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Hen with a very hard abdomen / back end

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by CuteChick369, Mar 3, 2016.

  1. CuteChick369

    CuteChick369 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 16, 2013
    North Carolina
    My RIR is 3 years old. She rarely lays eggs anymore. Yesterday I noticed she was open mouth breathing. I picked her up and she turned purple. I brought her in and when I'd set her on the floor, her color would come back. I noticed when holding her, that her back end and abdomen feels very hard. I gave her an epsom salt bath and put my pinky finger into her vent as far as I could (about 1.5 inches) and felt no eggs. I am keeping her in the house. I gave her antibiotic prescription I had left over from another sick chicken. She's eating and drinking ok. Poops look normal.

    Later yesterday, my 3 year old Black Austrolorp was also open mouth breathing and turning purple when I'd pick her up. But, her abdomen feels fine. I am treating her with antibiotics and have her indoors too.

    Today, they both look a little better. No more respiratory symptoms. But, the RIR still feels so firm in her abdomen. The Black Austrolorp laid an egg this morning, so I know she's not egg bound. But, I still have them both indoors. The RIR is in her own cage with a blanket over it to keep her calm and in hopes if she is egg bound, no more eggs will be produced.

    Any suggestions? Is there anything you can do for egg bound? Could a vet do anything? I want to save her, but I just spent $3,000 yesterday on ACL surgery for my dog and I'm very vet poor for a while!

    **Some additional background: The RIR lived with me for over a year, but started to have attitude issues and went to live with my friend's flock. A month ago she sold her flock so I took the RIR back again. After a short into period, she's been doing great, but maybe the stress from the move back has caused an egg problem? She hasn't laid any eggs here yet that I've seen, though she occasionally laid at my friend's house.

    ** More background: Two weeks ago my 7 month Mottled Orpington died suddenly, with only about 2 hours warning. She went downhill that fast! I had a necropsy done and she had lesions on her liver and spleen. Her abdomen did not feel hard before her death. The vet sent off samples and the lesions where due to an infection that became sepsis. He thought perhaps coccidiosis, but I disagree with that because there was no poop issues at all, and she just didn't match symptoms.

    So, for now I am only giving the antibiotic. Should I treat for coccidiosis too? I have some Corid here. I need to research if it can be given with the antibiotic. What if she's egg bound? Can anything be done? By the way, she's walking, standing, and sitting normally. What else could this be?

    Thanks!!

    Laura
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Internal laying, ascites, or reproductive organ cancer can be common in chickens over 2 years. Has she lost weight in her breast bone area? The RIR sounds more like that, while I don't know about the australorp. There are so many chronic conditions, such as liver disease, aspergillosis from mold, as well as reproductive problems, that many things are hold to diagnose without doing a necropsy after death. Sorry about your loss.
     
  3. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Just wanted to comment on the possibility of coccidiosis in the Orpington that died. Since you sent the RIR off to live with another flock and then brought her back it's entirely possible that she could have brought home a new strain of cocci that your other birds were not resistant to. Sometimes older birds will fight off a case of coccidiosis then just suddenly die. It can also result in bacterial infection, so your vet may be right. It's just something to always keep in mind when moving birds around or bringing in new birds.

    I do agree that your RIR probably has ascites which may be caused by any one of the things Eggcessive mentioned. None of the causes are really fixable and these birds tend to suffer with this. We've had three cases over the last 6 or 7 years, two out of the three were hatchery RIR's. You can have the fluid drained, some people do it themselves, it helps them breath much easier and makes them much more comfortable but it doesn't solve the underlying cause and the fluid always returns. How long she'll live depends on the cause as well. I've come to the point that I prefer to put these birds down sooner then later as they really struggle the longer it goes on.
     
  4. CuteChick369

    CuteChick369 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 16, 2013
    North Carolina
    Thank you both. I am afraid you are right about my RIR. I assume if the chicken is doing chickeny things, their quality of life is good and to let them keep going? I am thinking of draining her, and letting her back out to see how she does. If she eats, drinks, dust bathes, etc, then I feel like she's not suffering. When I picked her up she was open mouth breathing, but was running around with everyone else. Inside she's standing and sitting normally, and eating. I don't want to put her down if I can extend her life and she's not hurting.

    Re: my mottled orpington, maybe you are right that the RIR brought back cocci. The mottled orpington was born while the RIR was gone. I have a few other young ones, I hope they will be ok. So far so good. A lesson learned, and I knew I was taking a risk, but I didn't want her going to a stranger!

    Thank you!
     
  5. CuteChick369

    CuteChick369 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 16, 2013
    North Carolina
    By the way, if I do drain fluid off of her, from where do I do that? Is there a preferred place on her abdomen? And, how far in do I put the needle? Thank you!
     
  6. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Yes, as long as a bird is showing interest in normal activities and running around with her friends I let them be and just keep an eye on them.
     
  7. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    This I have not done myself as I have a terrible needle phobia lol, very hindering when one has animals. So my vet did mine. But I believe Casportpony here has a good how-to on doing this.
     
  8. CuteChick369

    CuteChick369 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 16, 2013
    North Carolina
    Ok, thanks I'll look. I am not afraid of needles but I am afraid I'll cause damage. I'll research it and if I have to I'll have my vet do it. I am just so vet broke right now! I feel like i'm giving up food to pay for vets lately!!

    Thanks!
     
  9. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    I hear ya. Everybody falls apart at once don't they! And dog acl surgeries are an expensive load of fun aren't they?! My rottie has had both back legs done, one of them had to have a repeat, those were dark days but all is well now. Good luck with your pup and your birds!
     

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