Hen has canker (Trichomoniasis) - advice needed

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Rachel&Martin, Mar 31, 2008.

  1. Rachel&Martin

    Rachel&Martin In the Brooder

    Mar 30, 2008
    Hi there,

    I am a newbie chicken keeper and I would like thoughts/advice on whether or not to keep my chicken alive, or put her down. Apologies for the length of post - but I want to provide all the information that might help.

    I recently inherited a small flock of chickens (7 Hens and a very smart Rooster) from a family friend. We keep the birds for egg production - not as pets - but I am rapidly becoming very attached to my little group.

    One of the girls (Lady) arrived with canker. This is my diagnosis based on info posted on this site and the Merck Vet Manual (the 'cheesy' mass in her beak looks identical to photos shown on this site).

    Having diagnosed canker, we isolated Lady straight away, and started to treat all the chickens with the copper sulphate solution recommended (on other threads here). I kept the main flock on the solution for 7 days - they all seem incredibly well and no signs of canker in the beaks of any of them.

    Lady has now been in isolation for 9 days. The canker had got so bad that she couldn't close her beak properly - which has meant she has had difficulty eating and drinking (very little evidence of droppings). She has also been having problems preening, and got clumps of matted feathers (I think from her saliva) at the base of her wings.

    I figured as she is still alive after 9 days she must be eating and drinking - as I have heard that chickens can't survive more than 2 days without water - is this right?

    In addition to giving her the copper sulphate solution as her drinking water, I have been swabbing her mouth about 4 or 5 times a day using cotton buds soaked in the solution and actively trying to remove the canker. I am trying to soften and pry the canker loose, and a lot of material has come off already. At the end of each 'treatment' I am now also swabbing her mouth with olive oil in case this does a better job of softening/loosening the mass. It is now at the stage where she can (just about) close her beak - and this evening I tried feeding her on cat food (another tip picked up from browsing this site - thanks!) which she could manage (I think because it was large enough to grasp and soft enough to swallow) and ate plenty of.

    In addition, I gave her a bath with warm water with a little bit of antibacterial washing up liquid in it - and her feathers seem a lot better for it.

    Obviously, I am prepared to put in the effort needed to help Lady get better - but I have started to think this might not be the best course of action.

    Now for the questions....

    Q1: I have read that even if a bird recovers from canker they remain a carrier for the rest of their life. I am taking this to mean that if Lady recovers I should not put her back with the main flock. Is this right, or given than my birds were all together, is it likely that they are now all carriers anyway (even though the other 7 have shown no sign of canker)?

    Q2: As she seems very depressed in her isolation unit, I am not convinced that keeping her alive to then keep her alone is fair on her. Comments and thoughts are sought on this. Could the depression be because she is under the weather? I am in a dilemma as if she is genuinely depressed to be by herself, and I nurse her better then she has nothing but a life of misery ahead of her.

    Q3: If I put her back in, would watering them all on copper sulphate for a week every 3-4 months keep the canker under control/stop any cankers from developing?

    Q4: If I carry on treating Lady, am I doing the right thing by trying to physically remove the canker? If yes, any advice on best way to do this.

    Q5: Again, if I carry on treating are there any other good foodstuffs anyone can recommend while she is not so good at eating?

    Q6: Does anyone have experience of canker where the bird recovered/survived - or am I simply prolonging Ladys misery?

    Many thanks
  2. Pine Grove

    Pine Grove Songster

    Jul 18, 2007
    Lakeland, Ga
    Methronidazole[ Fish-Zole] 250mg per day for 5 days..copper sulfate once a month will keep it at bay
  3. Rachel&Martin

    Rachel&Martin In the Brooder

    Mar 30, 2008
    Hi there,

    thanks for the tip - can anyone help me with the UK trade name for metronidazole - and whether or not it can be bought over the counter or needs a prescription.

  4. Ericasl

    Ericasl Songster

    Feb 21, 2008
    The Dalles OR
    Hello I am sorry I cannot help you with your sick hen, but I just wanted to say you are trying very hard to help her and that is very sweet. It is shocking how fast they grab your heart. Please let us know how she is doing and welcome to the site there is so much great info here.[​IMG]
  5. chcknrs

    chcknrs Songster

    Mar 7, 2008
    Kelso, WA
    Trade name in US is Flagyl, call your chemist and ask what the name would be in the UK. They should be able to help you. If not, ask what the common anti-flaggelate for trichomoniasis is. Should be the same.
  6. Rachel&Martin

    Rachel&Martin In the Brooder

    Mar 30, 2008
    Thanks for the kind comments & help - will try to get hold of some AB for her. Got side tracked as someone drove into our house on Saturday...its still standing but swamped with insurance and loss adjustor types at the moment.

    On the positive side - I have now managed to remove most of the canker - Lady is eating normally - talking much more - getting much harder to treat and all round seems perkier! So hopefully she is on the mend.

    Will she def need antibiotics? Or if she seems better will the copper sulphate have dealt with the canker?

    Still seeking advice on whether or not I should put her back with the other chickens....

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