Ascites? in desperate need of some help and guidance...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Bocktobery 10, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm hoping someone can help me with this.

    I have a young hen (she will be a year old in March, I think) whom for the past five months or so has been showing signs of lethargy. I also noticed that her abdomen seems full- between her legs and back towards her vent. Its not full as in mushy or liquidy, but full as in hard and lumpy. When I noticed about 5 months ago that she was not feeling well it was after a respiratory ailment went through my flock. Sometimes she has gotten better on her own yet it never really went away. I took her to the vet about a month ago and the vet took some x-rays as she too was curious as to what was going on. Nothing showed on the x-ray (not a tumor) and she said she really didn't know what was going on with her, but that when she dies I can bring her in for her to do an autopsy. (I still plan on doing that if and when it occurs, but I'd like to postpone that if possible!)

    Since then, I've been reading (here and elsewhere on the web) about her condition and it seems to me that it might be a case of ascites.. (spelling?) However, when I read some stories, it seems that some hens have like a bag of body fluid dragging between their legs and in other cases I read that it seems like the underbelly is hard. With my hen, her underbelly is hard. She feels heavy too- heavier than her 'sister' hen that I bought along with this hen last year. There is obviously something wrong with her underbelly as it is full and pushes out. She also is labored in breathing sometimes. She is lethargic and lately she is not eating. I treated her with two rounds of antibiotics (vet gave me them) and the first time around she didn't perk up and respond until the very last dosages. This second round of antibiotics didn't seem to help anything at all. She is now seemingly going down hill.

    My problem and how I need help: I am wanting to attempt to drain her as spoken about in many threads here on ascites. I bought some syringes with needles at Tractor Supply, 18 gauge. I tried to find more information on how to do this draining, but I feel very unclear about doing it and very apprehensive. I'm worried I could kill her or make things worse somehow and I have no idea what area to try to stick her with the needle. Do you just stick the needle in anywhere? And do you have to pull back on the syringe suction thing to drain it out? I'm thinking about just pulling the needle part off of the plastic syringe part, putting it in and letting it drain... then again- what if I hit a vein? What if I go into an organ? I'm thinking now I should have got a smaller gauge needle. I don't want to hurt her!

    Has anyone done this before and if so, do you think you could take me step by step through it? Also, does it sound like my chicken has ascites? Or do you think its some other internal thing that can't be helped by sticking a needle in her?

    I am thinking about contacting my vet to help me do this, but I had asked her before if it could be ascites, and she kind of didn't say anything. She doesn't really treat chickens all that much (except mine!) and I would take this hen back in, but I spent too much on chicken emergencies last month (it was quite a month with broken beaks, swollen ears and some cases of bumblefoot). I think I should be able to do this, but I just don't feel like I have the guts right now to try, but I don't want to wait too long because I think she needs it done asap. I just feel like I need a bit more guidance on this. Can anyone help?

    Thanks in advance for any replies.
     
  2. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    I have some pictures that I can post in a few hours.

    -Kathy
     
  3. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Does it feel like she has a layer of fat on her belly? It should be just skin there, but I have done necropsies on a couple hat has excess fat there as well as fluid.

    -Kathy
     
  4. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Here they are:

    Hen was cleaned with Chlorhexidine, had a 1" 18 gauge needle inserted and I syringed out about 500 ml of fluid.

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  5. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    casportpony,

    Thanks so much for the pictures!. I find this all very interesting! You make it look easy and I can see you did a great job too.

    I'm not sure my hen's underbelly looks like that though. Maybe. Its hard to tell with her feathers still there. I did clip them short, but I wouldn't describe her underside as squishy, or fatty. Its just hard lumps. I assume she is full of fluid because she is heavy, much heavier than her sister hen who is the same age as she is.

    Oh to answer your question...Its just skin - not a lot of fat at all- just a layer of skin. What is underneath it though is my concern. When I read other threads, they speak of this bulge as a 'water balloon'.. to me, water balloons are squishy and you can poke your finger into them. With my bird, her underside is hard- no squish. no poking a finger into it. Does this sound like ascites then?

    What angle did you put the needle in- straight in- up toward the wing or in towards the opposite side? Does it matter? I don't want to hit anything I shouldn't.
     
  6. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    You should put on a glove and check inside her vent, that might help you figure out what you're dealing with. My hen had the squishy belly, but I have a couple that feel like they have masses back there, but think they're just fat deposits?

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  7. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think maybe I don't have a case of ascites. Her belly is hard and swollen, not soft and squishy and maybe that is why I am so confused about this.

    Thanks casportpony for all the pictures., I have been trying to familiarize myself with what organ is where by looking at photos and diagrams on the internet. Not sure what I would be able to feel if I did a vent search on her though. I do know that she is not egg bound. I wouldn't even know if something was abnormal while doing a vent check. I only did one vent check a long time ago and even then I didn't know what I was supposed to be looking for, other than an egg that is possibly stuck, which I didn't find.


    By the way, how did you get all your hen's feathers off the area that is swollen? Did you pluck them out? I don't think my hen would stand for that for very long.
     
  8. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]

    The picture above I found on the internet. (credit: http://www.thepoultrysite.com/focus/biomin/2257/biomin-biotronic-ascites-in-poultry) This photo seems to most describe what I think I am feeling when I pat around my chicken's underbelly. She seems to have even that lump of something which is located on the lower middle of the abdomen- not the breastbone protrusion, but down about an inch or two from it and toward the bottom of the photo.
     
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  9. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    I think the fluid can cause the organs to move. That looks like it's probably the gizzard, which you can normally feel from the outside. Grab a healthy chicken and try to locate the gizzard, then compare that to your sick one.

    -Kathy
     
  10. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well I did it.

    A little.

    I was able to get about 5 mL out, but I am a bit worried because it was not straw yellow colored, but more like orangy-red. (sorry, just realized now I should have taken a photo.) There was a little blood in it, but not much at all- I assume this was from the initial 'stick' going through her skin.

    Was this orangy-red liquid the fluid or did I just suck something out of some organ of hers that shouldn't have been sucked out? It looks more like orange than red, but still, its darker than the straw yellow color I read that it should be. I aimed for a spot on the belly that was not hard and lumpy as the picture above, but aimed for a region that was to either side of her breastbone tip- or what I think is the bottom of the ribcage/breastbone, not sure I identified that correctly.

    She is currently still sitting down, but a few minutes after I drained her a bit she did eat a little. I guess I will try again a bit later.
     

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