HELP, tumors ALL inside of hen....

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by PineBurrowPeeps, Sep 1, 2009.

  1. I found my sons 1.5 year old black sumatra hen (LF) laying on the ground outside the run this morning, on her side, panting and just generally being sick.
    Concerned that she had been out all night and hadn't come in for bed (she's a very active escape artist normally) and had been attacked by something I started to look her over. Under her on the ground was some very runny white and clear poo and when I picked her up she pooped all over me. I noted then that her stomach was quiet swollen and hot to the touch.
    I offered her some water and grain and kept her seperately from the other animals, she was so docile I put her on top of my well area (a large cement pad) in my front yard and left her, I knew she wasn't going to go flying off. I then went about my morning chores.
    As I'm doing chores I started to think about the last time I had gotten an egg from her, my first suspect was that she was internally laying due to the swelling, and she is our ONLY white egg layer. We haven't had a white egg in quite some time.
    I dipped her beak on my way inside after chores and then went inside.
    A little while later my 9 year old son (this is his beloved bird) is SCREAMING and running out the door about "Speeder" (the sick hen) being attacked by our very docile tom turkey who was raised with this hen.
    I run outside and we shoo away the turkey who was just about to scalp her when I ran out. Now missing half her head feathers I carry her like a baby inside. My son is crying. He's begging me to help her and that he doesn't want her to just die. This was his first chicken, they are best buds, probably the only "pet" chicken on the farm.

    I have had great results doing surgery on my own birds in the past. I never take it lightly. I explained to him that I could try to open her up and see what was causing the swelling or that we could just make her comfortable and wait for her to die naturally. He wanted me to try and save her.
    I get set up, disposable towels, syringes, scalple, sutures, needle, plastic spoon and bowl for scooping anything out that's in there that needs to come out, and so on and so forth...
    I wrap the hen tightly in a towel so she is on her back and her bottom area is open. I dry pluck some feathers on her lower abdomen where I plan to make the inscision. I wash my hands very well, and put on rubber gloves. I swab the surgery area with antiseptic. I make a lateral incision about 2" wide on the lower abdomen. I am careful not to nick anything on cutting the second layer, minimal blood, then a giant GUSH of clear fluid, and more and more and more.
    I'm estimating that nearly 2 1/2 cups of fluid came out of her. I have never seen anything like it. I kept use steril sponges to soak it all up and more kept coming, with every deep breath she took more would ooze out. At this point I started to get very nervous but I had her open on the table and there was nothing I could do but proceed.
    At one point I actually removed her from the house and turned her right side up with still wrapped in her towel to let the remaining fluid come out. There was alot and it was causing all the swelling we were seeing.
    At this point she perked up considerably and went from doing open mouth breathing and laying there like a lump to starting to move around and make some noises, I personally took this as a good sign that the reduced pressure from the fluid made her feel better.
    I still needed to take a look at her organs to see what was going on in there to cause all this fluid.
    I widened my incision just a little more and with a flashlight in my mouth move her skin away so I can see what things are looking like in there. I see a jelly like yellowish blob in the way and I poke at it and find it is moveable, I remove it and it looks like some part of the egg making process.
    Then I take a closer look. And her ENTIRE body on the inside was covered in small, medium, large tumors for lack of a better work. It was at this point that I could clearly see that her liver was covered, etc. I decided and acted on the spot and put her down right them. I couldn't see a bird covered like that surviving long if at all. Who knows how long she had been like that and we never knew. I will be having nightmares about this.
    I then opened her up for a better look.
    The growths range from size of a pencil eraser to size of a half dollar in size and some are perfectly round and seemed to be free floating in the abdominal cavity while others were attached to organs and had even invaded them. Her liver was a mess with them, and they had grown into her liver. The color of the liver was normal. They are white to tanish to yellowish in color and are firm yet fleshy. When cut open they are the same inside as out, maybe a little lighter in color.
    Her heart was very pale, the palest heart I have ever seen in a chicken.

    I am hoping and praying that someone here will know what on earth I have encountered because I am QUITE worried about this. I have bleached out my entire kitchen twice now where I performed the surgery and necropsy.
    Should I be concerned in catching anything from handling this?
  2. journey11

    journey11 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 14, 2009
    Because you say the tumors were firm, I would think it might be some type of metastatic cancer.

    I am sorry you had to go through something so traumatic and that your son has lost his chicken buddy.

  3. Really, you've got to do what you've got to do and she was probably a hour from death on her own.
    Many people here have also performed surgery (and caponizing) on their birds without anesthesia. And I'm very glad I did honestly because if I hadn't, she would have died on her own and been buried and that be it. We would have never know what was going on inside her, which I am worried could affect the rest of my flock now.
  4. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    Anyway you can have one of the tumors tested to see what it is?
  5. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

    Feb 11, 2008
    Waterloo, Nebraska
  6. pips&peeps

    pips&peeps There is no "I" in Ameraucana

    Jan 18, 2008
    Newman Lake, WA
  7. TXmom

    TXmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    I totally understand you did what you had to do. I have also read about people doing surgeries (including for impacted crop) with great success, without anesthesia. Chickens are not humans and I think it's highly likely they don't feel the same kind of pain we do.

    Anyways, back on topic...could it be Mareks? I pulled this from Wikipedia:

    "Occasionally misdiagnosed as an abtissue pathology it is caused by an alphaherpesvirus known as Marek's disease virus (MDV) or gallid herpesvirus 2 (GaHV-2). The disease is characterized by presence of T cell lymphoma as well as infiltration of nerves and organs by lymphocytes.[1]"
  8. lotzahenz

    lotzahenz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 28, 2008
    Lexington, Kentucky
    I think "Andora" on here had tumors in her necropsy last year. She had a hen with an external tumor. I'll go check my poultry health handbook and repost.

    The incision is not really that painful, and the relief after it was literally "relief". We've been making Capons for 100's of years, same difference. At least the bird did not suffer a long, drawn-out death. It very well could be contageous, so be careful. Wash your clothes and shoes and shower, of course. Oh, and bleach your keyboard. I doubt it is zoonotic (caught by humans) but you can't be too sure. I'd watch the other birds, may just be cancer.

    Hold a minute, HenZ
  9. WriterofWords

    WriterofWords Has Fainting Chickens

    Dec 25, 2007
    Chaparral, New Mexico
    Wow poor sweetie, all that inside of her!
    And there had better not be any stone throwing here especially if you've cut open bumblefoot, caponized, cleaned out a crop, etc.
  10. Chicky Tocks

    Chicky Tocks [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2666.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG] Ru

    Oct 20, 2008
    Benton, Arkansas
    [​IMG] I know that you did all that you could do.

    I saw a photo where someone here (can't remember who) had a bird that was eggbound. The photos were as you've described. This bird had what appeared to be 20 or more little round balls inside of the cavity. I do remember that it was one of our male members....he said the hen was eggbound. It was as if the eggs were backing up inside of the hen all through the cavity.

    Maybe that? I'll see if I can find that photo for you.

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