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How to identify a type of respiratory problem? Cold, Virus?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by whiteybird, Feb 29, 2016.

  1. whiteybird

    whiteybird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 16, 2013
    Sarasota, FL
    I have four birds in my flock, two production reds and two barred rocks.

    Today as I was letting them out of their run that one seemed to be moving slower than the others. Typically when I let them out I stand there and they hesitate before the walk through the door and make a run for it past me so I don't try to pick them up or inspect them. Today the last bird hesitated a beat too long and when she got through the door shew didn't really start running, she just picked up her pace a little. When I picked her up and looked at her closely I could hear her breathing - nothing to indicate fluid in the lungs, just an audible breathing sound.

    I've checked 2 of the three others and I hear no breathing sounds. I'll check the other in a minute.

    Is there any way to differentiate between the possible causes of breathing problems, such as a cold, a virus, or whatnot? I guess you could add a little lethargy to the equation, though she is eating normally.

    I have Valbazen, Wazine and Ivermectin, but I ran out of Tetracycline. Is there anything over the counter besides electrolytes and vitamins (which I have) that I can give her, should I wait it out a couple days to look for more or worsening symptoms, or go get some form of treatment now? I will separate her from the others today.
     
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Yeah, separating her from the others is definitely gonna be your first step.

    Unless there's an actual sound of distress, e.g. clear gasping, gurgling, or rattling, or ocular symptoms such as swollen, bubbly, or otherwise strange eyes, or other birds are showing symptoms, I wouldn't jump straight to a respiratory disease. Usually your first clue in that you're dealing with something like an infectious disease is multiple birds showing symptoms.

    Now, chickens don't get colds either; the closest thing they can get to a cold is the aforementioned infectious respiratory diseases. However, respiratory distress, brought on by another physical injury or illness, is relatively common. I would say more than likely she's going through some other kind of issue, and the audible breathing is a symptom of that.

    You'll want to isolate her, and do a full physical check. Rule out any wounds or injuries and parasites, check her abdomen for any hard lumps or swellings, check her extremities for symmetry (asymmetric joints or limbs can be a sign of breaks or dislocations), and check her crop to be sure it feels normal. Don't forget to look at the vent and check inside of the mouth. Note the clearness of her eyes, and the color of her comb and wattle.

    You'll want to keep her somewhere warm and quiet right now. Personally, I like to line a dog crate with towels and place it in the laundry room or the corner of my bedroom.
     
  3. whiteybird

    whiteybird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    79
    Feb 16, 2013
    Sarasota, FL
    Thanks for your reply.

    I haven't done a full check yet but I did look at everyone's feet yesterday to check for bumblefoot and didn't see anything. I'll do a more comprehensive check later today.

    Her crown is actually one of the brightest reds...the other BR has a pretty pinky crown but she doesn't seem as slow moving or have signs of audible breathing.

    I put her in a separate enclosed pen I have which is in the chicken's normal area, so she is somewhat still connected to them. Not ideal if she is contagious, but what I can do for now. She'd be impossible to keep inside since at the moment I don't have a dog cage and in the past I've used open-top crates or boxes for my sick chickens, so she'd jump right out in a heartbeat. And she'd be livid if I did that to her. She's still very spunky when she needs to be.

    Right now she's the envy of the others, digging through the dirt in the pen and finding lots of delicious bugs!

    Apparently I don't have anymore vitamins or electrolytes so I put acv in her water until I could get some.

    The low is 56 tonight and it's in the 70s today...
     
  4. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop


    OK, that all sounds fine. I tell people to bring birds inside because this time of year it's usually cold outside (in most places), but if those are the temps she should be perfectly fine outdoors.

    Usually I recommend segregation for the sick hen's sake, not the rest of the flock. Even if it was something contagious, if the bird has already been in with the rest of the flock, and was only removed AFTER showing symptoms, then 99% of the time the flock is already infected. (One of the reasons quarantine of new birds is so important).

    ACV is good for now (though not recommended long term, since it has potential to interfere with calcium absorption), and I do recommend putting her on electrolytes as soon as you can. Gatorade works if Sav-A-Chick isn't readily available.
     
  5. whiteybird

    whiteybird Chillin' With My Peeps

    128
    0
    79
    Feb 16, 2013
    Sarasota, FL
    Ok. Good point. I should be able to get her some electrolytes tomorrow eve or Wed morning.

    Thanks for your help!
     

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