Chicken mystery illness: no worms, no mites, slow but not sour crop, hardly eating - advice apprecia

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Silvorchisu, Mar 20, 2015.

  1. Silvorchisu

    Silvorchisu New Egg

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    Mar 20, 2015
    Hi all,

    I'm new to BYC but read your threads frequently and could use some help with my 7 mo old Favaucana from MPC, Negrita.

    A week and a half ago I noted her becoming lethargic and standing alone off and on. At the same time another chicken (we have 3 hens in total, it's a small backyard) became broody, which was probably stressful for the other two. She is eating/drinking very little. Her crop is slow, and she's pooping very little. I've been smelling her breath and poop and it smells normal. Her eyes are bright. She's been preening excessively, to the point of irritating the skin around her ears, beak, and spots under the wings.

    I took her to the vet, who told me her temperature was fine, no worms in her poop, no mites under the microscope, gizzard felt fine. I'm pretty sure, based on the shell color, that she laid a normal egg the day after the vet visit.

    I've brought her inside on and off to monitor her eating/drinking/pooping, but reintegrate her frequently as I note she eats some and will actively forage when she's with the others.

    Yesterday I noted her drinking lots of water, but as usual for the week refusing even egg and yogurt. I gave her mealworms and she picks out the bigger grit-like chunks of corn from the regular calcium rich layer feed. I noted that her poop appeared to have congealed egg yolk in it. She was still strong enough to fly up to about hip height.

    Today early in the morning her crop was full of water and the little pieces of corn grit she's been eating, and her breath still smells fine (like layer feed). I've been massaging her crop this whole time, and on occasion I hear gurgling from air moving around in her crop or intestines. Her poop from this morning is below, and looked to have some egg white in it, but otherwise was not mucous-y. I gave her a hot bath an hour ago just in case and now she's perched in the bathroom, preening herself, making little chirps from time to time.

    Advice as to how to proceed appreciated. I've been reading BYC non stop and I have no idea what's up or how to help her.

    Thanks.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    I'd withhold feed for 24 hours to see if the crop empties. Give poultry vitamin-electrolyte powder and Probios dispersible powder in water. Get some Trimethoprim-Sulfa oral suspension from the vet. It combats bacterial infections like E.coli and even protozoa very well, and absorbs well into tissue. Secondary bacterial infections are often the killer with internal laying problems. 10 day withdrawal for that drug before eating eggs.

    After the 24 hour liquid diet check the crop to see that it is empty. If it is only feed moistened pellets/crumbles or small amounts of bread soaked in buttermilk. Stay away from scratch grains. You can continue to supplement water with vitamins-electrolytes 3 times a week.

    Now just because the vet performed a fecal test once, does not mean worms or their eggs don't exist in the intestinal tract. Good luck and let us know what happens.
     
  3. Silvorchisu

    Silvorchisu New Egg

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    Hi Michael Apple, thanks for your advice. Her crop has only gone down slightly and is still watery with grit. I'll only be able to get the antibacterial drug on Monday from the vet. She is still pooping little poops (hasn't eating much in a week), now with no egg white material present, but the same colors and consistency otherwise as above.

    I'm giving her a bit of olive oil and massaging her crop.
     
  4. Silvorchisu

    Silvorchisu New Egg

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    I took her to the vet again last Monday the 23rd because her condition wasn't improving, other than her crop appears to be working fine. She's emaciated.

    The vet took an X-ray, which I'll share once I get a copy, which showed white spots in the lower abdomen. He didn't think it was an impacted gizzard as he's never seen one that large. Another BYCer posted this similar image: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...phiod-leukosis-tumors-growths-show-upon-x-ray

    He did bloodwork too and according to that she's fine, just hypercalcemic (if I'm getting that right). He showed me how to tube feed her as she wasn't eating much. I will call tomorrow to check if he tested for Leukosis.

    On the way home I noticed her sneezing and coughing a bit, and after tube feeding that evening (I lubricated the tube with olive oil dabbed on my fingers and took pains to make sure I could see the tracheal opening), her coughing grew a bit worse, a "hee-haw" noise at times. No discharge, eyes look clear. I can't hear her breathing.

    She regained energy with the tube feeding and would even walk quickly about with the others and enjoyed foraging in the yard, though she would get tired and sunbathe after a while. We continued tube feeding regardless as she didn't seem to be getting much feed and the grass she eats is undigested

    Wednesday 25th I called the vet up again because the coughing was worse (sometimes 1 cough/sneeze every second or two, up to 10 in a row). He prescribed flubenol (sp?), one time, for worms and doxycycline, ten days, for pneumonia/bacterial problems.

    Sneezing:
    She is sneezing a lot and they are strong sneezes but coughing less. She sneezes when she eats/drinks, when she gets picked up, sometimes when she's just sitting there. When we tube feed the coughing and sneezing gets frenzied. Today (Sunday 29th of March) I noticed a little bit of clear water/discharge from her nostrils when she sneezed, but it's the first time I've noticed and I always check when she has a coughing or sneezing fit. It was clear, had the consistency of water, did not smell, and evaporated quickly off of her beak. She had not had any water for the previous 20 minutes, as far as I can tell.

    Eating/Drinking:
    She drinks and eats when reminded IF she is with the other two (who appear to be perfectly healthy into the 3rd week of Negrita being sick). However, I notice that she picks through the feed for stones or grain chunks, and has trouble actually getting those down her throat - they often drop out of her beak. Same thing goes for mealworms and raw sunflower seeds - she will eye them for a bit, hesitantly go in for a bite, and often they'll just fall back onto the ground. So while she often seems to "eat" the feed with gusto, I'll check her crop afterwards and realize she didn't get much if any feed in. She loves to forage with the others and will swallow the greens she eats, as well as eat cobwebs and look slowly about for spiders.

    Poop:
    Her poop is small and thin, as of Wednesday it's been fairly dry and mostly grass/clover, the urates are kind of rubbery. I'll try to get more liquids into her. Whereas last Tuesday (right after starting tube feeding) she started passing pebbles, since we reduced tube feeding b/c of her coughing and thinking she was eating enough (Friday) I haven't seen any pebbles. The greens she poops out are undigested. No eggs or egg material since perhaps Thursday March 19.


    Questions:
    1. Could this be leukosis? I thought it killed chickens off faster.
    2. What could explain the coughing and sneezing, if there is no mucous discharge or raspy breathing? How can I make her more comfortable? I'm worried we got a drop of mash down her trachea - would she get it out or would it be fatal?

    Thanks... It's been really hard not knowing what's going on or how to help her, I feel really helpless watching her uncomfortable and not improving.
     
  5. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    You won't aspirate the hen if you do it like this:
    [​IMG]
    You can see the tracheal opening in the middle. The syringe goes to the right and down towards the esophagus. Experiment with small amounts at first until you get familiar with the process. Be gentle. Sometimes wrapping the bird in a towel and calming the bird before tubing makes the process much easier.
     
  6. Silvorchisu

    Silvorchisu New Egg

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    Mar 20, 2015
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here are Negrita's X-rays from vet visit. You'll note the white spots in her lower abdomen near the legs and vent. The vet thought it might be a tumor because he could feel some rough masses when he did a rectal check.

    Is there anything else that might look similar - intestines full of stones, too much calcium/sawdust, etc?

    She was pooping extrusions of mostly undigested grass for a while, and we were tube feeding her a bird recovery mix at least once a day, until last Thursday food more or less stopped getting through. While she's pooping a bit of sandy-looking material (we don't really have sand here, just pebbly or sandy soil areas) and occasionally passing urates and liquid, her crop is full of liquid and not going down. It's not a crop impaction, clearly the impaction is further into the digestive tract. She's ravenous too, but we control her food intake as it doesn't appear to be going through her system fast enough to feed her.

    I'm going to try laxatives, but if it is a tumor there is not much I can do.
     
  7. ChirpyChicks1

    ChirpyChicks1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Goodness :( positive vibes for you and your girl!
     

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