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Hen with swollen abdomen (3 weeks+), recently developed additional hard lump

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by torski, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. torski

    torski New Egg

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    Apr 25, 2012
    1) What type of bird, age and weight (does the chicken seem or feel lighter or thinner than the others.)
    Barred Plymouth Rock, just turned 5 years old. She's quite thin.

    2) What is the behavior, exactly.
    She's still alert and feisty, but has splayed legs and is clumsier than normal. Very light appetite, has lost a good amount of weight.

    3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms? / What has been the treatment you have administered so far?
    I'm mixing these categories as it's varied and complicated. Will try to keep it clear.

    Feb 12th she presented with a pasty butt, so I soaked her, trimmed feathers below vent, and applied vaseline to (what I thought was) an inflamed reddish rash due to fecal contact.

    Feb 14th noticed distended abdomen, firm but a bit squishy. Probably about the size of a grapefruit. Doesn't feel or look like how I've read Ascites presents. Palpated abdomen and felt first 1.5-2" within cloaca, didn't notice anything resembling an egg (I've never had firsthand experience with eggbinding, though, so I'm not terribly clear on what to look for). Soaked in warm water for ~30 mins, kept her in hospital in the ~75*F house overnight. Dosed calcium, she had no appetite but drank heartily.

    Feb 15th started dosing the flock with Amprolium and electrolytes. (Similar symptoms presented once when she was ~2yrs, Amprolium and consistent vent cleaning solved it.) Reintroduced her to the flock, as being separated was causing more stress than it was worth.

    Continued medication until Feb 22nd. As of then, no changes to abdominal distension, but red rash lessening somewhat. Condition remained fairly stable for about a week (with continued soaks/vaseline application). Over this last week she's been getting gradually clumsier, complaining more when I palpate her abdomen. No noticeable changes to the size of the abdominal distension.

    This evening (March 06th) during her soak I noticed an egg-shaped, hard lump tucked up between the keelbone and thigh on her left side. I can't confidently say it wasn't there yesterday, but I didn't notice it then. The lower tip of the mass is probably 4-5" away from the vent, very far off-center. Hen is very acutely upset by palpation/pressure in adjacent area.

    UPDATE: The morning of March 07 the egg-shaped mass had disappeared, abdominal swelling had gone down considerably, and she was no longer upset by palpitation. Interestingly, there was no sign of her having layed an egg. I'm perplexed.

    I'm somewhat skeptical of both the eggbinding and peritonitis diagnoses as this has persisted far longer than birds generally survive with either condition, but I'm not sure where to turn my attention now beyond trying to gauge when it's time to cull.

    4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?
    No. Amprolium and/or the coming of spring seems to have helped their laying, however. I'm back up to 3 of 4 5-year-old hens laying 3-4 eggs per week each.

    5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.
    No. One of my hens was snagged by a hawk in January, so we've been hyper-vigilant of predation lately.

    6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.
    No idea beyond what's already been noted.

    7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all.
    A mix of Layena layer/grower feed (they were on grower for the winter, am currently transitioning them back to layer), crushed oyster shells, occasional handfuls of dog kibble as high-protein treats for cold days, and whatever they pick up free-ranging. Mostly worms and grass, from what I can tell. Have been dosing electrolytes (since Feb 14) and probiotics (since Feb 22) in water.

    8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.
    Amounts consistent with how little she's eating. Higher percentage of uric acid. Smells normal, colour is normal, although it's runny.

    9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?
    Amprolium (Feb 14-22), soaks (Feb 14 - ongoing), electrolytes (Feb 14 - ongoing), probiotics (Feb 22 - ongoing). Details above in section 3.

    10) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet?
    Veterinary intervention is outside of my budget at the moment. I've been trying to be proactive but as of yet I'm not seeing improvements. Any other home-treatment options are on the table (beyond surgery; I don't think I'm quite skilled enough for that), but otherwise keeping her as comfortable and happy as possible until it's time to cull. Advice on when is appropriate to cull would be most appreciated.

    11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.
    No photographs tonight, I'll try to snag a few tomorrow.

    12) Describe the housing/bedding in use
    4'x6' coop with ceramic tile floor, bedding is loose straw. Perches start around 12" off the floor. Food and water is offered inside the coop at all times.

    Many thanks for any input or suggestions!
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2017
  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    Hi[​IMG] Welcome To BYC

    I'm sorry your hen is having problems. Egg Yolk Peritonitis, Ascites, Salpingitis, cancer or tumors are some of the more common reasons for having a swollen/distended abdomen. Any of these can cause loss of appetite, trouble walking, loss of balance and weight loss. The only way to know for sure the cause of her decline is to take her to the vet for xrays/testing.

    Supportive care like you are giving is usually the best that can be done with any of these conditions. If you do end up losing her, I recommend that you send her for necropsy.

    Peritonitis and internal egg laying issues:
    http://www.chickenvet.co.uk/health-and-common-diseases/egg-laying-issues/index.aspx
    http://scoopfromthecoop.nutrenaworld.com/tag/laying-issues/
    http://www.hobbyfarms.com/livestock-and-pets/6-causes-of-chicken-swollen-abdomen.aspx
    http://www.theveterinaryexpert.com/backyard-poultry/egg-yolk-peritonitis/
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2017

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