1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

HELP! Single Indoor Chicken - Leg Paralysis, Lethargic, Diarrhea, Not Eating (Botulism?)

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by EnemyAirship, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. EnemyAirship

    EnemyAirship Out Of The Brooder

    10
    0
    22
    Aug 5, 2014
    Los Angeles, CA
    1) What type of bird , age and weight
    3 year old bantam Serama (Pee-Pee)


    2) What is the behavior, exactly.
    Last Tuesday I was out of town for business, and my DH called me to inform me that he got home from work around 8 and found her in her nest (she laid an egg). She walked out and squawked and he ran over to find her on the ground, unable to use her legs. She just sits on her hocks now.


    3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms?
    1 Week

    4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?
    She is the only one in the house-- she is an indoor chicken.

    5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.
    No signs on trauma or injury.
    Legs are very weak-- I placed her in the grass yesterday and she can move her legs, but cannot support herself. She sits on her hocks.
    Her comb is red now...initially it was very pale when her illness first struck her.


    6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.
    DH found a leaking pipe in bathroom, and we never noticed any mildew/mold smell as we have scents. But he found that the wood from underneath cabinets have soaked up much water and are moldy-- previous tenants did not use sealant.
    Since she lives indoors, she may have eaten something she found on the floor?


    7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all.
    Initially she would not eat or drink anything EXCEPT mealworms. Now she will not eat on her own.
    I am feeding her 20mls of Exact Baby Bird Formula 3 times her day by syringe.


    8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.
    Diarrhea at each feeding-- green and watery.

    9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?
    Took her to the vet (this one was NOT an Avian Specialist) and they did X-Rays, stool sample. Vet stated she looks like she has infection in her chest, and may have strained herself if she was weak from sickness. Stool sample was negative for parasites.
    Vet issued her Orbax (Orboflaxacin) as antibiotic, Metacam (Meloxicam) as pain killer, and diluted calcium. All medications issued by syringe.


    I was afraid she had Aspergillosis (mold infection), so I have given her garlic in her daily feedings.
    In addition to that, I am giving her B12 capsules once per day by syringe.



    Please, if you have any insight to what this may be, I would greatly appreciate any suggestions to treatment.
    We are seeing an Avian Specialist on Friday (soonest they could fit us in), so we can try to get a second opinion or better treatment.
    I have always used this board as a source of information for raising her, and since she is a single indoor chicken-- I never thought I would be posting to the Emergencies/Illness board.


    Any help would be greatly appreciated...she is my pride and joy. We take her to the park and beach a couple times a week so that she can graze the grass and roll in the sand. I do not have kids, so she is my child and I have so much love and emotion for her...
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2014
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    28,044
    2,082
    468
    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    I would give her chicken vitamins or a B Complex tablet dissolved in her water daily. Rooster Booster makes a Vitamin With Lactobacillus that includes probiotics. The all B vitamins could help if it was a problem with riboflavin which can cause sitting on the hocks. Viral arthritis is another illness that can cause sitting on hocks, but the hocks will be swollen. Aspergillosis can affect the respiratory system, and if it is chronic, it can affect other systems such as the nervous system. Here is a little about it: http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=15+1829&aid=2384
     
  3. EnemyAirship

    EnemyAirship Out Of The Brooder

    10
    0
    22
    Aug 5, 2014
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thank you so much for your response,

    As of Saturday (I returned home from business on Friday night) I have been providing the liquid from B12 capsules once per day with her largest (25mls) Exact Formula feeding-- is this appropriate?

    She does not have labored breathing...would this rule out Aspergillosis?

    Prior to this, she would usually jump/fly up to roost on our chairs and hop back down with grace and ease. However, I did notice that the week prior to this, she was not as active and would more or less "flop" back to the floor, and it sounded like a heavier landing.

    [​IMG]

    Here is a photo of one of her X-Rays...the vet said she may have loss some bone density, but she eats oyster shells on a regular basis. She had just eaten mealworms and millet on Wednesday, so that's what's in her stomach. She refused to eat anything else, and now she will absolutely not eat or drink anything without assistance.
     
  4. EnemyAirship

    EnemyAirship Out Of The Brooder

    10
    0
    22
    Aug 5, 2014
    Los Angeles, CA
    Anyone have any additional insight?

    I took her out this morning for her feeding and she made a big poo that was NOT DIARRHEA!!!

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    28,044
    2,082
    468
    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Do any of her leg or foot joints look swollen? Did she have a mareks vaccine? Sometimes when I have a sick bird, they will almost always eat chopped up scrambled eggs. How are you feeding the baby food?
     
  6. EnemyAirship

    EnemyAirship Out Of The Brooder

    10
    0
    22
    Aug 5, 2014
    Los Angeles, CA
    No swollen joints-- she is with me at all times, and I will move her from time to time, so she is not putting too much pressure on her hocks or on one particular side.

    I don't believe she had Marek's vaccine, but she's able to move her legs around. She just cannot stand or put pressure on them.
    Also with the lethargic behavior, not eating, and being 3 years old I did not think it would be Marek's.

    As for scrambled eggs...she is not eating those either. Actually, she never enjoyed them!

    I am feeding her by syringe. I was thinking of moving towards tube feeding directly to her crop, but she seems to take the syringe feedings well (with some resistance of course).
    Yesterday she did eat 5 "Waxworms" on her own. She stared at them enticingly for a few moments before she decided she wanted to make the effort to eat.
     
  7. EnemyAirship

    EnemyAirship Out Of The Brooder

    10
    0
    22
    Aug 5, 2014
    Los Angeles, CA
    Does this sound like Botulism, from the way I described her condition?

    I know that if a chicken has Botulism, the feathers are easily pulled out due to the relaxed muscles from the toxins.
    Is this always the case? I tried tugging at her feathers, but they don't come out.

    I suspected each situation is different, so I went with my gut feeling and gave her an Epsom Salt flush last night.
    This morning she took a massive diarrhea, and is MUCH more lively!

    She "paddles" her feet when I pick her up now (this past week they would just flop down and hang underneath her), and is curiously pecking around her nest of towels.
    Her legs no longer shake/shiver, and they seem less stiff and rigid than previously.

    Can someone shed some insight on this?
    I'm not sure if it's the medications she's been on for the last week (no improvements prior to today), but I can't help but think the Epsom Salt flush was what improved her condition...
    Should I do another Epsom Salt flush tonight, since it seemed to help her?

    It's been over a week since the illness hit her-- I just really want to make sure I am doing everything I can for her!!!
    Please if someone has any input, I would greatly appreciate it and be so very grateful...
     
  8. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    28,044
    2,082
    468
    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    No the epsom salts will dehydrate her, and it is dangerous to give that unless you are sure she was poisoned. I am glad she is doing better. When they have botulism, they will have foot and leg paralysis which progresses up the spinal cord to wings, neck and eyelids, and finally death from respiratory failure. Maybe she is better because her medicines and vitamins in the food are finally working.
     
  9. EnemyAirship

    EnemyAirship Out Of The Brooder

    10
    0
    22
    Aug 5, 2014
    Los Angeles, CA
    Today she attempted to get on her feet to explore the grass each time I brought her out!
    She was very wobbly, was using her wings to balance herself, and it seemed like it was very draining for her-- but she was incredibly lively!

    I brought her over to the garden where she found a dirt patch, and she took a dust bath for a good hour...just flapping her wings and using her legs (although still weak) to roll around.

    After speaking with the Avian Vet, they agreed that it was most likely mild Botulism and told me to keep up the TLC and Pedialyte mixture, as there is no treatment.
    He asked about her poo and said the Epsom Salt flush was good thinking, and noted that she should make a full recovery, although it may take a few weeks for her legs to become as strong like they were before.

    As to HOW she may have gotten Botulism in the first place, I am thinking it was from her mealworms.
    DH said he did not refrigerate them (I always put them in the fridge after I feed some to her) when I was out of town.
    The Avian Vet said they create a good amount of warmth from moving around...dead worms, and the condensation from refrigeration to room temperature in warmer months would create an ideal environment for bacteria to build up in their sawdust.

    I really hope she continues to get stronger and better in health soon!
     
  10. EnemyAirship

    EnemyAirship Out Of The Brooder

    10
    0
    22
    Aug 5, 2014
    Los Angeles, CA
    UPDATE!!! 2 weeks after the initial Epsom Salt Flush, she is back on her feet and speed-walking!

    Miss Pee-Pee Chicken was in such good spirits that she laid an egg yesterday!

    She is eating and drinking small amounts on her own, but not enough to maintain her weight-- it seems her appetite has not fully returned.
    I am syringe-feeding her 3 times per day with 30ml mixture of Exact Baby Bird Formula, smashed up egg yolks, and Pedialyte.

    Does anyone have any recommendations on how I can improve her appetite?
    Or if you have an idea of how long it may take for her to eat as she did prior to her illness?

    I contacted the Avian Vet to see if they can provide me with some answers, but he said the time would vary depending on how severe the Botulism bacteria infected her.
    He mentioned that I should try to contact the previous non-Avian vet and try to get a refund for the medications they put her on, as they misdiagnosed her.
    As she had a mild case of Botulism, he stated they should have issued an antitoxin for her at the very start of her illness rather than guessing what was her ailment and issuing random antibiotics dedicated for cat & dog use.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by