Chick Seizure, 11 day old cochin

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Nambroth, May 20, 2011.

  1. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

    Apr 7, 2011
    Western NY
    My Coop
    This morning when I was cleaning the brooder and doing the normal 'chick socializing', something unusual happened. I am inclined to consider this a "Grand Mal" seizure; I assisted with a dog that had frequent Grand Mals and I know that parrots can get them, but quite honestly I don't know for sure if chickens are susceptible to this or not. Perhaps someone can provide some input! Can chickens have Epilepsy? I have found a few other threads where people have talked about it but it seems rare.

    Age: 11 days old
    Breed: Partridge Cochin (large fowl)
    Origin: Day old chick shipped from Meyer Hatchery
    Merek's Vaccine: Yes
    Exposure to other birds: No, these are my first chickens. Brooded inside on kiln-dried pine shavings. Brooder is kept about 90°F on one side and 75° on the other end.
    Feed: Countryside Organics chick starter (triple checked, clean and free of mold), occasional treat of mashed egg yolk with yogurt
    Water: Clear with a little raw ACV.
    (All other chicks seem very healthy, active, alert. She is with 7 other chicks, same age, same origin)
    Symptoms: Completely active, healthy chick. Alert, bright eyed. She suddenly gave a loud, strangled Peep! And her legs kicked back all the way and her head curled back against her back all the way. She was completely rigid, and unable to even blink. The seizure was strong enough that her eyes watered visibly. I held her and waited for it to pass, and she went unconscious. At this point I simply kept her head from drooping too far down and kept her warm. She woke up, seemed surprised to be in my hands, and tried to wiggle loose. I put her back in the brooder to observe her and she was totally 'normal' with the exception of seeming a little dazed; she walked around trilling for about 5 minutes then settled down, looking around alertly. The seizure itself lasted perhaps 30-60 seconds and she was unconscious for about the same amount of time (maybe one minute). I have a webcamera on the brooder so I can watch them while I work and this is the first time she's had a seizure. She is currently acting normal, alert. No additional tremors or loss of coordination.

    I have read aboutAvian Encephalomyelitis , and the symptoms do not seem to be the same as what I experienced with this chick.

    Any thoughts? We really like this little lady and if there is anything I can do for her we will do it.
  2. csummer8882

    csummer8882 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2011
    Rockingham County, NH
    I am replying to bump this back up. I have no clue as I am a newbie but maybe if it gets bumped, it will get seen by someone that knows. Sorry to hear that and I hope she gets better!
  3. Blue_Myst

    Blue_Myst Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2009
    First of all I would like to thank you for giving such a thorough description of your chick and her problem. It really helps! [​IMG]

    I honestly don't know what to tell you. I would say don't rule out Mereks just because they're vaccinated, but if the others are healthy, I doubt that's what it is.

    Their environment sounds clean and free of mold, so probably not a toxin either. Has she been outdoors yet?

    The only advice I can give you is perhaps give her a bit of Poly-Vi-Sol (without iron). This should help the problem if it's nutritional. I know she gets plenty of food, but she might just need a little extra.

    Best of luck with her, and I hope someone will come along who can give you more answers!
  4. BrattishTaz

    BrattishTaz Roo Magnet

    Jan 8, 2011
    Tampa Area, Florida
    It sounds like the start of wry neck (the loss of consciousness is odd though). I would give polyvisol without iron ASAP. It will not hurt even if it does turn out to be something else.
  5. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

    Apr 7, 2011
    Western NY
    My Coop
    Quote:Thank you both for your advice! BrattisTaz, it does not seem like wry neck but I am new to chickens and I won't rule it out. I got some Poly-Vi-Sol (without iron) this afternoon and gave her a drop, which she hated but I think I got it in her beak.

    She has not been outdoors yet, it's been cold and rainy here sadly.

    Since I posted this she has been alert, active, eating drinking and pooing as normal. Normal behaviors such as preening, wing-stretching and scratching in the shavings. I noticed when I held her to give her the Poly-Vi-Sol she seemed a little shaky-- I could feel it slightly but it was not visible shaking at all.
  6. valley ranch

    valley ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    The chicks she is in with are the ones you got her with? I would leave her there and watch her. This may be transient. Let us know if it happens again. Good luck
  7. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

    Apr 7, 2011
    Western NY
    My Coop
    Thank you valley ranch, yes she was in with the chicks that shipped with her from Meyer.

    Sadly yesterday she had a second seizure, though it lasted less time that the first. Maybe 30 seconds total.... she snapped out of it and acted normal for the rest of the day with one exception; she started to scratch at the left side of her head in the evening. I didn't think too much of it at first though I took note, since every bird scratches its own head from time to time. It seems as if she did it more frequently as the evening wore on and so I checked her over very carefully and even checked her ear and could find nothing out of the ordinary. I knew it was not ordinary when she would scratch and then cry out. I continued to check on her throughout the evening and into the night, and she had settled down and went to sleep, and so I finally went to bed around 1am since she seemed normal at that point. I got up this morning at 6 to check on her and I am very sad to say that she had passed on. Alarmingly, she had scratched her head raw and bloody on that side. She was face-down in the bedding and everyone else was asleep-- it was clear this was self-inflicted as her foot on that side was bloody. I feel terrible that this happened overnight and will always wonder if I could have helped her somehow. She was a very loved little chick and my husband was very attached to her.

    I am 100% certain that mites and/or lice are not suspect. All of the other chicks are acting totally normal, active, healthy. None are exhibiting any of the signs that she did, but I will monitor them closely.
    I would have tried for a necropsy but I was told that they would only test her for the 'big' diseases that they are worried about...

    I am posting this in case it ever is helpful to someone else in the future.
    I found this thread from last month and the last few hours of her life sound familiar re: scratching:
    anyone know if Merek's Vaccination can cause a delayed reaction like this?

    RIP, little Loaf, we will miss you. [​IMG]
  8. ragerkid2

    ragerkid2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2011
    Johnstown Pa
    awhhh im sorry = [[​IMG][​IMG]
  9. suburbanchickymama

    suburbanchickymama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2011
    Apex, NC
    [​IMG] I'm so sorry about your chick. You sound like an excellent chicky parent and she was lucky to have you. You did all you could do. [​IMG]
  10. Mamma_Duck04

    Mamma_Duck04 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2011
    Crazyville, VA
    Might totally be off here, but I wonder if she sustained head trauma at some point... though it seems it took some while to finally hit the end- which I'm extremely sorry for!- but that sounds similar. I'm not that familiar with rare chicken things, but maybe it was a birth defect in her brain too (like an aneurysm or something)?? Just a thought...

    Again, I'm so sorry this happened.

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