GAPEWORM! What do we do?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by jessupfamily, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. jessupfamily

    jessupfamily Songster

    May 14, 2007
    SW Indiana
    I was reading another post that mentioned gape worm and realized that some of girls have this! They have been shaking their heads (like it's tickling) and "yawning" a lot. I wondered today what was going on with them. I have no idea how dangerous this is and what to do about it. And does this affect humans? Thanks for any help and info!
  2. jessupfamily

    jessupfamily Songster

    May 14, 2007
    SW Indiana
    After reading some on the "gapes", I really feel like this might be what we're dealing with. So I went to check on the chickens now that they are all cooped up. And we have a handful that are alternating between breathing through their beaks and then their "noses". This would seem somewhat normal on a hot summer night, but it stayed at 79 degrees today and is currently 60 right now. Feels really cool out! So now I really think this could be it. I still need info on the above mentioned post and now I am curious how long till this is serious? Could they be dead in the morning? Or is there time to figure it out and get on it? Anybody?
  3. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    I just found this after doing a google search:

    The gapeworm (Syngamus trachea) is a round red worm that attach to the trachea (windpipe) of birds and causes the disease referred to as "gapes". The term describes the open-mouth breathing characteristic of gapeworm-infected birds. Heavily infected birds usually emit a grunting sound because of the difficulty in breathing and many die from suffocation. The worms can easily block the trachea, so they are particularly harmful to young birds.

    The gapeworm is sometimes designated as the "red-worm"; or "forked-worm" because of its red color and because the male and female are joined in permanent copulation. They appear like the letter Y. The female is the larger of the two and is one-fourth to one inch in length. The male gapeworm may attain a length of one-fourth inch. Both sexes attach to the lining of the trachea with their mouthparts. Sufficient numbers may accumulate in the trachea to hinder air passage.

    The life cycle of the gapeworm is similar to that of the cecal worm; the parasite can be transmitted when birds eat embryonated worm eggs or earthworms containing the gapeworm larvae. The female worm lays eggs in the trachea, the eggs are coughed up, swallowed, and pass out in the droppings. Within eight to fourteen days the eggs embryonate and are infective when eaten by birds or earthworms. The earthworm, snails and slugs serve as primary intermediate hosts for the gapeworm. Gapeworms in infected earthworms remain viable for four and a half years while those in snails and slugs remain infective for one year. After being consumed by the bird, gapeworm larvae hatch in the intestine and migrate from the intestine to the trachea and lungs.

    Gapeworms infect chickens, turkeys, guinea fowl, pheasants, chukar partridge, and probably other birds. Young birds reared on soil of infected range pens are at high risk (pen-raised game birds). Some control or reduction in infection density (worms/bird) is achieved by alternating the use of range pens every other year and/or using a pen for only one brood each year. Tilling the soil in the pens at the end of the growing season helps to reduce the residual infection. Treating the soil to eliminate earthworms, snails and slugs is possible but the cost is usually prohibitive.

    Gapeworms are best prevented by administering a wormer at fifteen to thirty day intervals or including a drug at low levels continuously beginning fifteen days after birds are placed in the infected pens. One drug that is effective for eliminating gapeworms is fenbendazole, however, its use is not presently approved for use in birds by the Food and Drug Administration.

    Have you tried searching google for more info? Food grade (only) diatomaceous earth is considered a wormer but am not sure if it would apply in this case.

    Keep us posted!!​
  4. GloriaH

    GloriaH Songster

    Mar 18, 2007
    Watertown, Tennessee
    Can you see the worm in their throats? It may be a respitory infection if they are breathing through their mouths. If it is respitory you will need antibiotics. Tylan 50 injectable or Tylan 40 oral...Gloria
  5. BJ

    BJ Songster

    Mar 20, 2007
    I have also read that you can actually see the worm and may be able to pull it out. Not so sure if this is really possible. I'll see what I can look up for your in my chicken health handbook. I will try to remember in the morning.
  6. jessupfamily

    jessupfamily Songster

    May 14, 2007
    SW Indiana
    We haven't done the "look in the throat test" yet. I need an extra pair of hands, so I'll have help in the morning. They have all been very normal acting and don't seem to be bothered by any of it. I just noticed the head shaking and "yawning" today. (It was very excessive and caught my attention several times today.) Thanks everyone!
  7. Yesterday I noticed that my Mandarin hen was gasping for air, sneezing, coughing, and shaking her head. She also had nothing in her crop ( all signs of gapeworm). So I went out and got IverCare, at my local tractor supply. It is 1.87% ivermectin. I gave her 0.05 ml of it.

    This morning she is fine. Not coughing or gasping for air, and she is making the noises that mandarin ducks do (like cooing).

    Im pretty sure that she had that. I couldnt see anything in her throat because mandarin ducks have tiny mouths.

    I would go out and get some ivermectin (oral) at TSC. It is marketed for horses.
  8. jessupfamily

    jessupfamily Songster

    May 14, 2007
    SW Indiana
    Quote:I had read to use Ivermectin. Thanks for the heads up on where to get it! We don't have a vet (that treats chickens) near by.
  9. FionaD

    FionaD In the Brooder

    Apr 28, 2018
    that’s really helpful thanks. I don’t know if we get that parasite in the u.k. but i will watch out for it
  10. CCUK

    CCUK Free Flying

    Jan 21, 2018
    North Notts, UK
    My Coop
    Hello fiona. This is a fairly old thread but if your worried about gape worm or worms in general in the UK we get something called flubenvet, it kills most worms including gape worm. I worm mine with it every 6 months and don't really have a problem. There is also something called Verm-X. I'm not sure how effective it is. I have never used it but it is for prevention not treatment.

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