hen suddenly went blind; both eyes dilated; link to photos

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by islandchicken, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. islandchicken

    islandchicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 19, 2009
    I am hoping someone can recognize what is going on with this young hen. She is a feral bird who suddenly was hiding, etc. Upon inspection, she is totally blind in both eyes. The eyes look clear but are very dilated. Thinking it might be poison or a poison plant, I tubed her active charcoal, started her on Baytril (as she had what appeared to be an air sac issue; that has resolved itself). I also have her on Roni-plus tabs to address any underlying parasitic problem. She cannot find food or water, so I have been tubing her. The eye issue has not changed since she came in five days ago. No response to a change in light (shining a flashlight). She otherwise looks very good -- clean, not a bad weight, so I believe whatever happened did so very quickly. There are other feral chickens in the same area, as well as migrating laughing gulls and wild pigeons. No one else appears to be ill (was thinking a poison plant?). She does not have any external injuries (no obvious hit by car or anything like that). I looked at all the links here and on the internet regarding chicken blindness and would like to rule out Mareks, etc. If she does not improve within the next few days, I will have her put down as she is not releasable due to lack of vision.

    Any help would be appreciated. Here is a link to several photos of her right eye (the left looks the same); any mark you see is reflection. Aside from the dilation, the eye looks normal.

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2078835605125.114594.1072061539&l=2abc746999

    Phyllis -- Island Birder
    St. John, US Virgin Islands
     
  2. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    This is really a shot in the dark, but I wonder if she has solanine poisoning? Are there many native solanaceae where you live? Nicotiniana? Solanine can cause pupil dilation. Good luck!
     
  3. islandchicken

    islandchicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 19, 2009
    Hi Gallo Del C --

    Thank you for the response. Yes, we have a variety of things around here including some that are blooming/fruiting this time of year. If this is that type of plant poisoning, is there a treatment for this? I hate to put the bird down if there is something I can do. Regarding a treatment -- think simple. This is a small island and, while we have a pharmacy, most of the stores would have things you would find at a city grocery store vs. a traditional stateside supermarket or large chain pharmacy.

    Thank you again --

    Phyllis
     
  4. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    I wouldn't put her down, at least not yet. The sudden onset sounds like food poisoning to me and plants in the nightshade family can contain atropine, scopolamine and solanine, which can cause pupil dilation. I have no idea how one would treat such a poisoning in a chicken and I wouldn't even try unless I knew for sure what caused the symptoms. I would simply wait it out for a day or so and maybe use a syringe to give her some water. Have you noticed any sort of changes in heart rate, labored breathing or an increased rate of breathing? How long has she exhibited these symptoms?
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011
  5. islandchicken

    islandchicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 19, 2009
    She has been having this problem for about a week. Someone saw her early on and thought she was having a neurological issue (which turned out to be her staring and listening because she did not know where she was). I have had her for the past five days and, aside from addressing the air sac issue, nothing has changed with the eye response or lack of eyesight.

    One thing I noticed is, when I went to address the air sac swelling, there was a reddish pin mark on her crop. I wonder if she could have gotten pricked by one of the cassia trees or something else poisonous, or gotten stung. Whatever happened, the net effect is total blindness with dilated eyes. My concern is that, with tubing fluids and food, there is no real change in the eye issue. (She was very, very dehydrated when she came in, and I sub Qed her fluids for two days. I am now able to address her fluid and food needs via tubing.)

    By the way, thanks for the great link on meal worm propagation. I have made some of the mistakes you mentioned (too much moisture), and may try again!!
     
  6. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    Oh geez, that doesn't sound good that it's persisted for so long. It sounds like you've done everything you can. Maybe someone else with more knowledge and experience than I will see this and be able to provide further help. I wish you and her the very best of luck.

    Mealworms are fun and easy to raise; we also have a great thread on growing mealworms in the Feeding section of the forum.
     
  7. patman75

    patman75 Chillin' With My Peeps

  8. islandchicken

    islandchicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 19, 2009
    Patman75 --

    I still think about her; she was such a lovely ginger bird. After going another half week beyond the last post with absolutely no change, I humanely put her down. I was so torn about this; if she were a pet, I likely would have given her another week. But the poor thing could not see anything. And somehow she did not seem to have any response to pecking sounds (scratch food), or dipping her beak in drinking water. She did not have a fever, did not seem to have any other issues (except for an airsac issue when she first arrived.) If you learn anything regarding your bird, please let me know. We are in a tropical environment so plant, parasite, etc. could be possibilities.

    I wish I had better news.


    Phyllis

    islandchicken
     
  9. patman75

    patman75 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Phyllis, thanks for the feedback.

    My chicken has figured out where the water and food is. I have watched her eat and drink. She is getting her energy back and is getting used to being handled more and will follow us around and follow our voices.

    However I don't plan keep her around if she does not improve. Winter is just around the corner and I can't put her back with the rest of the flock unless she can see.
     
  10. islandchicken

    islandchicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 19, 2009
    patman75 --

    I hope that someone sees our postings and has some insight into what may be happening to these otherwise healthy birds. Any chance your bird can see something in a dark room? I remember the girl I had seemed better oriented in a dark area vs. when she was in a brighter environment, but maybe she just felt safer. Just a thought. In truth, see really didn't see anything in either location.

    I hope your beauty improves. If there is any change, please post me back.

    Islandchicken
     

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