Help! Sick hen. Bronchitis? **UPDATE**

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by mama24, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. mama24

    mama24 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just got my first chickens on Saturday. They are 8 mos old. I got 2 hens and 1 rooster. They were all fine the first day we had them and the next day, but Sun night I noticed our largest hen had 1 watery eye. Thought maybe she'd gotten something in it. On Mon, it was crusted shut, so I peeled it open and put a few drops of antibiotic eye drops leftover from when my kids had pink eye in. Eye was back to normal yesterday, but she was coughing. Today, the coughing is worse, she is lethargic, and she is also breathing with her mouth open and sounds very wheezy. I asked another mom at my ds's school what to do since she has chickens, she told me to do a search on electrolytes here. I did, but couldn't find the recipe, just tons and tons of posts saying they were using the electrolytes. Anyone have a link to the recipe? Anything else I should do for her? She was eating yesterday, doesn't seem to be today. Thank you!

    Update 9/13/10:
    I spoke with a vet at the state ag dept. I sent an email on the email form on the website sometime last week to ask if they could help me find a vet to test my animals in my area, and he emailed me to call him Fri. I left a msg and he called me back this morning. He said that it did sound very much like mycoplasmosis based on their symptoms, but without testing he couldn't guarantee that's what it was. Tylosin, which is what I have been giving them, is apparently the best/recommended antibiotic for mycoplasmosis, so thanks for recommending that! He recommended that since I have only 4 birds that I continue the tylosin for a full 7 days, and then repeat a week of antibiotics per month as necessary (only if they are still showing symptoms after the first round, but don't continue on the meds, give them a break.) He said since I only have 4 birds, and my immediate neighbors don't have chickens, the chances of transmission are very small, though they could be spreading it to wild birds.[​IMG] It is spread by aerosols or close contact, so I believe that means I can't carry it to another flock unless I wipe my bird's snotty beak on me and then rub someone else's bird on that spot within a couple hours. Not likely. lol. He said he thinks it's fine for me to keep them for eggs since their eggs are fine for consumption. They are only contagious while they are symptomatic. He said if we want more chickens in the future, we just need to know that any new birds are very likely to catch it eventually if we still have our current birds when we get them. He didn't seem to think it was a big deal since I have such a small non-commercial flock.

    Oh, and did you know that while there is a chance of passing the disease to chicks from mom through the egg, if you put the mother on antibiotics while laying eggs you want to hatch, the chance of passing it goes down to zero or close to it? So I guess if I decide I love these chickens so so much, but want to get more chicks, I have the option of putting them on the meds to lay some eggs, then culling them and hatching their eggs. Doubt I'll go through all that, though. We are renting our current place, and are planning to move in the spring, so I think we'll keep our chickies for eggs until then and cull them before we move so we can start over w/ a healthy flock in our new place.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2010
  2. mama24

    mama24 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Now another one is sneezing and has rattly breathing? No one has any suggestions for me? [​IMG]
     
  3. ND

    ND Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds respiratory... probably CRD. They may have been carriers already and the stress of the move caused the symptoms to come back. They'll always be carriers... and this could be continuing problem during times of stress. They'll infect any new birds, even if they're symptom free.

    Many people choose to cull for that reason... but you can treat it. (they may be not be symptomatic, but still harbor the illness though and may relapse at any time AND can pass it to any new chickens even if they're asymptomatic at the time)
    Tylan 50 injectable (which can be given orally) is good for this. It can be found at most feed stores/farm stores. Look in the cow meds area-- that's where it's at. Give 1/2cc to large/adult birds. 1/4cc to younger/smaller birds. Give for at least 3-5 days, even if they get better in just a day or so. Toss any eggs for at least 2 weeks. There is water soluble Tylan...but I think the injectable, even if given orally, works faster. Plus, if they're bad enough that they go off feed/water... it won't help to mix stuff in the water! Take care to get the syringe past their 'windpipe' so they don't inhale it.

    Baytril is another good one, but is prescription by a vet only.

    Electrolytes in the water is good, but won't exactly help your symptoms if they've got some form of respiratory illness. I don't know of a good recipe for making it yourself, you can buy small bags of electrolyte powder at most farm supplies stores (like TSC or Atwoods, etc, and many feed stores). You mix a small amount (usually like a 1/4 tsp. in a gallon) and the bag will last a long time if kept in a ziplock baggie.
     
  4. mama24

    mama24 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. I just looked more closely at the disease descriptions in the stickies. It looks like they might have this:
    Infectious Laryngotracheitis

    Synonyms: LT, ILT, trach, laryngo

    Species affected: Chickens and pheasants are affected by LT. Chickens 14 weeks and older are more susceptible than young chickens. Most LT outbreaks occur in mature hens. In recent years, LT has also caused significant respiratory problems in broilers greater than 3 weeks of age, especially during the cooler seasons of the year. This is believed to be due to unwanted spread of LT vaccines between poultry flocks.

    Clinical signs: The clinical sign usually first noticed is watery eyes. Affected birds remain quiet because breathing is difficult. Coughing, sneezing, and shaking of the head to dislodge exudate plugs in the windpipe follow. Birds extend their head and neck to facilitate breathing (commonly referred to as "pump handle respiration"). Inhalation produces a wheezing and gurgling sound. Blood-tinged exudates and serum clots are expelled from the trachea of affected birds. Many birds die from asphyxiation due to a blockage of the trachea when the tracheal plug is freed (see Table 1 ).

    Transmission: LT is spread by the respiratory route. LT is also spread from flock to flock by contaminated clothing, shoes, tires, etc. Birds that recover should be considered carriers for life. LT may be harbored in speciality poultry such as exhibition birds and game fowl.

    Treatment: Incinerate dead birds, administer antibiotics to control secondary infection, and vaccinate the flock. Mass vaccination by spray or drinking water method is not recommended for large commercial or caged flocks. Individual bird administration by the eye-drop route is suggested. Follow manufacturers instructions. In small poultry flocks, use a swab to remove plug from gasping birds, and vaccinate by eye-drop method.

    Prevention: Vaccinate replacement birds for outbreak farms. Vaccination for LT is not as successful as for other disease, but is an excellent preventive measure for use in outbreaks and in epidemic areas. Refer to the publication PS-36 (Vaccination of Small Poultry Flocks) for more information on LT vaccinations.

    Great. I think we might have to drive back down to the market where we got them and see what the breeder has to say for himself. [​IMG]
     
  5. ND

    ND Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wouldn't be TOO hasty to blame the seller/breeder. It's possible he knew he had infected birds, sure.
    It's also possible that he had no idea.
    And it's possible the birds were exposed at the market where you got them. Even by a potential buyer... someone could have tended to an infected flock, gone to the market and not changed shoes/clothing, and handled the birds or otherwise exposed them to the illness. If there were other birds at this market, they could've been exposed by them... or even if you'd looked at/handled other birds or even walked over ground where infected birds had been, etc.

    Some chronic illnesses can even be passed from hen to egg...and the chick will be a carrier and get sick when under stress.
    The birds could have been carriers, unbeknown to the breeder-- and it only surfaced during the stress of the move.


    You might still want to contact him and let him know... but, it IS entirely possible that they weren't infected but were just exposed somehow at the market. Keep that in mind when/if you confront the breeder.



    Many of the respiratory illness share similar symptoms, too. Are you sure it's ILT? The pictures I've seen of ILT were pretty graphic...quite obvious strings of bloody tissue being coughed up, hanging from the birds' beaks. This is what they're coughing up/choking on... but perhaps it's just later stages.

    Coryza is supposed to have a very bad smell that accompanies it... smell their heads/face. Do they smell?

    CRD is a 'lump name', I believe, that can cover a number of infectious respiratory illnesses. Several of them aren't quite as severe (mortality and graphic coughing up of bloody, stringy tissue) as ILT.

    If you don't want to cull them, get some Tylan 50 injectable and start dosing them orally. One dose a day at the dose for their size/age. I find it's easiest to grab them off a roost at night, wrap their body snugly in a towel, just their beak poking out, hold firmly and get it in them. I wouldn't wait for night if they are in really poor shape and you can catch them easily. Wrap them snugly in a towel, it helps contain them, keep them calm(er), especially if their eyes are covered. To dose them orally, you will need to get a small needless syringe, fill with the right dosage, and when you get it in their beak (can be tricky at first), gently put the syringe WAY toward the back of their throat...with a small syringe, even tip it DOWN their throat a bit. Their trachea is right at the back of their tongue... a separate hole... you want to get past this, otherwise you risk them inhaling the dose into their lungs. Some people use a piece of small tubing (like air hose tubing for aquarium pumps) to ease further down their throats, but it's easy enough to get a small syringe back and down on an adult or nearly adult chicken. (especially once you figure it out!)

    You'll see improvement in two doses or so... if the Tylan is going to help. Continue it for 5 days.
    IMO, treat all exposed birds at the same time/length.

    Or cull...sanitize, sanitize, sanitize. Some of these things don't live very long in the environment. Hours, days....without a host. However, SOME of them I've read can stay dormant in the coop/run for up to 6 months in cooler conditions!

    Some of these things can even be transmitted by wild birds... so even with the best of bio-security practices... you could STILL find yourself with an infected flock out of 'nowhere'. (Who knew? I sure didn't when I decided to get chickens!)
     
  6. mama24

    mama24 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You're right, I am probably overreacting. They are definitely not coughing anything up, so that probably isn't what they have. I think my first guess with the bronchitis is probably the right diagnosis. But they don't have runny noses at all, just respiratory symptoms, coughing, wheezing. My largest hen seems to be feeling a little better today. Only 1 had a watery eye, and it was just one eye, and not bad. I just opened the door to their shed to let them out (the 2 sick ones stayed in all day yesterday) and her tail was up and she was clucking, which I take as a good sign. She's still coughing and wheezing, but she's moving a lot faster, and her tail is up like I said. The other that came down with it yesterday seems a little worse today, but doesn't sound as bad as our large hen did yesterday. So I take that all as a good sign. Hopefully they'll be all better soon, and the other 2 won't catch it. The rooster and the hen that didn't get sick both seemed less stressed by the move here. That probably had a lot to do with it. They are both friendlier. I don't think any of them were handled much where they were raised, so they're not used to people. I guess it's a big stressful change to go from a poultry farm in the country to family pets in a city backyard.

    Where will I find the Tylan? Tractor Supply? Tractor supply is pretty far away, but we have a Petsmart 2 blocks away. Think they might have something there? I noticed they had a lot of drugs for parrots last time I was there. Maybe I'll check there first before I drive all the way out to Tractor Supply. I think I am going to hold off on giving it to them, regardless. I don't like the idea of treating a virus with antibiotics. That's how we've gotten resistant strains after all. If they're not feeling better 5 days after the onset of symptoms, I'll start them on it. Thanks so much again for your help! [​IMG]
     
  7. ND

    ND Chillin' With My Peeps

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    TSC will have it... a typical pet store won't.
    You may find it at some feed stores (look in the livestock meds- for cows)
    Be sure if you buy it, that you also get a syringe with a needle to draw it out of the bottle.
    It should run around $10, give or take. (Well, that's what it is around here)

    Or look for the water soluble version of it... Tylan... it'll be in a pouch in powder form. Mix in water accordingly.


    If they do NOT develop any secondary infections (which are common with these things), they may be Ok just running the course of the illness... a week or two.
    If you get stuck shut eyes, or big problems with breathing-- extreme listlessness, etc... you may have a secondary infection going on that the meds will help.
    Just keep an eye on them and an eye on their droppings to make sure they stay within the "normal range".

    Here's a link to pictures of droppings showing what's normal and what's not-- gross, but really helpful! http://www.chat.allotment.org.uk/index.php?topic=17568.0]
     
  8. mama24

    mama24 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for that gross link! Gross but really helpful! [​IMG] I was wondering about a few of the poos I've seen, but it looks like they all fall w/in the normal range. [​IMG] They did have antibiotics for pet birds at PetSmart, several different kinds, actually. But they run about $8 for enough to treat 1 chicken for 2 days! lol. Probably last a LOT longer if you have canaries or something. I did take some home just in case I thought they needed it ASAP at some point, but I think I'll return it and just get some Tylan next time I'm at TSC to have on hand just in case. They're looking much better. I was out all morning, but now all 4 of them are out and about in the yard looking good! I couldn't hear their breathing b/c they wouldn't let me get close, but I figure if they're moving that fast, they must be feeling much better! I did get some powdered vitamins with probiotics to put in their water. Probably not great quality since I got it at PetSmart, but I figure extra vitamins are never a bad idea when you're sick.

    They look and smell fine, just coughing and wheezing, and slightly lethargic and carrying their tails kind of limply. Those are their only symptoms. They're out there sun- and dust-bathing, so I think they're feeling a little better today! Yay! I am very much relieved! THanks so much for your help! I probably sound neurotic, but these are my first chicken, I don't know what the heck I'm doing!
     
  9. DelawareSilkie

    DelawareSilkie Out Of The Brooder

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    I know exactly what you're going through. I have some infected chickens of my own. I still have no idea what disease ails them, I think I narrowed it down to to eithr a low form of Mycoplasmosis or some other type of respiratory disease. They exihibit the common signs of a cold: some rales, sneezing. But they seem to act fine and run around and whatnot.

    In any case, I want to be safe not sorry. So can I give my pulls some injectable Tylan? I have them on some tetracycline, so I was wondering if the antibiotic would hinder the vaccine. Again just to be safe.
     
  10. mama24

    mama24 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Bumping for update.

    btw, I found the Tylan50 at a store called Southern States that is MUCH closer than TSC to my house. They also sell pine bedding and feed, so I will probably never have a reason to go all the way to TSC again. [​IMG] I've been giving them 1ml by dropper daily.
     

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