Hen with Swollen Abdomen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by K-12 Chickens, Mar 14, 2015.

  1. K-12 Chickens

    K-12 Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I noticed yesterday that one of my Barred Plymouth Rock hens (2 years old) was breathing a little heavier when she was resting on the ground. When I felt her abdomen it was swollen and firm, but there also appeared to be fluid inside. I also felt a hard, firm object--whether it's an egg or tumor I'm not sure. The hen has been walking around actively, eating, drinking, pooping, etc. I put her in a warm bath and gave her calcium to see if she was eggbound, but no results.
    Today, she hasn't changed in her behavior and her abdomen doesn't feel much more swollen than yesterday. I inserted a gloved, lubricated finger into her vent to see if I could find anything and again, nothing. Any ideas as to what this may be?
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2015
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    It sounds like it could be ascites or fluid in the belly, sometimes due to heart failure or egg yolk peritonitis (causing liver failure.) Cancer could also be a possibility. If it is ascites, it can cause rapid breathing and pain, and occasionally withdrawing fluid from the lower abdomen with an 18 gauge needle to reduce pressure. Antibiotics such as penicillin or baytril are sometimes used to prolong the life. Without a vet and expensive xrays, these things are always guesswork.
     
  3. K-12 Chickens

    K-12 Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the response! Just last year I had one of my hens put down because of ascites. She was like a balloon, waddling around and breathing heavily and developed it after her first molt.
    This hen might be trying to start laying again and I wonder if that has to do with her condition.
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    That would be great if that is her problem. Good luck.
     
  5. K-12 Chickens

    K-12 Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    UPDATE: Last night when I closed my chickens up I felt the hen's abdomen and it didn't feel any more swollen than before. This morning, it doesn't look any bigger (I'll have to feel again), but I can tell she's a little uncomfortable with it (not willing to run, jump, etc.). Otherwise, she's acting fine.
     
  6. K-12 Chickens

    K-12 Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    UPDATE: Oddly enough, the swelling has gone down on its own since the last time I posted and the hen is clearly more comfortable. Either she passed whatever was irritating her or it was something else entirely.
     

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