Lead Poisoning in Hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by HannahL, Nov 17, 2019.

  1. HannahL

    HannahL Chirping

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    Hi all! So I have a 3-year-old Buff Brahma hen named Paisley. She’s an absolute sweetheart, more like a dog than a chicken to be honest. She’s one of my favorite girls. Recently I noticed that she seemed a bit lethargic. She was eating and drinking normally but just didn’t seem like herself. She also wasn’t jumping up on the roosting stick anymore. So, I brought her to the vet. Turns out she has 62 lead poisoning. We have a very old house so I wasn’t overly surprised. She’s on medication twice a day now and we’ve replaced the dirt in their pen with lead-free loom. I was just wondering if anyone on here has any extra tips on how to make her more comfortable? Also, if anyone knows what the success rate is when it comes to treating lead poisoning? I’m hoping that she’ll be alright since she’s still eating and drinking but I just wasn’t sure. She’s been on the medicine for 4 days now and she hasn’t gotten worse, but I haven’t seen much improvement either. She has a second dose in 5 days. Thanks in advance for any advice!
     
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  2. boskelli1571

    boskelli1571 Crowing

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  3. ----------

    ---------- Chirping

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    i would start buying water in gallon jugs for you and the chickens
     
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  4. glassdragonfly

    glassdragonfly Crowing

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    Wow,I have no idea how to help but wanted to wish you and your girl best of luck!:fl
     
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  5. Kathy Golla

    Kathy Golla Crowing

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    Have you identified the source? What is lead free loom? Loam? If so, did you identify there was lead in the soil or are you just guessing? You would have to remove it way deep as they dig pretty deep, esp when the soil is wet. You have to remove the lead source.
    Do you have other hens that might be affected? If so, Have you had your other hens tested? You should, lead poisoning is very often fatal if not treated and the source removed. There’s a chronic lead poisoning (ingest a little every day) or acute ( ingest a lot over a short time from a source usually being dug at like buckshot or lead paint.) from my memory, 62 is quite high, if that’s what you are referring to. Any other poultry can have lead poisoning and not be showing signs but still need to be treated with chelation.
    What medicine is she on, a lead chelator? Can you expand more on the statement that she’s on medicine twice a day, but she gets a second dose in five days?
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2019
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  6. HannahL

    HannahL Chirping

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    We’re getting our soil tested shortly, but we are almost positive that the source is from the soil. We’ve been using our tap water for the chickens (which has new pipes) just to be sure though. The vet said that the poisoning was most likely chronic. She said that our other hens had probably been exposed to the lead, but since they were younger the levels weren’t high enough for them to present symptoms. She recommended that we just watch them and hold off on treatment unless they begin to show signs (this was mostly in regards to cost). And yes, she’s getting two shots of edetate calcium disodium (CaEDTA) which is a lead chelator. I believe that that’s the name for it. She’s getting it twice a day in the muscle next to her breast bone for 5 days. Then she has a break for 5 days and is then treated twice a day again for 5 days. At that point, the vet is gonna test her blood again and if her levels are still too high then she will have another dosage. Do you recommend that we test the younger hens? I figured that they might be alright so long as they aren’t continually exposed but I’m not sure. The loam that we put down was soil that we purchased so it is lead free. It’s been sitting in our yard for quite a while since we didn’t have any purpose for it at first, but we dug the top layer off and then put the loam down in their pen. Hope that this clears things up a bit. Awaiting your reply!
     
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  7. Kathy Golla

    Kathy Golla Crowing

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    Good reply!
    My tip is to make sure you are alternating sides and positions of the breast. The injections can cause bruising.
    If you do do a second round, ask about a liquid chelator that can be administered orally. It has to be compounded and my vet ordered it from road runner pharmacy. It was called dimercapto succinate in olive oil, 200 mg/ml fruit punch flavor. .32 ml/2x day for a week for a reg sized hen. I think brahmas are big hens(?)) Much easier to administer. My recollection was that the oral was also less expensive than the shots. Or the same cost. If not, shots are fine and I remember the protocol with the shots was as you state, twice with a 5 day break in between.
    I would just keep an eye on the younger hens for symptoms especially if you think you’ve removed the source. If they have lead in their blood it will lessen in time.
    I had one hen that had lead poisoning and the injections and ended up passing away from an unrelated oviduct infection at the same time. So n/a on that one.
    The other one was sick and they found lead poisoning. We looked for the source and never found it..she probably got into something. She had the oral chelator one time ( I think it was 2x/day for a week), blood retested and I believe the levels were in range of normal. I don’t remember what the levels were to start with. We tested just a subset of my other hens and they did not have lead in their systems, which goes along with what your vet is saying. This hen made a full recovery. I remember she lost weight, molted some due to stress/sickness and was quite low energy for about a month afterward and I fed her a bit of hard boiled egg (whatever nutritious food she would eat) almost every day for about three weeks to boost her energy until she was eating better on her own.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2019
  8. HannahL

    HannahL Chirping

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    Thanks so much! I had no idea there was an oral chelator. Yes my hen is quite big so an oral applicator would probably be easier. My hen has been really low energy recently too so I’ll try giving her some hard boiled egg like you said to see if that’ll help her feel a bit better. I’m thinking about possibly getting a blood sample from one of the younger hens just to be sure, but we’ll see. They’re doing fine right now so I’m just focusing on Paisley at the moment. Thanks so much for your advice!
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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  10. glassdragonfly

    glassdragonfly Crowing

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    :loveHoping the best for your girl!:fl
     

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