How do I detect and cure anaemia?

Kneedles

Songster
6 Years
Jul 22, 2014
254
108
186
Wellington, New Zealand
Today, one of my remaining 4½-year-old black sex link hens had to be put to sleep due to profound anaemia. It was a shock to me that she had this condition; she was the healthiest hen that I have owned so far, and she never contracted any common illnesses. In the days leading up to her passing, her very lethargic behaviour and low willingness to eat led me to believe that she had a high worm load; a condition that I am very familiar with. So, I gave her Aviverm and Avitrol Plus to remedy it. In case there was a different illness at play, I also gave her half of a caltrate pill, acidified copper sulfate, and pedialyte, and started her on a course of Fish Mox Forte.

When I got to the vet, I expected her to tell me that my hen did indeed have a worm infestation, or was sick in a different way that could be treated relatively easily. The vet said that my hen had a very high heart rate, even for a chicken, and that my hen's blood literally looked watery when the blood extraction happened. The vet said that the profound anaemia may have stemmed from my hen eating something that she shouldn't have.

Obviously, at the time I didn't think that there was anything about my hen's appearance which suggested that she had something other than a worm infestation. Even her comb looked normal. Does anyone here know how to tell anaemia apart from other illnesses just by looking at a chicken? Additionally, does anyone here know how to treat a chicken with anaemia before its condition becomes incurable?
 

Kneedles

Songster
6 Years
Jul 22, 2014
254
108
186
Wellington, New Zealand
I don't think there is any way to 'look' at a chicken and know it has anemia. The causes are varied and it would have been a good idea to have necropsied that bird to find out the underlying cause. I'm so sorry for your loss.
http://www.poultrydvm.com/condition/anemia
My hen did have a necropsy afterwards. The vet called me later that day and she told me that my hen had a discoloured, disintegrating liver, small kidneys, and large, bleeding adrenal glands. So, my hen was obviously beyond help and would have died by the end of the day. The vet also said that the cause was not EYP, metal ingestion, or one or two other common potential causes, and that finding out the cause of my hen's condition would require a more detailed analysis. She did not give me the option of paying for such an analysis, though.

I did ask the vet if I could tell that a chicken is anaemic simply by looking at it, and she likewise said no. I forgot to ask whether there is a way to prevent anaemia in chickens, though, so I am still interested in suggestions for that, other than what is written in the link that you provided.
 

ValerieJ

Straw parade on snow day
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 24, 2016
10,552
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Washington State
My hen did have a necropsy afterwards. The vet called me later that day and she told me that my hen had a discoloured, disintegrating liver, small kidneys, and large, bleeding adrenal glands. So, my hen was obviously beyond help and would have died by the end of the day. The vet also said that the cause was not EYP, metal ingestion, or one or two other common potential causes, and that finding out the cause of my hen's condition would require a more detailed analysis. She did not give me the option of paying for such an analysis, though.

I did ask the vet if I could tell that a chicken is anaemic simply by looking at it, and she likewise said no. I forgot to ask whether there is a way to prevent anaemia in chickens, though, so I am still interested in suggestions for that, other than what is written in the link that you provided.
This is interesting. I can answer for anemia in a human, as it is a malady I've been dealing with for the last year. In humans, there are no symptoms until you reach a critical stage and then the symptoms are heart palpitations and light headedness. At least that's how it has been for me. Obviously an iron intake is what is needed, and I have found the best way to infuse iron is from iron rich veggies. I juice mine so I can get a lot of veggies into one serving. I'm wondering if feeding high iron veggies to an anemic chicken would help. But, first you have to know it's anemic, and I don't know how you will know before it is too late. The problem with anemia is it deprives your organs of oxygen, hence heart palpitations, and in the case of your chicken, the other organ damage may have been caused by anemia.
 

coach723

Free Ranging
6 Years
Feb 12, 2015
6,636
11,083
611
North Florida
Prevention would be based on the underlying cause. For instance, too much garlic can cause a specific type of anemia, so proper diet would be prevention for that. I would honestly just try to have as healthy flock as possible, feed appropriately, keep things clean, and it will probably be a rarity. If you had more birds die of the same condition, then I would look for a specific cause to address. Sometimes there are genetic or congenital issues that are not obvious and really have no recourse other than not breeding that bird (assuming you know). If it's pathogenic then prevention would be different.
 

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