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Is Gape worm contagious?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by SillyJillie, Oct 5, 2016.

  1. SillyJillie

    SillyJillie In the Brooder

    I have read through all of the posts on here about gape worm. There are so many different answers and opinions on how to treat or if it's gape worm at all. I have a young D'Uccle who started gaping about a week ago. I thought she was just weird at first but now she is having a hard time walking around. If I put her near the food and water she eats and drinks like crazy and tries to waddle off and hide. I over-nighted levimysole to treat her as I was positive it's gape worm (will be here tomorrow). I've read both that gape worm is rare in chickens and others have said it's common. We have an abundance of snails, earthworms etc so I don't think it's impossible. I also noticed yesterday that another one of my young chickens, a crevecouer, has started to show the gaping sneeze/cough thing. Is this worm contagious? Or am I looking at something completely different? Has anyone actually dealt with gape worm in their chickens and if so, were you able to treat them successfully and if so with what? Or is it too late for my birds and do I just put them out of their misery? I plan to swab the first fallen ones throat tomorrow morning, Do the worms come off very easily?

  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Free Ranging

    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    How old are they?
    Any nasal/eye discharge?
    The one that is having a hard time walking - any swelling of the hocks/legs?

    Coughing, sneezing, having a hard time walking and gaping would most likely be a respiratory illness or disease instead of gapeworm. Infectious Bronchitis or Mycoplasma are two of the more common illnesses in chickens.

    Separate the two that are ill, respiratory illness are contagious, so this is most likely why you have two showing signs of illness.


    As for gapeworm - it is not "contagious" - like being spread like a virus. Ingestion of eggs or larvae (or eating earthworms, etc.) is the usual mode of transmission, so it's possible for an entire flock to have gapeworm because they all ingested it.

    Just my thoughts.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
  3. SillyJillie

    SillyJillie In the Brooder

    She is 10 weeks old. Today she is declining rapidly and I fear she will not make it through the night. She was on her back this afternoon and I brought her in the house to help her stress level. Nasal discharge just started this morning (which is why I now believe it to no longer be worms) She is also eating very very little and does not want to drink water. Both seem to pain when she swallows. Nothing appears to be swollen but she has feather legs so that may be hard to tell. I did have to clean her vent today since she's not moving much. No foul odors seem to be emanating from her and I'm not sure how to treat, nothing seems to be working :{
  4. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Free Ranging

    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    Can you take her to a vet?
    Your finding her on her back - is she having any seizures?
    Did you use medicated chick starter or treat for Cocci?
    What does her poop look like?
    Mucous/nasal discharge is a new symptom - is it clear, thick, yellow, etc.?

    I'm not sure how you should proceed, vet care would be best. Symptoms you are describing can a respiratory illness since you notice a nasal discharge (new symptom) today. But this has been progressing for a week? So you can't rule out something like Cocci being in the mix as well.

    You can try treating respiratory symptoms with Tylan 50 given orally. Dosage is 1cc or ml for every 5lbs. of weight. If you don't have Tylan 50 you can try Oxytetracycline - dosage depends on the brand you have.

    For Cocci, treatment is with Corid dosage is 1 1/2 teaspoons Corid powder per gallon or 2 teaspoons of 9.6% Corid liquid per gallon
    Give for 5-7 days - make sure this is the ONLY water available during that time period. Mix a fresh batch at least once a day.

    Keep her warm and hydrated.

    Just my thoughts.
  5. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

    Jun 24, 2012
    My Coop
    Sorry your chicken is sick. [​IMG]Yes I have treated gapes successfully. Gave 10% Safeguard @ 0.23 ml per pound for 5 days, but gapes were gone after three days.

    This book says 0.14 ml per pound (30 mg/kg), but I used the 0.23 mg per pound (50 mg/kg) amount instead just in case they had capillary worms.



  6. SillyJillie

    SillyJillie In the Brooder

    I wish I could take her to a vet - There are none any where near me that treat foul. She's having a really hard time breathing but she is eating up as much mush (chick grower mixed with charcoal water) as she can between deep breaths and mini napping. I have to hold her up to eat since she's lost the strength to walk. She cannot hold herself up or keep her feet underneath her without help. One of her legs is completely stretched out in front of her. I keep thinking she is doing better but I just don't know if she's going to pull through this. I'm almost positive it is not Cocci. I successfully treated one in the past and none of the symptoms are the same. She doesn't cough anymore but takes deep inhales that occasionally have a gurgle sound on the way out. It appears that since giving her VetRX a couple times a day is somewhat helping but I'm just not sure what I'm dealing with here. I've never seen anything like it...:(
  7. SillyJillie

    SillyJillie In the Brooder

    It's Marek's Disease. Everything that's happened with her and happening with the other one has Mareks written all over it. I pulled the second one out of the coop this evening even though I know it's too late for everyone else - They're carriers for life now, right? I read a really long post about it on here. We'll be putting them down tomorrow (the two). I believe making them suffer is worse. The second one that has fallen ill can still walk. Do I wait until she is no longer mobile, too? Or do I end it now? And what's to happen to the others? Everyone is a different age - Does this mean I should never buy any new chickens? It doesn't seem like it will be a smart idea - My rooster is scheduled to come home from his summer home - Do I just keep him away for good? I'm so stressed out! I've wanted chickens my whole life and this is my first year with them and it's been one nightmare after another. Please tell me it gets better? I feel like no one else has this many problems! How many am I going to loose to various diseases? What am I doing wrong?

    OH! and can peafowl catch this horrid disease? I've already lost one of those to a broken neck!
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2016

  8. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Free Ranging Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    It may or may not be Mareks, but a respiratory disease. You really should get one or two birds tested by getting a necropsy done by your state vet after you cull them. Respiratory diseases can be complicated by many other symptoms which can lead to neurological symptoms. Mareks can remain in your environment for many years after chickens are gone. New chickens can be raised if they are vaccinated for Mareks as day olds at the hatchery and remain out of the environment where dust and dander from previous chickens have been kept for 2-3 weeks to develop full immunity. Here are some links to read about Mareks as well as necropsy information:

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