hen with swollen leg joints

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by suse, Oct 14, 2014.

  1. suse

    suse Hatching

    Oct 20, 2013
    CA, Santa Cruz
    Hi all,
    I have a 2.5 yr old Speckled Sussex hen with swollen legs (the feathered part of her leg-aka tibia/fibula). When you press on it lightly it looks and feels like the fat like you see on a butchered hen. The skin of the lower part of her swollen leg is yellow and feels puffy while the rest of it is of normal coloration. She is not limping but does sit around more than the rest of the flock and as top bird she is not dishing out the pecks very often right now. She is eating fairly well and has normal poops. She has a temp of 107.8 F. Interestingly I wrote in to BYC a year ago (10/20/13) with the same symptoms and by mid November she recovered! THis time around both legs are involved. Has anyone else experienced this?
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Crossing the Road

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Welcome. Two things that come to mind are gout, and mycoplasma synoviae (MS.) Gout swelling is usually in both the feet and the legs, while MS affects the feet, legs, and joints. Does she have any sores on her breast bone? Any respiratory symptoms in the flock? Does she limp? Testing would be a good way to rule out MS, and you can contact your state vet about that. Tylan and oxytetracycline may be used for treatment of MS symptoms. Here are some links to read about gout and MS, along with an except from University of Florida:


    Mycoplasma synoviae

    Synonyms: MS, infectious synovitis, synovitis, silent air sac
    Species affected: chickens and turkeys.
    Clinical signs: Birds infected with the synovitis form show lameness, followed by lethargy, reluctance to move, swollen joints, stilted gait, loss of weight, and formation of breast blisters. Birds infected with the respiratory form exhibit respiratory distress. Greenish diarrhea is common in dying birds (see Table 1). Clinically, the disease in indistinguishable from MG.
    Transmission: MS is transmitted from infected breeder to progeny via the egg. Within a flock, MS is spread by direct contact with infected birds as well as through airborne particles over short distances.
    Treatment: Recovery is slow for both respiratory and synovitis forms. Several antibiotics are variably effective. The most effective are tylosin, erthromycin, spectinomycin, lincomycin, and chlorotectracycline. These antibiotics can be given by injection while some can be administered in the feed or drinking water. These treatments are most effective when the antibiotics are injected.
    Prevention: Eradication is the best and only sure control. Do not use breeder replacements from flocks that have had MS. The National Poultry Improvement Plan monitors for MS.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014
  3. suse

    suse Hatching

    Oct 20, 2013
    CA, Santa Cruz
    Hi Eggcessive,
    Thanks for all the helpful info. She's not limping and I can't find any breast blisters or haven't noticed any respiratory symptoms. I will see if I can have her tested for MS. I wonder if, under stress, some chronically infected chickens will manifest symptoms while at other times be symptom-free? She had exactly these same symptoms last year in mid Oct - coincidence of somehow related to changing hormones associated with impending molting? So much to learn...

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