Lethargic Australorp; symptoms coming and going

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by gardenfairy, Jul 25, 2014.

  1. gardenfairy

    gardenfairy In the Brooder

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    I have a five and half year old Black Australorp, Constance with a reoccurring issue. I assume it's reproductive system related, but the symptoms went away entirely for several months before showing again, which I haven't seen before during this time of year.

    It just started again the other day and, like last time, she was her normal bubbly self in the morning, but instead of roosting at night she was sitting in a nest box. I have several other gals who are brooding right now, but Constance isn't displaying any brooding behavior and has never brooded before. She was just siting in the box. There is no sign of straining. She does have diarrhea that just started again last night and goes between being rather thick white to a light tan more liquid consistency.

    The same as last time, she's mostly uninterested in food and is drinking unusually high amounts of water. She's normally incredibly active, running around nonstop, but her activity level has plummeted over the last 24 hours and she's now just standing watching everyone else run around.

    Last time, she did the same inactive thing for a day or so, slept in the nest box at nights then started spending her days sitting in the nest box. Again no straining, though I can only imagine she thought she had something to lay since she remained in the nest box.

    Her voice also changed while she was having the issues last time and is starting to again. It's hard to describe - it doesn't so much sound like her breathing is off like I've heard with birds with ascites, more like her voice is hoarse and she's doing an unusual amount of mumbling.

    Her feathers are in great condition, comb still red and weight very good. No sign of abdominal swelling at this point and there wasn't last time either. It's been about a year since the flock was last checked for internal parasites, but all was good then and no one else is showing symptoms of any kind.

    Over the years, I've had birds that have been diagnosed with egg peritonitis, internal laying and cancer, and a couple of them did have symptoms that arose in spring and then mostly went away with the drop in day length until the next spring. In Constance's case, the problem first came up a few months ago and she quickly became so lethargic I was sure she didn't have long left. The symptoms stuck around for a week or two and then vanished completely. She was seemingly 100% back to her normal perky self until last night.

    Below is a photo of Constance from this morning. You can see that she doesn't look bad for a chicken in general, but usually she has a very sleek appearance and upright posture. The biggest thing is that she would normally never hold still long enough for a picture whereas right now she would prefer not to move.

    [​IMG]

    Has anyone else had a bird display similar symptoms that came and went? I'm imagining there isn't much to be done about it, but she's my little sweetie pie so any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Crowing

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    Leucosis is one disease where issues come and go, with them having periods of being sick and then looking normal and healthy right up until a severe loss of health. It's described about the same as you wrote but then again so are some other diseases. I had two forms of leucosis I got from purebreds, two different breeders, Silkie and Black Australorp. Silkies went down rapidly, before 6 months old they died, Australorps took a few years and much longer. Both bred the trait on when crossed with completely different lines and mongrel birds, I had to do some extensive weeding out to remove those lines, got multiples of them from various backyard breeders of purebreds and mongrels.

    If she dies and you autopsy her you will know if it's leucosis, hard to miss the tumors all over the digestive system, though some cases apparently don't get that. The sleeping in the nest box and constant mumbling/chattering are generally things chooks do when very unwell and in pain, both of which are symptoms of leucosis but again could be other things as well.

    Since we don't know for sure it would be worth trying to treat it, but hard to say how when we don't have too good an idea of what it is.

    How's her weight? Has she lost any? Gradual emaciation is a common sign of leucosis but the abdomen will remain the same size or even grow due to the tumors.

    Best wishes. Hope it's nothing severe.
     
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  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Free Ranging Premium Member

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    Even though your fecal test was negative, she could have worms. Since she is acting off, I would treat her for worms with fenbendazole or Valbazen 1/2 ml orally, and repeat in 10 days. SafeGuard and Panacur are brands of fenbendazole.
     
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  4. gardenfairy

    gardenfairy In the Brooder

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    Oct 15, 2012
    Thanks so much for the suggestion, chooks4life. Leucosis isn’t one that I’ve read about so I’ll definitely do some reading up on that one, especially if you have specifically seen it in Black Australorps.

    That’s dreadful with the Silkies and Australorps both. I imagine once an issue like that is in a line that it’s a tough thing to get rid of. You folks who do breeding work to clean up the lines impress me immensely. I certainly hope I can track down some at least semi-local breeders that do pay that kind of attention in the next couple of years before I get my next batch of ladies.

    That’s also interesting about mumbling/chattering. Strangely, I’ve never had any of my other gals do that when unwell, but that makes sense as an expression of discomfort, and Constance is one of the most vocal of my current gals.

    Her breast is still nice and firm and, so far, she feels the same as usual when I pick her up. I know what you mean there, though, I did have a Brahma a number of years ago who’d lost a dramatic amount of muscle/fat mass while retaining a decent amount of weight due to tumors.

    It’s a long drive and a ferry boat ride to our avian vet so I don’t like dragging the gals there, unless of course it looks like there’s something the docs might be able to do for them. I’ll read into leucosis and diseases with similar symptoms, and talk to the doc if it looks like there’s a possible treatable match.

    Thanks again for your help!
     
  5. gardenfairy

    gardenfairy In the Brooder

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    Thank you so much for your suggestion, eggcessive. I was wondering if some of the parasites could run on a cycle, possibly making the timing of the fecal a more critical factor. I'll most certainly look into that. Thanks again!
     
  6. chooks4life

    chooks4life Crowing

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    Yes, they do, they all run on a cycle. If you're interested you could have a look on PubMed or other websites for the circalunar rhythm which governs the life cycles of worms as a species in general, whether parasitic, terrestrial, or marine. Where exactly their rhythm falls is a bit variable but most show predisposition to moving from organs etc into the digestive tract to reproduce as the moon approaches being full. It's not an old wives' tale, though there's not yet a huge wealth of scientific studies done on it.

    Best wishes.
     

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