Gapeworm Treatment Notes

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by nevermorefarm, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. nevermorefarm

    nevermorefarm New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Jan 17, 2013
    Colusa County, CA
    Just had a recent bout of coming home from a vacation (during which we had unusually cold nighttime temperatures) and discovering one of our older Buckeye hens with what I figured was likely gapeworm. I wanted to post this experience because I gained the answer to the one thing I couldn't find anywhere when I searched: How long after treatment with wormer can one expect that the bird will be recovered? The answer is, 24-48 hours for 90%+ improvement. This was a fairly severe presentation, with the hen likely having lost 80% of her airway...I was going to give her a day and then euthanize her if my diagnosis was incorrect. She was not only gasping for air but she was making a strange and incessant sound like a bark or cough...not unlike the first note of a rooster's crow, accompanied by a shake of the head. The more I read about gapeworm the more I realized she was likely trying to clear her windpipe. I was unable to visualize the gapeworms when I looked down her trachea with a flashlight.

    All I had on hand was a packet of equine Safeguard (22.2% concentration) that had expired in 2005....the bird didn't have the luxury of waiting for me to get to the feed store tomorrow. I found a treatment formula online that used 10% liquid Panacur. I had granules,and was treating one bird not an entire flock. So I did the following conversion; 0.43 gram of the 22.2% granules dissolved in 10 ml of water, and mixed into one-half pound of feed was what I offered first. But then I read that a bird this sick is so busy trying to breathe that she might not eat. So I mixed up another dosage of 1.5g in 10 ml of water and gave her 2.5 ml of this orally via syringe, trying to use close to a dosage of 5mg/lb of body weight. I had read that when chickens were experimentally overdosed with Panacur, that no fatal effects were seen even at 1000 the therapeutic dosage, so I felt as though I had some leeway to err should my little electric balance be off a tiny bit. I also left her the medicated feed...I figured if I had 1000x as my leeway, making sure she was really dosed well (does the efficacy of the fenbendazole decline over time? One never knows how arbitrary expiration dates really are) was a priority.

    Within 12 hours of the dosage she was breathing much better. Within 24 hours the coughing had reduced by about 60%. It is now approaching 48 hours and the respiratory noises are down to maybe 5% of when we found her. I'm guessing that after the worms were dead they had to be coughed up? I'm unsure how fast a dead parasite disintegrates or how exactly the trachea clears.....blech. Although I think her becoming infected was an isolated incident, I will likely repeat the oral dosage in 2-3 weeks just to be sure. If she remains improved at her present rate, I will release her back to the flock tomorrow.

    Anyway I hope this will be of some help for the next person who is dealing with this.
     
  2. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    23,342
    1,231
    448
    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    I recommend that you keep her seperated from your other birds for at least 10 days. Redose her a 2nd time with the same amount of fenbendazole 3 days after the initial dose. Then redose her a 3rd time three days after the second dosing. You'll be dosing her 3 times within 10 days.
    Also worm the rest of your flock. Most likely there are oocysts in the soil and you dont want the rest of your birds becoming infected.
    Here's a link for you. Covey Rise Plantation is the expert regarding gapeworms, read posts #13 & #14:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/602699/worming-chickens/10#post_7931055
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2013
  3. nevermorefarm

    nevermorefarm New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Jan 17, 2013
    Colusa County, CA
    This was interesting, thanks. I think I need to read carefully about the parasite life cycle once inside the chicken, but your recommended dosages would be easy to administer and would do no harm....I definitely don't want to send her back out there with the problem half- solved. The pen in which this chicken lives, the whole lot of them are Buckeyes with some behavioral oddities....lack of foraging behavior being primary on the Odd Scale. While I would feel sure the oocysts are there, I'm usually adverse to prophylactic worming unless I have evidence that I'm in the throes of a major problem. This property has always had unusual things crop up, like only one turkey having blackhead while the rest remain untouched. I will go out this weekend and spend some time watching all of them for any symptoms....my husband does most of the avian care, and might not pick up on the more subtle early signs.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by