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Hen not doing well. Difficulty breathing, and gasping *update*

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Blue_Myst, Jun 3, 2011.

  1. Blue_Myst

    Blue_Myst Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2009
    I've been having a lot of trouble with one of my Buff Orpington hens. She is 3 years old and free ranges often, and was very healthy up until this point. Nearly a month ago I saw that she was making gasping motions and having trouble breathing. There were no bubbles in the eyes or swelling. She would make little sniffling sounds when she breathed, and that was the only symptom. I figured it may be gapeworm. I researched it and decided to deworm her with fenbendazole, which is supposed to take care of gapeworm. She was still having a little trouble so I had her on the antibiotic Duramycin for about four days. I would have continued a week, but she nose-dived, and she almost died. Her crop stopped, but after many massages it started emptying again a day or two later.

    After this treatment she was fine. She would run around, peck in the dirt, and act just as a normal chicken should. Then, about a week later, all the symptoms came back [​IMG] I bought the Safeguard (fenbendazole) horse dewormer paste and gave her perhaps six or seven treatments (about an eraser size dot for each treatment) two to three days apart for a while. She never got fully better.

    I have her on antibiotics now (Duramycin again), and it is now day ten of her treatment. I have not seen much improvement at all. It's as if no matter what I do, whatever this stuff is keeps coming back. Her breathing is worse on cold days, and she's lost weight.

    Any thoughts on what it could be? Is there anything I've forgotten to do? I'm scared to give her any larger dose of dewormer. I'm perhaps doubling the recommended dosage as it is.

    Thank you for any ideas!
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2011
  2. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Do NOT give her anymore wormer. If she had gapeworm with the staggered treatments of fenbendazole you gave her, they would be dead by now. Gasping motions, trouble breathing and little sniffling sounds could also mean something in the environment could be causing this...pollen, dust, smoke etc...or possibly some type of CRD.
    Also, perhaps if you took a sample of her poop to a vet and have them look at it, they could not only check for worm oocysts, but cocci as well. I seriously doubt they'll find any worm oocysts after the safeguard use, but cocci is a possibility. It's normal to have a few cocci show up on the slide, but if the cocci is out of control, it will show on the slide. If her poop is green/yellow diarhhea, you could possibly be dealing with a serious bacterial infection such as E Coli. I dont believe you've mentioned anything about the color or consistancy of her poop though.
    Then again, you mentioned that crop massaging saved her life. Maybe a crop issue not passing the feed along resulting in weight loss. There's many possibilities that are difficult to nail down which one(s) are causing this...or even ones that are as yet unknown.
  3. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    If at all possible, have an avian vet emergently see her - she needs relief. Alternatively, if that is not possible, consider calling Peter Brown at First State Vet Supply:


    He is very knowledgeable and can direct you to or send you meds he recommends. If you can, do so immediately as it sounds like every minute counts at this point, and every minute is hard for her...

    I hope very much that she can be helped. Please keep us posted. Thanks.

  4. Blue_Myst

    Blue_Myst Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2009
    Thank you both! I won't give her any more wormer. You know, it very well could be something in the environment aggravating it. When she got better, she'd been in the garage and later the house for a few days--she would have been shielded from anything outside.

    I think I just found a place that does fecal exams for "exotic" animals, so I will look into that further.

    Her stools were quite runny for a while, but after her crop started working again it was back to normal. It still has a slight yellowish tint to it, I just figured it was from the medicine since the duramycin seems to turn it yellow. Maybe she does have an E Coli infection. I haven't seen any blood so far.

    I'll give her crop another exam tonight. She's been eating normally, thank goodness, so I know it's not her appetite that's the problem.

    Thank you for the link, jjthink! I'm looking for avian vets in my area, and I think I found one. If it doesn't work out I'll try Peter Brown.

    I know there may be many things wrong with her--maybe she's even had lung damage and that's why nothing is helping. I've been giving her probiotics, yogurt, and poultry nutri-drench mixed to at least help her to feel better, and I keep ACV in her water always.
  5. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Another possibility is hot temperatures. I dont know where you live, but hot temps affect them greatly, especially in older hens. My EE hen walks around with her mouth open honking like a duck. They also open their wings a little when it's real hot.
  6. Blue_Myst

    Blue_Myst Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2009
    Just thought I'd give an update. [​IMG]

    The hen is still the same as when I had her on antibiotics, but not any worse, either. I've called the avian vet in my area, but, and I feel really bad for saying this, the prices were way too high. I'm tossing around the idea of doing a gram stain test, but it sounds like it's very inconclusive and just to tell you if your bird is sick, not the 'what' or 'why'.

    I've found a place with Tylan 50, which is something I'd like on hand in case it's my last resort. I'm just giving her the healthiest diet I can while waiting for the medicine to arrive.

    Thank you for your support, hopefully I'll have some better news to report, soon!

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