Horrible gapeworm symptoms but she don't have gapeworms UPDATE

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by BWchicken, Jul 9, 2010.

  1. BWchicken

    BWchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm at my wits end here, I have a bantam BR who stopped laying and has had symptoms of gapeworms for months. Horrible gaping, violent head-shaking (no wheezing). I've treated her with Fenbendazole once and Ivermectin pour-on twice. I noticed she had some ear gunk so I've also treated her for ear infection and ear mites. No improvement.

    I finally took her to the avian vet a few days ago. He was extremely busy and didn't have time to do x-rays or bloodwork that day. But he did a thorough exam including looking down her throat, and saw no obvious reason for her symptoms. A little ear discharge but said it was normal, good breathing, clean looking throat. He said she was too thin and told me to treat her with the ivomec again, and he put her on Baytril for 10 days (and a probiotic) and said if there's no improvement I can bring her back for bloodwork and x-rays of her lung area. This is day 4 of the baytril, and I see no improvement, other than her energy level seems a little better. But still gaping and head shaking like crazy. I also just treated her with the ivomec pour-on today, and that actually seemed to make the gaping and head shaking worse.

    I don't think it's gapeworm because there's no wheezing or breathing trouble. And because this has been going on for months, she'd have died by now. Plus she's been treated for it 3 times in the past two months. I'm thinking maybe digestive, although her crop works perfectly. The vet seems to think respiratory. I'm sure I'll end up taking her back to the vet once the 10 days of baytril is done. He's good for parakeets and such, but he's definitely no chicken expert, so I wanted to see if anyone here had any thoughts.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2010
  2. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    I'm almost at a loss after reading your post. Fenbendazole 10% liquid suspension and Ivermectin pour on, both kill gageworm. I recommend you DO NOT give her anymore wormers. I was going to suggest looking down her throat for an obstruction, but your vet did that. I'm very suspicious about the ear discharge though, that does not sound normal to me and if there's something deep in her ear, this could be causing the head shaking and discharge. When dogs or cats get something in their ears, they always shake their heads and scratch their ears. Has you hen been scratching her ear? We yawn sometimes to pop our ears, this could be something similar,causing her to gape open her mouth. I think the vet needs to look in her ears, like docs do when we go to see a doctor for a physical or something. I could be totally wrong about all this, but It's the only thing I could think of. Good Luck.
     
  3. BWchicken

    BWchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello again Dawg53. You and I discussed this hen's problems about a month ago, right after I discovered the ear gunk. Here's that thread:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=360537

    (To update on that, I tried the olive oil with no luck, then tried Mitex for ear mites.)

    And here I am back again. I'm just at my wits end. She's not scratching her ears much anymore, just gaping and head shaking. The vet did look in her ears with a bright light, and said he didn't see any fungus or infection, just a little discharge and dry skin (probably from the Mitex). If I have to go back to the vet I'll have him look closer at her ears and I agree, no more wormers. I'm hoping it is actually an ear infection because the baytril she's on would clear it up. But it's been 4 days of Baytril and no improvement, so I'm discouraged. I'm wondering if it's an esophagus problem or something. I'm stumped and feel like I'm just grasping at straws. I love this little hen and I want to help her be normal again, but I'm feeling kinda helpless.
     
  4. rufus

    rufus Overrun With Chickens

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    Sometimes chickens act that way when they have a foxtail stuck in the throat, or a pull tab from a drink. I think the x ray may be the answer. Sounds like a foreign object to me.

    Rufus
     
  5. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    BWchicken. Thanks for the reminder that we discussed this before....I dont keep track what I recommend to others on here, too much information to remember lol, at least for me lol. Your next poster, rufus, suggests the x-ray....might as well, you've tried everything else. Keep us posted. Thanks again.
     
  6. BWchicken

    BWchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, I hope an x-ray will be the answer but she just had one done a month ago and nothing stood out. It was a full body x-ray (2 views). She was gaping then but we were mostly looking for eggbound since she had stopped laying. I mentioned the gaping to the vet then, but he seemed unconcerned. I'm a little aggravated at the vet. You have to have an appointment and I don't know if he overbooks or what, but he never has time to actually look for the problem. We've taken other birds to him before and it's always the same. We drive over an hour to see him, with an appointment, and get 5 minutes of his time. It's always like, I don't have time today so try this and if it dont help come back and we'll look further. We end up going back multiple times. But avian vets are few and far between so I guess we're lucky to have one at all. The vet's office is supposed to call on Tuesday for an update, so I'll tell them to schedule an x-ray. If I'm lucky maybe we'll actually get one.

    I don't know why I'm ranting like this, sorry. I'm usually not so crabby. But it's been months and she's getting worse. I'm just so frustrated and I want help for my little hen. Now. Thanks so much for your replies, you all are helping me more than the vet! I'll update if I ever find out what's wrong with her.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2010
  7. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    You're not ranting BWchicken, you're frustrated that you're dealing with an vet that doesnt want to listen to you describing your hens symptoms to him and it sounds like he's stringing you along. You're caught between a rock and a hard place because he's the only avian vet around. It sounds like your patience is wearing thin and I dont blame you one bit. The next time you see him, why not try to be more assertive with him and see what happens. He wont tell you to hit the road.....he wants your money, so might as well make it worth while.
     
  8. Sillystunt

    Sillystunt Master of the Silly

    Jul 11, 2008
    Winter Haven, FL
    ok, this might sound really stupid but aren't you supposed to give them the oral intermetcin not the pour on. i heard pour on won't work. it has to pass down the throat and come in contact with the worms. IDK
     
  9. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Not a stupid question Sillystunt...any kind of ivermectin will kill gapeworm (and a host of other worms.) Once the pour on is absorbed into the skin, it goes into the bloodstream working its way to where the gapeworms are at in the throat and kills them via the bloodstream.
     
  10. RedfogsFlock

    RedfogsFlock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:That was the very first thing I thought of after she said the vet found nothing. Beings that your from Texas I thought maybe a foxtail in her ear? They work their way deeper by them messing with it. Could be?
     

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