Eye Infection

baabs9698

In the Brooder
7 Years
Nov 16, 2012
31
0
22
I have two hens (yellow buff's name is Fred) and I don't know what the other one is. About a week ago, one of them (Wilma) developed a bubbly eye. I started researching and used a warm compress several times a day. It got worse, so i started her on an oral antibiotic from our local feed store. Then the other eye became infected. Through all of this, she was eating, drinking, playing and seemed only slightly annoyed. She also continued to lay her one egg per day

It has gotten significantly worse. her left eye (where it started, she keeps closed all the time though the swelling has gone down and there are now just small scabs around it that appear to be healing.. The right eye, she will open after i get the crusties off, and she will follow Fred mostly by sound and feed and drink just a little (if i keep enticing Fred with grubs, etc to keep eating. I move the waterer around while i let them outside to forage and watch them the whole time they are out. They are just like cats, move it to a new place and they think it's a something new.

today (15th) she just seemed so miserable. I can tell she's lost a lot of weight and am concerned she will die of dehydration/malnutrition. These two hens are pets, though we do eat their eggs (not right now of course). If she's not drinking I don't know how i can get the antibiotics into her. Our feed store doesn't carry anything like that, and we have no vets within a 100 mile radius that I have been able to find who treat chickens. We are in the country and I imagine the farmers are all their own vets, i don't know how else to explain the lack of poultry vets.

Fred is perfectly fine, nothing has affected him at all. I should add that yesterday when I was holding Wilma,, i put my ear to chest and I could hear faint rattling. Her nose is not runny and she doesn't appear to be in respiratory distress.

I started with something called vetamyacin, for her eye. It's a gel and seems to be helping, though she still has active bubbles in the right eye. The left eye appears "healed or healing" but she will not open it, i'm wondering if it is stuck shut? I couldn't even see where the eye was it was so full of scabs until today, so I'm pretty sure she hasn't opened the eye at all in several days. Is it possible for that eye to become permanently stuck shut?

What else can i do? If I could find a vet I would take her. I could probably find a mail order place for medicine but I'm not sure what she has or what I should order or if it will even get here in time. She didn't lay an egg today and at first she appeared to have "given up" I took her out into the sun (it was chilly this morning, around 55 degrees) and cleaned off her eye, put some ointment on it and pretty soon she was wiping her eyes herself. Before i knew it she has one eye open and wanted to explore, very cautiously.

they have a large fenced enclosure (on concrete) with a large rabbit hutch for a home. Two stories and they love it. I let them out every day to forage in the yard,

I am sorry for the long post, just trying to give as much info as I can. I am very distressed about this. She is such a sweet girl, and I don't want her suffering needlessly but I also am not convinced that she wont' recover. This is my first time with chickens, we have always had ducks. We ended up with chickens because hubby slipped two chicks into the brooding pen to see how long it would take before i noticed the imposters. They have turned out to be the best pets, so loving and very smart. I live in the Houston, TX area. If any of you can help, I would sure appreciate it. I'll take a picture of her tomorrow. My avatar is a picture of the two of them together in healthier days. They are both about 8 months old, Hubby brought home 2 day old chicks from the feed store around Easter time and I've grown to love them very much. I would appreciate any help!
 

aoxa

Crowing
8 Years
Aug 8, 2011
19,042
1,212
421
Shediac Cape NB, Canada
My Coop
My Coop
Your other hen is an Easter Egger by looking at the photos.

Some will be quick to jump to a respiratory infection, but I have heard these same symptoms that a friend of mine had experienced. She had lab tests done on them, and it was the human equivalent of pink eye.

The treatment was water soluble antibiotic powder, though I'm not 100% on what it was called. I'll get back to you.
 

baabs9698

In the Brooder
7 Years
Nov 16, 2012
31
0
22
Thank you so much for your reply. This is what we got from our feed store and have been putting it in the water, fresh every day. But she is no longer drinking (unless i really work with her, she takes only a few drops). :(

I'm wondering why Fred doesn't have any sign of it. We still call Fred a "he" because when he was a wee one my nephew named him Fred and we have always called him he, knowing full well "he" was a hen.
 
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aoxa

Crowing
8 Years
Aug 8, 2011
19,042
1,212
421
Shediac Cape NB, Canada
My Coop
My Coop
Thank you so much for your reply. This is what we got from our feed store and have been putting it in the water, fresh every day.  But she is no longer drinking (unless i really work with her, she takes only a few drops). :(

 I'm wondering why Fred doesn't have any sign of it.  We still call Fred a "he" because when he was a wee one my nephew named him Fred and we have always called him he, knowing full well "he" was a hen.
What I recommend doing to get that medicine into her is making a really runny food/water combination, and gently dipping the tip of her beak into it. She'll probably just take a very little bit at a time.

Can you keep her warm while she's recovering?
 

baabs9698

In the Brooder
7 Years
Nov 16, 2012
31
0
22
Oxytetracycline is what I've been offering in the water, changing it out every day. She just wasn't drinking much

UPDATE!!! Just came in from playing with the chickens. Both Wilma's eyes were shut so i proceeded to hot pack, then let her run around a bit and rub them a little on her own.

[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Then hot pack again (really warm packs) and some of the eye gel to soften everything up. Got one eye open and she moved around a little but was still very unhappy and unwilling to forage or drink. I took a closer look at her left eye (the one that's been closed for 4 days) and realized there was a big scab over it keeping her eye shut...i thought the scab was under her eye. What i was originally looking at as her "eye slit" was actually the lid. DUH. So with a little gentle manipulation with warm water packs and eye gel, I got the scab off and she opened her left eye!!! BOTH EYES ARE NOW OPEN. They look pretty crusty but she is one happy girl. She was all over the yard, caught a couple of good sized bugs to eat, she's drinking, scratching, flapping her wings in pure joy. She has a ways to go but at least i know she won't starve to death while i'm trying to treat.[/FONT]

[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Thank you all for your assistance![/FONT]

[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]We have a lot of critters here, 3 inside cats (we adopted them), a bunny, an african grey, 1 garage cat (adopted us), 9 ducks and two chickens. Love em all![/FONT]
 

baabs9698

In the Brooder
7 Years
Nov 16, 2012
31
0
22

Here is a picture of her taken today while she was looking for bugs. That left eye is open! Hubby is trying to send the pics he took with his phone, close ups of the eye. I forgot my camera when i went out there today.
 

baabs9698

In the Brooder
7 Years
Nov 16, 2012
31
0
22



These pictures were taken today (nov 17th) The bottom one is her left eye that has been closed for 4 days, the one above it is her right eye. Is it possible this is some kind of fungal problem? Are those nodules on her beak/front of the face normal?
 
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aoxa

Crowing
8 Years
Aug 8, 2011
19,042
1,212
421
Shediac Cape NB, Canada
My Coop
My Coop



These pictures were taken today (nov 17th) The bottom one is her left eye that has been closed for 4 days, the one above it is her right eye.  Is it possible this is some kind of fungal problem?  Are those nodules on her beak/front of the face normal?  She's always had them, but I'm trying to remember if they always looked like that or if they have changed...
Oh that there looks like fowl pox.

Description

Avian pox is a mild to severe, slow developing disease of birds caused by an avipoxvirus and three common strains have been identified. The three strains are fowl pox virus, pigeon pox virus and canary pox virus. The strains vary in their virulence and have the ability to infect other avian species. However, many of the strains are group specific. Approximately sixty species of birds from 20 families have been diagnosed with avian pox. The strain seen in wild turkeys is the fowl pox virus.

Avian pox lesions (wart-like growths) occur on the unfeathered parts of the bird's body and, in some cases, the mouth, larynx, and/or trachea.

Distribution

Avian pox has been observed in a variety of avian hosts worldwide. The disease is most common in the temperate (warm and humid) parts of the world and is usually observed in relation to seasonal mosquito cycles. Avian pox has been diagnosed in upland game birds, songbirds (mourning doves and finches), marine birds, pet birds (canaries and parrots), chickens, turkeys, occasionally raptors and rarely in waterfowl. In Michigan, it has been diagnosed in the brown-headed cowbird, American goldfinch, ruffed grouse, mourning dove, broad-winged hawk, common raven, wild turkey, trumpeter swan, bald eagle, house sparrow, American robin, European starling, sandhill crane and American crow. Avian pox has been identified in birds since earliest history but it is still currently considered to be an emerging viral disease. All North American cases have been relatively recent.

Transmission

Transmission of the avian pox virus can occur in a number of ways. The disease can be spread via mechanical vectors, primarily by species of mosquitoes (at least 10). Transmission occurs when the mosquito feeds on an infected bird that has a viremia (pox virus circulating in the blood) present or on virus-laden secretions from a pox lesion and then feeds on an uninfected bird. Mosquitoes can harbor and transmit the virus for a month or longer after feeding on an infected bird. Experimentally, stable flies have shown the capability of being able to transmit the pox virus.

Avian pox can also be transmitted by direct contact between infected and susceptible birds. The virus is transmitted through abraded or broken skin or the conjunctiva (mucous membrane covering the anterior surface of the eyeball). Indirect transmission of the pox virus can also occur via ingestion when food and water sources, feeders, perches, cages, or clothing are contaminated with virus-containing scabs shed from the lesions of an infected bird. The pox virus is highly resistant to drying and may survive months to years in the dried scabs. Indirect transmission can also occur via inhalation of pox virus infected dander, feather debris and air-borne particles.

Mosquitoes are probably responsible for transmission within local areas, while wild birds are responsible for outbreaks over greater distances.

Clinical Signs

Clinical signs observed with avian pox are weakness, emaciation, difficulty in swallowing and breathing, vision problems, a reduction in egg production, soiled facial feathers, conjunctivitis, edema of the eyelids and the presence of the characteristic wart-like growths on the unfeathered portions of the skin and/or formation of a diphtheritic membrane on the upper portion of the digestive tract.

Pathology

Avian pox occurs in 2 forms, cutaneous (dry) and diphtheritic (wet). The cutaneous form is the most commonly observed and is a self-limiting infection with the lesions regressing and forming scars. Initially, this form of pox appears as a small white, pink or yellow vesicle (blister) on unfeathered parts of the skin (feet, legs, base of the beak, eye margins and head). The vesicle is a result of the separation of the surface layer of the skin with the formation of pockets of watery fluid rich in multiplying virus. The vesicles become nodules as they increase in size, coalesce and burst. Lymph from the cells congeals and scabs are formed. The surface of the nodules become rough and dry and the color changes to dark brown or black. The size and number of nodules present depends on the stage and severity of the infection. Bacteria may gain access causing secondary infection and resulting in a purulent discharge (pus) and necrosis. Eventually, the scab falls off and a scar forms at the site. It takes 2 to 4 weeks for complete healing of the affected areas on the skin providing the lesions aren't too extensive thereby preventing the bird from feeding.

The diphtheritic form involves the mouth, throat, trachea and lungs and consists of yellow or white, moderately raised, moist cheese-like necrotic areas. A diphtheritic membrane forms and may restrict air intake and result in labored breathing and possible suffocation.

Histologically, intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies (Bollinger bodies) are present in the infected skin and respiratory tract mucosa. In the diphtheritic form of the disease, nodular hyperplasia (increase in the number of cells) of the mucosa is observed.

Diagnosis

A presumptive diagnosis of avian pox can be made due to the gross lesions on the body. Confirmation of avian pox is accomplished by microscopic examination for the characteristic Bollinger bodies. Virus isolation by transmission of the organism via egg inoculation, serological results and polymerase chain reaction can also be a means of confirming the disease.

Treatment

There is no known treatment for avian pox in wild birds. In captive situations, there are a variety of treatments that have been used along with supportive care to treat the pox lesions and to prevent secondary infections in various avian species. These treatments consist of removing skin lesions and utilizing sodium bicarbonate or Lugol's solution of iodine washes, removing the diphtheritic membrane from the mouth and throat and swabbing the area with Lugol's solution of iodine, bathing the eyes with a 1-2% saline solution, and raising the environmental temperature. In all cases, providing assistance for recovery may spread the infection to other parts of the skin or to other birds.

Control

The best control for avian pox in captive (turkeys, pheasants, threatened and endangered species) and domestic (chickens and turkeys) birds is vaccination with a modified live vaccine. In wild birds, vaccination is not a feasible method of control.

Avian pox is a highly contagious disease and there are three primary control methods that can be used if infected birds are present. Artificial feeding, which can concentrate birds, should be stopped. Eliminating standing water will control the primary vector, the mosquito. Infected birds should be isolated or culled to remove the source of the virus. Feeders, waterers, birdbaths and cages should be decontaminated with a 10% bleach solution.

Significance

There is no evidence that the avian pox virus can infect humans and therefore it is not a public health concern.

In some populations of birds (wild turkey, bald eagle and albatross), avian pox may be a significant mortality factor.

You can relieve some of the chickens discomfort by disinfecting the lesions by slowly peeling the scab off and pouring hydrogen peroxide on them, blot them with sterile gauze and soak in warm salt water. After soaking for 10-15 minutes (do not let the bird drink salt water) pat dry with sterile gauze and put a sterile pad and medical tape to secure it over the wound. Make sure you wear rubber gloves and sterilize everything with bleach that you used to clean the lesions and to soak the bird.
 
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