Listless, loss of balance, lethargic. (Warning, gross poo picture.)

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by cicene mete, Jun 23, 2009.

  1. cicene mete

    cicene mete Songster

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    I have a 12-month-old chicken who suddenly appears to have lost her balance. She falls to the left side, and she moves her head over to the side as well. She's never had any health problems.

    We've had a ton of rain, and one of our little chicks has cocci, but I don't know what's going on with the adult hen.

    Here are the gross poo pictures:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. threehorses

    threehorses Songster

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    Can you please tell us more? There's a sticky post, the second one on the emergecies/disease/etc forum, that has a list of questions that we need answered to be of more accurate help for you.

    In the mean time I'd add these. If you'll please do me the big favor of answering them all as I've chosen them specifically for your bird. It'll really help.

    First, does your bird have access then to puddles/ponds, etc? If so, are any of them downhill from your barnyard, the poultry yards, etc? In other words, is it possible that any droppings have gotten into the water?

    Do you have a compost pile, or any place where the bird could have gotten into vegetable scraps, decomposing vegetation, or the water run off from any of those?

    Any algea puddles or ponds in the area?

    Do the birds free range in a treed area? Any possibility of coming in contact with maggots or an overload of earthworms?

    What are you feeding? did any of the feed get wet, even just misted? Any wet grains?

    Feel your bird and examine her carefully: are there any droppings clinging to her vent? Is her keel (breastbone) sharp? Is she pale in the comb? Check very carefully for parasites (mites, lice, nearly microscoping anything - their eggs, etc) along the feather shafts, body, and particularly near the vent of your bird. Parasites love the warmth and moisture of the vent area. Use a flashlight and/or white sheet to facilitate your search. Tell us what you do or don't find.

    Were your chicks vaccinated from the hatchery, or were they swap or local purchases? Was this hen of vaccinated stock, or local/swap?

    Is there any possibility that this hen has been bullied away from food/water? Will she eat now?

    Can you feel anything mushy in her crop? Does it empty over night?

    Do your birds get wormed once or twice a year? Or have they ever been?



    -----
    Now you'll want to make sure she's getting nutrition as her ataxia (drunkenness) can be a sign of anemia or dehydration. Make a mash of plain yogurt, a boiled mashed egg yolk, her crumbles, and water. You can also add a little applesauce (baby food applesauce is idea but regular will do). Give that to her to encourage her to eat. Take a little of it and mix with water til it's just thicker than water but barely. Dribble this into the side of her beak and let her swallow it. Do NOT put it down her throat, but putting it at the side of her beak allows her to swallow it on her own. That "jump started" water filled with nutrition will help her have fuel to overcome what she has if she can.

    Yogurt will provide living bacteria to help get the gut back into shape. Bacteria are the workers that literally nourish your bird. They're essential. Any bird that is stressed, medicated, ill, or wormed should get some. Use the same amount that would be a serving for the bird for their size if they were a very very short human. [​IMG] In other words, a cup of yogurt for me would be about a thimble of yogurt for a small bantam. It doesn't have to be exactly - but don't give that bantam a half cup of yogurt - even if they beg - because it would then be too much.

    Egg yolk is full of fat and nutrients concentrated. They dissolve very easily when boiled (which is why I don't recommend scrambled) and won't clog a slow crop. They also provide protein which, until we decide the bird might have coccidiosis, can be useful.

    Applesauce corrects the pH of the digestive tract to be better for good bacteria, bad for bad bacteria. The pectin of applesauce cleanses the gut gently while feeding the good bacteria who will in turn feed your bird and protect it from bad bacteria. Plus birds love the taste. It's a good way to hide yogurt and other good-for-them foods. Use it to where you barely moisten the food - not to where it's sticky. Birds are often offended by too-moist food.

    The crumbles are nutritionally balanced and easily dissolve, again not blocking her crop. I'd not feed grains or let her free range for now. Nor would I feed her bread or anything other than the above listed very easily dissolved foods. If your babies are eating medicated (amprolium only) crumbles - use those to feed her for a few days. Your babies will also benefit from this same mash mixture especially the probiotic yogurt to heal and prevent further coccidiosis problems. Then put them back on their age-appropriate food.

    Start her on this recovery diet and please answer our questions. In return, we'll do our very best to give you accurate help.

    p.s. I'm a bit disturbed by the yellow coloration in her urates of her droppings. They should be very white. And the dropping on the right seems to have either a big of rusty mucousy discoloration reminding me of either intestinal sloughing, coccidiosis, or a bacteria infection (thus my million questions - to differentiate).
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2009
    LizzieD likes this.
  3. cicene mete

    cicene mete Songster

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    First, does your bird have access then to puddles/ponds, etc?

    No, but it has rained a ton, and there is lots of standing water in their run.


    Do you have a compost pile, or any place where the bird could have gotten into vegetable scraps, decomposing vegetation, or the water run off from any of those?

    We give them vegetable scraps, and they love dragging them all over the place, so it is possible that some might have decomposed a bit in the rain and they ate them anyway.
    Any algea puddles or ponds in the area?

    no
    Do the birds free range in a treed area?

    no
    Any possibility of coming in contact with maggots or an overload of earthworms?

    There have been lots of earthworms around because of the rain.

    What are you feeding?

    organic layer pellets. They are suspended inside the pen, and none of them are wet.

    Feel your bird and examine her carefully: are there any droppings clinging to her vent?

    A little bit, but we cleaned it.
    Is her keel (breastbone) sharp?

    Not super sharp, but not that padded either.
    Is she pale in the comb?

    no, it's still fairly red.
    Check very carefully for parasites (mites, lice, nearly microscoping anything - their eggs, etc) along the feather shafts, body, and particularly near the vent of your bird.

    We checked before, but we will recheck with the flashlight.

    Were your chicks vaccinated from the hatchery, or were they swap or local purchases?

    hatchery, not vaccinated
    Was this hen of vaccinated stock, or local/swap?

    hatchery, not vaccinated

    Is there any possibility that this hen has been bullied away from food/water?

    she is near the bottom of the pecking order, but she eats very well and no one bullies her away from food.
    Will she eat now?

    She a little bit of mash with yogurt.

    Can you feel anything mushy in her crop?

    Yes, a little.
    Does it empty over night?

    I don't know yet.
    Do your birds get wormed once or twice a year? Or have they ever been?

    no, none of our birds have been wormed.​
     
  4. cicene mete

    cicene mete Songster

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    No ideas out there?
     
  5. crtrlovr

    crtrlovr Still chillin' with my peeps

    sounds a lot like what happened with some of my birds this spring after all that incessant rain. I lost 2 OEGB bb red bantam pullets and 3 bbred chicks, a black bantam frizzle cochin, a 3 mo. old RIR pullet, and a blue silkie roo, all within 3 weeks. [​IMG] I thought at first it might have been Marek's but with some of the other symptoms and issues, I'm not sure it wasn't a combination of something in the standing water in the run (which I could NOT do anything about at the time, but will be hauling in sand when it dries up completely) and mites. The other chickens all looked fine, but when the cochin died, I realized he was thinner than he should have been, and his skin was paler than his sibling the same color. I still don't know that it WASN'T Marek's, but I'm not certain either way. I'm sorry to hear of your issues; I hope your girl makes it. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2009
  6. threehorses

    threehorses Songster

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    It's hard to tell from here, but I'd suspect either the water/rain/puddles (because this seems to have come right after that), possible coccidiosis (because wet conditions seem to really cause problems with that) or a possible bacterial enteritis. Possibly compounded by worms.

    If she were mine, I think I would give her Sulmet because it's dual action against cocci and E. coli. Continue to give her the mash and yogurt daily because on an antibiotic she'll need the live bacteria replaced. Continue the yogurt every other day for 2 weeks after the coccidiosis treatment is done.

    Make sure she eats and drinks and stays a good temperature. The heat is hard on them. Corid is great, too, but it would only act against Coccidiosis. If you can't get Sulmet, use the Corid. Because she's listless, I'd keep her separate from the others.

    Is it possible to keep them up from the rain standing in their pen until it dries? Or put gravel on it to keep them out of the water?

    I'd do this and see if the hand-feeding and coccidiosis treatment give her energy back. If she worsens, please let us know exactly how.

    I'm also lightly concerned about botulism because of the rainy conditions. But if she has it, she likely won't make the night unless she just had a little exposure. I think more likely it's coccidiosis or enteritis but 24 hours will tell. The symptoms are too vague otherwise to tell quite yet.

    You have my prayers for tonight. I'll be looking for an update.
     
  7. cicene mete

    cicene mete Songster

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    We ended up taking her to the vet. He thought that it was either an infection or a virus. The vet gave her Baytril, hoping for the former, and she seems to be doing a little bit better. Still, it's way too early to tell. Her appetite has improved a bit, as has her balance, but she has a long way to go. Overall, she's a very sick little girl.

    She hasn't laid in a couple of days, and I don't know if this is something to be worried about, considering how sick and undernourished she's been. She is not sticking out her wings or walking like a penguin or any other telltale signs of egg problems, but if she doesn't lay tomorrow, it will be time for the latex gloves.

    please keep your fingers crossed.
     
    LizzieD likes this.
  8. threehorses

    threehorses Songster

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    Fingers are crossed. [​IMG]

    By the way, Baytril is very very strong. As with all antibiotics, please be sure to give her a probiotic daily during treatment and every other day for a week or two thereafter.

    Since you're using enrofloxacin, you can use yogurt during treatment. It's safe. (You wouldn't want to use it if you're using a -mycin or -cycline drug.)

    Be sure to give this as Baytril will heavily diminish the beneficial bacteria of her gut, and she needs all the help with those that she can get at the moment.

    Good job on the vet! Let's hope that this and the nutrition get her back in order. I wouldn't worry about the eggs just yet. She doesn't have the food inside of her to make them.
     
  9. cicene mete

    cicene mete Songster

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    Poor little girl, she's really taken a turn for the worse. We can no longer get her to eat or drink at all, her legs no longer work, and her comb is getting really pale. She's quiet and resting comfortably in a pet carrier where the other chickens can see her but not get at her. I think any interventions we do at this point will just be prolonging the inevitable, and I don't want to make her suffer anymore than she has to.

    She is DW's favorite chicken, so it's especially tough. None of the other birds are showing any signs of trouble, but I wish I knew what it was so that I can do whatever possible to keep the rest of the flock safe.

    In case anyone has any good ideas, I'll review the case: 12-month-old BO suddenly listless and having trouble with balance (left side weakness).loss of appetite. Veterinarian eliminates internal egg problem or parasite and prescribes baytril. Supportive care includes probiotics, vitamins, and hand feeding with a syringe. On day two she shows mild improvement and even eats on her own a bit. On day three she declines rapidly. No leg strength, and no appetite, pale comb, closes eyes.

    All I can think is botulism. Please help with any other thoughts.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2009
  10. greenfamilyfarms

    greenfamilyfarms Big Pippin'

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    It sounds like late-onset Marek's Disease to me. At this point, I don't think that there is anything you can do. If it is Marek's, it is best to go ahead and put her out of her misery. If not, she will most likely die of dehydration in the heat most of the country is experiencing right now. Good luck.
     
    1 person likes this.

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