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Confusing symptoms

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by yawningreyhound, Sep 14, 2015.

  1. yawningreyhound

    yawningreyhound Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi all. While I'm awaiting my appt with the avian vet on Wednesday, thought I'd show you what's been happening to my 3 year old hen, a GL Wyandotte, housed with 3 other birds, free ranging in 1/2-acre enclosure.

    On the holiday, she was puny. I thought egg-bound? Soaked her in warm water, was just going to get some Ca Gluconate from where I work and she dumped out this:

    I felt her abdomen and it was very large, filling my hand with the swelling. And I didn't feel an egg, at least not a shelled one. Cloacal exam seemed clear. She's been making shell-less eggs since I acquired her in Sept 2013, making a shelled egg about twice a week; and I have to withhold ALL supplemental food to get a good egg from her. She'll lay a double yolk, shelled egg occas, too. The other three are laying reliably and predictably. (calcium is free fed in their coop; I'm feeding Layena mixed with Omega Egg Maker (2 oz) to 1 cup of Feather Fixer and 5 cups of Layena)

    She awoke Tuesday morning chipper and nearly 100%, but I still took her in to work and took xrays of her abdomen, which were inconclusive with non-chicken veterinarians looking at them, even with BYC and VIN, so I researched an avian vet and had an appt today. Hen continued to be well all week, abdominal swelling reducing daily, eating, interested, dusting, preening, no eggs, and still a slight swelling but perky and nearly 98% normal.

    Then she laid a membrane egg overnight last night.

    She had laid a pile of foamy stool Friday, but her stools are pretty normal otherwise. (I had fecals run in June, clear)

    The bird vet had a family emergency in Detroit (we're in the Co mtns) last night and wasn't there when I showed up, having missed the call they placed after I'd left this morning. We are rescheduled for Wed 4:30.

    Hen shared my egg sandwich (just the egg :) ) on the way home, happily clucking in the container next to me.

    A few minutes ago, she popped out of the coop run and laid these side by side....Any Ideas?

    I'm so afraid she's got that Egg yolk peritonitis with her history of wonky eggs and that huge abdominal swelling last Monday and her age. I did start her on antibiotics yesterday after doing much more reading and research on the 'net, figured it really can't hurt. She's eating well, so the pill went down easy with strawberry around it!

    Then I thought HERNIA? She insists on dropping down from the top roost without using the rungs, so I've put a strawbale under the roost which forces her to use the rails or at least jump to the floor from the strawbale, less than a foot...do herniated hens' swellings come and go? I'm so confused by the resolve of her swelling, it's barely the size of my small-hand palm now.

    I used to have a board next to their roost for poop catching, but they kept sleeping on the board and their vents got all gucky from the poop/urine rolling out to a flat surface, meaning I had to clean their butts all the time. I removed that board and now their vents are clean, but I wonder if all those months of poop accumulation back there allowed e-coli in through the vent and up to the area where they get infected.

    Thank you everyone!
  2. casportpony

    casportpony Poop Inspector General Premium Member

    Jun 24, 2012
    Possible repro-tract infection?

  3. Mutt Farm

    Mutt Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Posting to follow.
  4. yawningreyhound

    yawningreyhound Chillin' With My Peeps

    Casportpony.....I think it was one of your posts where I got the abx dose from! Thank you!!!!!!
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2015
  5. casportpony

    casportpony Poop Inspector General Premium Member

    Jun 24, 2012
    You're welcome!

  6. yawningreyhound

    yawningreyhound Chillin' With My Peeps

    Update on my wonky hen(s):

    Avian vet appt was pretty inconclusive. Dr. recommended antibiotics for two weeks (amoxi 500mg twice a day); the hen still had an abdominal swelling, but smaller than the first days. Xrays she felt pointed toward a pretty angry gut with gas. No EYP. No hernia.

    I told her the day before the hen got sick, she and the other 3yo GL Wyan had argued over a HUGE dead beetle. Like 2 inches long with antenna that were as long as the body. It was dead on the driveway and she snapped it up, the other saw her, they fought over it, it broke in half, they each ate half. The other two hens were out with them that day and neither of them have gotten sick.

    Beetles being the "clean up" crew of the forest, Dr opined that WHO KNOWS what it had in it, what it died from, etc.

    Also, I went ahead and ran fecals again (one poop witnessed from each bird and collected), and they came up positive for Heterakis Gallinarum (a roundworm I believe; not that pathologic but it does transmit the protozoa that causes blackhead disease in turkeys but apparently doesn't commonly cause the disease in chickens).

    So we did 3 days of Panacur (0.1ml) for each bird, followed with 5 days of metronidazole (250mg twice a day). One takes care of the worm, one takes care of the protozoa.

    We had our recheck last Wednesday and the original hen's swelling is still there. When I mentioned that when I cozied her up to me on my side to pill her, she lets out flatulence and a little poop, the Dr said Chickens aren't supposed to be gassy. So, Dr. recommended another two weeks of Amoxi. The other GL Wyan who had shared the beetle came down sick about 5 days after the first one, so she was started on Amoxi, too. That one had a swelling for 3 days that resolved upon treatment.

    I just reran their fecals and those were negative for any parasites.

    We are overrun with wild turkeys here, they visit daily. I let my hens out frequently because, tho' their yard is HUGE, they've decimated it into just a HUGE dust bath. So if they get to free range (with my close supervision guarding against Brer Fox and Brer Bear) for about an hour a few times a week, they're going to pick up that parasite again. I just can't not let them out of their half-acre to have some pecking fun looking for the plentiful grasshoppers and whatnot. So, the vet and I agreed that I would run fecals about every 4-5 months and treat accordingly. Dr advised against automatic worming since that can build resistance.

    So I've been having SOME fun with panacur application, twice daily big capsule administration, and twice daily little bad-tasting metronidazole pilling. They get easier to catch every day, realizing I guess that I don't really hurt them, and the coconut oil on the pills they absolutely LOVE.

    My egg-shell challenged girl (the original sick hen) has now started laying intact eggs. The Dr had me start sprinkling calcium (oyster shell) on the feed every day, along with the free-access they always have to the bowl of it. By golly, I've only gotten a couple wonky eggs since! She nor her companion are reliable layers these days...days shorter, they're aging, and they're getting messed with twice a day so I'm sure their stress levels are higher.

    But everyone is eating and seems pretty much ok; the 2nd hen who got sick is a little reticent, but eagerly goes for the little bit of kitchen trimmings I put out and wants her black solder fly larvae, but won't fight for it anymore. I hope the additional days of abx fix that.

    My, I can go on, can't I?

    Thank you everyone.

    I have to laugh, my neighbors' flock are fed water from a poop-filled trough (the hens sit on the edge of it); their buckets are just refilled when half empty, the slime never cleaned out of them; the 29 birds are confined in a 30x20 dirt run outside of an 8x10 TuffShed that's been converted to a chicken coop and is cleaned maybe twice a year, with lx2 square poopy roosts, occas free range in the same wild turkey territory, they have no oyster shells, no supplemental anything except handfuls of scratch and their Layena.

    And tho' a chicken will up and die suddenly occas, she never has any problems (not that she's looking).

    It couldn't BE any further from how we operate here and look at all my issues!

    Color me confused.
  7. yawningreyhound

    yawningreyhound Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oh! and the white thing in the picture on top of the yolk, the Dr felt was a plug of albumin. She cut it open and it was white through and through.

    Have you seen pictures of Lash eggs? I got worried about that (of course), but she assured me it wasn't.

    It's nice there's a veterinarian in West Loveland who will see chickens and is so well-versed in Avian Medicine.
  8. casportpony

    casportpony Poop Inspector General Premium Member

    Jun 24, 2012
    How's you hen doing?

  9. yawningreyhound

    yawningreyhound Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi there...well, she's DOING well. As is the other one who came down ill. However, the big swelling in the first bird's abdomen has not resolved completely yet. It's still about the size of an egg, maybe. The 2nd hen stopped eating well about 3 weeks into the amoxi treatment (also having 5 days of metronidazole in there), so I stopped her amoxi a bit early. The original sick hen stopped her 4-wk amoxi/5-day metro run last Wed. For several days, there was only one nighttime poop under Hen #2, indicating to me a pretty reduced appetite. This morning she has about 7 under her spot, so that was good. I'm thinking I still need a followup xray for that mysterious swelling on Hen #1 and plan on taking her in to work this week to get that, then heading back to the chicken dvm for her opinion.

    Both girls are eating well when I watch them pecking about and when I hand out mealworms/soldier fly larvae. But the consumption of the feed is def reduced. Not one bird of the 4 is molting this year either (but two are only 10 months old). But maybe it's the time of year they cut back on eating so much even if they don't do a molt.....I don't know. The other 3 aren't eating like maniacs either.

    Neither of the sick two have laid an egg in 2 weeks, not even a membrane egg or a yolk (unless they did it in the yard and it got eaten). This happened last year, but they did a hard molt.

    So just to watch them, they look ok. They come running when I come out of the house as usual; they peck and scratch and dustbathe. I don't feel like their keels are particularly defined, indicating weight loss...but they don't fight for food like normal. Usually they're domineering to the new birds that came this summer, but now they just let the others get whatever they want and head elsewhere, like fighting for that morsel just doesn't interest them any longer. That's the main difference I see. Either they're getting along really well together or there's something still going on. The new birds are sweet and docile, so maybe Hen #2 (alpha hen) doesn't feel like she has to be so bossy.

    Sat., I cleaned the two (sick) hens' butts again as their occas loose stool in the late afternoons was soiling their butt feathers. I took out a little dish soap in water and sprayed them well, rinsed with clear water spray, then blew dry them to fluff them up again. Original sick hen has had her butt cleaned so much the little feathers have broken off in a straight line down from the vent so I have to put that purple stuff on her or the others eye her pinkness with longing! Just this weekend I saw fewer loose stools, so maybe they'll stop soiling themselves so badly. I ran another fecal on the second hen (because it's easy and free) and it came up negative. So I think I've got the heterakis under control, but I don't think that tells me the reason for the poopy butts. The other birds seem to get their stools loose or firm out without getting so yucky!

    Chickens! whoddathunkit

    Thank you so much for asking!!!!!!

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