How common are secondary bacterial infections?

Sciencekathryn

Chirping
Mar 26, 2019
29
80
81
Newberg, Oregon
Hi all, I had one of my bantam cochins pass away yesterday.

A little background: I had originally taken her in to our avian vet because of some unusual facial swelling, the vet wasn't sure what it was as she cultured throat, sinuses, and ears and came up clean, but she did say mama bird had a very high load of coccidia. We put her on oral meds for that as she told me she would usually do a steroid injection for swelling like this but was afraid with as high a load of coccidia and mama bird had that depressing her immune system at all could kill her. I was told to schedule another appointment if the swelling hadn't gotten better.
By the end of mama birds coccidia treatment the swelling looked a bit better but wasn't all gone and she was looking paler in her comb than she had been, so I called them up and managed to schedule another appointment, but before it came mama bird died.
I took her in for a necropsy and was told that it looks like she died of septicemia, most likely from e.coli. the vet said that mama birds intestines were looking like they had started to recover from the coccidia but she thinks that there was enough damage to allow bacteria to infect her bloodstream.

TLDR: Hen had coccidia, started to recover, but then died from secondary bacterial septicemia.

I guess my question is how common is this? I feel like it just happened so quick, how can I prevent this and keep the rest of my flock healthy? I'm in the Pacific Northwest and the wet springs always make coccidia a challenge. Was this just bad luck?
 

Sciencekathryn

Chirping
Mar 26, 2019
29
80
81
Newberg, Oregon
Facial swelling might be a symptom of a respiratory disease. E.coli is a very common bacteria that can overwhelm a chicken, and is common in reproductive infections and as a secondary repiratory infection.
That's what I thought too, but the vet said the swelling was in an odd place, not near her sinuses, and she had no other symptoms to point to respiratory disease and nothing on the necropsy.
 

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