Depluming mites? Please help

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by dancewithleela, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. dancewithleela

    dancewithleela Out Of The Brooder

    11
    0
    22
    Mar 1, 2010
    Cheshire, Oregon
    1) What type of bird , age and weight.
    Bantam rooster, breed unknown, 1 1/2 years old, probably 2 1/2-3 lbs

    2) What is the behavior, exactly.
    Other chickens are molting, thought he was too. Started finding him on the floor of the coop, bloodied, in mornings. Went out at night a few nights ago and found him freaking out - jumping around and pecking at himself, pulling out feathers, making "pained" noises. Turns out bloodiness was from bleeding feathers, sores from him pecking himself, and his comb where it scraped against hardware cloth in his frenzy. Seems completely normal (though tired) during the day. After much research, am thinking he has depluming mites, though his "pests" seem to only be active at night and neither my partner nor I could actually spot any signs of mites. Comb, wattles, face are now somewhat pale from loss of blood.

    3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms?
    I really don't know - probably over a week at least judging from the times I found him bloody, but only a few days since I discovered his nighttime behavior.

    4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?
    No, not that I've been able to see.

    5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.
    See description above.

    6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.
    Molting, also on penicillin for an infected eye injury about 3 weeks ago - could have weakened him and allowed parasites to take hold?

    7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all.
    Appetite low in mornings after stressful night, but appears normal during the day. 21% protein pellets (custom mix made for local farmer - I purchase from her), free range during the day, morning "treat" of rolled oats w/homemade goat yogurt and sometimes sunflower seeds/sometimes canned salmon (for past 3 weeks for protein boost/probiotics after penicillin, continued because of molt), some whole grain/seed/BOSS mix scratch (corn-free). Seems to be drinking lots of water the past couple of days. Currently inside in a dog kennel overnight so I can keep an eye on him - water has added ACV and Rescue Remedy.

    8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.
    Normal.

    9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?
    2 nights ago after much research, 2 drops of Ivermectin pour-on. Wormed all birds with Wazine a few weeks ago, and was intending to follow up with Ivermectin anyway. Read that it's effective against mites, and found a few mentions of effectiveness against depluming mites (which is what I'm *assuming* he has). No effect the first night, last night he seemed much better - a little bothered but quiet and we both got some sleep, but tonight he seems a little worse (though not nearly as bad as before the Ivermectin). After more research gave him a bath with diluted "natural" d-limonene flea shampoo (had read that pyrethrin may be effective, but used what I have on hand). He relaxed in the bath, but now seems actually a little worse - maybe the bath made the mites angry...

    10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet?
    Treat myself, if possible. I'm not aware of a vet that will treat poultry around here, and can really afford a visit to a vet anyway.

    11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.
    No recent photos, but picture a crazed, bloody, half-plucked chicken...

    12) Describe the housing/bedding in use
    Currently in a dog kennel in the house overnight, with straw bedding. Usually overnights in the coop, again with straw bedding.

    --

    This is my favorite chicken, and I'm really at a loss here. I thought the Ivermectin was helping, but after 48 hours he seems a little worse again. I've read to re-treat in 10 days, and actually found one reference to re-treating in 3 days. Can anyone with experience with Ivermectin tell me if 3 days is too soon to re-treat? Does anyone have any other ideas? I also found a reference to bathing with a mix of soap and sulfur - once my partner gets paid I can purchase some sulfur and try that.

    All the chickens in his coop were treated with the Ivermectin, and the rest (who are in a different nearby coop) will be treated soon. I've mixed DE into the coop bedding, but was hesitant to use Sevin dust in there as I have a broody mama and her chicks in that coop as well. Any non-toxic-to-small-chicks ideas for the coop? (By the way, if he's getting re-infested at all, it's not from the coop - he refuses to go in there now. Since he's usually not in there except at night, and all of his symptoms seem to be happening at night, I'm guessing he associates the coop with his "torture".)

    I know it's late, but hoping someone sees this in the morning and has some ideas...

    Thank you so much in advance!

    P.S. In the time it took me to write this, he's calmed down somewhat and seems to be trying to sleep. There is the occasional "stomp" of him kicking his leg, but otherwise he is quiet - maybe the bath helped a little after all...
     
  2. BlacksheepCardigans

    BlacksheepCardigans Chillin' With My Peeps

    507
    24
    139
    Oct 11, 2010
    Southeast NH
    I do NOT have experience with this in chickens, so take this for what it's worth, but depluming mites are from the same family of parasites as sarcoptic mange in dogs and scabies in humans, which I DO have lots of experience with. Ivermectin is the correct medicine to use, but the dose for sarcoptic mites is pretty high because the mites are burrowed in. It has to sink into the skin rather than just move around on top of it the way it works on the crawling mites and lice.

    The dosage I found for chickens is 200-400 micrograms/kg, dosed every 10-14 days for two to three treatments in a row. In the 1% injectable ivermectin (cattle ivomec) 200 micrograms/kg would be one-tenth of a ml for a ten-pound chicken; the same dose would be 400 micrograms for a 5-pound chicken. In other words, 1/10 ml is a pretty decent basic dose for a LF-chicken-sized bird but you'd want to back off a fraction for a bantam. A "drop" varies a lot - if you did it from an insulin syringe a drop is about one-one-hundredth of a ml and what you gave wasn't enough. If you did it from an eyedropper, where the typical "drop" is one-twentieth of a ml, two drops is the correct dosage.

    If you think you may have underdosed, you can top him off now and reset the 10-to-14-day clock from today. If you think he's had the right dose, give him a few days. Because the mites are still in the skin - even though they're dead - animals with sarcops itch like crazy for days after treatment. Repeat the dose in seven to ten days from today and feel free to repeat it again after that if he's not fully recovered.

    Here's the best information I found on it: http://veterinarymedicine.dvm360.com/vetmed/Medicine/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/392958.

    Oral
    ivermectin in the formula that most people have, by the way, only works in birds if you dose it directly into the mouth, because it doesn't mix with water. Ivomec in the watering dish is pretty much ineffective; you could try with eqvalan (the horse liquid) because that dilutes in water, but since ivermectin orally in birds doesn't have a good track record of mite cure anyway, topical is probably the best way to go.

    Joanna Kimball
    blacksheepcardigans.com
     
  3. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

    5,227
    287
    288
    May 6, 2010
    Tucson
    My Coop
    Have you treated the area around the roosts for mites? Some mites hide in cracks and crevices around the roosting area during the day and crawl out onto the birds at night. If you only treat the birds and not the roosts, many mites can escape the treatment and re-infect your birds. That might also explain why you find your rooster on the floor in the morning instead of the roost and why he seems fine in the daytime. Most people seem to use Sevin but since you're reluctant to use that (I am too), you might try a product called Orange Guard (sold in gallon jugs at Ace Hardware). A very helpful moderator here directed me to Orange Guard when I was dealing with a poultry tick infestation. It's made from citrus and is deadly to any invertebrate it contacts. Hopefully others more knowledgeable will answer your Ivermectin questions. I hope your boy heals quickly. Good luck.
     
  4. dancewithleela

    dancewithleela Out Of The Brooder

    11
    0
    22
    Mar 1, 2010
    Cheshire, Oregon
    Thank you both so much for your replies!

    BlackSheepCardigans - This is helpful, I was wondering if the dosage was too low. What I have is Ivermectin Pour-on (for cattle), which says it contains 5mg/ml. The article you referenced says the 1% injectable contains 10mg/ml. I should have mentioned that I used a syringe with a 20 gauge needle to make the "drops" I referenced. I don't have any eye-droppers, but I do have some clean droppers from tincture bottles on hand. I hope that's close enough to an eye-dropper dose to use. I'm going to take your advice and "top off" my affected rooster (Cheepler is his name), and also his two hens (looking at them today, I'm beginning to suspect that they have more than a molt going on as well). The girls are both Sebrights (tiny - probably only about a pound, maybe 1 1/2 pounds), so they only got 1 drop each the other night. Then in 10 or so days I'll repeat the dosage.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write - this is exactly the information I was looking for. I was afraid to try to re-dose him without having some idea of whether or not I was going to *overdose* him. And knowing that it will take a little time for all of the itching to go away makes me breath a little easier - I was worried that the Ivermectin just wasn't working!

    Gallo del Cielo - Thank you, too, for taking the time to respond. He's no longer in the coop at night - I've been bringing him in the house in a kennel for now, but you're right - I do need to treat the area around the roosts (especially since I now suspect that his two girls might be affected too). As soon as my partner gets paid this week (he's the main wage earner) I'll hunt up some Orange Guard and treat the roosting areas. I did already mix DE in the bedding in that coop in the hope that it might help; I suppose for now I'll try sprinkling it on the roosts and in the crevices where the roosts connect to the wall.

    Does anyone know if Tea Tree Oil diluted and sprayed on/around the roosts might work? I do have that on hand now...
     
  5. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    23,342
    1,217
    448
    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    I dont recommend Tea Tree Oil. https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=408353
    BlacksheepCardigans
    is familiar with the ivomec injectable, not ivermectin pour on. Your dosage can be increased using your 20 gauge needle and syringe to 3 drops. The ivermectin pour on is safe, but I wouldnt put more than 3 drops on bantams (bare skin on the back of the neck between shoulders.) Additionally, I recommend the big guns...sevin dust; to treat their house, roosts and nests.
    http://ohioline.osu.edu/vme-fact/0018.html Gallo del Cielo is correct as well, but you need to retreat their house, roosts, nests again in 10-14 days with the sevin. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2010
  6. dancewithleela

    dancewithleela Out Of The Brooder

    11
    0
    22
    Mar 1, 2010
    Cheshire, Oregon
    Dawg53 - Thanks so much for your reply! I've been sitting here trying to calculate how much more Ivermectin I should use. Okay, so he had 2 drops of pour-on with the 20 gauge needle two nights ago. It sounds like I should now give him just 1 more drop today, and then re-treat with the 3 drops in 10 days, yes? And maybe for the two Sebright hens that already received 1 drop, I should only increase their dosage by 1 more drop?

    My concern with the Sevin dust is that I also have several 2-week-old chicks being raised by their mama in that coop, and I haven't been able to find anything in my research that reassures me that it's safe for such young chicks. Any thoughts?

    And thanks for the link on the tea tree oil - I guess I'll at least start with Orange Guard when I can purchase it, and will consider the Sevin if a) I can find anything or anyone who really feels it's safe for such young chicks to be exposed to, or b) I end up not caring because nothing else works and the only other option seems to be burning down my coop and starting over. [​IMG]

    I (and my flock) really appreciate everyone's help - thank you!
     
  7. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    23,342
    1,217
    448
    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    LOL. I know you're joking about burning down your coop. I dont recommend adding anymore drops til the 10th day minimum. Remember, ivermectin is a poison designed to kill parasites. Albeit a safe wormer, there could be possible internal repercussions dosing a few days later. Give the pour on time to do its job and clear their systems before redosing. In 10 days redose with the extra drop or two. If you can lightly dust the mama hen with sevin it should help preventing the chicks from being exposed to the mites as well. It's a chance you're going to have to take. Do you want the chicks to get the mites as well...of course not, because the chicks would easily succumb to them and possibly die. I dont know about the Orange Guard. Alot of people have used Adams Flea and Tick spray, you might check into that as well but I dont know if it'll take care of these types of mites because they burrow into the skin. Do you know a vet that you can take a skin sample to, for analysis? That would be your best bet. According to the Merck Vet manual...ivermectin is the treatment for depluming mites. Fortunately I've never dealt with them, but I've always used sevin dust to treat for feather lice and used it as a weekly preventative after cleaning their house and lightly dusting the fresh hay on the flooring and in their nests. I've been doing this for 5 years now with no major issues.
     
  8. dancewithleela

    dancewithleela Out Of The Brooder

    11
    0
    22
    Mar 1, 2010
    Cheshire, Oregon
    Okay, yes, I was (mostly) joking about burning down the coop...

    We don't have the funds to purchase anything for a few days anyway, but you're right, I don't want the chicks to become infested with the mites. I guess I'll plan on getting the Sevin as soon as my partner gets paid. I may still try the Orange Guard first around the roosts and such, but it makes sense that dusting mama hen might help protect the chicks. In the meantime, I've cleaned the entire coop and dusted the floor, nestboxes, and roosts with DE, making sure to get into the crevices (since that's what I've got on hand).

    And I'll wait and watch a bit before re-dosing. You're right, it is a poison, and I try to avoid such products unless absolutely necessary. But watching my boy jump around in a frenzy and HURT HIMSELF - I was wondering if I was going to have to put him down, it was so bad - it clearly seemed like the right time to bring in big guns. I am still wondering about BlackSheepCardigans' comment about the depluming mites needing a higher dose because they burrow in, though. I don't want to overdose, but I do want to get him some relief. Hopefully the initial dose is still doing its job and he'll improve over the next few days, and then we can re-dose at 10 days to catch any that are still hanging on.

    I did just check on him and he does seem to be getting some color back in his face, comb and wattles.

    Thank you, everyone who responded so far! All of your advice has been really helpful, and I don't feel like I'm working quite so blindly now...
     
  9. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    23,342
    1,217
    448
    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Ivermectin pour on is quickly absorbed into the skin, as you already know...into the bloodstream. Once it circulates throughout the chickens system, it'll kill the mites as well as most internal parasites except tapeworms. I recommend you dust with sevin dust...DE is not effective on infestations. DE's purpose is used as a drying agent...it might help as a preventative against lice/mites, but not a treatment.
     
  10. dancewithleela

    dancewithleela Out Of The Brooder

    11
    0
    22
    Mar 1, 2010
    Cheshire, Oregon
    Thanks, Dawg 53. I knew I'd need something more than the DE, it's just what I had here now. We don't use credit cards, and unfortunately a lot has come up for us recently requiring money - so I literally can't buy ANYTHING until my partner's check arrives in the next few days. I figured the DE was better than nothing...

    I really appreciate all of your advice, and will plan on getting the Sevin dust as soon as I can.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by