Declining 3 y/o cream legbar -- gape or mycoplasma?

Noreaster Egger

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May 22, 2016
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Normally this girl is full of life and lays 3-4 thick shelled blue eggs per week. I noticed a few months ago she stopped laying and started a slight molt. I thought it was strange considering it was June/July, but didn't get too concerned at first. Her main symptoms were major fatigue and frequent light yawning. She still seemed to be eating normally.

A couple of weeks ago we brought her to the exotic/avian vet because she was looking more sleepy than ever and yawning a bit harder. . They only looked at her in another room for about 5 minutes and suspected EYP and said they didn't see any signs of gape. They suggested x-rays, but we were already $90 in and that would be another couple hundred with no guarantee about a diagnosis so we brought her home.

A couple days later the yawning became neck stretching...almost like she was trying to crow or puke something up. This mostly occurred after she was done eating. I suspected a crop issue, but her crop was empty and she was pooping so food was going through her.

It was becoming more frequent a couple Sundays ago (9/13) so I got some safeguard for goats and decided to try worming her. I gave her about 1mL of the safeguard since I saw on here the dose is 0.23mL per pound of bird and she's just a hair over 4lbs. I gave her this dose for 5 straight days. On Friday she really seemed to perk up, was free ranging more, and eating more without much yawning so we were hopeful we found the problem. However, Saturday morning she looked awful and she went really downhill during the day. We've brought her inside to sleep since then. Saturday and Sunday she had greenish poop so I figured she had an infection or just wasn't eating enough. I tried giving her more mealworms, scrambled eggs, and sweet potatoes (things she likes) and she seemed like a different bird on Monday. However yesterday (Tuesday) she declined again to the point where she didn't want to eat anything. She's still doing that yawning/stretching more often even when not eating. According to my wife she did eat some mealworms today which is good considering she wanted nothing last night.

Anyway, I'm not sure where to go from here. I don't think it's sour crop or impacted crop. I've noticed some sneezing with the flock and our newbie chicks (from Meyer's late June), but that's the only respiratory issue I've seen. There's no runny beaks, watery eyes, or excessive sneezing. Heck, maybe the sneezes aren't even a big deal and I'm just hyperparanoid about it.

Does anyone have any experience with these symptoms or what they would try for her? I considered trying Denagard or Tylan from an online dealer for pigeons. Does TS sell Denagard for swine? My hunch is that when the crop fills it's putting pressure on her respiratory tract? I want to treat her with something, but I'm afraid I'm running out of time.

I'm very clean with the coop and run. They have a poopboard hat I clean daily and I pick up all of the poop in the run every afternoon after work. They have good ventilation in the coop as well and on warm days I always had 2 window fans blowing in to change the air.

Any help or advice will be appreciated.
 

Noreaster Egger

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May 22, 2016
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I know there's a lot of questions here and it's difficult for people to answer everything, but I'm going to keep updating her condition as things change...

Yesterday evening we let her free range with the flock as she seemed a little perkier. She ate some mealies, ate some pear from under our pear trees, and then took a few bites of the wet mash and went into the coop. It was a warmer night so I let her sleep with the rest of the flock. I feel like it helps her mentally.

Anyway, I take pictures of their roosting position every night so I have an idea of who pooped what. This morning I found a couple of large roundworms in what I believe to be her poop.

93B5B3B1-755E-4643-88C8-384765AEC2BE.jpeg

Now for the questions...

If she was infested with roundworms could that be backing up her digestive system? Would that explain why she could be trying to clear her crop after eating due to some pressure?

The vet did say she thought she felt a mass on her, but wouldn't know for sure without an x-ray. Could the worms cause any part of her digestive system to bulge out a bit? I don't think the mass was noticeable to the naked eye...the vet had to feel for it.

I dewormed her with the Safeguard for goat last week...Su-Th I believe (5 days). She got 1mL daily fed by mouth...she's about 4.1lbs. I would assume that would've killed most of the mature worms. Would these be dead worms she's passing out in her excrement? I didn't see them moving.

I assume I should be deworming her again and the entire flock this time. They're starting to go into molts so it's probably a good time before the cold weather sets in. I have 20 birds including 7 almost 3 month old pullets. Would it be okay to treat them via putting it in their water? Again it's the basic Safeguard goat dewormer...10% suspension at 100mg/mL. I could probably do the math for that, but I don't want to mess it up given my lack of experiencing deworming with products not intended for chickens. How much of that Safeguard should be added to a gallon of water?

Should I treat the sick bird that passed roundworms separately? If so how much? She drinks a little bit of water, but I'm not sure she drinks enough right now to get a good dose. Maybe a 1/2mL by beak in addition to what she gets from the water?

I'm going to tag @casportpony as well because I always remember her being the expert on this topic. Hope you don't mind. :)

If anyone needs any other info from me let me know. Thanks.
 

Wyorp Rock

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Premium Feather Member
Sep 20, 2015
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Normally this girl is full of life and lays 3-4 thick shelled blue eggs per week. I noticed a few months ago she stopped laying and started a slight molt. I thought it was strange considering it was June/July, but didn't get too concerned at first. Her main symptoms were major fatigue and frequent light yawning
A couple of weeks ago we brought her to the exotic/avian vet because she was looking more sleepy than ever and yawning a bit harder. . They only looked at her in another room for about 5 minutes and suspected EYP and said they didn't see any signs of gape
A couple days later the yawning became neck stretching...almost like she was trying to crow or puke something up. This mostly occurred after she was done eating. I suspected a crop issue, but her crop was empty and she was pooping so food was going through her.
(9/13) so I got some safeguard for goats and decided to try worming her. I gave her about 1mL of the safeguard since I saw on here the dose is 0.23mL per pound of bird and she's just a hair over 4lbs. I gave her this dose for 5 straight days.
If she was infested with roundworms could that be backing up her digestive system? Would that explain why she could be trying to clear her crop after eating due to some pressure?
The vet did say she thought she felt a mass on her, but wouldn't know for sure without an x-ray. Could the worms cause any part of her digestive system to bulge out a bit? I don't think the mass was noticeable to the naked eye...the vet had to feel for it.
You just de-wormed her with Fenbendazole for 5 days in a row. That should have taken care of Roundworms and Gapeworm if they were an issue.
The vet felt a mass and suspected EYP.
Crop issues are often a symptom of an underlying condition. A hen that is having a reproductive problem can definitely have enough inflammation in the body which will cause crop problems.
Again...I would treat as Sour Crop. While it's not a cure, it may make her more comfortable.
Sadly, reproductive issues are common in laying hens. A lot of times all you can do is treat symptoms as they show up and keep the hen comfortable until they are in a state of decline and you put them out of their misery.

I think I would treat her for Sour Crop. If the vet suspected EYP, then that could be an underlying issue that is causing the crop symptom.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/ar...w-to-know-which-one-youre-dealing-with.73607/
 

Noreaster Egger

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May 22, 2016
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Thanks. I'll look into treating for sour crop as well. The fenbendazole for gape is usually repeated 7-10 days later to catch the new worms from eggs as well though, right? That's why I mentioned possibly worming her again since it's been 7 days since her last dose...not sure if that is followed with roundworms as well.
 

Wyorp Rock

Hi Ya'll🙂
Premium Feather Member
Sep 20, 2015
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Southern N.C. Mountains
Thanks. I'll look into treating for sour crop as well. The fenbendazole for gape is usually repeated 7-10 days later to catch the new worms from eggs as well though, right? That's why I mentioned possibly worming her again since it's been 7 days since her last dose...not sure if that is followed with roundworms as well.

As far as I know if you treated with Fenbendazole for 5 days in a row at 0.23ml per pound of weight orally, you should not have to repeat the treatment.

I do see the roundworm in the poop..could it be from another bird? Did you treat all of them?

Gapeworm is pretty rare, symptoms would gasping/gaping, coughing, not able to eat/drink. I think her problem is more related to reproductive issues along with a crop problem. The roundworms are not going to help - it's sort of odd that 5 days of treatment did not take care of those.
Let's see what Kathy thinks, you have tagged her in, so hopefully she will give you some input.
 

Noreaster Egger

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May 22, 2016
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As far as I know if you treated with Fenbendazole for 5 days in a row at 0.23ml per pound of weight orally, you should not have to repeat the treatment.

I do see the roundworm in the poop..could it be from another bird? Did you treat all of them?

Gapeworm is pretty rare, symptoms would gasping/gaping, coughing, not able to eat/drink. I think her problem is more related to reproductive issues along with a crop problem. The roundworms are not going to help - it's sort of odd that 5 days of treatment did not take care of those.
Let's see what Kathy thinks, you have tagged her in, so hopefully she will give you some input.
Yeah I was hesitant on the gape since it's rare in chickens and she wasn't showing any symptoms besides maybe the neck stretching/yawning. I never noticed any stench coming from her mouth and her crop is definitely rarely full these days. It probably wouldn't hurt to treat her for SC either way.
 

Noreaster Egger

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May 22, 2016
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Gisele had slightly more energy tonight free ranging. She had some soft pear and then a good amount of mealworms. She ate her 2nd helping so quickly that she was struggling to breathe. She did a few violent head shakes and then some of her neck stretching. She regained her composure a bit and then I massaged her crop and she finished off the last bit of worms remaining. Then she went up to bed on her own.

What's the best way to treat for sourcrop? Some kind of antifungal?
 

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