Heart attack right before death?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by motherhenfran, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. motherhenfran

    motherhenfran Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 25, 2014
    Hi guys,
    I lost my first rooster about a month ago after he aspirated fluids into his lungs and got pneumonia. Poor guy had it for alittle over a week. I was giving him antibiotic injections into his chest and he was also receiving medicine by mouth to help beak down and absorb whatever was in there. During the days he would stay at an oxygen chamber at our vets. Bless his little heart he fought to beat it but ended up passing in my arms but he had some really strange behaviors as he was dying and I wondered if anyone had past experiences with this.

    So he couldn't breath well. Wheezing nonstop. He would have a sneezing jag (1-2 sneezes) and would startle himself because he'd be so short of breath. We were sitting on the couch and he had a sneezing jag of 4-6 sneezes and he was making himself very nervous so I got eye level with him to help calm him down. He flung himself on his back and then upright and then flung himself against my mom who was sitting about two feet away. I tried to pick him up (literally looked like an exorcism of something because he clearly did not have control of his own body) and he then arched his neck and head back, threw himself on his back, started flapping his wings very violently (I couldn't even grab him to stop the wings because he is so strong and the wings were moving so fast..he was a big guy--almost 10lbs--so he was very powerful). When I did manage to grab him I picked him up and rocked him to try to soothe him. He wings were still trying to flap and after about 5 seconds his body went limp. I called a local emergency vet because I had never had one of my birds die in my arms (his pneumonia caused him breathing to be so shallow so I wasn't sure if he was breathing or not) and they helped me to check his pulse (there wasn't any). I was unsure if maybe he had a heart attack or a seizure. We did not send him off for a necropsy. The thought of someone cutting open my pet when I know the pneumonia killed him was not something I wanted to do. Also--he did not soil himself thoughout the entire episode so I don't know if that rules out seizure?

    Has anyone had any experience with this sudden onset of a seizure/fit right before heir pet passes on? I just found the ordeal to be really confusing.

    Here's a picture of him with his girls except one. Luckily they've adjusted quite well since he's been gone.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. BayBay Peepers

    BayBay Peepers Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm sorry for your loss.

    I do think this is normal. I lost a few hens this year and the very last one was right in front of me. She had been in the house a while as I had to tube feed her for weeks in hopes she would gain enough strength and muscle to do so herself.

    On the last night I hear a loud sqwak. I ran to her and she was flailing about smashing into the sides of the kennel. Her breathing was rapid for a few seconds (seemed like forever) and then she let out the last one. That was it.

    As sad and unsettling as it is I think it's just a natural part of dying. I don't think it always happens, but in our cases it did.
     
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Sorry for your loss. I agree with BayBay Peepers, that your rooster was exhibiting normal behaviour while dying. They can have different neurological symptoms from lack of oxygen to the brain. They can get a sudden twisted neck or have seizures. There is an old expression called "the throes of death" that is descriptive of wild and flailing movements just before death. If you have any other chickens with respiratory symptoms, I would get them tested. A necropsy is valuable if you are dealing with an illness that can make carriers of your flock for life.
     
  4. motherhenfran

    motherhenfran Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 25, 2014
    Thanks @BayBay Peepers and @Eggcessive I really appreciated your feedback. That does make sense that the poor little things would start flailing right before they pass. I agree with Baybay, it felt like the longest time ever when he was flapping around and struggling but in hindsight it must have been less than 30 seconds.

    That's a great point, Eggcessive, the lack of oxygen could have led to many other neurological problems. Normally I would definitely send them off for a necropsy but he had been diagnosed with pneumonia only after he was x-rayed and my avian vet saw fluid in his lungs that he aspirated. He slowly got weaker and weaker and the wheezing got worse. Poor guy's waddles and comb turned purple on a few occasions so I would take him to the vet for oxygen daily. I tried my best to keep him alive and strong but unfortunately the pneumonia got the best of him. If he wouldn't have showed signs (my vet warned me of them) and I didn't have a diagnosis of pneumonia I would have sent him for a necropsy but with him spending so much time at the vet his last week we knew it was for sure pneumonia. He was very much like a pet (Roos are illegal in my county so Id bring him inside to sleep every night. We'd eat snacks and hangout each night so we were very close..also raised him from a few days old) so I would feel horrible not giving him a proper burial where he can be safe and visited with flowers on occasion. Might sound crazy but my family has a big chunk of land and we have an area designated for our pets who have passed. Meryl is the new watch-rooster, keeping the ranch safe [​IMG][​IMG]

    Thanks for your input, pet death is tough. People who have never had chickens don't get it but once you raise them you realise how wonderful they can be [​IMG]
     
  5. BayBay Peepers

    BayBay Peepers Overrun With Chickens

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    It's not strange to have a plot for them :) I do it too.

    He sounded like a very special guy and was very lucky to have you watching over him.
     
  6. motherhenfran

    motherhenfran Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 25, 2014
    Thanks Baybay Peepers, he was very special :)
     
  7. TomandBarbara

    TomandBarbara Out Of The Brooder

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    So sorry for your loss but I have to thank you all for this post too.
    We just lost our 'Silly Tilly' who was being treated for a staph infection.she died in my arms after the exact same behaviour...feathers flying everywhere with a strange cry I've never heard before (and quite frankly don't want to hear ever again) wings flapping so fast then she just went limp eyes closed and she was gone.
    Hubby and I have buried her in the garden and placed slabs and flower pots over her . it's a pretty spot.
    Hubby is blaming himself but I think she just couldn't beat the infection.
    Sending hugs to everyone who has lost one of their girls as those without chickens have no idea the effect they can have in our lives.[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  8. rides2far

    rides2far Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have a pet cemetery in our yard, too. It currently holds our kitties, Niles & Lily, our beloved dogs, Gage & Meg + my niece's cat Shadow & my son's German Shepard, Kaiser. When my chickens start to go I know we'll have a chicken cemetery!
     

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