Help! Hen stopped laying, appears sick and then well. Xray report attached

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by subrbnchicknfam, Aug 21, 2018.

  1. subrbnchicknfam

    subrbnchicknfam In the Brooder

    Oct 30, 2016
    Good afternoon! Last Tuesday my 2.5 yo Speckled Sussex hen started acting odd (was perched outside after dark usually goes into the hen house with the 2 others). I did not think too much of it.
    Wednesday appeared slow/sluggish not eating much. She is normally my most energetic sweet spirited hen so for her this is very unusual.
    Thursday a.m she was laying in run with yellow white (appeared to be yolk) coming from vent.
    Thursday afternoon did a cloaca exam and gave her a warm soak. No impacted egg found. She seemed perkier than days before. Thought she was on the mend from whatever is going on
    Friday appeared well. Mostly spunky but not 100%, eating drinking being social.
    Saturday a.m found her in the nest box for over an hour, beak open, trying to lay. No egg produced. Did another cloaca exam and found nothing. Abdomen area appeared swollen to me however I do not really have a baseline to go from
    Sunday appeared well however took her to the vet for an exam and xrays. Vet noted that she was skinny and her crop was full and wanted to wait until the images came back to determine the rest. Massaged crop and it emptied
    Monday appeared mostly well but still not her 100% self. Eating and drinking. Being social.
    Monday night received the radiography report.
    Tuesday same as Monday.

    Based on the xray report I am looking for recommendation on how to proceed forward. I do realize from what I have read that egg yolk peritonitis is eventually fatal. However it is hard to be convinced what is going on because she mostly appears okay. I do realize that she has not laid and egg since Tuesday at least from what I can tell. The vet is not well versed in chicken health and has recommend another physician. He also informed me that they are legally not allowed to give antibiotics.

    I sincerely do not want this sweet girl to suffer. I want to do what is best for her. Any advice or suggestions would be more than welcomed. Thank you for taking the time to read this!

    I am attaching her radiology report and her most recent stool from today.

    20180821_175734.jpg 20180821_183219.jpg
  2. staceyj

    staceyj Enabler

    Jan 1, 2017
    Coastal NC
    My Coop
    Wow. I am so sorry for what you are going through.
    You have gone above and beyond to help your sweet girl.

    It is not illegal for a licensed doctor of veterinarian medicine to prescribe antibiotics for a sick chicken.

    Did they send you a digital copy of the two films by email?

    You paid for them. You are the owner of the films and can call the office ( where the radiographs were done) and request that they be sent to you via email attachment.

    There are some incredibly knowledgeable people here who I’m quite certain would like to see them and who might be able to guide you.

    Here. You need a big hug. :hugs
  3. subrbnchicknfam

    subrbnchicknfam In the Brooder

    Oct 30, 2016
    Thank you for this incredibly incredibly thoughtful and kind reply! I definitely needed that! I do realize how this thread sounds and more times than I can count I have heard "it's just a chicken". But for me I made the commitment to keeping hens and they did become my pets... most importantly I want to do what is humane at the end of the day. I had the images and the report sent to the recommended physician and I am trying to get a second opinion on how to proceed forward since he is more of an expert in the field. I also have a copy of the images and the report. Seems like a dose of an antibiotic would make sense however I am no expert.
    Hopefully more answers to come and soon.
    Again thank you for taking the time to read and to reply so warmly!!!
    HeyHo, azygous, KikisGirls and 2 others like this.
  4. Chick-N-Fun

    Chick-N-Fun Almy Acres Farm

    Jun 26, 2014
    Corning, NY
    HeyHo, staceyj, azygous and 1 other person like this.
  5. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I find your description of your hen's condition far more informative than the radiologist's interpretation. You've pretty much described a hen's behavior that is struggling with reproductive issues. One day they seem to be at death's door step and the next they can bounce back to nearly normal. However, the struggle is an uphill one, and it almost never really resolves itself in favor of the hen returning to normal laying. At best, she passes the soft egg, feels better for the short term, and often will have the same issue again sooner or later.

    This is a pretty common issue. Sometimes a hen can be given calcium citrate and it can help to jolt the reproductive tract back into operation by helping her expel the stuck egg, which is often soft or shell-less. Continued calcium may even restore her ability to lay down normal shells.

    However, each time an egg gets hung up, it causes inflammation. If the hen continues to struggle with these malformed eggs, the inflammation often turns into an infection. Sometimes if an antibiotic is given early enough, you can help her live longer, but she may not lay again, and the problems are almost certain to return.

    This isn't to say you shouldn't try to help your hen. I would give her a people calcium tablet each day for a week and see what happens. You can also order fish antibiotics over the internet or find them at an aquarium shop. Amoxicillin 250mg is what I use when I have a hen with this issue.
    Eggcessive, Chick-N-Fun and staceyj like this.
  6. staceyj

    staceyj Enabler

    Jan 1, 2017
    Coastal NC
    My Coop
    There are a number of people here who are experts in reproductive disorders of chickens. (not me).
    Lol I just deleted my tag list because the poster above got the big ones!

    While the prognosis for many of these diseases, and specifically peritonitis, is often grim, it doesn’t mean a glimmer of hope is nonexistent, or that treatment should be withheld if available as long as the bird seems bright.

    You have to follow your heart here and be the best animal steward that you can.
    Eggcessive, Chick-N-Fun and azygous like this.
  7. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General

    Welcome back to BYC! So sorry you're going through this, I know how difficult it is. The last time I took a hen to the vet for a reproductive issue the vet suggested I give Baytril (enrofloxacin) twice a day, meloxicam for swelling and pain twice a day, calcium gluconate twice a day, and lots of fluids twice a day. That hen might have laid one more egg that year, and the next year she laid nothing but defective shelled and shell-less eggs. However, this season all of her eggs have been normal, so it is possible for them to recover.

    Is there any way you could get her to another vet that could give her a shot of Baytril? You can buy it fairly easily, but the sooner she gets some the better, IMO.

    I'm suggesting injectable because of her crop not clearing.

    Edited to add:
    Baytril is banned for use in poultry, so that's something to consider. I use it but thought you should know.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2018
    staceyj, Chick-N-Fun and azygous like this.
  8. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Crossing the Road

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Sorry about your hen. Reproductive disorders such as internal laying, salpingitis, impacted oviduct, egg yolk peritonitis, oviduct cancer, false layer, and ascites can be common in todays laying hens. They are usually the cause of most deaths. There is a lot of information online, and quite a few people each day post threads about their hens suffering. Symptoms can be similar, and doing your own necropsies at home when a hen dies, can be informative to learn what has been going on with them. Here are some articles that can explain some of the different diseases— just click on each disease in the list, and it will give a brief explanation of each malady:
    staceyj, casportpony and azygous like this.
  9. subrbnchicknfam

    subrbnchicknfam In the Brooder

    Oct 30, 2016
    Many thanks to ALL for the helpful, informative and sage advice! I truly appreciate it!

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