Hen with a bulgy, lumpy bottom - ascities, hernia, or other ailment?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by HenOnTheHill, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. HenOnTheHill

    HenOnTheHill Out Of The Brooder

    I have a 10 month old hen Australorp pullet who I discovered today has developed a round, clear, squishy bulge that is protruding from her backside, an inch or two beneath her vent. She has not lost weight and is not lethargic. Her crop was full with food this afternoon.

    After doing an initial search, I wanted to rule out her being egg bound, so I brought her in to the house, let her soak in a warm tub of water, and then checked her vent to see if I could feel any egg pieces (feeling incredibly awkward and gaining a better appreciation for GYN doctors everywhere)! I've tentatively ruled 'egg bound' out because there seemed to be a layer of tissue between the bulge and her vent and I could not feel any egg or egg pieces. Her vent area is clean and healthy looking.

    I've read through several other threads on BYC and the other issues that popped up are ascites and hernia as possibilities. I attached a photo of Stella's backside. I would appreciate any feedback and opinions on the possibility that she has either of these two conditions (or if you think it could be something else), and what the best course of action would be to treat it.

    Based on the reading I've done so far, it seems that if it is ascites, it is possible to drain the bulged area in order to make her more comfortable, but my question to this is whether it is a good idea to puncture the skin (and weaken it by doing so?) if the condition is hernia.

    It also seems as though with both of these conditions, they are eventually fatal, but that the bird can live for awhile in relative comfort. Again, any advice is appreciated.

    [​IMG]

    Stella's backside after her bath.
     
  2. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Looks more hernia-like to me then ascites. Probably not much that can be done that does not involve surgery.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. tatertot

    tatertot Chillin' With My Peeps

    792
    20
    103
    Aug 20, 2013
    Is it soft and squishy like a water balloon
     
  4. HenOnTheHill

    HenOnTheHill Out Of The Brooder

    Thank you both for replying. Tatertot - Yes, it is soft and squishy, but there is a definite edge around it where the skin is firm again. The skin itself looks more transparent in the bulging area and there are no feathers (though I attributed this to the fact that the skin is stretching and not that the feathers got plucked). Cafarmgirl - I was leaning more towards the idea that it is a hernia too, but this is my first experience with something like this and I wanted a more seasoned opinion on it.

    Since I am not in the tax bracket that allows me to have surgery done on a chicken, am I ok in just letting her live out the rest of her days (for as many as they may be) without messing with the bulge? Has anyone ever tried a sling or exterior brace for support (thinking of a backwards saddle that would look like a diaper and be held with elastic around her wings), or would that be a futile effort? Does anyone know how long I could expect her to live with this condition? Thanks again!
     
  5. tatertot

    tatertot Chillin' With My Peeps

    792
    20
    103
    Aug 20, 2013
    You need carportponys advice
     
  6. tatertot

    tatertot Chillin' With My Peeps

    792
    20
    103
    Aug 20, 2013
    I ment casportpony...has a lot of experience and knowledge in dealing with this kind of thing. It could be as simple as draining fluid off.
     
  7. tatertot

    tatertot Chillin' With My Peeps

    792
    20
    103
    Aug 20, 2013
    Look for casportpony in this section..posts a lot of really helpful stuff...that's where I would go forSEASONED ADVICE.
     
  8. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

    58,000
    14,423
    751
    Jun 24, 2012
    My Coop
    It doesn't look like ascites to me. The ascites I have seen fills up their bellies like water balloons, those you can drain. This is what it might look like is it were ascites.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I did have a rooster that looked like your hen, he lived for many years with the bulge, but when he died, I cut him open and his liver was there in that bulge... I'm not even sure how that's possible, but it was his liver. I've also necropsied a few hens that had large fat deposits there. Don't know anything about chicken hernias as I've never seen one. Not saying they don't exist, just that I know nothing about them.

    If she's not losing weight and her poop looks normal, don't worry about it since there isn't much you could do without a vet. Now might be a good time to start her on a worming program with something like Safeguard or Valbazen.

    -Kathy
     
  9. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Almost impossible to say how long her life expectancy might be since we really don't know what is going on in there. I had a hen a few years back with a bulgy rear end similar to that, it was not ascites and the vet suggested some type of hernia where internal organs may have dropped down into the pocket, like what Casportpony described. We did not do surgery because of the expense involved, the potential difficulty involved and not knowing exactly what we were going to find in there if we did open her up. She lived for three years before suddenly loosing weight and passing away.

    I would probably just let this hen live out her life as long as she doesn't appear to be in discomfort. As long as she's out and about as usual, eating and drinking etc. I'd just let her be. If she starts acting sickly you'll know it's time to put her down. As far as a sling.... I don't see what it would hurt to try. If it doesn't work you have your answer. Good luck with her.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2014
  10. HenOnTheHill

    HenOnTheHill Out Of The Brooder

    Ok, thanks!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by