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Botulism - Lucky's been poisoned!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by adcgroup, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. adcgroup

    adcgroup Songster 8 Years

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    Nov 30, 2009
    We have about 30 chickens and my daughters (10 & 13) take care of them primarily through the week. I take a look at things on the weekends and check everything out. Last week, the girls found two chickens dead in the middle of their run on two different days. Both chickens had been acting normally according to them up until that point.

    On Saturday (July 19), I was starting to check everything out when one of my daughters told me that Lucky (one of our roosters) was moping with his tail down and had been unsteady on his feet when she saw him the evening before. We went over and sure enough, he was standing, tail down, and when I approached, I saw him wobble a bit. I brought him out of the pen and he ate grass and drank water, but didn't move around a lot. I noticed at that point that his comb was turning dark.

    Later in my inspection, I found that my youngest had been feeding the chickens moldy food!
    (She had accidentally forgot to close the feed door one day and it had rained. She didn't want to get scolded for wasted food)

    I immediately changed and cleaned all the food and water containers and gave the "healthy" chickens water with ACV. I took Lucky into the garage and made him some sick quarters. I gave him vitamin water, but then switched to vinegar water when I noticed that his poop was green. The next day I started mixing molasses in with the vinegar water.

    For two or three days, his comb continued to darken - like a flower drying out. About Tuesday (July 22), his comb appeared more "juicy" and pink, but then continued to get more pale. His wattles are normally pretty red. Where it is currently more red (on the ends) is where is was more dark at it's worst. One positive is it doesn't appear to be 'drying' out.

    Today (July 24) his poop is still green, he's pretty lethargic and he's off his appetite, although he has continued to eat and drink some. We've tried eggs and oatmeal, but he prefers his regular food.

    I would have taken the lightening of the comb and wattles as a good sign, but paling out doesn't seem to be good either. With his lethargy and green poop, I'm afraid he's still very sick and not out of the woods yet.

    Any ideas of what I should do at this point?

    Photos taken moments ago are below.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2014
  2. adcgroup

    adcgroup Songster 8 Years

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    Nov 30, 2009
    A little more information:

    Poop: He had more poop, and it was more solid for the first couple of days (still shades of green). Less solid as we've gone along (possibly due to the Molasses?)

    Food: Tried Oatmeal and Scrambled Eggs. He didn't really care for either. I started giving him chick feed to get something in him with a higher protein content.

    Medicine: None, so far except for some vitamins/electrolytes in the first batch. Should I give Tetracycline? What can I mix? I've always heard that you can't mix antibiotics and vitamins. Could I put Tetracycline in the water with vinegar and molasses? Can I put vitamins/electrolytes in with the vinegar/molasses?

    Activity: We've taken him out in the yard, and he stands, but doesn't move around much. He doesn't do much pecking or eating grass either. When we put him back in his "infirmary", he either stands or sits on the ground or on his roost. He has continued to be able to balance on the roost, which is just a round broom handle ran through the wire walls (so it moves a bit).

    Anecdotally, he seems light. I haven't weighed him and he's not full-sized (not quite bantam either), but he doesn't seem as heavy as he should be.

    By the way, his father was a black silkie and his mother was a blue-ribbon Welsummer. That's why he's got the Welsummer coloration, but rose comb and five toes.
     
  3. adcgroup

    adcgroup Songster 8 Years

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    Nov 30, 2009
  4. Shabana

    Shabana Songster

    I would suggest this for your roo.

    Mix 5 aspirin to one gallon if water. This will help as an anti inflammatory.

    Keep him cool as the toxins won't metabolise as quickly. The opposite of how you would normally treat a sick bird.

    For a toxin flush:

    Go to your pet supply store and pick up activated charcoal (for fish tanks). Crush up into a very fine powder, about 3 tablespoons. Mix this with half a cup or so of water- enough that the charcoal is mostly suspended but not so much that you've diluted it too much. Now, while you're at the pet supply store, pick up some airline hosing too (again, for fish tanks). You'll also need a catheter tip syringe, 35 cc. Measure the distance from the chicken's bill to the crop. Cut the hose to this length and make sure the end isn't sharp. Fit the other end onto the syringe (you may have to heat the end of the tube to fit it onto the catheter tip syringe). Suck up a full syringe full of the charcoal mixture, making sure that you suck all the liquid out of the tube before you stick it down their throat. Open the bird's mouth- at the back of the tongue, there's an opening, called the glottis. This is the opening to their windpipe and NOTHING should ever go down this opening. As long as you avoid this hole, you'll be fine. Wet the tube, then slide the tube down the throat (someone is holding the bird now). If you hit resistance, stop- if you are far enough down the throat, administer the fluids slowly. If not and you still have a lot of the tube sticking out, then pull back and gently slide it down again. Sometimes it's just the position of the neck that causes problems. Administer the 35 cc or however much the bird can take. Do it slowly enough that you can monitor if any fluids are coming back up the throat. If this happens, pull the tube out (pinching the tube so no further fluid comes out) and drain the birds throat and mouth, then lift the head up to allow the bird to breathe. This doesn't happen very often, especially if you are careful. To increase effectiveness of the charcoal, repeat this procedure every 6 hours for 24 hours.

    Once you are past 24 hours your birds survival rate increases dramatically. So he's in with a good chance.


    Best wishes xx
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Free Ranging Premium Member 7 Years

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    southern Ohio
    You can google "aflatoxin poisoning in chickens" and there is a good article at the top of the page by Dr. Rob Marshall. He says that charcoal doesn't help in this poisoning. He says there can be liver problems, but to give vitamins with trace minerals. There may be some at your feed store like Poultry Cell by Rooster Booster, or another brand. He says that with supportive care, they can sometimes recover in 3 weeks. This is a good learning experience since chicken feed can get moldy easily in summertime. I hope your rooster gets better.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  6. adcgroup

    adcgroup Songster 8 Years

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    Thanks!

    An update - his comb seems to be more properly colored today. However, he still keeps his eyes closed a lot like he's sleeping, although when you touch him on his head, he is alert and opens his eyes wide to see what's going on. He is still pretty immobile otherwise. He just stays on his roost or stands on the ground. Lucky has always been a little unusual in that he's normally the first to bed and the last to get up. He's in a movable coop and run with 3 girls and the coop gets pretty dark inside having only one small doorway providing light to the inside. He's always headed in well before sunset (often leaving the girls out) and is one of the last roos to get up - usually well after sunrise. Still, it's disconcerting that he wants to sleep all the time. I've got a set of lights in the garage that I turn on and off progressively morning and evening to simulate the gradual rising and setting of the sun - although I'm not in sync with actual sunrise and sunset.

    I got him to eat some yogurt last night and this morning. He'll take a couple of bites, then close his eyes, then when he opens them he'll take a couple more. I don't think he's eating enough of anything. How can I get him to eat more?

    Is it too late for the charcoal treatment to be effective? He's been sick for a week now. Or, is it likely that the charcoal won't be effective as Eggcessive says?

    Regarding vitamins, should I stop the molasses and vinegar and just give him vitamin water? I've got the Durvet Vitamins & Electrolytes as well as some Rooster Booster Vitamins & Electrolytes with Lacto Bacillus. Can they all be mixed - or is their reason to at this point?
     
  7. adcgroup

    adcgroup Songster 8 Years

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    Here are some pictures from this morning:
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  8. adcgroup

    adcgroup Songster 8 Years

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    Nov 30, 2009
    Here's one of Lucky when he was well - for comparison:

    [​IMG]

    His comb over the last couple of days compared to normal:

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Normal Pale (Yesterday) Getting color back (today)
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2014
  9. One Chick Two

    One Chick Two Songster

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    Hi. Hopefully your little guy gets through this all right.

    First, start weighing him as soon as possible. Ideally, a scale that can weigh in ounces. I would weigh him every single day. You need to be able to monitor the amount of food and hydration he gets, since he seems lighter.

    He needs to keep a consistent healthy weight up during this illness, so you should track this and keep notes. If he seems low now, or starts losing weight, I'd consider supplementing, or replacing with tube feeding. Here's a thread on tubefeeding:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/906933/tube-feeding

    Also, Kathy (casportpony) has some superb threads on this on her signature link.

    We had a BCM roo who got extremely sick from worm overload while being wormed. We ended up having to tube feed a several times a day. (We checked recommended liguid/food amounts for large fowl) plus small amounts of water constantly. He did eventually fully recover, and had never been sick since.

    He even gained one pound (from his original weight) at the end of his tube feeding. We did have to reteach him how to eat solid food though. At that weaning time, I gave him scrambled eggs mixed with a vitamin/ buttermilk mixed with some feed mash, and some vitamin/ buttermilk poured over the eggs, so it was a wet mix. He couldn't resist it, and would gobble it down.

    Sure hope he feels better soon.
     
  10. Have you tried offering him any scrambled eggs? Maybe with some buttermilk. The buttermilk will coat his tummy if it is feeling off to him and act like a probiotic and the eggs will give most of the vitamins he needs. Rest is good. We, as well as animals, heal quicker when we sleep.

    From what Eggcessive said, this sounds like it's going to be a few weeks before he has recovered. I'd let him sleep, if it were my bird, as much as he wanted. I just believe that less motion, equals more energy for the body to recover but that's just my humble opinion.

    I have been nursing an injured pullet and she slept most of the first two to three weeks. After she healed a bit, she got more energy and started standing again. I had to hand water and hand feed for 2-3 weeks until she was able to feed and finally drink herself. Also moistened feed might entice him to eat? Only feed enough for one hour than ditch it. Make some more as needed if he will eat any. I'd try the egg and buttermilk first though. That will get more vitamins into him, if he will eat any and again, help with any upset tummy issues some.

    One more thing. Sick birds are more likely to be at risk for secondary infections and issues, so just keep a watch out for anything more unusual.

    Best of luck and I hope Lucky is lucky again!!!! [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.

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