Can a chicken swallow its own tongue? Help??? -PICTURES ADDED-

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by YonkFarm, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. YonkFarm

    YonkFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    1) What type of bird , age and weight. Barred rock hen, 8 months old, don't know her weight, but she's good-sized.

    2) What is the behavior, exactly. Feathers puffed up, opens mouth to breathe in, listless, not eating or drinking and today I realized she doesn't have a tongue and it looks like the tip of it is sticking up at the back of her throat - there's something pointed and white back there.

    3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms? I noticed she wasn't acting right on Monday in the afternoon.

    4) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma. Nothing else I can find; her head felt warmer than normal this morning.

    5) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation. No idea

    6) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all. I suspected sour crop, so have given her 3 cc's of epsom salt water every morning with a syringe and yesterday i gave her 3 cc's of poultry nutri-drench; this morning gave her 3 cc's of vitamin/electrolyte water. She is not eating or drinking anything on her own.

    7) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc. No poop since Tuesday, and it was the usual dark green/grey color.

    8) What has been the treatment you have administered so far? epsom salt water (1 tsp. dissolved in 1/2 c. water), poultry drench and vi-tal in water; Vet Rx: a few drops in mouth and under wings.
    9 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet? There isn't a local vet who will work with chickens, so I will do what I can myself.

    10) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help. I will try to get one and post it

    11) Describe the housing/bedding in use: 12x8 insulated coop with temporary 12x12 run - normal run is 24x24. Pine shavings on floor of coop. Until this week, they haven't been outdoors due to the frigid temps. I have this hen in the coop, but separated from the others in a 2x3 area


    I have an 8 month old barred rock hen who has been open-mouthed breathing for the past few days. She was standing with her feathers all puffed up on Monday, and that's when I noticed the open-mouthed breathing and that she wasn't eating the BOSS I put out. I felt her crop on Tuesday morning and there was food in it, so I wondered about sour crop, and started giving her epsom salt in water and left water with ACV for her, but she isn't eating or drinking and she hasn't pooped since Tuesday, when she also laid an egg. On Wednesday, her crop was empty. I've done the epsom salts 3 times and have been using a syringe to give her poultry drench and vitamin water. I've never had chickens, so haven't ever looked in one's mouth before all of this, but this morning when I was putting the syringe in, there was slimy brown stuff in her mouth which I think is the poultry drench that didn't get swallowed, and as I was trying to clean that out I saw this white, pointed thing in the back of her throat. It wasn't until that moment that I realized she has no tongue! I checked my RIR hen's mouth so I would know what it's supposed to look like and I'm wondering if it's possible she could have swallowed her own tongue. There is an almond-sized lump between her waddles - is that supposed to be there? Could she have a tumor even though she's only 8 mo. old? Her head felt warmer than usual this morning too. I'm not sure what to do at this point. Can anyone help?
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2010
  2. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

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    I don't think they could swallow their tongue but I wouldn't want to bet on it. I do know, however, they can get some pretty nasty infections that build up and abcess in their mouth and throat. I've been doctoring quite a few this winter and digging "gunk" out of their sinus cavities. One had a huge clump of abcess growing over her windpipe and down into the windpipe so that she couldn't breathe. The windpipe is the little bump you feel if you were feeling her throat from the outside. You can open her mouth and check everything out. I find there is often abcessed "gunk" in the roof of the mouth, in the slit that is in the top of the mouth that needs to be cleaned out. There can also be cankers or growths on the inside of the mouth and down the throat, and as I just mentioned, even over the windpipe. I use a cotton swap dipped in mouthwash to swab out their mouth and throat. I use a toothpick to pick any gunk out of the crack in roof of mouth. Of course if you don't see the tongue you'll need to try and release it from the back of the throat if that's where it really is. She could have gotten her tongue cut off on something but check her out to know for sure. The windpipe is the small hole at the back of the tongue. The throat opens behind the windpipe and on both sides. Don't let any fluid get in the windpipe. While holding her mouth open you can gently push the windpipe and throat up into the mouth so that you can see and work on it. Just gently push up from the outside using one finger and push up under the chin and into the mouth area.

    I hope this helps.
     
  3. YonkFarm

    YonkFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you, Ruth, for your helpful reply. I took some pictures, although I don't know if they're clear enough for you to see what I'm talking about. From what I can tell, her tongue is rolled back into her throat. In the second picture the pointed tip of her tongue is showing. I tried to manipulate it from underneath her chin, but it just rolls right back down there. I took other pictures to show that her eyes are clear and to me it looks like her nostrils are ok as well. When I first separated her from the others, she was banging into the chicken wire that separated her from her coop mates, and it caused her comb to bleed at the base in the front. All of my chickens had fowl pox back in August and their combs still don't look very good.
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    My brother-in-law said I needed to get her warmed up since she's not moving around at all, and the temps in the coop are ranging from the 30's to the 40's. There wasn't an easy way to get a heat lamp on her due to the fact that her little "cage" is under the roost and I thought it would be too close to her without enough room for her to move away. Plus, I don't know if she would even realize she was getting too warm. I thought it would be less stressful for her if she could still see the other chickens, but since I can't really get her warmed up out there, I brought her inside and she's in the laundry room in a dog crate. I attached a heating pad to one side and have a space heater on in there, since we keep our house around 65-67 degrees. Is this enough warmth, or should I also put a heat lamp in there? Thanks so much for any advice you may have. I don't see how she'll be able to start eating with her tongue this way. I put some scrambled eggs out for her, and she looked interested, but didn't try to eat them. I also haven't seen her drink anything on her own. She did poop earlier today, and I took a sample to our vet. The poop looked like it usually does, maybe a little more green. Thanks again for any help!!!
     
  4. chicken+quail=luv

    chicken+quail=luv Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Strawberry fields.
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    Wow, that's odd! I'm sorry I'm not any help. [​IMG] Good luck!
     
  5. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

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    That is extremely odd. Try gently pulling the tongue out. When I'm working on the throats of sick ones, I use a wash cloth to hold the tip of the tongue and gently pull it forward and slightly out of the mouth/beak so that the throat opens up and I can see what's wrong and tend to it. It helps if you have two people - one to hold chicken and hold her mouth open and the second person to pull the tongue out but since I never have anyone to help I've learned to do all simultaneously. Then I clean out the throat and sinus cavity if need be. Unless she has something caught in her throat that she swallowed and it's stuck and pulling the tongue down the throat, I can't think of anything else. Do try pulling the tongue out so that you can see clearly the windpipe and throat area.

    Maybe, just a thought, she swallowed a string or something and it's pulling her tongue to the back of her throat like that. They are bad about getting strings wrapped around their tongue - especially those strings that come on feed bags.

    Keep us posted.
     
  6. AHappychick

    AHappychick Wanna-be Farmer

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    Quote:I was thinking that too maybe a hair is wrapped around her tongue and partially swallowed pulling her tongue down with it. it will be very hard to see if it is a hair. I have really long hair and have caught it wrapped up on many things including my ds's private part when he was a month old. I shed a lot even though I always keep it back in a ponytail.
     
  7. YonkFarm

    YonkFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    I had my husband hold her while I tried to grab the tongue. I got hold of it a couple of times and tried to pull it out. I got it out far enough (before she jerked away) that I could see it's pretty coated and smelly on the top surface. There isn't much "give" to it and I'm afraid to pull very hard. I can't see anything that might be wound around it, but I couldn't get the tip pulled out far enough to see down her throat either. I gave her some more vitamin/electrolyte solution. I'll try again tomorrow. How much fluid should I be giving her daily? I'm squirting the water very slowly, very little at a time and letting it run down her throat, but it bothers me that I don't know if it's all going down her throat or if she's getting some in her lungs.
     
  8. AHappychick

    AHappychick Wanna-be Farmer

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    could she have cankers?
     
  9. YonkFarm

    YonkFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    I don't see any - her mouth looks clear
     
  10. MissJenny

    MissJenny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would focus on the open-mouth breathing. I don't think the tongue is the issue. There are a number of reasons a chicken will pant -- too hot, injured, ill. (If you look in the mouths of your other hens their tongues likely disappear too. )

    Since there's no reason to suspect injury and even though temperatures of 30's and 40's is warmer than most areas now, it's certainly not hot... that leaves illness.

    Look on the illness list to see what best matches her symptoms.

    Jenny
     

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