High white blood cell count, no interest in food, diarrhea

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Bibinko, Jan 1, 2016.

  1. Bibinko

    Bibinko Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi BYC community - hoping someone out there has had a similar experience.

    - I have a 1.5 yr old barred rock hen that has had an elevated white blood cell count over the last couple of months.
    - She would sneeze and honk from time to time.
    - At first, the WBC was around 8,000 and I gave her 2 rounds of Clavamox (vet reco).
    - About the time of the checkup at the end of round two, she started to become lethargic and became disinterested in food, and suddenly had bad diarrhea.
    - The post-Clavamox checkup (about 2 1/2 weeks ago) showed and even higher WBC (30,000), so we did a 10-day round of Baytril (again, vet reco), but the sneezing/honking got better.
    - We started tube feeding her around the same time with probiotics mixed in (Bene Bac and B.O.B.).
    - She still isn't eating much on her own besides the occasional bug (meal worms, wax worms, crickets) and kale that we put in front of her.
    - The diarrhea has gotten better, but not 100% normal.
    - Around the same time as the tube feeding, she started her first molt in earnest (losing lots of feathers).
    - She is losing weight, but the lethargy has improved a bit (but she doesn't have much energy like the other hen).
    - Vet checked for parasites and found nothing.
    - Recently, she does the occasional "silent yawn".
    - Another thing, she sometimes does what I can only describe as a small "internal cough" - like when you cough without opening your mouth.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Hello and welcome to BYC!

    A high white blood count usually indicates infection somewhere in the body. This infection could be bacterial, viral, fungal or cancerous. While Baytril is a very powerful drug, some drugs work better on certain bacterial infections. Some bacteria need to arrested, some killed and some need be stopped from reproducing. Each of these drugs works in different ways. The drug group of "cyclines" are some of the most broad spectrum anti bacterial drugs and destroy many bacteria.

    What color was/is her poop? I just had a wicked fungal infection go through my entire flock. It was very difficult to diagnose as the symptoms are so vague. Green diarrhea, no appetite, lethargy, depression, some rapid breathing in SOME of them. Fungal infections love to start in the lungs and then travel to internal organs and the intestines. The first thing you might notice if the bird has a fungal/yeast infection starting in the lungs is more rapid respirations than normal. The fungus is growing tiny hair like fur on the lungs and air sacs of the bird. The heart valves can start to click as well when the bird breathes. (the lungs and air sacs are located where the neck meets the back of the bird. You can listen to the lungs there with your ear. You can sometimes hear the heart beat there as well). They can get a runny nose occasionally and raspy breathing. With my flock, the poop was sludgy green, they had no interest in eating what so ever and basically were wasting away. Birds can also get fever. I used Copper Sulfate in the water for 7 days, which has antibacterial properties, but is mainly an anti fungal agent. I also used oral Metronidazole cream, 2%, 1 ml down the throat 3 times a day on the sickest birds.

    Has she been laying much or was she a good layer in the past? She could be internally laying. The yolks drop into the abdomen and cause internal infections.

    Feel her abdomen from between her legs and back to the vent on the outside. Compare her to other hens. Is it full of water like a water balloon? Ascites. This could indicate internal laying or even a heart condition and fluid is building up in her abdomen.

    Did your vet test for internal parasites? Worms are a killer of poultry. Especially the round worm. They multiply in the intestines to the point of stopping the waste and eventually strangulate the intestines. If you do a lot of free ranging, she no doubt has worms. If you haven't wormed in the past year, I would get right on this. Safeguard Liquid Goat wormer...1/2 ml orally down the throat for 4 or 5 days. Repeat in 10 days.

    Coccidosis is always possible. A protazoa of the intestines or the cecal pouch. Generally birds develop some immunity to this however if their environment becomes overloaded, they can fall to this issue. A Cocci issue is classic for causing diarrhea, going off food and water completely. Some Corid in the water, or something with Amprolium in the water for 5 to 7 days will take care of all the strains of Coccidiosis.

    Do you keep a rooster? Sometimes they are clumsy enough during mating and can injure a hen with their spurs. Look around under the wings and abdomen for any punctures. They can be hard to see through all the feathers. This could cause some internal infections.

    Lymphoid Leukosis is always a possibility, but usually strikes older hens. This is a virus that causes reproductive cancer in hens. It is common world wide and once they start with it, other than natural treatments to keep them comfortable, generally it is not treatable.

    Just some ideas to run past you. So many things can cause a bird to do off their feed or have diarrhea. Until you get this figured out, feed her what ever she will eat. Many birds go off their chicken feed when sick. Scrambled eggs, rice and beans, pasta and cooked meat. What ever temps her beak. Also, put probiotics in her water to help boost the immune system. 70% of the immune system lies in the intestinal tract. Most pathogens take hold in the intestines of the bird. And these bad pathogens don't stand a chance in a healthy, oxygenated environment with good bacteria. Keep her warm. 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat goes a long way to heal birds. Use infra red. Very healing wave length. Penetrates and helps to improve circulation unlike white heat lamps.

    Keep us posted and I hope you can get her back on her feet!! :)




     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
  3. Bibinko

    Bibinko Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi TwoCrows - thanks for your thoughtful post.

    - I haven't wormed her, but just ordered some Safeguard; will try that.

    - Hadn't thought about a fungal infection, but her breathing is slightly labored (she gets "winded" easily) and her abdomen moves a lot when she breathes. I'll look into the copper sulfate and Metronidazole. (although, her poop/diarrhea isn't really sludgy - just really loose.)

    - Have not tried Corid, but I guess it can't hurt, right?

    She is still showing a little interest in kale/cabbage and crickets/mealworms. We are keeping her warm, and she spends most of her time preening.

    Will post updates.
     
  4. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Trying Corid won't hurt. Did your vet do a gram stain on her poop and one from her mouth? A gram stain would show if it's bacteria or yeast, so that's worth looking into.

    -Kathy
     
  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Kathy has a great suggestion with the mouth swab and poop stain.

    Sometimes you have to take your best guess and run with that first. The things I suggested are the most common of ailments, of course there are lots of other things that can make a bird ill.

    When a bird gets sick, it is very easy to think it is bacterial. And sometimes it is. But fungal infections, viral infections and internal parasites are just as common. Sometimes you have to analyze the situation well, and take your best shot. And many times you end up running several types of drugs through them until one of them works. Keeping chickens can be a lot of trial and error really.

    But worms are so common as is Coccidiosis. And since they are, it is always advised to start here. Both of these have easy drugs to administer and won't hurt them if the bird has no worms. Especially the Corid. All that is is a thiamine blocker. The protazoa need the thiamine to reproduce. there is no egg withdrawal using Corid. The Safeguard is fairly safe and won't hurt them either if used properly. Oh and always use probiotics after a treatment of worming. As safe as these drugs are, they are still hard on the gut flora and can upset the balance in the intestines. So it is best to get them on probiotics for at least a week after any drug.

    If the worming and the Corid don't do the trick, you might turn to anti fungal drugs since you already tried the Baytril.

    Anti bacterial drugs will not heal a fungal infection and anti fungals will not heal a bacterial infection. And many times if they have a fungal infection and you use anti bacterial, the bird will become worse fast.
     
  6. Bibinko

    Bibinko Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks again to both. I will ask the vet (and generally look into) the gram stain and get on the Corid today.
     
  7. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Baytril is a wonderful gram negative antibacterial, one of the best, but there are some strains of gram negative bacteria that are resistant to it. Two friends of mine have seen this in their flock. One had E.coli, the other had pseudomonas aeruginosa the one with E.coli had to switch to Amikacin, the other used Zactran.

    -Kathy
     
  8. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Also talk to them about treating for clostridium perfringens. My vet told me that it can be hard to test for, so mine will tell me to use metronidazole if she thinks that one of mine might have it.

    -Kathy
     
  9. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Please keep us posted on her condition! :)
     
  10. Bibinko

    Bibinko Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the additional thoughts. We are still tube feeding her, and her overnight poop is mostly normal now, but she still has diarrhea/loose poop in the day time. She is starting to show (a little) interest in food other than kale and crickets/mealworms, but not with the vigor of a normal chicken. She is perky and alert, tail feathers up, etc., just not 100% normal.

    Did not know that Baytril was ineffective against E.coli - will talk to vet about that.

    I did ask the vet a couple weeks ago about clostridium perfringens and while I can't remember exactly what he said, he didn't think it was that.

    I am planning on talking with him again today/tomorrow, and getting another blood test this week.
     

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