Dolly the Deleware is dead and a link to post mortem pics

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by AbbyDog, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. AbbyDog

    AbbyDog Out Of The Brooder

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    [​IMG]So Dolly died, after a few days of looking bad and maybe a month or so of runny poop. She was 2.5 yrs old and had been laying well right up until a cold snap in December when she decided to do a full hard molt. She never really got back to 100% after that, although her feathers finally did come in. Two days before her death, I noticed that she looked a bit unstable, like maybe the left wing and foot were not working quite right. She was also puffed up and breathing fast and noisy.

    Can any experts out there please take a look at her organs and let me know what you think? I am only used to seeing hearts, gizzards and livers when I buy them at the meat counter...is this much internal fat normal? What about the weird clear tips of her liver? And, is that her kidneys that are so swollen?

    I did find some yellowish masses in her oviduct, including one about an inch long that had hard things in it.

    I haven't seen any pics of "normal" organs so i don't have a good reference, but her ovaries looked strange to me and were fluid filled..

    For those of you that are reluctant to cut your dead hen up, it was easier than I had expected. She had been dead for 12+ hours by the time I did it, so maybe that helped.

    https://picasaweb.google.com/101662986317462959743/DollyRIP?authkey=Gv1sRgCLzilIra0amH0gE

    THANKS and maybe now the rest of my flock can enjoy a little peace and quiet!
     
  2. spikennipper

    spikennipper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am no expert on bird post mortems but I have seen a few, one thing that strikes me as being abnormal is the huge amount of fat around the organs, the heart also seems to be surrounded with fat, how active was she? did she free range and what was her diet? I can't work out if that is her kidney or her gall bladder, did you cut it open? either way it is abnormal, perhaps she had a stroke or a heart attack, sorry about your bird [​IMG]
     
  3. Happycowdog

    Happycowdog Out Of The Brooder

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    Sorry about Dolly [​IMG]....I just lost my King Louis last week. I though about doing a post mortem or necropsy on him. I think I lost him due to mites though.
     
  4. AbbyDog

    AbbyDog Out Of The Brooder

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    Dolly and the other 5 were in a 6' x 10' run with a 6' x 4' raised coop, and during the day were turned out into a yard. I feed them organic layer pellets, the occasional handful of organic scratch at night, and lots of veggie scraps and grass. Dolly was always the superior competitor and probably ate twice that of the others. I performed a crop surgery on her a year ago- her crop was packed with chunks of pumpkin rind so huge that I can't imagine how she choked them down in the first place.

    We are sad that she died- but mostly sad that we didn't get to eat her :( considering the cost of the great food she ate, how mean she was to the others and how plump she was.
     
  5. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    I agree, the tip of her liver, the fat, if picture 8 is of her eggs/ovary, it looks odd. Pics 9-12 of (looks like yolk) may show she's an internal layer.

    SpeckledHen has alot of experience with internal layers, it would be nice if she could take a look.
     
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    She did have egg yolk peritonitis-those hard cheesy masses are the egg gunk and infection backed up inside. Her liver looks odd, so there may have been other things going on. She isn't the worst case of internal laying I've seen, but it doesn't take much, and sometimes, reproductive malfunctions can coincide with a hard molt, when their bodies are depleted anyway.


    ETA: I agree that she had excess fat around her organs. Not sure why that would be. I'm no expert, though.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  7. terryg

    terryg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for posting the pics! I, too, do home necropsies, and learn something new, and am puzzled each time. Looks like she had a number of things wrong with her, as is often true of hens of that age. I agree that the fat looks excessive and out of place. There was an infection/impaction of egg in her reproductive tract. The ovaries do look like ones that I've seen in my diseased hens - the follicles should not be discolored like that. A good layer would have nice, globular yellow yolks forming.
    (BTW, I wrote an article about a necropsy for Backyard Poultry Magazine in the Aug/Sept 2011 issue, unfortunately it is not online.)
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. AbbyDog

    AbbyDog Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the comments. I was very surprised over the muck in her fallopian tube/tract.This hen was laying well right up until she had her molt in December- and then she was totally miserable as it was during a cold spell. Last year, when she had the impacted crop, it also happened right after a hard molt. It does seem like they are more susceptible to health problems when so much of their energy goes towards making feathers. She had just finally feathered out this last couple of weeks- and her comb had become large and reddish again- and then she started to go downhill. I could tell something was wrong when her comb flopped over. Then the day came when she stayed on the perch all day- and then 2 days later she was dead.

    You might not be able to tell from the photos, but at first I couldn't even find her gizzard as it was so buried in fat. This hen was a total glutton. I

    Maybe I can find that Backyard Poultry issue to learn more.
     
  9. terryg

    terryg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wonder whether the fat wasn't a cause, but was a symptom! There is so little known about older hens. All of the sources that I've used to teach myself how to do necropsies are illustrated with young birds. So frustrating. One of the hens that I did a necropsy on had an ovary the size of my fist - and it was white and rubbery. Totally bizarre. I've also seen cancer, peritonitis, internal laying, fat, no fat, and infected, impacted yolks. It's a mess in there when they age!
     

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