Chickens dying - rasping breath, gaping mouth, nasal discharge one day and dead the next

MistiRose

Chirping
Jul 1, 2019
19
61
56
I am in some desperate need of help.
1) 5-6 month pullets, 5-8 lbs
2) I purchased eight 5-6 month old pullets at a sale on Saturday from different sellers. Everyone seemed active, healthy, eating and drinking the first three days and now they are sick. Two have died and others are failing. Symptoms include rattling when they breathe, lethargy and staying in the coop all day roosting. Birds seem to have some caked fluid on their nostrils/beaks.
3) Three night ago the first bird was obviously raspy, by morning it was dead.
4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms? Not yet but it seems to be spreading from bird to bird with a new death each day.
5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones? No.
6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation. I bought these birds at a sale barn and I’m sure that they came in contact with something infectious.
7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all. Free choice layer feed and water.
8) How does the poop look? Normal
9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far? I injected penicillin in the breast of one bird last night and it died in my hands.
10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? I want to treat completely myself. I would prefer to avoid injections if at all possible since I seem to have killed one of my sick birds. I used a 22 g needle and injected approximately one inch left of the breast bone into the breast tissue. Approximately, 3-4 seconds after the injection the bird started squawking, collapsed and died.
12) Describe the housing/bedding in use. Coop with open windows on three sides and a bermuda grass 15 x 15 chain link run

Any advice on treatment protocols would be sincerely appreciated.
 

Cyprus

Master of the 'never give up' attitude
Jan 19, 2018
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When you did the injection did you pull back on the plunger to check for blood?

It sounds like you have a respiratory virus which antibiotics are useless against. Where are you located roundabout? This is important.

It sounds a lot like Viral Newcastle Disease which is very bad news right now. Can you have someone come out and test your birds asap? Call your state veterinarian.
 

MistiRose

Chirping
Jul 1, 2019
19
61
56
When you did the injection did you pull back on the plunger to check for blood?

It sounds like you have a respiratory virus which antibiotics are useless against. Where are you located roundabout? This is important.

It sounds a lot like Viral Newcastle Disease which is very bad news right now. Can you have someone come out and test your birds asap? Call your state veterinarian.
Cyprus,

Thank you for responding. I did not pull back the plunger. I don’t have any assistance and I had to hold the chicken and inject it.

If antibiotics are useless, is there nothing I can do to try and save the birds that I have left?

I’m located in southwest Oklahoma - we haven’t had an outbreak of Newcastle disease here. I buried the birds that died - I’m guessing the State Vet would need a body to do a necropsy for this test?

Thank you again,
Misti
 

Cyprus

Master of the 'never give up' attitude
Jan 19, 2018
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Cyprus,

Thank you for responding. I did not pull back the plunger. I don’t have any assistance and I had to hold the chicken and inject it.

If antibiotics are useless, is there nothing I can do to try and save the birds that I have left?

I’m located in southwest Oklahoma - we haven’t had an outbreak of Newcastle disease here. I buried the birds that died - I’m guessing the State Vet would need a body to do a necropsy for this test?

Thank you again,
Misti
Yes, they would need a body. If you lose another, chill but don't freeze her. You can look up your state poultry lab for necropsies.

I do my penicillin injections alone, but I hold the bird against my body and off the ground with one hand. I understand your struggle, though. It sounds like you may have had an error with the injection.

This could also be Infectious Laryngotracheitis. An infection of the Larynx. Honestly, a necropsy can you tell you more than any of us here can.
 

casportpony

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If antibiotics are useless, is there nothing I can do to try and save the birds that I have left?
So sorry for your losses. :hugs Is a vet an option?

It's possible that they have a bacterial infection, not a virus. Unfortunately, penicillin won't treat the majority of respiratory bacterial infections that poultry get (mycoplasma, E. Coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Infectious coryza,
Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale).

If you can't take them to a vet you could try a different antibiotic, like Tylan 50, Tylan 200, or oxytetracyline. Call you local feed stores and ask what cattle antibiotics they have.
Tylan 50 dose = 0.2 ml per pound of body weight orally 3-4 times a day.
Tylan 200 dose = 0.05 ml per pound of body weight orally 3-4 times a day.

If you have any leftover human, dog, or cat antibiotics, you could use those too. Just let me know what you can find and I will look up the dose for you.

This place does testing on live birds via trachea swabs:
https://www.zoologix.com/avian/Datasheets/PoultryRespiratoryPanel.htm
 
Last edited:

Eggcessive

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Sorry about your chickens. Buying birds at a sale, especially from multiple sellers is a serious risk of bringing in contagious diseases. The respiratory diseases are especially contagious sometimes within days. Infectious coryza, MG, infectious bronchitis, ORT, and ILT are common ones.

I would suspect coryza, or a combination of 2 diseases, but you can get that confirmed with testing or by getting a necropsy on a bird that has died or been put down, and having the state poultry vet do a necropsy. Unfortunately, all birds have probably been exposed. You can try treating, but getting a diagnosis is important to use the right antibiotic. This can be a reason to cull all birds and start over in a few weeks or months with new birds, or treat them and close your flock to any new birds.

People who bring sick birds or carriers to a poultry sale risk infecting healthy birds who are also there. Very sorry that you are dealing with this problem. @casportpony is very good with knowledge about treating this sort of thing. You are correct that Newcastles is probably not the problem, since it is confined to So. California and outside of the US, but other diseases can be pretty devastating to a flock.
 

Kiki

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So.Cal, No.Cal, Utah and now Nevada.
Where have you seen that it is now in Nevada?
I haven't heard this before.
https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ou...ease-information/avian/virulent-newcastle/vnd
Screen Shot 2019-09-27 at 5.56.59 PM.png
 

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