Looking for some specific advice for Wet Pox


In the Brooder
10 Years
Jul 18, 2009

So my flock has the pox. Thursday one of my chickens died, and I didn't know what from. Then a couple of days later another hen was acting very strangely, so I brought her inside to check it out. She is wheezing a little, though not always, and I noticed these scabs on her comb. After spending a lot of time reading about chicken respiratory diseases and deciding she must have one of those, I then decided to look into what the scabs might be, found out about pox, then went out to the coop and now see that most if not all of my chickens have the same thing going on. It isn't very severe on anyone, that's why I didn't notice I guess-- they all just have a few small scabs at this point. I will have to go hang out there awhile to see if anyone else has the wet form as well, but haven't been able to do so yet, they are all still acting very normal, so I want to focus on the one who isn't first.

One thing though, they may have pox on the feet, the one thing I noticed on my little dead hen was how horrible her feet were, scaly leg mites out of control. Now I realize that may have been more then just scaly mites I was looking at. I worked on the mites this summer and dipped all the hens 3 times, but apparently I didn't get rid of them and they are back in full force. I should have just used the ivermectin and been done with it. I didn't realize at the time that ivermectin would have taken care of the worms and the mites.

I've read alot about wet and dry pox here, and I have some more specific questions about some of the things people have done to help their birds with this problem. I am new to self veterinary practice. I've read that the mucous can be scraped or suctioned out of the mouth throat-- but I am wondering what tools would be appropriate for this. A baby snot sucker perhaps? A q-tip for scraping? Also, many have put iodine/betadine on the lesions once they have been pulled out of the mouth/throat with tweezers. I though iodine was for external use only, so I don't know what to think about his. But clearly if I am going in there to remove these things, I'll need to put something on the tissue afterwards. Is there something safe to put inside the mouth? Is iodine truly safe for this?

Also wondering if I should take such extreme measures yet, since her breathing is only wheezy sometimes. Perhaps she is recovering on her own, or perhaps she is only beginning this thing and will get worse before she gets better.

I started to give her an antibiotic (because I thought she had an upper resp. disease) that I bought at the pet store for emergencies, the one I have is tetracycline (Duramycin 10). Now after all I've read here and elsewhere on the net, no one ever seems to use this one for anything. do I need to go out and try to find the one others use-- terramycin or fishzole-- or is this one OK too? this is the only antibiotic the feed store had, but I suppose I could try a bunch more feed stores for other types.

Thanks for any advice those of you who've been through this might have for me,


Also, I'm assuming that this is not a good time to give my flock ivermectin...
A bit more info:

I examined my dead chicken to see if I could find evidence of wet pox. She died last Thursday but since the ground is frozen, I couldn't bury her and she has been outside in a box, I suppose semi-frozen. I opened up her mouth and looked for the sores but really didn't see any, there is still mucous in there though.

I found her shortly after she died, I think. At that time, there was poop and blood coming out of her vent, also bloody mucous came out of her mouth. There was also discharge around her eyes. I assumed that this stuff had to do with dying, thought that maybe an egg had broken in her or something (because of the blood coming out of her vent). I don't see any dry pox scabs on her comb or face, though now her comb is dark blue. But there aren't any scabs that I can make out.

What I did see was really screwed up feet from the mites (I'm very ashamed), and at least one spot on the foot had a lot of blood on it, though I can't be sure if that didn't get on there from her butt. There are also yellowish crusty places, and a few scabs. It is really hard for me to tell if this is pox or mite damage. I am still pretty new to chicken keeping.

As for the chicken who is alive, I looked in her mouth (this is really hard to do, I can't imagine how you get a lesion out of a throat when it is so difficult to even look in the first place!) and I don't see any sores. Maybe, just maybe there is a white spot on the end of her tongue, but I have no experience looking at chicken tongues (or mouths or throats) so I don't know what's normal. I do know that I don't see any developed ulcers at this time. I've seen lots of pictures here of what I'm looking for and if there's something in there, it is either down her throat where I can't see, or the pox are not developed enough yet to spot.

She does have some discharge coming out of her nostrils, they have blackish boogers in them too, though these are not blocking the openings too much. It looks like this discharge could have been happening for awhile though, because she has a very dirty beard (she's a faverolle) that's the same color as her boogers. She is acting pretty OK though, eating, pooping big normal looking poops, and usually not wheezing or showing difficulty breathing. But then she does, so something is going on. Her wings are down, she is favoring a foot. Her feet are also a mitey mess, and it looks like they may have some dry pox on them. She has about 3 big black scabs and yellow crusty areas too, besides the lifting/darkening of scales from the mites. Yesterday washed her feet, put on some camphophenique, and then dipped them in mineral oil. Dipped them again a few hours later, just for good measure. Then today, I put iodine on them.

By the way, how I noticed she had a problem: I came home from work at 3 am the other night, and went to check to make sure that my DH had closed up the coop like I'd asked him to do. He did not, and this chicken was roosting outside, in winter, with a wet, cold snow falling on her. I crawled into the run and put her inside the coop, to which she gave no resistance. The next day, I saw her looking very under the weather, and she stumbled for a second too (maybe that foot that's really bothering her). So given the fact that a chicken had just died on me, I grabbed her and brought her in.

So this is where I'm at. My other hens and rooster seem ok, they have some dry pox on their combs, not much however. I have still to thoroughly examine their feet though. I expect what I find there will not be pretty.

I would really appreciate any advice at this point. Advice on how to get a chicken to let you really look down, or do something to, their throat. Does it seem like I am just at the very beginning of this thing, and maybe things will be getting much worse in due time?

I wonder if these pox are like cold sores. They certainly look similar. I've been getting cold sores for about 30 years, so I know a bit about it. Messing with them really doesn't make them go away any faster, it just makes you feel like maybe they are, since you don't have to look at the yellow crud and the scabs are smaller if you remove this stuff. Messing with them hurts like hell though. It is really hard not to do, even harder then trying to leave a zit alone to heal. I can see that if we are talking about blocking a throat or mouth or making a tongue unusable, you gotta do what you gotta do. There are now topical cremes available that really, really do make these things go away fast, even without fully developing the ulcers. Denavir, which is really quite expensive, is amazing, but I have had decent results lately with abreva too. These drugs have actually stopped the ulcers from reaching the pussy yellow stage, and cut healing time by more than half. If you put it on when your first feel the itch or when the sore is just a small spot, they dry right up without turning into much of anything. I wonder if this is worth a try...it seems to me that most of the stuff we use on ourselves is the same as what we use on our animals--iodine, antibiotics, vitamins, etc.
*Bump* I know I wrote a book there, but by now I could really use some advice on how you hold a banty's mouth open and keep them still so that you can swab and suck stuff out of their throats...help! I've read just about everything there is out there about fowlpox, but I need tips on how to handle a chicken I guess.

Thanks, Angela

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