Hen autopsy, some strange findings


10 Years
Mar 11, 2010
Frederick, MD
I euthanized my 2.5 y/o dominique hen today. She had been swollen up with fluids in her abdomen for a while and was lethargic, hardly eating or moving, she was still pooping. Rather than keep draining her I decided it was time for her to be in peace.

So afterwards we opened her up because I was curious what caused the fluid buildup (I drained about 4 cups from her before opening her). The liquid was light yellow and clear, no cloudiness.

As you can see from the picture below, she had hardly any meat left on her. This is a picture of the breast.

When I opened her up the heart, kidneys and spleen looked fine, the ovaries had yolks to be but they were translucent. Is that how yolks in the ovary are supposed to look? Here's a picture, any idea what the white things are in there?

Then the intestines. They were hard to the touch, and were all fused together. I could not separate the duodenum, small and large intestines. I cut it open and could see no worms. On one part was a blisterlike growth filled with fluid. Here is a picture. This was the entire intestinal tract. I have a feeling that this might have been the true cause of her illness, whatever it was.

The liver had some strange white nodules on one part of it. Don't know if that is normal for a 2.5 y/o hen.

Anybody have any idea what ailed my chicken? I have no other chickens with the same symptoms, so I don't think it is anything contagious.

Your help is appreciated, as always.
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The only way to truly tell what she died of is to have a veterinarian send the tissue off for microscopic evaluation. The lesions on her liver could have been caused by parasites, infection, or neoplasia.

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