Lethargic, puffed up, white poop! Is this chicken going to make it?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by deacons, Jun 29, 2015.

  1. deacons

    deacons Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Given her overall body condition, I don't think this is something that just happened in a day. But, my guess is that it is reproductively related, and the supersized egg surely didn't help.

    Maybe that's just a stereotype about Golden Comets, but I didn't realize how hard their laying cycle was on them until well after I already had a couple of chicks of that breed.

    Just tucked them all into the coop tonight, Goldie included, so we'll have to wait and see what tomorrow brings.

    Thanks everyone for your thoughts and advice, I do appreciate it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2015
  2. GitaBooks

    GitaBooks Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    The Golden Comets do tend to get more problems in life, like water belly or other problems. We lost one to egg binding and three to a mysterious illness that didn't effect any of the other breeds we had. They are very friendly, and pretty, and good egg layers, but they are bred to be productive a couple years and than culled, and so longevity and hardiness aren't really bred into them.
     
  3. deacons

    deacons Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So she's still with us this morning. She came bounding out of the coop with the rest of them as soon as I opened the doors. She still looks a little pale, but as far as I can see so far today, she's not huddled and sleepy like yesterday.

    Funniest thing, she must have decided the hospital crate was a pretty nice nesting spot- she actually put herself in there on her own this morning and laid a very nice, very normal egg! So cute.

    Here are a couple of pictures of her scoping out her new preferred nest, you can see the feather picking along her wings.
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    I decided to leave her in there for a couple of hours so I could feed her a nice big meal and know she was getting food. Made her another mash, mostly wet-down layer pellets, but with a few meal worms, crimped oats, and scoop of probiotics added in. She ate the whole bowl.

    I think I might do a dusting for mites tonight. I checked the coop after dark last night, and while I couldn't see anything swarming or moving around on the roost or the birds, many of them (Goldie included) do have some "black pepper" looking spots down in their feathers. The more I looked at what could cause ragged feathers and potential paleness/tiredness, I kept coming back to mites. So, we'll go ahead and cross that off the list.

    Fingers crossed she's able to rebound and stick around awhile longer.
     
  4. GitaBooks

    GitaBooks Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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  5. deacons

    deacons Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Alright guys, I'm back because even though she's been normal and energetic most of the week, this morning she's back to look puffed up and not moving around.

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    She doesn't want to eat but has been very thirsty. She's having wet, foamy poop.
    [​IMG]

    I have had Corid in their water all week, but just the "maintenance" does. I could give her the "severe outbreak" concentration. If folks think this is coccidiosis. Is there something else intestinal that better matches her symptoms? they were all de wormed with Safeguard back in April and I could do that again (though no visible signs of worms)

    Unfortunately my chicken vet is on a 10-day summer vacation, so I'm pretty much on my own for this one...
     
  6. deacons

    deacons Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Reading around a little more, it sounds like many of her symptoms are consistent with e coli getting out of hand in her system? Does anyone have experience with this?

    I think my horse vet could probably run a stool sample, but they too are closed until Monday so she needs to make it through the weekend. At this point, I think that's really the best I can do, besides trying to keep her comfortable and eating until then.

    She hasn't eaten much today but is drinking a ton.
     
  7. deacons

    deacons Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So I was able to catch the vet's office yesterday before they closed and headed out on holiday- they ran the in-house fecal float for her. They also asked me to weigh her in case she needed medication, and I was very surprised that she was actually close to 6 lbs. She seems so much lighter, and her breast bone is still prominently felt.

    She came up clean for coccidia, worms/parasites, or bacterial issues (they said they couldn't test for e coli specifically in the office, but they could look at bacteria more generically and determine if things were problematic- I think the nice vet tech who helped us tried to give me the nontechnical explanation and not totally sure I followed...). In some ways, everything coming up negative actually makes me a little less hopeful. With nothing specific to treat, I'm back to thinking this is just her body shutting down.

    This morning, she came off the roost on her own but was moving almost in slow motion and not very interested in food or water. Her poop was nearly all white urates. She was mostly puffed up and still, though her color looks good and she did not have her eyes closed the way she did a few days ago. I made her some scrambled eggs with strawberries, kale, and probiotics, and she did hungrily eat about half a small bowl of that. She seemed very excited about the eggs, so if that's something that makes her want to eat, it's easy enough to keep giving it to her. She seems more depressed isolated in the sick cage than outside with the others (much more active when she can see other chickens) so I've decided that since she doesn't seem to have anything contagious, I'd rather keep her spirits up and let her be outside.

    The vet is out of the office now until the 13th. I'm not sure if she'll make it that long, but their office said there's really not much they can recommend to do between now and then besides make sure she's eating and getting probiotics. I'm also not sure that I can cull her myself, but right now, I don't think that's necessary yet. Ultimately though, I won't let her suffer, so please continue pulling for her to improve so we don't have to make a tough decision over the next 10 days.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2015
  8. GitaBooks

    GitaBooks Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Does she have any abdominal distension? Could it have anything to do with water belly or egg yolk peritonitis?
     
  9. deacons

    deacons Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi @GitaBooks . I think it does have something to do with internal laying. Her belly is not distended, watery, red, and she doesn't have the "penguin stance" that I've read a lot about. But, she does seem to have laid a shelless egg yesterday. She has a messy bottom again.

    She was a little more active this morning. She didn't look like she was moving in "slow motion" like yesterday, and she ate a lot. But, she's still not moving around like normal and is still hunched/puffed up. Earlier in the week, she acted uncomfortable for a day and then when she laid, that seemed to perk her back up. I'm disappointed that didn't happen yesterday.

    Tomorrow I'm going to call my horse vet and see if they still have a vet in their practice who will see chickens (they used to). If she has a fighting chance of clearing out an infection, if that's what's going on, I'm willing to try. And if not, I will have her put to sleep. I hate seeing her looking so uncomfortable. The fact that she's still eating and very interested in food makes me think it's worth trying to get her through this.
     
  10. deacons

    deacons Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So it's been 24 hours of ups and downs with her.

    Last night as she was going to bed, she was acting fine but I noticed that she very obviously had some soft, leathery eggshell protruding from her vent. I removed that, and figured she may not even make it through the night. I'll admit I had a good cry in the coop with her, really taking in the fact that my little flock of 8, which has been completely intact for 2.5 years, was on its way to being a flock of 7.

    This morning, I opened the coop, and surprisingly this hen burst off the roost and went running, scratching, and pecking around with the rest like nothing was wrong. If you hadn't see her yesterday, you wouldn't have known anything was wrong.

    While they were doing their morning routine, I put in a call to my horse vet's office- they confirmed they do still have a vet in the practice who will see chickens- but I couldn't get an appointment until tomorrow afternoon. So, today is not Goldie's day to go, but tomorrow might be.

    While she had a great morning, this afternoon she was back to being hunched and puffed up and moving slower. So my plan for tomorrow is to bring her to the vet, explain all this, and ask if there's something reasonable that I can do to help her get through this. And if there's not, or if there's something small I could do that might prolong her life for a couple of weeks or a month but will ultimately bring us back to the same place, I will probably opt to have her put down. I'm incredibly sad about that prospect- but I don't want her to suffer.

    Couple of pictures of her from yesterday:
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    Last edited: Jul 6, 2015

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