Crop surgery post OP questions. . . .

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chickweezie, May 24, 2019.

  1. chickweezie

    chickweezie Chirping

    So, after a rather, expensive, trip to the vet yesterday one of my 1 1/2 year old hen was still pretty miserable with an enormous crop. She presented with large full crop a couple mornings ago. She has been bright, alert and responsive- even laid an egg today. When I palpated her crop this morning (after she had water only) I could feel what I was sure was grass in there. And a lot of it.
    Anyway, after consulting a friend that is a small animal veterinarian and doing some research on my own, I decided I was going to operate on her crop. I removed a LOT of long grass mixed with feed, lots of grit and pieces of the scrambled egg I gave her yesterday. A lot. I didn't weigh it, but it would have packed an 8 oz measuring cup running over full. I got her sutured up without incident and she has been bellyaching about her confinement and lack of food practically non stop. I gave her water only for a couple hours and then a couple tablespoons of yogurt after and then out her to bed in my garage for the night, in a crate of course.
    My actual question is to those of you that have done this on a hen that had a very large impaction (larger than a baseball) . . . Her crop seems flaccid and quite pendulous after she ate the yogurt. I realize it will take some time to begin acting normal since it was stretched so much, but what is your experience? Days? Weeks? Never? I realize everyone has a different experience with this, but I am interested in other peoples' experience.

    Thanks in advance for sharing you wisdom
     
  2. coach723

    coach723 Crowing

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    I've never had to do a crop surgery, so not dealt with the exact problem, but I have had hens with pendulous crops. None of mine ever became 'normal' crops again, but I have read of some that did with time and a crop bra. Mine in a crop bra have done very well and have been able to maintain weight and be fairly normal. I've got one now in one, she behaves normally and lays eggs again, but if I take the crop bra off, it becomes pendulous again. So a crop bra may be helpful for her either in the short term or the long term. You can purchase them here: http://www.hensaver.com/
    or you can make your own. I use a 5" square of heavy fabric or canvas, two thicknesses, and straps on two sides that run across the bird. It can take several adjustments to get them on properly. If too loose they can hang their legs up, etc, so keep close eye until you have it adjusted well. Sometimes they act weird when first put on, may high step, walk backwards, or freak out. They usually adjust, but make sure they aren't attacked before they are acting normally in it. Good luck with her, hope she makes a full recovery.
     
  3. Mimi’s 13

    Mimi’s 13 fuhgettaboutit

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    I am sorry you and your girl are going through this and hope in the end that all comes out well.

    I have no experience with this so I cannot offer any advice, but from your post it sounds as though you have done what I would have.

    I have one other question that relates to your situation that hopefully someone can answer. Is the propensity for a non-functioning crop, pendulous crop or any other crop issue simply random or could it be hereditary?

    I would love to know that answer. I have had a couple of slow-crop issues within the past few months which makes me wonder.

    Thank you for posting this thread.
     
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  4. coach723

    coach723 Crowing

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    Crop issues I think can fall into any of those categories. My birds that have had slow or doughy crops have been caused by underlying reproductive problems slowing down the digestive system. I had one with an impacted gizzard, which appeared (at necropsy) to be a congenital defect. Blockages in the system either from disease or eating foreign objects or too much fiberous material (or lack of access to grit) can cause crop problems. My own with pendulous crops have been apparently random or genetic. I don't hatch eggs from those birds (they were all purchased chicks at various times) so don't know if it would have passed to any offspring, but they didn't seem to have another disease base behind them. The one I have now is perfectly healthy with the exception of the pendulous crop, still lays, acts normal in every way. So it either happened because she's a pig and way overfills her crop, or it's a weakness in that organ, genetic or otherwise.
     
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  5. Mimi’s 13

    Mimi’s 13 fuhgettaboutit

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    How were you able to determine that the gizzard was impacted? I’m just thinking back on all the gizzards I’ve opened that were packed full of stuff. What were the signs that you noticed?

    This situation is really what prompted me to ask the question. I had read where a continuously overstuffed crop loses its ability to shrink back to its normal size upon emptying. I’m a bit worried because I’ve got some pigs. I’ve got some that go to roost smuggling a softball, literally. I suspect I might have a need to get a crop bra or two to put in my chicken “needs” bag.

    Thank you for responding with very good information.
     
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  6. fldiver97

    fldiver97 Enabler

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    One of my gals had crop issues, soft impact like you described. She was acting fine, pooping and laying eggs but her crop kept getting bigger and pendulous. I took her to vet school and she had surgery there. She did very well after surgery. The vet told me that her crop may not go back to normal size. Violet started out on soft food like scrambled eggs, mushy chicken feed and some soft cooked veggies for about a week and then back to normal. She’s still a little piggy when it comes to eating but no crop issues and we were able to avoid the crop bra
     
  7. coach723

    coach723 Crowing

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    I've processed quite a few birds so am familiar with what a normal gizzard looks like. When I opened her up (repeated sour crop, she had not been passing solids for weeks, despite every attempt to get things moving again and had lost significant weight) her gizzard was about half the size of what I would expect, and she was a fairly large hen. The gizzard was full of food and grit, but her entire digestive tract beyond the gizzard was completely empty. It appeared that it just stopped working, I did not find anything foreign in the gizzard. All of her other internal organs looked normal with no abnormalities anywhere, no signs of reproductive problems. It was a very frustrating case for me. until I saw the gizzard.
    If your birds crops are emptying over night then I would not worry too much. If it happens, it happens. I have other birds that are pigs and their crops are fine.
     
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  8. Mimi’s 13

    Mimi’s 13 fuhgettaboutit

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    Well, duh, I’m a dingbat. I didn’t even think about seeing the blockage that way. That makes perfect sense.
     
  9. coach723

    coach723 Crowing

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    LOL! I doubt you are a dingbat! I've learned a huge amount by doing my own necropsies. I cried through some of them, but they have helped me immensely in learning about what can go wrong and what may or may not be possible to do to help them.
     
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  10. chickweezie

    chickweezie Chirping

    For those of you following -
    She is doing fairly well, but her crop is still distended. She is loudly protesting her confinement and continues to lay eggs too.
    I have modified a small (full front chest) dog harness as a crop bra. I await results.....
     
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