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Liver disease

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by AndreaS, Jan 17, 2017.

  1. AndreaS

    AndreaS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 5, 2010
    Hurdle Mills, NC
    Hi everyone! Heads up--- Completely impractical chicken keeper here ;)

    It has been ages since I have been on BYC. I practically lived here when I first started keeping hens.

    So, I have a situation with my favorite girl. Her name is Gerti, and she has a beak deformity. She is a little over four years old and I have been dropper feeding her twice daily since she was a few weeks old. Needless to say, with that much interaction we are very bonded. She's my little buddy and I am absolutely crazy about her.

    She started acting puffy and having diarrhea a month ago. I took her to our avian vet and we did a fecal and a full blood panel. Her liver enzymes were very elevated, so the vet prescribed an antibiotic (cipro) and milk thistle for liver support. His thinking was that if it was just an infection the antibiotic would clear it up. We scheduled a recheck for a month later, which was yesterday, After the meds she no longer has diarrhea, and seems to be feeling a bit better and has put on weight. We did blood work again yesterday and her liver enzymes were the same. He is now thinking we are looking at a chronic liver condition, such as hepatitis, fatty liver or even a liver tumor. He wants to put her under general anesthesia, do an endoscopy and biopsy her liver to figure out exactly what we are dealing with.

    So....I am trying to decide what to do. I am VERY wary of putting her under anesthesia. As far as I know, birds are super sensitive to anesthesia to begin with, add to that a liver issue and my feeling is that it is very risky, I lost a cat who had fatty liver syndrome coming out of anesthesia from a procedure that was supposed to save her life, so I have a bad taste in my mouth about anesthesia and liver conditions. Add to that a birds sensitivity to anesthetics and the fact that she has been breathing heavy and panting today, and I am very concerned about putting her under.

    My question is.....is there anyone else out there who is an impractical enough chicken keeper to have gone through something similar? And if so, what did you find out and what was the result? I am awaiting a response from our vet, who I emailed a list of questions today. They are a very reputable avian and exotic animal vet clinic, so I know he has a good handle on treating birds.But I am not confidant.

    Some back up information in case there is someone who has experience in this and has questions: She is underweight, so this is not an obesity issue. She gets organic layer feed mixed with kaytee exact handfeeding formula for baby birds and water via a dropper twice daily (I do not tube feed her because I was concerned about her aspirating, which I understand is an increased risk). She occasionally gets greek yogurt and OACV. Her comb is bright pink. I have noticed that since the weather got cooler this year she has not been drinking much water. She is able to drink on her own, although she gets quite wet in the process....I'm wondering if maybe that had compounded whatever the issue is. I do give her water daily while I am dropper feeding her, and since she has been ill I have been trying to give her additional water daily when I am not at work. The heaving breathing has just come up today, and is adding to my concerns...although it really confuses me that her comb still looks good. She is pooping normally, although food is staying in her crop for longer than usual.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts/experiences and suggestions if there is anyone who has gone through this or something similar. Gerti is very special to me. I love her to bits and I want to do right by her.

    Thank you! Here is a picture of us <3

    [​IMG]
     
  2. yellowbee0110

    yellowbee0110 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 4, 2016
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    You could probably put her on steroids for the rest of her life and she may live a long while. No biopsy needed for that. Whether it's liver disease or cancer, the steroids would likely prolong her life and make her feel better.

    If this is the same vet who encouraged you to put your cat under, you may want to shop vets. Not that she/he is bad, but you are willing to spend a bunch of $$ on these pointless/detrimental surgeries and he/she knows it.

    I like your pic by the way.
     
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I am not a vet, but I believe that internal laying or egg yolk peritonitis, common in older hens, can be a cause of liver failure. Ascites or fluid in the lower belly causing tightness and labored breathing can be a side effect of liver failure. I would not recommend a lot of invasive procedures or anesthesia that the vet has recommended. I would however, make her comfortable, feed her chopped egg, tuna, and plain yogurt in addition to chicken feed mixed with some water. Tube feeding if learned well, can be pretty safe, or safer than syringe feeding. Look for "go team tube feeding" either by Googling it or doing a search at the top of this page for Casportpony's thread.
     
  4. AndreaS

    AndreaS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 5, 2010
    Hurdle Mills, NC
    Thank you both for the feedback.

    I do not believe that internal laying is an issue. She was laying well until molt this autumn and does not have any signs of fluid retention/distended belly. She is quite thin, so I feel like this would be fairly obvious. Thanks for the recommended video- I will look it up. We've been dropper feeding for so many years at this point that I am pretty comfortable with that.

    I will see what my vet has to say about possible steroids. This is not the same vet that cared for my sick cat.
     
  5. yellowbee0110

    yellowbee0110 Out Of The Brooder

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    Good luck with your birdie! I hope she can be ok!
     
  6. PollitolovesPio

    PollitolovesPio Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a liver issue with my duck Pio. We started her on a liver detox called Lilly of the dessert aloe liver detox. People say amazing things on it. I pray to god I can save my duck with His assurance always. Maybe you can try on your baby. We bought it last night from the vitamin shoppe. They are have it at Whole Foods market and it's on line too. We made a slushee of cucumber water melon and strawberries which she did like and like you gave all I mention by way of a needless syringe She is not eating only drinking. It's the only way to get nutrition in her. I pray for both of ours to improve. Pls let me know how she is.
     
  7. AndreaS

    AndreaS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 5, 2010
    Hurdle Mills, NC
    @PollitolovesPio

    Thank you for the information. Sadly, I lost my Gerti on January 31st. I elected to not put her under anesthesia for an endoscopy because of the risk. We did an ultrasound with her awake and they were very certain it was hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver) but not too far along so we could treat it. She also had a secondary crop infection. Her crop wasn't emptying completely, so they retrieved a sample of the fluid in her crop to determine the best way to treat it....a routine procedure, but she aspirated and died while they were doing it :(

    I hope your treatment is helping Pio.
     
  8. PollitolovesPio

    PollitolovesPio Out Of The Brooder

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    So sorry about your baby. We lost ours too Pio was wasting away and my husband and I decided it was time to end her suffering. The vet staff member made such horrible comments like if we wanted to just end it we had no choice I lost my mom to a stroke saw her waste away in front of my eyes she was starving and no matter what o gave her how i fed her she would not eat. It killed me everyday to see both her and my beloved duck waste. I lost my mom on oct 11 2016 she died in her sleep and I lost Pio on feb 16 of this year. It's hard but there is something about fatty liver that these ducks just do not recover from. If you need a friend you can reach out to me at [email protected]. I here to help you. God bless you and may she Rest In Peace with my Pio and my tweety and my precious mom Irene. Irene
     

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