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Hen has advanced Egg Yolk Peritonitis, how long does she have?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Aryetheral Waalburgus, Aug 10, 2018.

  1. Aryetheral Waalburgus

    Aryetheral Waalburgus In the Brooder

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    I've diagnosed my three year old Production Red, Ariana, with Egg Yolk Peritonitis. She shows all of these symptoms:

    • Pale comb/wattle
    • Sometimes lays down in the middle of the yard for no reason
    • Difficulty/reluctance to move about (this one not as much)
    • Reluctant to walk around and scratch; lack of interest in surroundings
    • Going off lay
    • Loss of condition – can be assessed by feeling over the keel (breast) bone muscle mass: in chronically ill birds they often lose the majority of this muscle mass
    • Faecal matter stuck around vent
    • Look in poor feather condition (not preening)
    • Very large abdominal bulge (about the size of a soft-ball)
    She's been off lay for maybe eight months? The abdominal bulge is recent to the last two weeks.

    Given it's size, any guesses as to how long she's got left?
    Any opinions as to whether to put her down?

    Thank you.
     
  2. rebrascora

    rebrascora Crowing

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    If she is not still able to enjoying doing chicken things like scratching, foraging and preening and she is soiling herself and she has a terminal reproductive issue then in my opinion, now would be the time to end it for her, before she gets any worse.
    Your other possibility might be to try draining her and see if that gives her enough relief to pick up a bit.... assuming there is some fluid to drain. How is her breathing? Is she struggling with that?
    Birds that are soiling themselves are prone to fly strike so you need to keep her cleaned up regularly if you chose not to euthanize her yet. If she is not preening and dust bathing then lice will probably become an issue, so she will need delousing. Once she loses interest in food that would definitely be time to help her out of her suffering. When you have seen the insides of a hen with these issues, you realise how much discomfort they must have been in and that makes it easier to make the decision to end it.
    I'm sorry, it is never an easy thing to deal with. If you want to try draining her I can post a video which explains and illustrates the process very well.
     
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Free Ranging Premium Member 7 Years

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    I have had a few hens like yours who have lived a couple of years, and some only a few months. Some will move around with the rest of the flock, and lie around while the others forage. As long as they eat, drink, get on the roost, and get around, I leave them alone. Once in awhile, I will have to help one down from the 3 ft. tall roost in the morning, but most run out the door with the others and seem to enjoy the others’ company. When they stop eating, separate themselves from others, or start being pecked at by other chickens, I put them down. So, basically, they will kind of let you know when it is time to go.
     
  4. Aryetheral Waalburgus

    Aryetheral Waalburgus In the Brooder

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    I am interested in this video, however, I'm not sure if there is any fluid. Her bulge is very firm.
     
  5. rebrascora

    rebrascora Crowing

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    This is the video...


    Can you post a photo of your hen and the location of her swelling. Is it hanging between her legs or a bit higher up below her vent? Eventually the mass of egg material inside her will put pressure on her internal organs including her lower digestive tract, often causing a partial blockage and toxic waste material will build up in the gut. The crop will become slow and sometimes sour as she gets backed up. Poop becomes mostly white urates from the kidneys with little or no normal faeces and the bird starts to act sick because they are going into toxic shock. Sometimes it will put pressure on the heart and/or liver or respiratory system. Sometimes the egg material will become infected (Egg Yolk Peritonitis) and the bird will become sick but often the egg material can stay relatively benign and it is the sheer mass and volume of it putting pressure on other organs which does for the chicken.
    Draining it (if there is a fluid element) may buy her some time but she could also go into shock from the sudden loss of pressure and die as a result. The bird may also have a heart attack from the stress of having it done. It depends on how comfortable the bird is with being handled. The needle can pierce the gut and cause an abdominal infection if there wasn't one before, so there are lots of things to consider before picking up a needle and giving it a go. If you feel there isn't any fluid, then I would not try.
     
  6. micstrachan

    micstrachan Crowing Premium Member

    @rebrascora, why do you ask about the location of the swelling? Is ascites typically low and fat typically high? I ask because Ruby (Buckeye... such an awesome, friendly, curious, adventurous girl) has a pink bulge below her vent toward the back. Fiercely squats (hormones), but I’m not sure she’s laying & is only in her second year.
    @Aryetheral Waalburgus, I am hoping for the best with your girl and did not intend to hijack your thread. Need to learn the location of swelling significance, though. Thanks!
     
    Aryetheral Waalburgus likes this.
  7. Trux

    Trux Songster

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    :goodpost: Great video Thanks for posting:thumbsup
     
  8. rebrascora

    rebrascora Crowing

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    With ascites the fluid settles in the lowest part of the abdominal cavity, because that is what fluid does. If there is internal laying, the yolks either float above because of the fat they contain or get trapped in between the gut, but either way, they sit higher in the abdominal cavity. So if the belly is hanging low and heavy between the legs it usually indicates ascites, whereas if it is salpingitis and an impacted oviduct, the mass is supported higher up in the body as a result of the location of the tract, so the swelling will be higher up and more around and just below the vent. Fatty deposits can build up in both locations but they will not have the heavy fluid feel of ascites and not usually "hang" low between the legs, but just be more of a fullness or flabby feeling.
    Not sure I have described that terribly well but it has been a long day and I am on the verge of sleep!
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member 5 Years

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    Have had a couple with ascites, tried to nurse the first one along for a about a week, but she wouldn't eat at all, just drank a lot with nothing but watery poops and so euthanized. Did a DIY necropsy and she had about a quart of fluid in there and lesions all over her knotted up intestines. Next times it happened I euthanized pretty quickly and again found lesions and another had a black yolk inside. If a bird won't eat or drink on it's own, I don't go too far with interventions.

    I isolate such birds in a wire cage within the coop for a day or two....so I can closely monitor their intake of food and water, crop function(checking at night and in morning before providing more feed), and their poops. Feel their abdomen, from below vent to between legs, for squishy or hard swelling.

    Best to put crate right in coop or run so bird is still 'with' the flock.
    I like to use a fold-able wire dog crate (24"L x 18"W x 21"H) with smaller mesh(1x2) on bottom of crate under tray.
    Then you can put tray underneath crate to better observe droppings without it being stepped in. If smaller mesh is carefully installed, tray can still be used inside crate.
     
  10. Aryetheral Waalburgus

    Aryetheral Waalburgus In the Brooder

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    Her poop is very runny and non-existent., but her crop seems full, so I assume she's getting a slow crop. I'm not going to try draining, it because her bulge is very firm, but I took some pictures and illustrated where the bulge is. 1sbackview.png 1sideview.png 1sfrontview.png 1sotherbackview.png 20180812_095843.jpg 20180812_100703.jpg
     
    micstrachan and aart like this.

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