Hard abdomen, a new turn to a lengthy illness

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by CritterMama, Jun 25, 2010.

  1. CritterMama

    CritterMama Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 4, 2009
    My year-old leghorn is having some serious issues, which started about a month and a half ago. First there was the shell-less egg. Then no eggs. Diarrhea and the loss of feathers to her bum. Semi-lethargic, fluffed feathers, slightly wider stance. Initially I thought she was egg bound, bathed her in warm water and massaged her. Negative. Parasite? I treated with large amounts of cayenne pepper. Nothing. Digestive problems? Lots of plain yogurt. No change. Coccidiosis? I put Corid in the water, and after a couple days she seemed to be a little perkier. She finally laid an egg a few days ago, but it was a strange thing...looked like it had a shriveled Siamese egg-twin attached to it, with a small amount of blood. She wasn't acting any different, though, no sign of (more) distress or blood. I thought perhaps we were on the upswing of the whole drama, but I was wrong. She hasn't laid again since, and has become even more lethargic. She is eating much less--I can easily feel her breast bone all the way down, and her crop doesn't feel soft and squishy like my other girls', but rather empty. Her abdomen feels hard, I am thinking maybe egg bound now, so yesterday I gave her another warm bath + massage. No results. Today she feels the same, and I inserted a finger with Vaseline to help lubricate the vent, and see if I could feel anything. Maybe I didn't go in far enough, but I didn't feel anything. She didn't like that much, and some excrement came out along with my finger. Her poops are watery/runny, sometimes even bubbly. She hunches up a lot, and closes her eyes on occasion as if in pain. She still wanders around somewhat, but minimal. Any suggestions would be helpful, she seems so miserable and I'm not sure what else to try...I am truly afraid that she is going to die.
  2. Campine Lover

    Campine Lover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2010
    Moss Beach, CA
    I'm sorry about your chicken. I do not know what is up with her, but here are some helpful things:
    Keep her warm
    Have clean water and food available
    try some warm mash?
    KEEP HER AWAY FROM OTHER CHICKENS (you don't want others getting sick)
    Wash your hands every time
  3. MotherJean

    MotherJean Chillin' With My Peeps

    It sounds like you've done everything in your power to help this hen. I'm so sorry to hear that she's no better. It's a very sad thing, but sometimes there are diseases at work that can't be positively diagnosed until after death. And, it really doesn't matter anyway because there are no cures for some of these even if you did know what you were dealing with. One of these is Mareks disease. There are several forms of Mareks. One causes blindness. Another attacks the brain and nerves causing paralysis. The third type is visceral - it produces cancer-like tumors and attacks internal organs.

    According to Cornell Univ. College of Veterinary Medicine:

    "MD often occurs in 2-5 month-old (sexually immature) chickens but can also occur after the onset of egg production. This form of the disease is referred to as “late Marek's”...Some birds exhibit more vague signs, often related to visceral infiltrations, such as depression, anorexia, weight loss, and diarrhea...The disease is also immunosuppressive and some birds may develop secondary infections...Lymphomas, especially in more virulent strains, may also be found on virtually any visceral organ. The organs are often diffusely enlarged, sometimes firm on palpation, and may have white to grey areas of discoloration or nodules. As nodules enlarge, organs may lose their normal architecture and necrosis [tissue death] can sometimes occur."

    Like I said, it's impossible to say that Mareks is the cause of your hen's troubles, but it might explain why you have not been able to bring her back to good health. It would explain the prolonged illness, never-ending diarrhea, hard abdomen, and problems with eggs (including no eggs at all). Also, since the disease is immunosuppressive, it is possible that this hen did suffer from Coccidiosis. That would account for the short-term improvement in her condition after you treated her with Corrid.

    I'm not putting this up to discourage you but to offer you some plausible explanation as to why your hen isn't getting any better in spite of your very best efforts.
  4. Matt A NC

    Matt A NC Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 22, 2007
    Morganton, NC
    Sorry, but all I have is bad news.

    It sounds like she is an internal layer. Basically her eggs are going into her abdomen and rotting. Her body absorbs a large part of the egg, but the rest is sticking together in a mass. Infection is common and is normally what kills the bird. There is nothing you can really do to save the bird yourself.

    The only way to save a bird like this is very expensive surgery by a Vet that will also perform a hysterectomy on the bird. Like I said extremely expensive and no guarentee on survival. That is if a Vet can be found that will touch a chicken.

    99% of folks would put the poor bird down. I am sorry. [​IMG]


    Edited to add that I have had 2 internal layers over the years. Both were put down. The egg mass in one was HUGE. Not sure how long Prissy was massing eggs till she started showing outward signs of sickness.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2010
  5. CritterMama

    CritterMama Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 4, 2009
    I'll keep doing what I can, especially warm baths, and keep hoping. It's funny, in a way...she was always the bossiest of my girls, and now she's the one who is sick. Thank you all for your input, it is greatly appreciated. This is my first go-'round as a chicken mama, and it hurts me to see her like this. Whatever happens, at least I'll know I did my best.

  6. Peppermint

    Peppermint Chillin' With My Peeps

    Here's hoping for the best for you and your girlie. [​IMG]
  7. CritterMama

    CritterMama Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 4, 2009
    Update: she's still pretty out of it, not eating much, but her bum--while still swollen--is not as hard as it was yesterday. I got her to eat some yogurt with cayenne pepper, she sort of stuck her face right in it in the process. [​IMG] Another warm bath is in the cards for tomorrow. We shall see...
  8. CritterMama

    CritterMama Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 4, 2009
    I tell myself it must be done,
    I know it's for the best-
    I'll send my little girl to sleep,
    and lay her down to rest.
    She'll fly away to Heaven,
    no longer be in pain,
    and some day in the future
    I'll see her once again.
    Sweet baby, I've done all I can,
    but you're dwindling away.
    I'd rather take a different course,
    I wish that you could stay.
    Please know my love is with you,
    please know you're part of me.
    You brightened up my little world,
    and now I set you free.

    I thought the day our freedom is celebrated would be appropriate, as I am 'setting her free' from pain. Sweet Francesca, you can eat all the yogurt and chase all the frogs you want in Heaven!

  9. shellybean40

    shellybean40 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2010
    Boerne, TX
  10. schellie69

    schellie69 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 8, 2009
    [​IMG] I had to make this hard choice on last Friday. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] I loved the poem it was very nice.

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