Hen with paralysed leg, lethargy, not eating - can it be saved?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by [email protected], Nov 29, 2011.

  1. isclark@bigpond.net.au

    [email protected] New Egg

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    I have an ISA Brown hen around 18 months old who about 1 week ago began to stay in the coop, seemed lethargic, ate little, greenish diahrroea.

    My vet says he can't help much with chickens and it's a way to the only one he could refer me to... and to be honest I don't want to spend a lot. But neither do I want the bird to suffer. We are not sure whether we should we should euthanase her or try to nurse her through whatever is happening.

    She's got worse and at times I've thought she was close to death - then she'll pick up. Her vent is dirty but her eyes seem clear. I've been giving her water with antibiotic powder mixed in by syringe and she is keen on that. Had a little boiled rice yesterday morning but nothing since. I have separated her and she's in a dog crate on our back deck. She doesn't seem to move much but nor does she seem distressed per se - just sits there. I clean her cage out every day and feed her water several times a day.

    Her left leg seems useless and her wings are reasonably limp though she can move them a little.

    I hadn't wormed her for a while but did so last week (when I first noticed she was off colour). She eats a purchased chicken feed, not layer pellets but perhaps a 'scratch mix' - used to leave out shell grits but they were never consumed so stopped doing that. I have 3 chickens and the other 3 seem fine and are laying ok.

    I'm concerned I might be just allowing her to starve to death and don't want to do that. But if a little effort will bring her through, then I will do that.

    Am I being unreasonable as I'm not prepared to have expensive tests run on her? Is she suffering? What causes paralysis like this?

    I'm (obviously) pretty clueless about all this, and its made me realise how 'hazardous' (to the chooks) it is have a cute habit of keeping a few chickens for eggs without knowing very much at all about them.

    Would appreciate any comments.
     
  2. RhodeIslandRedFan

    RhodeIslandRedFan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have no idea what could be causing your hen's troubles, but I wanted to say good luck with her, and I hope someone with more experience than I comes along soon to help [​IMG]

    Edited to say: I wonder if you are dealing with Marek's Disease, the type that causes neurological symptoms. I'm thinking this because of the leg and wing paralysis. Here is further information. http://www.avianweb.com/mareksdisease.html You can also search this site for more information to see if the symptoms match.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2011
  3. Chicken_Pauper

    Chicken_Pauper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have you wormed her? Wormed the flock? Could they have worms? Many, many symptoms from worms, from parasites, including the ones you list in the subject line.

    Also check the vent and under the wings (armpits) for mites and such... You can dust the chickens with Sevin Dust for mites, also a little in each (clean and changed) nesting box, on the roost, ground, dirt in the run, etc... for mites and repeat all in 10 days if you do find mites.

    Use the Search here on BYC for "worming", or "worming with Valbazen" -- "mites", "Sevin Dust for mite control", etc..... (not sure of availability there)... Valbazen is a safe first wormer and kills all types of worms. Someone in England said it was available there by RX from the Vet. -- posts on worming by dawg53 are very helpful and informative, good info.

    Good luck.. take care.
     
  4. isclark@bigpond.net.au

    [email protected] New Egg

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    Nov 29, 2011
    In the past 4 days or so I have wormed her and my other chooks and dusted the area for mites and the sick chicken herself. The sick chicken was moving her head a lot as if being bothered by something, so I presumed mites, although I only recently pressure cleaned the coop and have seen no sign of mites, although I have got pretty itchy when tending to her, so perhaps there are some there (aging eyes may not be seeing them). I'm changing the sick chooks bedding cage floor every day and the nest box in the coop every 5 days or so.

    I was going to worm all the chickens again in a few days - seven days after the last dose. Is that OK?

    Susan
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2011
  5. isclark@bigpond.net.au

    [email protected] New Egg

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    Thank you both for your replies. The chook (Daisy) was so distressed this evening - and completely paralysed - that my hubby and I sent her to chicken heaven. Our first experience of self-managed euthanasia... we hope (but don't expect) it will be our last.

    Both of the other chooks seem really healthy and have each laid every day this week, so we are tending to think Daisy might have been egg bound. She hadn't laid the whole week and probably for a time before this, as we've been down on eggs (but couldn't say who was laying and who wasn't). My reading suggested that it would be very expensive if anything at all could have been done. Paralysed and utterly lacking in strength she could never have got out of the situation herself.

    It's tough when your chickens are partly pets. Naming them is perhaps not wise!
     
  6. RhodeIslandRedFan

    RhodeIslandRedFan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 10, 2009
    Central PA
    I'm very sorry you lost her [​IMG]
     

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