Flystrike death

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by darkbrahmamama, Sep 29, 2014.

  1. darkbrahmamama

    darkbrahmamama Chirping

    Apr 22, 2013
    I'm mostly posting this for a lesson for everyone. A little over 2 weeks ago, on the 12th, one of my hens had flystrike. I found it early, gave her multiple baths with betadine, & put Vetericyn on her daily. But I really wish I hadn't believed a good amount of the sites I read that stated she didn't need an antibiotic unless she seemed sick. It never fully healed, it still had a scab on it even after 2 weeks. Nothing oozed from it, it didn't omit a bad smell, she still would eat & drink, but I think that it either else took too much out of her physically (she also started going through her molt), or she did have an infection that didn't show signs. She seemed fine this morning, even running away from me when I went to check her. But tonight she was dead on her side ..... only odd thing was her neck feathers stood up (like she had been angry to scared) & weren't flat down. She was in a stall, no predators could have gotten her, I don't really have any other explanation. If this ever happens again, I will be putting them on antibiotics ASAP - even if other sites don't recommend doing so.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
  2. MichalBeth7

    MichalBeth7 In the Brooder

    Mar 26, 2014
    We always had to watch out for fly-strike with our sheep. Docking tails, castration, etc. It's nasty stuff. I'm sorry about your little gal. I hope things go better from now on. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2014
  3. darkbrahmamama

    darkbrahmamama Chirping

    Apr 22, 2013
    Hard lesson learned. There's always a good amount of bot flies around because of the horses. At least next time I'll know better. Just hate it being at the expense of life.
  4. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

    May 11, 2010
    Wow. Don't see that very often, but when you do you have to be aggressive in not only treating the chickens but controlling the flies. Thanks for sharing your experience and sorry for your loss.
  5. darkbrahmamama

    darkbrahmamama Chirping

    Apr 22, 2013
    We are pretty aggressive in fly control. Traps all over, have been using fly predators for years, but bot flies are very hard to try to control. Regular barn flies weren't even bad this summer. I thought I was aggressive in treatment, but not aggressive enough I guess. Just wish I had gave her antibiotics. It's always a bummer to loose a chicken, even more when you try hard to try to save it for two weeks. I now know better, if there is a next time ..... & I hope if someone has this problem they take that extra step that I didn't.
  6. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Crowing

    Jan 27, 2014
    Central Oregon
    So very sorry for your's never easy...

  7. LeonaGD

    LeonaGD Chirping

    Jan 20, 2012
    Northern California
    I see that your post is from back in 2014, but I am still sorry for you loss - chickens are such wonderful souls in our lives!

    One of my chickens recently was beset with flystrike.

    Here is the whole story:

    I have three Australorps: DeeDee, Kiki, and LeeLee. They were born in May of 2011. Throughout our whole time together they have been incredibly healthy, good layers, and wonderful companions. Around April 9, 2015, I noticed Kiki was limping on her right leg. When I checked her out I noticed several things, her toenails were extremely long, her comb was slightly pale, and she had lots of poop stuck to her rear feathers. She has always been the most docile of my flock, but she didn't even fuss when I cut her nails and cleaned her up. I had a sense that there was more to this than just needing toenails cut so after getting her settled back into the coop I did lots of internet research on reasons why she might be ill. The most common thing that came up was that she might be egg bound. I didn't actually see any information about flystrike on that first pass through. So, thinking she was egg bound, I gently palpated her tummy and watched her carefully and she did not seem to have that ailment.

    I watched her for the next few days and she was no longer limping and was eating, drinking, and interacting well. Here comb was back to a good red color. As life moves fast, and she seemed to be doing better, I just kept my eye on her. On Thursday, April 30th when I went to let everyone out in the morning I noticed she had wedged herself underneath the ladder leading out of the coop. Then minutes later she had moved to the far corner of her enclosure and was again wedged in tight. Her comb was completely gray. Not good. I picked her up and put her on a towel and took a look at her. Except for her comb, she looked ok on the top side. Then I lifted her tail. I was so completely taken aback when I saw the flystrike (which for anyone who hasn't looked it up yet, is when flies lay their eggs in moist poop or moist open sores, then the eggs hatch and the maggots teem and swarm and eat dead flesh - and sometimes the live flesh). It was not only shocking to see, but also shocking to smell. Off the charts disgusting. I moved into take charge mode so quickly that I did not think to stop and take photos. I immediately washed her off, isolated her in a separate pen, checked and isolated the other chickens (no flystrike on them), and then did a full and complete coop, nest, and enclosure cleaning. I called the vet and set an appointment for later in the morning. I then went back and did further inspection on Kiki's rear end. Any of the maggots that I washed off seemed not to have mattered because she was just covered with them from vent to tummy, and it seemed that they had eaten through the first layer of her skin on her underside. The maggots were just pouring out of her. It was so awful and sad. I wiped and rinsed her again then I put some newspaper in a dog crate and transported her to the Central Marin Cat & Exotic Pet Hospital (San Rafael, California) - they are wonderful by the way.

    The vet said that there were three likely causes of her illness, Marek's Disease (chicken immune problem), Egg Bound, or Ovarian Cancer - but no matter which, she clearly was past the point of no return. I agreed on the point of no return, so we put her down (sad). As part of the vet process, the vet recommended that I could send Kiki's remains to the State of California for a necropsy to find out what exactly she died from. I chose this option. A week later the results came back with a cause of ovarian cancer. They had opened her up and saw that the cancer had metastasized throughout her body. (I was relieved that the cause was not the chicken to chicken contagious Marek's disease). While I had waited the week for the results I did a search on "maggots on vent" and learned about flystrike. I mentioned this to the vet and he explained that when chickens are ill, particularly with ovarian cancer, their tummy and vent goes into a sort of prolapse which changes the position of the vent, which in turn doesn't let the poop drop cleanly - resulting in a dirty butt, ripe for flystrike. He also mentioned that chickens are quite stoic and that they often hide their symptons until it is too late. Poor Kiki. Flystrike by itself, if caught immediately, seems to be treatable. But when it is coupled with a larger problem, then it is just a bad situation. Darn it.

    Here is what I came away with: I had four amazing years of chickens with no problems, the ailment she had was not contagious, and when she went, she went fast. But also, I thought this: had it all just run its course, the process would have followed through to the end with her passing from the cancer and then she would be eaten/cleaned/recycled by the maggots. While I am incredibly sad and miss her greatly, Kiki's situation taught me what to look for as DeeDee and LeeLee live out the rest of their lives and what to plan for when I get new chicks in the future. Kiki was such a blessing has given me a wonderful lesson in chicken care and the cycle of life and energy.

    Thank you all for this forum to learn from your shares and the space to share my own experience.
    Last edited: May 11, 2015

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