chronic respiratory infection - how to treat?

Sep 20, 2017
Washington State
Our rooster appears to have developed a chronic respiratory infection. He went through acute respiratory illness last winter, which started as coughing, sneezing, and wheezing, and progressed to the point that he became very weak, almost lethargic, and produced a barely audible rasp instead of a crow. We brought him inside, gave him antibiotics for a week, and he recovered. He was back with the flock after 4-5 days, was active again, and his crow returned, although he has always sounded a bit hoarse from that point on.

A slight wheeze remained though, and now that the weather has cooled down, the wheezing is more audible, and the coughs and sneezes are making a comeback. We're putting garlic, oregano oil, and VetRx in our chickens' water. We've also tried to put VetRx on our rooster's comb and wattles and under his wings but he hates it to the point of becoming panicky. Should we do another round of antibiotics? We try hard not to overuse them and I don't know if this is one of those times where an antibiotic is the only thing that will help or if there are other remedies we can try.
What antibiotic did you use last year? He sounds like he might have mycoplasma (MG) and they sometimes can have a secondary infection that accompanies it. Those can be bacterial, virus, or even mold fungus. Tylan 50, oxytetracycline, Denagard, and Baytril are useful antibiotics to treat MG. Some use Oxine via a nebulizer for fungal diseases, especially if conditions are moldy.

I would go ahead and treat him with the antibiotics again, since stress can bring on a case of MG, if they have had it before. Here is some reading about oxine used as a fogger and with a vaporizer which I have never used:
I don’t think jumping right into the antibiotics is a good idea. If he does have MG he should try to build some resistance to it. I think good supportive care could help get him through it without the secondary infection.
What antibiotic did you use last year?

We used cephalexin last year. We don't have any now, but we do have some oxytetracycline on hand.

I think we might wait and keep a close eye on Peter, and treat if he seems to be getting worse. He's molting currently which is definitely adding to the stress on his system. Normally Peter is great about sharing food and treats with his girls but lately he's been pushing them out of the way to stuff his face :)

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