to normal as far as eating/drinking/pooping but has developed a very swollen belly and blue tips of hercomb. She is also showing some labored breathing. All signs point to ascites and since she seems to be feeling good otherwise I figured I would try to drain fluid from her abdomen to see if this gave her some relief and maybe some more time. I followed the advice under some of the message boards here, inserting a .22 gauge needle into her abdomen - shallowly as opposed to going straight in. I didn't get any fluid to drain but instead just got some blood. I don't want to keep sticking her to no avail but if this pressure isn't relieved I am pretty sure I am just slowly going to lose her. If anybody has any thoughts on acites - whether my method was off or if there is something else i should try i am all ears

    Thanks
     
  2. pepsiokay

    pepsiokay Out Of The Brooder

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    I look after a lot of alcoholics (I'm a nurse) with acites. If you tap it, you need to replace protein or you'll induce shock.
    Protein supplements and strong vitamin b complex help without draining. Acites is almost always caused by liver damage inhumans, prob same in chucks too!
    Hope this is helpful
     
  3. jkulp00

    jkulp00 Out Of The Brooder

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    Would you suggest a liquid vitamin B added to water? As for protein supplements - she gets mealworms which are mostly protein and eggs when she wants to eat them.... i don't know how long she has without draining... she seems very uncomfortable and her breathing concerns me because it seems worse every day even though she's not actually gasping or struggling to get air in. I just wish i could make her more comfortable :(
     
  4. pepsiokay

    pepsiokay Out Of The Brooder

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    Any vit b will help the liver. Have you spoken to a vet about draining??
     
  5. hokankai

    hokankai Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I hate to say it, but if she were my hen I would put her to sleep. Who knows what kind of discomfort she's feeling from her disease, but it can't feel great. Draining the fluid will give her some time, but it won't fix the internal problem...

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do. I hate it when our chooks are ill.
     
  6. Nutcase

    Nutcase Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm sorry but I have to agree with hokankai. It sounds like she's in a lot of pain and trying to cure her may only prolong the suffering. But if you decide to treat the problem, I hope it goes well.
     
  7. cowcreekgeek

    cowcreekgeek Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm sure that, if I were your chicken? I'd must prefer havin' you give this your best shot, rather than the alternatives. I've seen a brief video of this bein' done by a vet, 'n wish I could find more on needle placement 'n such, but I can only offer a few things that might help (beyond expressing strong disagreement w/ any suggestion that you not try 'n do what you can, and what you wish, when it comes to what is *your* chicken ... go for it, I say ~'-)


    The doctor in the video below used a 19 and a 20 guage needle, inserting both into the abdomen to drain. Every attempt I've made to find further informaiton (in another post) was met by suggestions to use ultrasound equipment for guiding the needle(s). Any that doubt this should be attempted should view the video, 'cause it's easy to forget how very differently chickens are made than we are ... and, to that end:

    >> peck here << for the introduction to an excellent interactive presentation on the anatomy of the chicken, which will allow to much better understand what's on the inside.



    [​IMG]
    Ascites is an accumulation of noninflammatory transudate in one or more of the peritoneal cavities or potential spaces. The fluid, which accumulates most frequently in the 2 ventral hepatic, peritoneal, or pericardial spaces, may contain yellow protein clots. Ascites may result from increased vascular hydraulic pressure, vascular damage, increased tissue oncotic pressure, decreased vascular oncotic (usually colloidal) pressure, or blockage of lymph drainage.
    The most common cause of ascites is increased vascular hydraulic pressure in the venous system, which is most commonly caused by right ventricular failure (RVF) or hepatic fibrosis. It is now well documented that most cases are caused by a genetic predisposition to pulmonary hypertension, which progresses to congestive heart failure and terminal ascites in many cases.
    Pulmonary hypertension occurs frequently in chickens secondary to the hypoxia of altitude with resultant polycythemia and increased blood viscosity. It also occurs frequently secondary to the RBC rigidity of sodium toxicity and less frequently from lung pathology. When ascites occurs at low altitudes in meat-type chickens, which have a high metabolic oxygen requirement, it is usually caused by primary or spontaneous pulmonary hypertension because of insufficient capacity of the pulmonary capillaries.
    In poultry, liver damage may be caused by aflatoxin or by toxins from plants such as Crotalaria. In broiler chickens, obstructive cholangiohepatitis (caused by Clostridium perfringens infection) is the most common cause of the liver damage, which results in ascites. In both meat-type ducks and breeders, amyloidosis of the liver frequently causes ascites.
    Pathogenesis and Epidemiology
    Pulmonary hypertension syndrome is caused by increased pressure in the pulmonary arteries when the heart tries to pump more blood through the lungs to meet the body's oxygen requirement. The resultant volume and pressure overload on the right ventricle cause dilatation and hypertrophy of the right ventricular wall, valvular insufficiency, RVF, and ascites.
    Bird lungs are rigid and fixed in the thoracic cavity. The capillaries can expand very little to accommodate increased blood flow. Lung size in proportion to body weight, and particularly to muscle mass, decreases as meat-type chickens grow. Increased blood flow results in primary pulmonary hypertension and cor pulmonale with sporadic cases of RVF and ascites in fast-growing broilers. Predisposing factors that increase oxygen demand (eg, cold), reduce oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood (eg, acidosis, carbon monoxide), increase blood volume (eg, sodium), or interfere with blood flow through the lung (eg, lung pathology that narrows or occludes capillaries, increased RBC rigidity, or polycythemia with increased blood viscosity) may result in flock outbreaks of pulmonary hypertension syndrome with or without ascites.
    The incidence of pulmonary hypertension syndrome is >2% in some broiler and many roaster flocks and is occasionally 15–20% in other roaster flocks. Right ventricular hypertrophy is the response to an increased workload and eventually leads to RVF if the volume or pressure load persists. Hypertrophy of the right ventricular wall is directly related to pulmonary hypertension, and the ratio of the right ventricle to the total ventricular mass can be used as a measure of the increased pressure load on the right ventricle.
    Clinical Findings
    Occasionally, young broilers develop pulmonary hypertension syndrome, particularly if increased sodium or lung pathology (eg, aspergillosis) is involved, but mortality is greatest after 5 wk of age. There are no signs until RVF occurs and ascites develops. Clinically affected broilers are cyanotic, the abdominal skin may be red, and peripheral vessels congested. Because growth stops as RVF develops, affected broilers may be smaller than their pen mates. However, rapid growth rate is a known predisposing factor, and sometimes the largest broilers are affected, with occurrence in males more frequent than in females. The ascites increases the respiratory rate and reduces exercise tolerance. Affected broilers frequently die on their backs. Not all broilers that die from pulmonary hypertension syndrome have ascites. Death may occur suddenly before signs are seen.
    Lesions
    Most lesions are the result of increased venous hydraulic pressure secondary to RVF. There is a variable amount of clear yellow fluid and clots of fibrin in the hepatoperitoneal spaces. The liver may be swollen and congested, or firm and irregular with edema, and have clotted protein adherent to the surface. It may be nodular or shrunken; it may be white with subcapsular edema and a thickened capsule, or have large or small blebs of fluid between the capsule and the visceral peritoneum. Hydropericardium is mild to marked, and occasionally there is pericarditis with adhesions. Right ventricular dilatation and mild to marked hypertrophy of the right ventricular wall may be noted. The right atrium and vena cava are markedly dilated in most cases. Occasionally, there is thinning of the left ventricle. The lungs are extremely congested and edematous. The intestine may or may not be empty.
    Diagnosis
    Broilers that die from ascites or suddenly as the result of RVF or pulmonary hypertension can be identified by the enlarged heart; enlarged, thickened right ventricle; or fluid in the body cavities and heart sac. If the wall of the right ventricle is enlarged or thickened, the broiler has probably died from pulmonary hypertension syndrome, even if there is no fluid in the body or heart sac.
    Control
    Reducing the birds' metabolic oxygen requirement by slowing growth or reducing feed can prevent ascites caused by pulmonary hypertension syndrome. Environmental temperature, humidity, and air movement should be controlled to prevent excessive loss of body heat, particularly in the early neonatal period. Ascites caused by other factors (eg, sodium, lung damage, liver damage, etc) can be prevented by avoiding the etiologic agents involved. Altitudes >3,000 ft (900 m) are unsatisfactory for meat-type chickens, and growth must be slowed to prevent mortality. More care to prevent chilling is also necessary at higher altitudes. Research has demonstrated that broilers can be genetically selected for both resistance and susceptibility to pulmonary hypertension syndrome and associated ascites.





    :: edit ::

    Initially, to add the link I'd overlooked, but then to 'strike through' my words (I don't use 'edit' to 'unsay' anything). I'm strikin' through 'em 'cause I was wrong. Not for suggesting this to be a decision for you to make, 'cause it is. Just that ... I'm not so sure I'd want you to, if I were your chicken, after truly considering the words of others in this thread, to whom I apologize, and to you as well -- I let my own desire to learn cloud my judgement, and sorta forgot that it's your heart that's hurting, even more than her own.

    I will help, in any way I can, should you choose to attempt this procedure again. :: /edit ::
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
  8. hokankai

    hokankai Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I never said not to try, I'm all for treating our feathered friends; but I also don't believe in prolonging the suffering of an animal for my own purposes. I always give everything I can when I have a sick bird, but when it's something terminal and the quality of life is questioned...

    It takes some serious organ/cellular damage to cause ascites build-up, and while draining it will prevent hypoxia from the fluid compressing her lungs it really doesn't treat the underlying problem. I know several people who go through the process of draining the fluid on a regular basis but the bird doesn't make it in the end. I'd just prefer to have the bird go painlessly on my terms then risk them dying painfully the natural way. However, that's just me and everyone's different.

    If you do manage to successfully drain, take a look at the fluid in a clear glass container. If the fluid is relatively clear, then the cause is organ damage like cirrhosis or chronic heart failure and you might manage to squeeze some more time out of her. If the fluid is cloudy/turbid then you're looking at a severe infection of some kind.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
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  9. jkulp00

    jkulp00 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 12, 2012
    So its been about 3 weeks and since she was eating and drinking well and we had a patch of nice weather I put her back in the coop with the rest of them. Of course there was the hazing period which I am sure wasn't fun for her (even though I did look but no touch exposure for a few days) but that seems to have settled down. Remarkably her abdomen does not seem to be nearly as swollen anymore and she is walking normally with her tail up and pretty perky. If I didn't know what I had been through with her for a few weeks I wouldn't think anything was wrong with her except that her comb is still flopped over (but is not blue - just kind of dry and paler than usual). She had been looking a little ratty pre-illness, but several of my hens are molting and I figured she was too. I noticed today that she has a bunch of new feathers coming in.... God only knows what the original issue was but she seems pretty good now - fingers crossed nothing major reoccurs....
     
  10. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Just be aware that draining them does not cure the underlying cause of the ascites. It does make them more comfortable at least until the fluid returns, they can breath easier and it relieves pressure on the other organs. But whatever caused it in the first place is still there. I've had a few hen's develop this over the years, none of them made it in the end. The last one I took to the vet and he drained her and put her on antibiotics. She was vastly improved and she lived happily another 8 weeks before dieing suddenly one day. Currently I have another hen who for the last couple of years occasionally swells up, then it goes away. Don't know what the heck is going on there but as long as they are comfortable and acting normal I let them be. When they start showing distress and difficulty with breathing then I have them put down.
     

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