Hen really run down--internal layer? Advice appreciated!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Blue_Myst, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. Blue_Myst

    Blue_Myst Songster

    Feb 5, 2009
    I've been really worried about one of my Rhode Island Red hens. She is about 2 1/2 years old, and hasn't laid in around 2 months (which is really unusual for her, as she was my best layer and gave me huge eggs nearly every day). I could tell she wasn't egg-bound because I didn't see evidence of a prolapse and she didn't act as if she had an infection. At this point I was almost sure she was laying internally. Before she stopped laying, she began to lay very unusually shaped, smaller eggs.

    Today I managed to get a good look at her abdomen. It was distended, and the skin was very red, quite like the internal layers I've seen here on the BYC forums. Her abdomen is hard, not squishy. Does this sound like classic egg-yolk peritonitis?

    As of late she has also developed a slight wheezing when she breathes. She has no bubbly eyes, no coughing, no sneezing, and no swollen eyelids, just a whistling, wheezing noise. Her crown has also become a darker, purple-red and appears to have shrunken slightly.

    I knew when I got Rhode Island Reds that I would have to deal with internal laying sooner or later, but I was really hoping I wouldn't have to deal with it in such a young hen. The worst part is that the avian vets around here are very expensive, and I don't know if they could do anything for her even if I brought her in at this point.

    So now comes my questions: what should I treat her with? I feel like I'm at a cross-roads here. I know penicillin has helped other hens with egg-yolk peritonitis, but I was hoping to treat her with Tylan for her respiratory issues. I'm really scared that if I use both, I'll end up breeding some antibiotic-resistant bacteria in my flock. If I treated her with penicillin, would this get rid of the respiratory problem, too?

    Thank you for any help you can give--this is one of my gentler hens and I would hate to lose her without exhausting all other options.

  2. klmclain1

    klmclain1 Songster

    Mar 14, 2011
    I recently had three hens with these (or very similar) symptoms not too long ago. I ended up going to the vet with the first one - he gave her penicillin and me two more syringes so I could administer it the next two days. Then I ordered my own penicillin online - I already have syringes. I administered it to the third hen. The second hen showed the symptoms over a weekend and died before I could get her to the vet or some penicillin.

    I don't know if it's exactly the same..but mine were expelling cooked egg yolk strings...lethargic, and had a minor wheeze. I think the wheezing might have been from abdominal pressure on their lungs so they were having a difficult time breathing.

    The penicillin made the first girl look brand new within a day. The third girl it took several days and 4 doses rather than 3. They're both doing great now (4-6 weeks later) but have yet to resume laying.

    I hope this helps!
  3. Blue_Myst

    Blue_Myst Songster

    Feb 5, 2009
    Thanks for the tip, klmclain1. [​IMG] I've ordered some penicillin and syringes, and hopefully will be able to start medication in a few days! I just hope she doesn't take a turn for the worst while I'm waiting. [​IMG]

    I'm glad the penicillin worked for your hens--I'm sure they'll start laying again when they've recovered.

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