Chicken is gaping and wheezing very loudly, respiratory infection?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Jemma Rider, Feb 21, 2018.

  1. Jemma Rider

    Jemma Rider Songster

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    Rosie is a two year old Amerucana hen and today i noticed her gaping and wheezing very loudly. She's always had some problems with breathing but only after moving a lot. I dewromed my chickens about a month ago in case it was gape worm, and I've been treating her for a respiratory infection for the past two weeks or so. She's had problems since i got her, there's always something that seems wrong with her but this is the first thing that has really worried me. I'm wondering if it could be gapeworm and if i should treat her again. The feedstore gave me a supplement with oregano for the respiratory infection, they said that they couldn't sell me anything stronger because the laws had changed. I am really worried about her she is such a friendly hen. She's still with the others. Thanks to anyone who can help.
     
  2. Hen Pen Jem

    Hen Pen Jem Crowing

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    Greetings Jemma,

    You need to put her in a crate, large tub, or box with bedding, a mat or paper. Set her up with some food and water too. Make sure she is out of drafts some place warm.

    Exam for Gapeworm:
    Swab the inside of her throat, take a good look at it with a magnifying glass if you have one. Gapeworms form a Y shape at one end, they will be obvious. But most likely she is sick with an Upper Respiratory Illness. She can spread it to the rest of the flock, so do isolate her.

    I have the same issue here in California, no antibiotics can be purchased for animals without a vet's prescription.

    However, some antibiotics can be purchased for the treatment of fish, like amoxicillin. I don't know the dosage for a chicken, but hopefully another keeper that has used it, will respond. Another option would be Denagard (Tamulin Hydrogen Fumarate), it can be purchased on Amazon, over night shipment. Or, you may be able to purchase it at a farm/feed store. I have used Denagard successfully in the treatment of upper respiratory illness. It is a liquid and is mixed into the water. Let me know if you need the dosage; it is a 10 day course of treatment.

    Alternative treatments:
    • You can also help her by using a humidifier next to her cage, or in a bathroom so she can breath better. A dab of eucalyptus essential oil in the humidifier is also helpful.
    • Next, use an oral syringe to give her some honey (Manuka Medical Grade is best), 2 mL will be helpful. Add a pinch of Cinnamon to the honey, this is also helpful for URI.
    Oregano is a potent herb, but I don't think it will be effective in treating a severe URI.

    It is common for upper respiratory infections to reoccur in chickens. These infections are also stubborn, and can take quite some time to recover from. But, if you do not treat the infection she will die.

    If you can take her to see a vet, it will be much easier on you and the hen. A vet will provide any medication you need for your hen. If not, the members here at BYC, will offer advice, please consider these too.

    I do check my alert three times a day.

    God Bless :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2018
  3. Jemma Rider

    Jemma Rider Songster

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    Thank you very much. I'll go separate her now, i didn't know if i should because last time i separated her (for Bumblefoot) she was very stressed all she wanted to do was get back to her flock. I'll do the test for gapeworm later when i have a bit of help, and i might have some of the fish stuff on hand now. I'll wait for the dosage from someone else though if i can find it. Should i move her inside? I could possibly move her into my shed but my parents would never let her inside the house or garage, but maybe the bathroom temporarily. I had to leave for a few hours this morning and i was worried i would be coming home to a dead chicken but i got home and she seems completely fine again. I'm wondering if the symptoms come and go? Because yesterday she was completely normal. And thank you so much as well.
     
  4. Jemma Rider

    Jemma Rider Songster

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    She doesn't appear to have gape worm. I swabbed her throat and got nothing. I am slightly concerned she might have a small case of canker, but I'm going to deal with that later. I'm wondering if i can order antibiotics online or something. I can't take her to the vet and I'm thinking i should just treat the whole flock, just in case, because she's had some problems for a while so the others have already been exposed. And i made a little recovery bin for her and while i was trying to separate her she started freaking out after she lost sight of them and I'm worried that might be too stressful for her. Rosie hates being away from her flock, so i think i should probably just treat them all? I'm incredibly worried, she's acting normal eating and dinking. I let her out of the run for a little bit with the others and she is acting normal, but after a lot of activity starts wheezing and gaping slightly (i say slightly because her mouth is only open a crack, not like earlier when i thought she was suffocating).
    And one thing i forgot to mention earlier, she's had a bit of a messy vent area lately, i haven't been worried about it much but I'm wondering if that is relevant?
     
  5. Hen Pen Jem

    Hen Pen Jem Crowing

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    Messy vents are relevant. Diarrhea is a symptom of many illnesses, and it too, can be debilitating for the hen. Too much diarrhea robs the hen of essential nutrients and fluids.

    I know exactly what you mean about the hen's stress level, as stress can sometimes be even worse than the disease. Especially, if the hen has labored breathing. You will just have to balance the need for isolation, at this point, it would be for the hen's protection, as she may not be able to compete for food if she is ill. If it is infectious, the rest of the flock is already exposed. So, if no one else is sick, she may not be contagious. In which case, that leaves you with finding out what may be ailing her if it isn't respiratory.

    There are other conditions that can cause a hen to have labored breathing. Reproductive disorders, a weak heart, extreme heat, to name a few. But, if the labored breathing is caused by something infectious, it will be hard to know exactly without lab testing. Many times, a condition will resolve itself with just good food, good sanitation of the environment, and some time.

    If none of the other hens have any symptoms of illness, you shouldn't treat them.

    If you see sores inside your sick hen's mouth, and suspect canker, you can treat by wiping the inside of her mouth with hydrogen peroxide. And then, treat with copper sulfate in the water 4-7 days. Many times canker causes a bad odor in the mouth of the chicken. Canker, is another contagious, and painful, infection that can affect the whole flock, and every bird you bring in.

    You may want to try an herbal antibiotic, that will also boost the hen's immune system. You can purchase the ingredients at a health food store. Here is my recipe if you decide you would like to use it. I've had many hens recover from episodes of diarrhea, low appetite and mild upper respiratory symptoms.

    Here is my recipe for Herbal Antibiotic, anti fungal and Immune System Support.

    1 (760 mg) Capsule, Echinacea
    1 (400 mg) Capsule, Golden Seal
    1 teaspoon Hempseed Protein Powder (or other sugar/sweetener free protein powder)
    1 teaspoons warm water
    1/2 teaspoon Agave Nectar or use Manuka Honey, for triple antibiotic

    Dosage for chicken:
    weight 5-8 lbs. = 1 mL, once daily for mild symptoms, 3 days.

    2 mL, once a day for more concerning symptoms,

    or you can split the dosage 1 mL every 12 hr., 3 days.

    May be given, 5 days, for severe symptoms: lack of appetite, diarrhea & lethargy.
    Use for no more than 7 days. Follow with probiotics, after completing herbal antibiotic course.

    I can see you are having to deal with this situation by yourself, and dealing with sick chickens can be stressful. But, it something we as the keepers, have to do. In nature, the chicken would die, but with a human keeper, they have a chance. Do what you can for your flock and your sick hen. They are very lucky to have such a caring keeper!

    So, these are more thoughts on your hens situation.

    God Bless :)
     
  6. Jemma Rider

    Jemma Rider Songster

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    I've got to apologize I'm very frazzled. I keep realizing things i forgot to add. I've had my chickens for five months now and Rosie hasn't laid any eggs. I thought at first that it was the stress of the move, and then she molted right after. She doesn't have diarrhea at the moment, I've watched her and her poo is solid right now. I don't really know what to do at this point. My rooster has crust in the corners of his eyes now, i think i need to treat them all. Rosie has seemed off since i got her with the others i just thought it was because if the weather and molting i feel horrible for not seeing it sooner. It was unseasonably hot today, got up to eighty degrees. I will try the herbal antibiotic, I'll go out and get the ingredients tomorrow. She is eating and drinking fine and seems alert, much better then earlier, I'm thinking the heat made her worse it was incredibly hot today. I'm worried about my poor rooster now, he hasn't shown any signs of labored breathing yet. I'm sure it's coming. I'm going to clean everything tomorrow afternoon and put some clean litter in (i change it every two weeks or so) i think I'll start paying extra attention to cleaning and water. I feel bad for not seeing it before.
     
  7. Hen Pen Jem

    Hen Pen Jem Crowing

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    Oh no, don't feel bad about not seeing this.

    Chickens are good at hiding sickness till it is so obvious that they are ill. It is how they protect themselves from other dominant chickens or predators. By the time we keepers notice, the chickens have been ill for awhile.

    Yes, treat them all. Extreme weather, too hot or too cold is stressful for chickens, which is why they come down with illnesses. I am currently treating my hen, Ginger, she suddenly became ill last Thursday. I saw her the day before and she was happy and healthy. The next morning she was a mess. But, with treatment I am hoping she will recover soon. She already is looking better, after just two days of antibiotics and some TLC.

    Ok, so now, with what you are telling me about your roo, I am thinking that Infectious Bronchitis is what's causing the symptoms in Rosie and the rooster. Infectious Bronchitis is caused by a virus and will have to run it's course. But, you should provide electrolytes in the water and keep the chickens out of drafts, especially if the weather gets cold. Antibiotic will protect them from secondary infection while their immune systems are fighting the virus. Lower the protein if you can, offer fruits and fresh greens. Keep the rooster's eyes clean with a warm compress. And some honey with cinnamon each day will do them some good. If you have some VetRX, you can apply some below the rooster's eyes, around the nostrils and under wings before he goes to roost. It will relieve his stuffy nostrils and weepy eyes. Rosie too, can use some.

    You are going to be busy doctoring all those chickens! Take care of yourself, put all meds in a tray where you can find them, and set up a routine that is convenient for you. Just be consistent in the treatment that you set up.

    God Bless to you and your flock. :)
     
  8. Jemma Rider

    Jemma Rider Songster

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    Okay i think i can do all that. I went out this morning and Rosie wasn't sounding as bad. I think it was the heat yesterday that made her that bad so suddenly. I'll be cleaning everything in a few hours after the other girls have laid their eggs. Just one thing, would Infectious Bronchitis cause a hen not to lay any eggs for five months? Because it's never bothered me that she didn't lay especially with winter and her just being a very nice hen, but you mentioned reproductive issues earlier and it's the first time I'm thinking there might be something else wrong.
     
  9. Hen Pen Jem

    Hen Pen Jem Crowing

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    Yes, IB can affect egg laying: low production, thin shells, unshelled, mishapened eggs. But, egg laying should return in a couple of months, but may not be the same quality. Since it has been longer for Rosie, she may need some help. I had a similar situation with my black Ameruacana, Taji, nothing I did, helped her return to laying. Before stopping completely her eggs were, thin shelled and sometimes odd shaped.

    After doing research, I came upon a product called Blue Gold PME, you add it to the water. It's easy to use and organic. This product has more herbs, mosses, super foods and clays, in it than I can list. It is listed as a water purifier, but enhances chicken health too. I like to use herbs and much as possible, but it takes time to put formulations together, and some need to be administered orally with syringe. So I decided to give this product a try.

    Well after using it for 50 days Taji laid her first egg in 8 months. She laid about 2-3 eggs a week for 3 weeks. Then, she developed a crop issue and stopped again. Of course, Taji is three years old. Hens are most productive in their first two years. Sometimes they even take long breaks from laying. She is strong, healthy and beautiful, so I am consider her a retired hen.

    I've used the product for 3 months now, I have two sick hens. One with diarrhea on and off. She is eating and running around with the flock. She is the reason I decided to try the Blue Gold product. Her feather quality is poor, has been laying soft eggs, and she is on the thin side, even though she eats like there is no tomorrow. I am currently working with the local UC Davis lab to try and get to the bottom of her issues. The other hen injured herself jumping down from the perch. Both are doing well, otherwise.

    So, the Blue Gold product is an enhancement, but not a cure all. A doctor once told me, "You can't fix everything, but you can try". We humans tend to forget that, especially when we are emotionally attached. So, take it easy on yourself, you are doing a great job with your flock, and learning so much. I am too, always keep learning, discoveries are being made every day about chickens and how to better heal and raise them.

    Here is the link, if you'd like to research the Blue Gold product.
    https://edenbluegold.com/animal-science-solutions/#solutions-for-poultry

    Hope this info is of some use to you.

    As always, God Bless :caf
     
  10. Jemma Rider

    Jemma Rider Songster

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    Thank you very much. Poor Rosie, she had bumblefoot a few months back and only just got the bandage off a few weeks ago. I have just one more thing i am wondering about. I've read that my chickens could be carriers for the rest of their lives. But I'm wondering if i can still get my chicks this year, because i was planning on getting six more to finish my flock and I'm splitting the eggs with my best friend because we both cut out commercially sold eggs a few months back. On top of this i only have four hens and a rooster, I'm worried about roo over mating the hens and hurting them. I know i can probably never sell any of my chickens but can i get a few more this summer? And if so is there a vaccine i can give the chicks before introducing them to the girls (and boy)?
     

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