Help - Mystery Illness - Lost 2 ducks within a month of each other - heartbroken...

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by countrygirl74, Aug 31, 2016.

  1. countrygirl74

    countrygirl74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Approximately 4 weeks ago, when I went out to feed, one of our runners was acting strange. He seemed a bit lethargic and wasn't at all interested in the greens I was giving to the rest of the flock. My ducks all love greens and will usually "attack" me for them. He didn't seem interested at all and just stayed at a distance. He also seemed to not really be able to quack normally. I had to leave and the next day when I went out, he was dead in the pen. He was only a couple years old.
    Then last week, my absolute favorite duck, a sweet Pekin named Yangtze who comes when called and is usually a very silly, very active duck, was acting the same way. She wasn't interested in food, wasn't quacking normally - would just make a few small quacks - of course, being a Pekin and with her fun personality, she normally quacked a lot! She was still drinking so I just decided to wait and see if she felt better the next day. She was doing worse the next day - more lethargic and not really drinking so I would put her beak in water so she would take some sips. Thought she might have gotten into something bad so tried the epsom salt flush but couldn't really get her to even drink much of that. I did get her to eat a few worms - that was the only thing that interested her. Then, the 3rd day, she wouldn't eat or drink and wouldn't even get up. I brought her in the house and let her soak in a warm tub (she didn't even play, just floated around), then wrapped her in a towel and held her on my lap for a couple hours. She vomited up a teeny tiny bit of foul-smelling stuff and I knew she was going to die, so I just held on to her. About 10 minutes later she died in my arms. She was about 4 years old.

    I am at a complete loss as to what is going on... here's my thoughts and discrepancies on everything...

    They were not even in the same pen (pens are about 20 feet away from each other) nor had any recent access to each other as they have been cooped up for a few months due to the garden being planted. It was super hot temps when the runner died, but not very hot at all when Yangtze died. It was fairly dry weather when the runner died, but saturated when Yangtze died as we had just had several days of rain in a row. They all eat organic layer crumbles and I throw them organic garden produce once in a while. The ducks only get organic greens. They don't even like anything else. All other ducks seem fine at the moment but I thought the runner was an isolated incident as it was 4 weeks later before Yangtze showed the same symptoms. Could they not be getting enough grit? They haven't been out of their pens in a few months so maybe there's not enough "dirt" in there? I have had chickens and ducks for years and never provided grit - they just get it by foraging around the yard. Is there some disease that ducks get? I know they are sensitive to mold??? Maybe Yangtze could have gotten some from all the rain we've been having, but it was pretty dry when the runner got sick - unless some mold was growing under their water dishes?? The food is all protected and seems to be fine. I would never feed moldy food if I detected it. I am at a complete loss! Any ideas!! I don't know what to do if I start losing more!
     
  2. TroyerGal

    TroyerGal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aww :( I'm SO sorry! I know what it's like to lose a favorite duck to a mystery illness... I had a sweet blue runner duck die on me a couple weeks ago :( I don't know what it could be... But I'm sorry :(
     
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    I think you are right that it could be some kind of toxin. It may be that each got into something different.

    Botulism, batteries, metal, plants . . . any of those could have been the problem. The way to know is to have a necropsy done.
     
  4. countrygirl74

    countrygirl74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, it looks like my Jumbo Pekin, Ping, is now showing symptoms. While the other 2 were several weeks apart, she is showing symptoms soon after I just lost my special pet. She is not being very vocal, laying down more than usual, ruffled her neck feathers a bit and sometimes "yawns" or "gags" - it's not constant, just occasional. Wondering... are those possibly signs of gapeworm?? Does it kill in a matter of a couple days? We have a TON of earthworms and the entire yard has been pretty soggy from all the rain in the past few weeks. If it is a bacteria or something like gapeworm, is there any natural way to treat it or do I need to get some form of antibiotic??
    If I can't treat her in time, I definitely want to try to get a necropsy. Any idea on the cost of those? Do you take them to your local vet?
     
  5. countrygirl74

    countrygirl74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmmm... just looked up some more info and found: In Waterfowl: Clostridium botulinum producing botulinum toxin Type C, a neuroparalytic agent is the usual cause of botulism - I am thinking that is very possible as you mentioned Amiga...

    They can get it from maggots - we have had a lot of flies and lots of moisture... some of the symptoms fit - like the diarrhea and soiled vent because of the diarrhea. Toward the end of Yangtze's illness, she was very weak and could barely lift her neck or stand. Has anyone dealt with this type of disease before? Yesterday she acted like she wanted to drink but almost seemed like she couldn't or it hurt to drink - really weird. But, when I offered her dry crumbles, she ate it all. I will post when I see what she does today. I think one local feed store is open if I need to go get some meds. Just not sure what to treat! And with what!
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2016
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Botulism is fairly common, actually. There is a sticky on treating it.

    Please read carefully - the flushes are a very strong treatment. It can save lives, but you need to remember they can become dehydrated and their electrolytes can get off-balance, so there needs to be good supportive care - fresh water, I would add electrolytes and probiotics to the water after treatment.


    A good duck vet is always best, but the circumstances may mean that's not possible.
     
  7. countrygirl74

    countrygirl74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So I went out this morning, half expecting to see Ping in a worse state or dead, but surprisingly she is doing much better! Without knowing what was going on, I made the decision 2 days ago to put 10ppm Colloidal Silver in all their water dishes. Some dishes had 1 T. per gallon, but most water dishes had 1 T. per 2-3 gallon. Couldn't really find any dosing info for ducks, so just made a decision and did it. So, for 2 days, all their water has had some silver in it. Maybe that helped!! She is eating and drinking and walking better. I am going to continue the colloidal silver for a while, especially since it has been so wet lately - strange for AZ, but we have had so much rain, I have mushrooms growing. I also decided to do the Activated Charcoal treatment, so gave her a dose of that.

    Question on the charcoal - it said 1 tsp per 8oz water. Do you need to try to get them to drink all 8oz 6-7x's a day??? I couldn't even get her to drink all of the first dose and to get her to drink any of it, I had to keep dropping little pieces of kale and spinach into the bowl.

    Question on pens - any ideas on how to help keep it drier?? We have very clay soil that doesn't always drain well. I currently use pine shavings in their little house and around on the ground. When we have this much rain, I have to wear mucking boots as it becomes a big soggy mess, which unfortunately for Yangtze, she absolutely loved. : ( She was so playful and would dig her little face down as deep as she could in all that nasty mud - always had so much fun with it.
     
  8. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    I have not had to, so I can't advise on administering charcoal slurry . . . Whenever I am concerned (like, I saw a duck eat a mushroom of uncertain identity) I add the charcoal to their night drinking water. They don't have a swim pan to drink from overnight, so I know they're getting some charcoal.
     
  9. countrygirl74

    countrygirl74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good idea Amiga - thanks!
     

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