Interested in your opinions after necropsy

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ktsue, Jun 11, 2016.

  1. ktsue

    ktsue In the Brooder

    Jan 5, 2014
    Hi all,

    I lost a chicken yesterday after a week of watching her clearly go downhill. Mostly her symptom was lethargy. She just sat around and did nothing. At first she would eat and drink when I brought her food, but by yesterday, she wanted none of it, and then by the evening, she was dead (which was a relief; we were going to put her out of her misery today). I did noticed that she seemed to struggle a little with harder food, so I soaked her food in water, and she was eating that relatively well, for her. I couldn't tell if she was having trouble with her beak.

    So today I did an incredible amateur necropsy. This is actually my second one, the first being far more of a (excuse the pun) hack job. But I did a little studying ahead of time.

    Anyway, long story short, based on what I've seen elsewhere, most things looked OK but the most noticeable thing that was NOT okay was the amount of clear yellow fluid (looked like urine) that poured out of her abdomen. She also had some kind of sack about the size of a quarter that was also full of fluid. Looked like a water balloon.

    I did not look at her neck or head, as that is one part I've yet to be able to dissect. But I've come a long way.

    The stuff in her gizzard was black. When I did my first necropsy the gizzard contents were distinguishable as grass, seeds, and rocks. But this looked like rotted food; maybe it had been there awhile. I'm thinking the fluid in her abdomen was keeping much from moving through her (although she was going to the bathroom each time she stood up, which wasn't often). The intestines were all full, but that might be normal.

    How big is a healthy chicken heart? I'd say her heart was the size of 15 nickels in a roll. Is that big? I can't find much online to tell me whether that's normal.

    I didn't see anything that looked like abnormal growth. The area that looks the most like growth was her reproductive cycle. It was clear she hadn't been laying eggs for a while as nothing was even close to being formed.

    Anyway, any ideas? Do we think it's heart disease? Ascites maybe? She turned 2 this past April.


  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Free Ranging Premium Member 7 Years

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    I have only done a couple of necropsies, so am quite an amateur myself. It is a good way to learn about what might have killed them. To me, it does sound like ascites, probably secondary to internal laying/egg yolk peritonitis. Heart disease is also a cause of ascites. Infection can also cause it, and her gizzard sounds like it was not working well. One of mine died, and the only thing I found was black material and sunflower shells, which made it obvious the gizzard was not functioning. Crop and gizzard failure can be common in some diseases. Here are a few good professional necropsy links to read with good pictures:

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