Eggbound? Something else?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ia02, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. ia02

    ia02 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 4, 2015
    Sorry, this is a duplicate post as I accidentally posted this in another forum section. It is more appropriate here.

    I have a hen approximately two years old who is behaving strangely. She spent most of the day yesterday in the nesting box sitting on a few eggs. I suspected she was broody, but her attitude was not exactly that of a broody hen. I do not have any roosters in the flock. Today I came home from work and she was out in the middle of the yard sitting one the ground in the sun. When I coaxed her into walking she was obviously having trouble. She appeared to be limping, or stumbling.

    On external physical exam I noticed a poopy area of matted feathers around the vent. I do not feel any masses from outside her body, although the abdomen area below her vent is somewhat distended and full feeling. Her vent area appears to be "pulsing" somewhat. She is alert and her comb is normal or only slightly pale. When moved to the shade with a water source she drank willingly and for a long time. She was definitely thirsty from being in the sun. She also ate when I brought her food. Her crop is not empty, but does not feel hard either.

    With symptoms pointing to possibly being egg bound I performed an internal exam with a finger in her vent. I have never done this before so hopefully I did it correctly. I felt around, about index finger deep but did not feel anything solid or egg like. Despite this I gave her a soak to help clean off the matted feathers. I have separated her and moved her into a dark room in a dog crate with food and water.

    Wild card: I have had issues with Marek's in the past, so I am aware that this could possibly be Marek's related paralysis setting in. Her pupils are not well defined (possibility of occular Marek's) but she has never shown any other symptoms of Marek's related issues.

    Is there anything else I should do to help her? Continue soaking? Perform a different exam? Any help is much appreciated.
     
  2. MyHappyGirls

    MyHappyGirls Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 11, 2016
    Soquel, Ca
    https://www.archive.org/stream/poultrydoctorin00tafegoog#page/n7/mode/2up

    Here is a link to "The Poultry Doctor" it is a book written in the 1800's about homeopathic treatments for hens. It has been a great help to me. My hen Named Blue had similar problems I was able to help her a lot with this book I know if you can catch and treat these things early on there is a better chance for the hen If her abdomen feels like a water balloon you could try dandelion tea as a diuretic but you want to make sure she has plenty of regular water to drink because it can dehydrate her too. But if there is a buildup of fluid it may help reduce it. I am sending you & your hen positive healing blessings❤️
     
  3. MyHappyGirls

    MyHappyGirls Out Of The Brooder

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    In that book the condition is referred to as dropsy.... I think....it says older hens but the symptoms are the same where there is water in the abdomen...
     
  4. MyHappyGirls

    MyHappyGirls Out Of The Brooder

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    Well it's not really water it's fluid but remember this was published in 1891
     
  5. ia02

    ia02 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 4, 2015
    UPDATE: I am starting to lean towards a Mareks related issue. I definitely think she is not eggbound.

    Reasons for thinking she is not eggbound:
    • no egg felt on internal inspection
    • she is pooping, although not normally
    • she is eating and drinking
    reasons for thinking it is Marek's
    • limping has turned into total loss of use, or avoidance of use of the left leg. she is hopping around on one leg when she tries to move
    • pupils look blurry and misshapen, not round and sharp
    • history of Marek's in flock
    I will also look into Dropsy as suggested.

    Any other ideas?
     
  6. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    As someone who just lost a 2 year old hen to Marek's last month I can sympathise. Mine had been symptom free for 20 months. It's a horrid disease and probably the cause of his hen's problem.
    Does her swollen belly feel like a water balloon (ascites) or more solid? If it is caused by fluid, then it is possible to drain it with an 18 gauge needle and that will give her almost instant relief. Unfortunately there is usually an underlying problem that causes the fluid build up, so it will probably require further draining after a month or so and there are issues with infection risk.
    If the causative problem is internal laying, where eggs released from the ovary, fail to travel into the oviduct and drop into the abdominal cavity instead, sometimes a hormonal implant can be used to prevent ovulation and thereby stop the condition from getting any worse. This means that regular draining is no longer necessary, but the implants are an expensive veterinary procedure and need to be repeated every 6-10 months.
    Of course it may be a straightforward tumour from the Marek's, particularly if it feels firm.
    Whatever the cause, the pressure placed on the internal organs by that swelling causes the bird to become particularly distressed in the summer heat, so keeping her at a comfortable temperature and in the dark for at least half the day every day may help.... less daylight should reduce ovulation. Obviously making sure she has access to cool water and good nutrition is important.

    Good luck with her.... I hope you beat the odds.
    Best wishes

    Barbara
     
  7. ia02

    ia02 Out Of The Brooder

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    The abdomen feels much more like a water balloon than a solid mass. So you'd suggest draining it with a large syringe?
     
  8. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    A vet can do it or you can do it yourself. You need to clean the site thoroughly, if you are doing it yourself to minimise infection and have a clean box to put her into afterwards as it may continue to drain by gravity after you remove the needle until it heals. Most people find there is at least 500mls of fluid if there is a noticeable swelling/bloat between the legs, which is an animal the size of a chicken is pretty significant, and no doubt why they get almost instant relief. You are hoping to see mostly straw coloured fluid coming out. There are numerous threads and no doubt You Tube videos which should guide you. If you search for "draining Ascites" you should get some hits.

    Good luck if you decide to do it yourself. There is a risk of course which you have to weigh against the risk of heart/lung failure from the pressure of the fluid continuing to build up.

    Regards

    Barbara
     
  9. ia02

    ia02 Out Of The Brooder

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    Update: a cat/dog vet friend and I tried to drain the chicken's abdomen. We tried several different gauges of needles but were not able to draw any fluid out of the bird. We did get some thick red blood like substance that we will put under a microscope tomorrow.

    Symptom wise the paralysis is getting worse and she is now having trouble walking with either leg. While she is still alert and eating/drinking she is definitely in respiratory distress and based on her poop is abnormal. I am strongly leaning towards these all being Marek's related issues but I'd like to be exhaustive before accepting that sentence.

    Anyone else have any wild guesses?
     
  10. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    So sorry to hear you were unable to drain it and that she is getting worse. All I can suggest is making her as comfortable as possible and giving her whatever food she will eat. Once they stop eating, I euthanize them, but I appreciate that is not everyone's path. If she does die, will your veterinary friend be able to do a necropsy on her for you, or even perhaps help you to do one. It is really interesting and educational if you are able to overcome your emotions and any squeamishness.
    Keeping my fingers crossed she has a miraculous recovery, but it's not sounding good. Please keep us posted.
     

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