Lethargic Hen/ diagnosis

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by laoisme65, May 3, 2016.

  1. laoisme65

    laoisme65 New Egg

    Mar 22, 2016
    For people with lethargic hens, please keep this in mind when these symptoms show with hens that are 2-1/2 years and older.

    Standing around with tail drooped, standing alone keeping to herself, acting lethargic no energy, poo (possibly bright green) stuck all around her "butt", the lower part of her rear end appears swollen, and below the the breast almost between (not quite) her legs it feels as if she has water retention (kind of like the way a water balloon would feel is what I think).

    I am now on my third hen with these symptoms, I took the second one to Rollins Diagnostic lab and the following are the lab results;

    External examination reveal marked soft distension of the abdomen, external parasite were not found. The bird was emaciated.
    Internally, there was severe ascites characterized by accumulation of large amount of clear, yellowish fluid and clumps of yellow gelatinous material in peritoneal cavities. The intestinal serosa and mesentery were remarkably thickened, and there were severe adhesion's between the mesentery and the intestine, which looked like a firm mass like structure in the abdominal cavity. A few whitish nodules were in the liver. The spleen was replaced by a large white mass. The right lung had a small firm area. The ovary was inactive and firm, and had a large fluid filled cyst attached to it by a stalk. The wall of the oviduct was thickened. Tissues were collected for histopathology.
    DIAGNOSIS: Ovarian adenocarcinoma with intracoelomic metastasis. (ovarian cancer)

    comment from Dr.: cause of death to bird was ovarian cancer (adenocarcinoma) that spread to the other organs and tissues, Ovarian adenocarcinoma is common in "old" laying hens.

    I wanted to share this with anybody who has noticed this in any of their older hens. It is not parasites, which seems to be a very common suggestion, I will be taking this third hen to the same lab, for a humane check up and humanely euthanized, to be followed up with an autopsy.

    All three of these birds (along with 3 others) were purchased from TSC as chicks during chick days, which are probably provided by a "chick" farm (like a puppy farm??). I am saddened by these results, as I have raised every bird I have from a baby, and everyone of them has been in my house for the first month or so of their lives, are my pets and I love them and out of my now flock of now 17 (soon to be 16) these seem to be the only ones that have come down with this disturbing symptoms.

    I will follow up with any future results for anyone interested, thanks Lois
    1 person likes this.
  2. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

    Jan 10, 2013
    Thanks for sharing. I have lost 2 of my hens to ovarian cancer. Research shows that primary or metastatic ovarian cancer is so very common in poultry that research for human ovarian cancer is centered on poultry studies.
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I do know that this hen had a good life.

    Often times chickens are not real long lived birds. When birds are raised for egg production, those birds are not kept for long terms. I think that you think that because you bought from the local farm store, you encouraged the productions of not well chickens from your reference to the puppy mill.

    Cancer does happen, and birds do die. You might be happier if you bought from a reputable breeder of long lived hens, but not necessarily. A lot of hens die between the ages of 2 1/2 and 3 years of age. I do know a lot of people post on here of very long lived chickens, but it is not that common.

    Enjoy what you have and look forward, I have found it has helped me to think of the flock. I love having a flock, but the birds in my flock come and go.

    Mrs K
  4. lovemy6hens

    lovemy6hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 4, 2013
    Central Texas
    Thank you for sharing that.
  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place True BYC Addict

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Welcome, and sorry for your loss. Nearly nobody selects chickens for longevity, including both hatcheries and breeders. Most breeder birds are one year old, and aren't kept for years to track health and long term production. Consequently, many chickens die by the time they are three or so, regardless of management. I value my broody hens, and birds that live long, and I post every bird that dies or is euthanatized for poor health. Reproductive issues are the most common problems here, and then tumors in older birds. My oldest hens died at age ten, outliving MANY others. Mary
  6. laoisme65

    laoisme65 New Egg

    Mar 22, 2016
    The point of this message is actually to inform people of this, as I have never seen a post with this explanation, only responses that I have read say "It sounds like your hen possibly has a lodged egg or has parasites or mites" I put in these symptoms for the first 2 birds, took the advice and turns out that they are just sick. You misunderstand what I implied. The only hens that have gotten sick with this are from TSC, and my local TSC does get them from large hatcheries, which to me is very odd that 3 of 6 from the same place have all died of the same disease, all my others, 4 of them are older than the Rhodes, are healthy and beautiful. They are all egg layers,whether I want them too or not, (I have them for the fun and not for the eggs, I just like them).

    So anyhoo, I was just getting this out there for people so they would have a alternative explanation, with a description from the actual medical report, did not mean to offend, I have been a backyard chicken pet owner on and off for 40 years, and have never had a privately purchased or home hatched bird die of ovarian cancer
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC @laoisme65 .....sorry for your losses.

    I've seen a few lab reports posted on BYC from necropsies reporting ascites(or water belly) from various underlying causes-often cancer, heart ailments, or infection.
    Diagnosing chicken ailments can be difficult, especially online where you must carefully weigh the advice given, then decide what to try.

    Thanks for sharing your experience here.

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