I think my chicken may have suffered a stroke - if not,what could it be?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by robyn youlten, Jan 1, 2014.

  1. robyn youlten

    robyn youlten Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    25
    Feb 18, 2013
    My chicken has suddenly developed a condition where she has her head tilted to one side,eyes shut tight,white lids,no reaction even when I clap my hands close to her.She then appears to 'wake up",opens her eyes,I am not sure if she can see me,she walks very slowly,will not peck,does not seem to 'understand' food and we are syringe feeding her honey and water solution,plus a poly powder and a pain relief the vet gave her.She has lost an
    enormous amount of weight very suddenly and when she IS responsive or 'awake' she is very disorientated.No problems standing for long periods of time,not wobbling when she does walk,but she will only eat if we feed her.I am crop feeding her and her crop seems to take a very long time to empty.Her feathers and general appearance are good
    ,apart from the weight loss.
    My partner seems to think she will get well,but I am worried about her quality of life.Is it possible she has suffered a stroke?She is about 3-4 years old and was the absolute picture of health right up until Christmas Day,then on the 27th,she was like this!!! She was VERY active,alert.now she doesn't even LOOK like the same Goldie we love.I don't know what to do. (sorry about the type)When she is in what appears to be a comatose state,she can still stand up,but does NOT respond to noise voice or touch.Please help!! Peace,Robyn :((
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    28,986
    2,973
    471
    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    This is very strange--some sort of neurological condition. It's obvious she is suffering from wry neck or torticollis when she has one of the seizures. Does she continue the head tilt when she is not having a spell? Does your vet think she has some sort of virus--maybe equine encephalitis or something along that line? Or could it all be an electrolyte imbalance? I would think if it was a stroke, she would stay like that. Please keep us up to date on her condition. I wish I could help you, but other than continue to give electrolytes and tube feed, I'm out of ideas.
     
  3. robyn youlten

    robyn youlten Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    25
    Feb 18, 2013
    Thank you for your reply.Most vets know very little about birds/chickens,but she did see an Avian vet...who was unsure..I thought maybe lymphoid leukosis,or certainly some mosquito related virus.When she snaps out of the 'sleep",she tosses her head around erratically - her eyes are clear and the pupils are normal.It's got me beat too and I am an animal technician.She DID have whitish faeces,but only once.One of our other chickens died in September and was blind,but she was very old.The only different thing we have done was move them.When we bought the house,the man had chickens.He left 5 behind for us so we were certainly "new eggs" in the true sense of the term!! He used to breed them and there was a very well built section for the mother hens and chicks which we didn't use as the 5 had the run of the large pen,which had their roosting section,egg boxes etc.However,there was a fox attack - although I believe it was more likely a cat - we then had the smaller pen completely fox proofed,under wiring..the works and moved the chickens in there.WE are unsure as to whether or not the previous owner ever had his chickens vaccinated - probably not -but this hen is not showing signs of Marek's or related illnesses...
    So no,she doesn't have the head tilt when she is 'awake' - it's more than a tilt really - the muscles are completely slack and her head lolls over to the right side and back....I suppose we will just have to keep syringe feeding her,but I am reluctant to do this for more than say a week - it's difficult to tell whether she is in pain and although she is on pain relief,this will not be long term...I wonder if it may have been some sort of spider bite? It is summer here in Australia...but I have checked her over..no signs...she is very clean,no drooling...as they say,Je ne c'est pas!!
    I will let you know how she is at the end of this day and thank you for having a head scratch over this!! :))
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    28,986
    2,973
    471
    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    I would also consider poisons and maybe lead toxicity as causes. Do you have agricultural agents that do necrosies for diagnosis after a chicken death in Australia? Our state vets will do it usually for a fee, but some states do it for no cost.
     
  5. robyn youlten

    robyn youlten Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    25
    Feb 18, 2013
    Thank you for your reply!!
    Yes,poison has been considered,but we don't even use additives on our plants in the garden!! The only time poison has been introduced on the property is when we had a rodent problem.The baits are encased and the boxes placed up high.This was done in 2012 and again early 2013.There has been the odd dead field rat in the chicken house,but since it was fox proofed,they cannot get in.
    They are not the usual haemorrhagic baits - rather an organic based substance.
    During this afternoon,Goldie has been much more animated than yesterday - lots of head tossing and flinching away from her food syringe,walking a little and trying to clean herself.It's like some of the signals are beginning to come back,but they are all hay wire.This is making it difficult to feed her as she becomes quite agitated.BUT!Better that she is this way than as listless as before.I am not 100% certain though,that her recognition of food and/or her ability to peck and graze will return as she shows absolutely no interest.She is holding her head up a lot more than before.
    I am also worried about her nutrition.All she is having is the poly powder from the vet and water.She is also having an anti-biotic - of course ha! - Amoxclav,just a pencillin- and a pain relief.I am thinking that I should perhaps introduce some bread soaked in the poly powder solution? She has not had any solids for 8 days now!! She also has black stools which indicates to me that she has had a bleed somewhere - it's ususally the liver - if she would just begin to have the desire to eat the battle would be almost won!! :)))
     
  6. robyn youlten

    robyn youlten Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    25
    Feb 18, 2013
    Hello everyone...I just wanted to thank you for your help and suggestions regarding my chicken.Sadly,she has passed away.
    After intensive research - on my own part - I was able to establish that she had a neurological form of Marek's disease.
    My friend and I inherited our chickens from a man we bought our house from.I'm afraid we were not versed in 'all things chicken' and basically went by experiences from childhood....chickens roam,lay eggs and are friendly and loving...we didn't know anything about vaccinations...
    It seems that we were actually doing all of the right things feed and husbandry wise - except forONE thing we couldn't possibly have known.
    A while ago,we had what we thought was an attack by the fox in their big run.There was a smaller run there,where the man used to put the brooding hens and hatch the chicks.We dug it all out,fox-proofed it and swapped the chickens into that pen.I believe,that the man more than likely NEVER vaccinated his chickens and that the Marek's was alive and well in the soil.Marek's can survive - AND THRIVE- outside of the host for quite some considerable time.The chicken probably contracted this form of it from the coop.Of course chickens being chickens,they never 'show' you they are ill until it's way too late...and in her case,it had indeed affected her brain.
    I have learned a lot about chickens because of this - their response to most
    AB's is not good....if Amoxycillin/Clavulox does not get a response.they are better off on a potentiated sulponamide or etracyclines - even fluorquinolones. Symptoms of MArek's,Newcastles and ABV or D are VERY similiar to Marek's and if watched VERY closely,a normally agile hen will go quiet...THAT'S when to act.It CAN be turned around...one of the other hens displayed all the signs 12 months ago,had a different vet and responded to the PS medication - she DID remain blind,but was VERY happy AND very old.
    The coop where they were has to be completely disinfected and the soil LIMED and left for about 6 months.Marek's can be hit on the head with bleach or phenol.
    If you are wondering,I DO have a bit of a background with animals having managed a HUGE shelter here in Australia and I have a science degree in Animal Tech.BUT.I never saw many chickens....hard way to learn,but I wanted to share this with you.
    Have a very happy new year.:)) Peace.:))
    Robyn :))
     
  7. thecarnie

    thecarnie New Egg

    7
    0
    9
    Mar 28, 2013
    I had very similar symptoms out of a white leghorn. I came to the conclusion that she had gotten into some rat poison, or eaten a mouse that had died from it. I had laid some out underneath the shed because it was getting into the feed. It took about 2 days from when the symptoms to appear before she died.
     
  8. robyn youlten

    robyn youlten Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    25
    Feb 18, 2013
    Yes...we have a baiting system around our property.We are fortunate enough to be abale to work in with a friend of mine who is a wildlife biologist - among ther things! - the baits we use are encased and placed at strategic points..like along fences,in the roof...this poison is not one that is haemorrhagic - it works more quickly,within 2 hours of ingestion and causes heart failure.We checked for poisoning as a possibility..and yes...it could even have been part of the equation..but her faeces and urine showed no signs of poisoning so we ruled it out.
    In a perfect world,we would come up with a way to rid our properties of rodents without these awful poisons..I'm sorry to hear that your leghorn passed away.
    Take care,Peace,
    Robyn :)
     
  9. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    28,986
    2,973
    471
    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Sorry for your loss.I have read that one really can't get rid of Mareks once it is in the soil or environment--it will be there for many years. It is best to vaccinate all day old chicks, then keep them in a clean brooding area for at least 2 weeks to build up immunity. There is a long ongoing thread with several knowledgeable people here on BYC: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/741957/not-an-emergency-mareks-in-the-flock
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2014
  10. robyn youlten

    robyn youlten Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    25
    Feb 18, 2013
    Thank you.I will follow that up.The problem we had/have is that the coop(s) are in situ and the chickens came with the property.We had no way of knowing how old the chickens were - we guessed at probably 2 years and we have been here for 3 - so the previous owner may have had an issue with Marek's.I do know that the soil is spoiled and we are reluctant to introduce any very young hens at this time.We have one little darling left and she is now an extremely pampered pet - as they all were - but she has her own 'room' in the house Ha!HA! and is happy to hang out with us and our dog....she spends a lot of her time in the late evenings sitting and "purring"....when we do obtain maybe 2 more,they will definitely have their vaccinations.It was a hard way to learn about these things.WE love our little dinosaurs!! Peace :)) Robyn :))
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by