Hen with suspected neurological damage.

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
17,616
137,792
1,582
Catalonia, Spain
My Coop
My Coop
I have a hen that walks backwards from time to time. She also occasionally weaves from side to side moving her head like a searching dinosaur.

She’s had this problem since birth. Her mothers eggs got disturbed in the last three days of incubation and I believe this hen suffered some neurological damage at birth.
She’s 18 months old. She hatched a chick earlier this year and managed to fight off a Goshawk defending her chick earlier this year.
She is moulting this winter and regrowing feathers that got ripped out by the hawk but otherwise seems healthy.
She holds her place in the flock without challenges or problems, has no other illnesses, or pests. She is free range and gets a commercial feed 18% protein, 1% calcium wet mash twice a day. She also has constant access to extra calcium.
.
Recently her backwards walking has got more common, often in low light conditions.
There are two common drugs given for suspected neurological damage;
Prednisolone and Dexamethasone.
I’ve searched the forums and found this post.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/dexium-dexamethasone-dosage.960872/

I can get both drugs. What I would like to know is has anybody had any success treating a hen with similar symptoms with either of these drugs and was this treatment ongoing?

I am extremely found of this hen and would if possible like to treat her if the prognosis is good.
 

Eggcessive

Addict
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
59,291
50,916
1,302
southern Ohio
I have only used the two drugs on people, and I probably would avoid using steroids on a chicken without a vet because of harmful side effects. Those side effects are less with short term use. Dosage should be decreased gradually. Here is some info on dosage if you decide to use prednisolone:
https://vetfolio-vetstreet.s3.amazo...eae44de2bba70c90e9f12d7c/filePV_27_04_299.pdf

Scroll down to p11 http://avianmedicine.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/18.pdf

Your hen has some symptoms that are associated with wry neck, a symptom that can be a sign of head injury, vitamin E or thiamine (B1) deficiency, a hereditary tendency, and also may be seen in Mareks disease, among others.
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
17,616
137,792
1,582
Catalonia, Spain
My Coop
My Coop
I have only used the two drugs on people, and I probably would avoid using steroids on a chicken without a vet because of harmful side effects. Those side effects are less with short term use. Dosage should be decreased gradually. Here is some info on dosage if you decide to use prednisolone:
https://vetfolio-vetstreet.s3.amazo...eae44de2bba70c90e9f12d7c/filePV_27_04_299.pdf

Scroll down to p11 http://avianmedicine.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/18.pdf

Your hen has some symptoms that are associated with wry neck, a symptom that can be a sign of head injury, vitamin E or thiamine (B1) deficiency, a hereditary tendency, and also may be seen in Mareks disease, among others.
She had a blood test some time ago and it was negative for Marekes thankfully.
I've tried B complex vitamins, but not vitamin E.
The vet is prepared to prescribe the drugs if I feel that this would be for the best.
I have no idea how effective these drugs would be assuming the problem is neurological.
Thanks for the links and reply.
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
17,616
137,792
1,582
Catalonia, Spain
My Coop
My Coop
Did you name her, "Moonwalk"? :p In any case, if it doesn't seem to affect her chicken life too much in a negative way I wouldn't worry about it. I think it's actually cool.
It hasn't effected her chicken life much so far. My concern is for the long term.
Oh, she's not called 'Moonwalk' she's called Mel, which means honey in Catalan.;)
 

Wyorp Rock

🐓 ❤ 🐛
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Sep 20, 2015
36,730
51,671
1,332
Southern N.C. Mountains
I have a hen that walks backwards from time to time.
She’s had this problem since birth. Her mothers eggs got disturbed in the last three days of incubation and I believe this hen suffered some neurological damage at birth.
She’s 18 months old.
She is moulting this winter and regrowing feathers that got ripped out
Recently her backwards walking has got more common, often in low light conditions.

Her condition may be worse due to her molting, I would try the Vitamins to see if those make a difference.

For the medications - discuss those with and use them under the guidance of your vet.
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
17,616
137,792
1,582
Catalonia, Spain
My Coop
My Coop
Would you be willing to try the Vitamin E and thiamine daily doses for a little while first to see if that helps, before you talk to the vet again?
I would and I will. It sounds really silly but I can get just about any prescription drug but I haven't been able to find wheatgerm capsules, or plain vitamin E anywhere yet.:confused::lol:
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
17,616
137,792
1,582
Catalonia, Spain
My Coop
My Coop
Her condition may be worse due to her molting, I would try the Vitamins to see if those make a difference.

For the medications - discuss those with and use them under the guidance of your vet.
It may be worse because of moulting but I don't understand why this should be.
My vet has pointed out the dangers of the above drugs. She will, if I ask, prescribe them.
She acknowledges that this type of treatment is outside her experience and she doesn't have the equipment, or experience to make a proper diagnosis. She's a lovely honest women who I trust but her expertise in fowl was a long time ago and mostly she deals with dogs and cats.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom