Chronic Respiratory Disease? Wheezing and pale combs

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ksenakim, May 22, 2018.

  1. ksenakim

    ksenakim Hatching

    1
    1
    4
    May 22, 2018
    Hello all, I have been raising chickens for about 3 years with my boyfriend - this is a learning process for us. To be perfectly frank, we did not employ good biosecurity when we added to our flock about 2 years ago. This spring, I noticed a legbar wheezing. She was fine otherwise. I separately her for a few days and fed her bread with olive oil, the wheezing stopped and she went back to the rest of the flock. I notice now that the girls who came from the addition have pale combs almost like they have a dust layer over them and that some of them wheeze particularly at nighttime. This is about half of my flock. Otherwise they are not lethargic, eating drinking well, and put up a vigorous fight when we try to catch them. There is no discharge or signs of coccidio. There is no nasal discharge, eye discharge, or cough/sneezing. I have checked them for gapeworm. They were recently treated for chicken lice with spray on permethrin but this has been going on since before that. I’ve never felt wormed them. I suspect mycoplasma but I’m not sure if it is. I understand that this can become a chronic respiratory disease like COPD in humans (I’m a nurse practitioner) and it can flare in times of viral infections or stress. What can I do for them? It’s been a few weeks. Do I separate them and treat with abx? Or do they likely have CRD at this point and it’s all supportive? Thank you
     
    casportpony likes this.
  2. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Free Ranging

    3,576
    6,982
    521
    Jun 14, 2017
    Central PA
    I don't know.
    @casportpony?
    @WVduckchick
    @azygous?
    @rebrascora
    @Eggcessive?
    One thing I would consider doing immediately is cleaning out your coop. Chickens are very sensitive to ammonia and other gasses from their poop. If you can smell the ammonia (20 ppm), it's at least twice as strong as it needs to be to begin affecting them (10 ppm.)
     
  3. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General

    Welcome to BYC! I suggest you have a couple of them tested:
    http://www.zoologix.com/avian/Datasheets/PoultryRespiratoryPanel.htm
     
    WVduckchick and sylviethecochin like this.
  4. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    24,800
    4,253
    586
    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    It doesnt sound like a respiratory disease to me, certainly not MG. I agree with Sylviethecochin, it sounds like an environmental issue or perhaps a fungal problem.
    As mentioned, soiled bedding can be a cause. Cleaning and proper ventilation will eliminate ammonia fumes. Pollen, pesticides, dust from dust bathing, feed dust, dusting powders for lice/mites, DE, mold or fungus growing inside the coop or other areas might be a cause.
    On a side note: Since your birds are 2-3 years old, I recommend you worm them with safeguard liquid goat wormer or valbazen liquid cattle/sheep wormer.
     
  5. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

    6,917
    8,096
    536
    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    There is no indication in this post to suggest that the OP's birds have worms. Why would you suggest giving them chemicals that they may not need? I appreciate that you have problems with worms in your climate but that is not the same for everyone. It would be better to suggest that the OP has a faecal sample tested for worm eggs and is observant for tape worms but to suggest that a wormer is used simply because the birds are a certain age is not logical and I feel compelled to put the other side of the argument. If they have not had problems with worms by the age of 2-3 years then they either have low exposure or their immune systems manage their worm burden, but a simple faecal test which any vet or specialist lab can do (or you can even do at home if you have a microscope and the knowledge), will indicate if there is an issue that needs to be addressed. Most wormers have an egg withdrawal period and so it is not just the financial outlay for a wormer but the loss of eggs that makes testing more economic as well as better for the birds by not putting chemicals into their system that they do not need.

    Just putting forward an opposing view so that the OP can make an assessment of the best approach for their flock based on balanced discussion.
     
    Cayuga momma and townchicks like this.
  6. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    24,800
    4,253
    586
    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    I agree with testing. Pale combs are a sign of possible worms. I wont hurt to worm them especially after 2-3 years. I would bet that they have worms. Chickens are more susceptible to worms than most mammals, why? Because birds constantly peck the ground picking up worm eggs off the soil and grass.
    Birds as young as 6 weeks old can pick up large roundworm eggs.
    We worm dogs monthly as a preventative because they clean their paws by licking them, they are also consuming worm eggs in doing so.
    There is NO acceptable wormload because they multiply by the hundreds.
    Worms starve their host, thereby weakening the immune system, opening the door for diseases to infect birds. The root cause being worms.
    Which is more important in keeping backyard chickens...the hens, or the eggs?
     
    Brahma Chicken5000 likes this.
  7. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General

    While I am a fan of fecals, one negative fecal doesn't mean you shouldn't worm, it just means that no worms egg were seen.

    I'm not an expert on the subject, but I think your fecal results won't be as accurate if the aren't done with a centrifuge.
     
    dawg53 likes this.
  8. Cayuga momma

    Cayuga momma We are the makers of our own history.

    1,478
    4,474
    322
    Mar 13, 2018
    Western NY
    To add onto what casportpony said. Fecal tests won't be able to detect all types of worms. The most common fecal test is the flotation test. They basically put the chicken feces in a liquid that has a specific gravity greater than the worm eggs but less than the feces. The eggs float to the top and the feces sinks. But not all worm eggs are light enough to float. Roundworm eggs and coccidial oocysts will float. But some tapeworm eggs, like the thorny headed worm eggs are just too heavy to float.
     
  9. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

    6,917
    8,096
    536
    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    Which was why I suggested being observant for signs of tape worm in the poop.

    I appreciate that some people worm routinely.... I used to do so myself with my horses...... but having discovered faecal counts and finding that my readings are consistently low (no eggs seen or very occasionally I get a low to medium count) I start to realise that worms are not a huge problem in every environment and testing is in my opinion both cost effective and beneficial, so I think it is important to make other people aware that there is an alternative to routine worming.
    I'm also of the opinion that there is a balance between parasite and host. It is not in the interests of the parasite to overrun the host and kill it because they die too and a low level parasitic load may possibly be better than yo-yoing between complete elimination and then reinfection and even possible overgrowth which can occur as a result of regular worming. Yes I appreciate that each worm sheds hundreds and thousands of eggs just like trees shed hundreds and thousands of seeds but very few actually grow into saplings and fewer still make it all the way up to new trees. I believe that worm eggs are similar..... there is a very low percentage of those worm eggs which actually make it through the full life cycle and most die..... otherwise there would be no wild birds left in the world. Everyone seems to want to blame the wild birds for an infestation but most wild birds have a healthier lifestyle because they are not confined to a small area where they are eating in amongst their own poop. I have a suspicion that one or two adult worms in the gut of a bird may even suppress other worms from developing in that bird.

    .... These are just my thoughts and opinions though and I appreciate that there are examples of severe worm infestations, not just in birds but many other animals. I suspect that such animals were already compromised health wise, is a similar way to sick chickens getting overrun with lice. I have chickens that are 5 and 6 years old and have not been wormed and appear healthy and are laying well.

    I'm not saying there isn't a place for medicines like wormers but I think there is a need to use them judiciously and I'm not sure our goal should be to try to eradicate all parasites..... doesn't mean to say I don't get the heebie geebies when I see a worm:sick, but I'm working on it.:D
     
    Cayuga momma likes this.
  10. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    24,800
    4,253
    586
    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    There are many types of tapeworms that can infect poultry, only one was pointed out that does not float and many cannot be seen in feces.
    Infected insects are the carriers of tapeworm borne eggs. Not every insect or earthworm are infected. Otherwise most of the worm infection posts in this forum would be about cestodes.

    As far as nematodes are concerned, they are in the soil, period.
    Again, like you stated, YOUR ENVIRONMENT dictates how often a person should worm their flock. I've been saying that all along. So, you folks in the northern tier of states or northern countries may not have to worm your birds as often as folks in semi warm or warmer/hot climates. Nor may you have to worm as often if your soil is very sandy or desert like. Nor may you have to worm your birds as often if your soil is cool/mountainous or rocky. If you live in temperate or tropical climates, worm often particularly if it's warm, wet, hot and humid.

    Comparing tree seeds with worm eggs are like comparing apples and oranges. Worm eggs infect, tree seeds do not infect.
    As far as wild birds being the cause of worms isnt necessarily true, but sometimes it happens. However, it happens with external parasites more often than not. A song bird living in the wild has less than a 2 year lifespan. Larger birds live longer, sometimes much longer...kind of sounds like chickens and other birds live much longer than chickens. I've had chickens live over 10 years.
    As long as a chicken owner has possession of chickens, or any other animal for that matter; the owner is responsible for the safety, health, welfare and proper management of his chickens as well as other animals he may own, and part of that includes worming.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: