Help! Hen's vent covered in maggots. Treatment?

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

  1. my three chickens

    my three chickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 13, 2008
    Floppy is a 2-year-old Buff Orpington, overweight and prone to problems. One of a flock of three hens, all together since hatch.
    Lately she has been mostly sitting down, not eating constantly as she normally does, and generally lethargic. Sleeping in the nest box.
    Last night I noticed she smelled bad.

    THE MAGGOTS: Looked today and her backside was covered in poop ranging from slimy to crusted. Around her vent were literally hundreds of maggots swarming. They were 1/8 to 1/4 inch long, mostly white but a fraction seemingly red with blood inside; dark tip on one end. As far as I can determine they are fly larvae. Easily the grossest thing I have ever seen.

    HOW I TREATED HER: I cleaned her with soapy water and soaked her in a warm bath for 20 minutes (as long as she or I could stand). Cleaned her with towels a bit more to pretty clean, dried her and isolated her in a cage under a heat lamp. (Also put a heating pad under her, just in case part of the problem is being eggbound--thought she laid an egg the other day but it's possible she hasn't laid for a month, as I was out of town.) Her backside is swollen, red, and tender, with a lot of feathers lost but no wound that I can see. It really seems to me that she couldn't clean her rear (a perennial problem), and the flies just came and

    WHAT SHOULD I DO?
    I've read through different posts on the forum and they all recommend different things. Internal wormer? Insecticide dust? Antibiotics? (And if any kind of medication, please recommend what kind and how much.) If it is truly just a buildup of poop in which flies laid their larvae, should I just keep her isolated until she recovers and then put her back in the flock?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Lisa
     
    Merrykh likes this.
  2. Jeeper1540

    Jeeper1540 Chillin' With My Peeps

    *bump*
     
  3. Finn's Mom

    Finn's Mom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ok so I googled it because I had to know and the brief summary is that the maggots themselves, as gross as it sounds, are not the emergency as they eat the necrotic (sp?) (rotten) tissue. Wash the wound with saline (some will go with that -- sounds like you got the wash part covered,) and pick them out with tweezers as you can. I am guessing from what I read, the wound would be your bigger issue (how, when, why) once you get the critters off of her. Dewormers and antibiotics will not affect the maggots. Please someone correct me if you know better. Ick, I'm sorry, but good luck.
     
    Merrykh likes this.
  4. my three chickens

    my three chickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 13, 2008
    After some more research I've found this appears to be Flystrike. Helpful information on how to treat:

    Flystrike

    Is a condition affecting mainly sheep, deer and rabbits, but is not uncommon in poultry.

    This article deals with Flystrike in hens.

    It occurs when flies lay eggs in the dirty feathers, usually those contaminated with faeces around the vent.

    The emerging maggots burrow into the flesh of the hen, particularly if there is an existing wound, and eat the hen alive.

    It might not be immediately obvious, so for that reason, regular examination of the hen is crucial, as once Flystrike takes hold, the bird will succumb very quickly.

    Signs and symptoms:
    Very sick hen with open wound, usually around vent, which is crawling with maggots.

    The hen will be lethargic, off its food, and is likely to be pecked by its companions.

    This condition needs urgent treatment.

    ~ Sit hen in bowl of warm saline and keep her in it for 10 -15 minutes. This will give the wound an initial cleaning and will drown many of the maggots. Change the saline solution a couple of times. You may find that the maggots will thrash about in the saline bath.

    ~ Carefully trim the feathers around the wound with blunt ended scissors and then remove as many maggots as you can with a pair of tweezers,

    ~ With a syringe, flush the wound thoroughly with fresh saline solution.

    ~ Pat dry. Do not use anything that will leave linty bits in the wound.

    ~ Isolate hen. Keep her warm and encourage her to drink, syringing water into her beak if she is reluctant to drink of her own accord.

    ~ Repeat the above two or three times a day till there are no maggots left.

    ~ After the first soak, you could give an initial flush out with a weak hydrogen peroxide solution, but don’t use this too often as it is rather harsh and over use will interfere with the formation of granulation tissue.

    ~ Another option is to use a weak iodine solution, with just enough added to water so that it looks like milkless tea.

    ~ If using a saline solution, sea salt is a better option than table salt, as it has not been refined.

    ~ It is best to keep the wound open and dry, so that the air can get down into it. Most of the harmful wound bacteria are anaerobic and they thrive in closed conditions.

    ~ Avoid using wet ointments as flies find the wound and lay their eggs deep in the ointment.

    ~ It is essential that all maggots are removed, as they will eat healthy flesh as well as dead tissue.These are not the specially bred and clinically reared maggots used in the healing and debridement of gangrene or necrotic tissue etc in clinical situations.The maggots are full of bacteria and secrete toxins which are largely responsible for the death of affected hens.

    Further care:

    ~ Isolation of affected hen is essential as its wound will be pecked, and hen will be very weak.

    ~ Keep hen well hydrated.

    ~ Avipro, Rescue Remedy, Electrolytes….all are useful additions to the hens diet.

    ~ Feed hen with good quality layers pellets, and extra protein when hen recovering.


    ** NB If there is no improvement, or a deterioration after the initial cleaning and first few flushings, or if the wound is extensive in the first place, the advice of a vet should be sought.

    Picture of Flystrike in a hen. Maggots Circled in red. **Warning…not pleasant.

    http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h13/Egluntine/Flystrike-maggots.jpg
     
    Merrykh likes this.
  5. Finn's Mom

    Finn's Mom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Finn's Mom :

    Ok so I googled it because I had to know and the brief summary is that the maggots themselves, as gross as it sounds, are not the emergency as they eat the necrotic (sp?) (rotten) tissue. Wash the wound with saline (some will go with that -- sounds like you got the wash part covered,) and pick them out with tweezers as you can. I am guessing from what I read, the wound would be your bigger issue (how, when, why) once you get the critters off of her. Dewormers and antibiotics will not affect the maggots. Please someone correct me if you know better. Ick, I'm sorry, but good luck.

    Ok so strike what I said about the maggots not being the problem. They eat living tissue???? [​IMG]
     
    Merrykh likes this.
  6. Peppermint

    Peppermint Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ack! Thanks Lisa for the detailed info...I carefully file away treatments like this for future reference.

    I hope Floppy recovers with your loving attention and treatment...[​IMG]
     
    Merrykh likes this.
  7. Jaguaress

    Jaguaress Chicken Addict Wanna-be

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    May 27, 2010
    Piedmont, NC
    It sounds like you took great care of her. Hopefully, she'll be okay.

    Make sure she can get off the heating pad. It might be quite warm on the open wound, so she should be able to move off of it, yet still be under the heat lamp if she wants. Also be careful with the bedding or what you put in with her, as the wound will weep and might get stuck to the bedding material. ABD pads are great for weeping sores, and you can get them at the local pharmacy usually. No idea if you could fill her box with those, but just a thought. Since the wound has to breathe, don't attach them unless you're keeping her inside and can change them really often. I used them with great success on a leg wound on my dog, but it was securely taped to her leg, which you can't do with a vent, obviously.

    Good luck.
     
    Merrykh likes this.
  8. my three chickens

    my three chickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 13, 2008
    Good news on this. As far as I can see, the bathing yesterday took care of the maggots. Floppy's rear is clean and she is in isolation, mostly sitting around on towels in the cage--sometimes under the heat lamp, sometimes away from it. What's notable is that it still appears that there was no wound, that the maggots were living on the poop and on her skin (and that's why they were relatively easy to get rid of). I haven't confirmed that there are none inside her vent, but I'm hoping not.

    The only issue now is that she is not eating or drinking. Will address that today. But otherwise she looks calm and healthy, if still tired and preferring to sit most of the time.
     
    Merrykh likes this.
  9. prettypiglett

    prettypiglett Out Of The Brooder

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    May 30, 2010
    Norfolk, Uk
    How is Floppy?
     
  10. my three chickens

    my three chickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 13, 2008
    Floppy turned out just fine! Treating her was disgusting and laborious, but we were lucky that the maggots had not penetrated her skin. Once they were washed off and she had a little isolation time to recuperate, she was the same old chicken once again. A happy ending!
     
    Merrykh likes this.

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