Chicken moving head side to side...parasite!?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by whiteybird, Sep 28, 2013.

  1. whiteybird

    whiteybird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 16, 2013
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    hi all,

    so i have a chicken that got attacked by a raccoon and shes been inside since it happened three weeks ago. her neck got torn up and she has a wound on her leg, but both seem to be healing nicely. i think the back of her neck is completely covered over now with new tissue.

    however, the past couple days ive had trouble getting her to eat. today was ok, she ate a good cup of watermelon, but i think that was all she ate all day. the two days prior i had to basically force her to drink honey/antibiotic water and a little milk...i dont think she ate or drank much on her own. the couple days before those she seemed very interested in the dried worms, cantaloupe, and scratch we gave her...

    she's been shaking her head frequently, which at first i thought had to do with her beak growing out a little too long due to abnormal activity (not enough rough material to grind it down on). it's a little longer than it used to be but not much. she shakes her head as if shes flinging water or whatnot off her beak or head (force feeding her got her a lil messy) and grinds her beak a little like we grind our teeth.

    but today, i saw her do this strange thing ive never seen before...she kind of bobbed her head side to side, like we do when we try to get water out of our ear. her beak stayed in front of her, but her head leaned to the right side, then the left, then maybe right and left again. i only saw it once.

    there are some fruit flies in the office with her...i think they came in on something we bought from the grocery store recently....what are the chances they are the cause of this?

    is her appetite connected to her head shaking and bobbing?

    could the fruit flies have infested her head or ear or something? or could this be a more sinister parasite?

    she's done so well so far....i dont want to lose her now!

    thanks!
     
  2. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Does she have access to grit? Is her crop functioning normal,as in full during day and empty in morning?
     
  3. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    First thing is stop feeding things of little nutritional value. Feed a balanced feed ration to the bird and give vitamin-mineral powder in her water. It is possible there's some nerve damage from the attack. Raccoons also carry an ascarid that can actually make it's way to the brain. Did you have the bird on antibiotics or any other medication during the recovery? If the bird looks healthy, readily eats, and drinks, you may want to worm the bird. Especially if the bird has never been wormed before.
     
  4. whiteybird

    whiteybird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    she wont eat her regular feed! i actually swapped her layer feed for chick feed (we got chicks last week to rebuild our flock), hoping that the higher protein would help. fruit seems to be the only thing she likes. i realize it's not really good for her, but i figure any form of calories is better than nothing. she was really interested in dried mealworms for a while but shes not a fan of her feed i guess?

    because shes not eating normally her crop is not filling and emptying per normal. she has access to scratch which i assumed would be 'gritty' enough. i brought her a small paver from outside to rub her beak on.

    she's been on tetracycline since the day after it happened, and a good dose of it too...not a crazy overdose, but if it says 800mg is high end to treat whatever disease, im probably giving her 800-1000, since tetra insn't one of the stronger antibiotics out there. its what i had so thats why i used it.

    ive been EXTREMELY careful to wash my hands whenever i go in to see her to minimize whatever germs ive come in contact with, and i try not to touch her at all except to feel her crop lately. it was a little squishy but probably medium-full when i turned the light out maybe 3 hours ago.
     
  5. whiteybird

    whiteybird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    what does de-worming consist of, just another medicine? an ascarid seems possible...though our doctors tell us to never diagnose ourselves using webmd and i kind of feel like thats what im doing...fitting diseases/parasites to her symptoms...heh
     
  6. whiteybird

    whiteybird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 16, 2013
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    ps she has a constant supply of feed by her side, along with worms in another dish. ive given her baby food and fruit as 'supplements' or to see if shell eat anything at all
     
  7. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Scratch is not grit,she needs grit to digest feed,what is going to grind up the scratch?
     
  8. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    Albendazole takes care of all worms. Brand name is Valbazen Suspension and is an oral dose via syringe without a needle of 1/2 cc for a standard breed adult hen, and 1/4 cc for a bantam. I wouldn't do it now though since the bird has been being fed antibiotics for three weeks. The bird is stressed. Nobody here uses webmd for diagnosing poultry diseases/health problems. You've been doing it incorrectly with tetracycline. Some of us have been at this a long time and can recognize problems. The information is out there, it just requires some study. Another way is to locate an avian veterinarian and make an appointment. Or go to a state lab so they can perform a necropsy.
     
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  9. whiteybird

    whiteybird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ok. i didnt think about the scratch needing to be digested...whoops...

    im sorry that came out as an insult, that was 100% not my intention at all! I was referring to myself, because lately I feel like I've been trying to fit a diagnosis around her symptoms rather than look at the symptoms and see what it could point to... it's like people who use webmd and the like to decide they have an incredibly rare disease by fitting diseases to symptoms rather than gathering symptoms and seeing which possibilities they point to. i come here to get real answers and stop doing that! I realize I have 1/10th or less of the knowledge and experience many of you who frequent the forum, and although you cant ever know it all (no offense ;-) ) you are incredibly more helpful than going about things by myself.

    i have chick scratch i can give her...is that too small? im afraid of introducing germs etc. if i bring something in from the run outside? never had to think about grit because they were always free range until the last attack.

    ok...ive massively over-medicated her. i was afraid of infection. i saw a couple posts where severely wounded chickens (a lot like this one) had moldy dead skin and open chest cavities that survived, i just didnt want her to die from infection...the attack happened two days before we went to see my parents for ten days, and i think my boyfriends mother (nurse-practitioner) was giving her my probiotic capsules. ill go back to that, dissolving in her water?

    the only vet around here i've found who will look at a chicken tried to get me to spend $150 on a biopsy of a hen that seemed to have textbook reproductive tract issues such as peritonitis....i had gone in to put her odwn because i didnt have the heart, and he wanted me to cough up all that. again i could be completely wrong but no other chicken at the time had anything like her symptoms and i read dozens of posts on here about similar issues and after months i decided it was a safe guess... anyway im not a huge fan of the fact that he was pushing medical tests...i love animals ( i swore id grow up and be a vet when i was little) as much as the next person but i cant justify spending that much on my chickens.
     
  10. whiteybird

    whiteybird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 16, 2013
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    * giving her the tetra and the probiotic at the same time maybe, not sure...
     

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