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Medical mystery- new symptom

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by UrbanPHXChicks, Nov 18, 2014.

  1. UrbanPHXChicks

    UrbanPHXChicks Out Of The Brooder

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    My one year old black australop hen, Luna, came to me from an FFA club along with 3 others in May. They were quarantined for 30 days, then introduced to my existing flock of 2. She laid eggs consistently for a couple of weeks then stopped (I attributed this to the heat in Phoenix).

    About 6 weeks ago Luna began to have very watery droppings that had high urates, so it looked pretty white. I noticed around the same time that another hen had so evidence of tape worms, so I treated the whole flock with Zimecterin Gold, at the recommended dosage (pea sized). A week after worming I took Luna into the avian vet, he said he thinks she has Ulcerative Enteritis. He said not treatable and basically I will likely loose my flock to it. Although the diagnosis was a guess, because no tests were ran. I did a little research of my own and found the suggestion that Ulcerative Enteritis has had success being treated with Tetracycline Antibiotics, so I gave that a try and treated the flock with the 1 tablespoon per gallon of distilled water for 8 days.

    Fast forward 4 more weeks, Luna is still alive. Her symptoms include low appetite, she recently began to eat a little breakfast on her own, although she grazes on grass all day. She is very under weight. Drinks water just fine. Droppings range from loose with a just higher than normal ratio of white urates to basically solid water. They used to look pretty slimy to me.
    NEW symptom! Yesterday I caught a glimpse of her sticking her head between her legs and walking backward for a few steps. She did it again this morning, but this time she flipped herself over on her back then quickly got up. Also should mention that she is in the middle of her molt and not doing a good job growing feathers back (because she's not getting enough food I think).

    Here's what I've been doing for the past week: Colloidal Silver in their water and I occasionally give Luna 4 CCs of Nutri-drench by oral syringe a couple times a week. I also put them all on feather boost food I picked up at the feed store, so it has a higher protein content than layer. No other chickens are showing signs of any illness, with the exception of one bantam who is on the tail end of a foul pox infection (dry pox, minor case).

    Any advice? I've had terrible luck keeping chickens despite deeply caring and trying. I do everything and more- high quality organic feed, occasional treats (mealworms veggies), I grow them sprouts and let them free range all day. Take them to the vet when they are sick (hundreds of dollars in the past 2 years). I've been to three vets that treat chickens and haven't had any success.

    Thank you to anyone taking the time to read this and help.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I would be skeptical of any diagnosis that doesn't involve some lab work.
    You may not want to hear this but the one sure way to figure out what's up would be to sacrifice her for a necropsy at the state poultry lab.
    Otherwise treating for the unknown is prolonging the inevitable.
    UE runs its course in 2-3 weeks so that probably wasn't it.
     
  3. UrbanPHXChicks

    UrbanPHXChicks Out Of The Brooder

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    I agree, I hated that he left with with a $100 bill and a stab in the dark. I considered taking droppings into the lab for a float test but I haven't been able to catch her for a fresh one. I have considered putting her down, I would actually take her to be euthanized then sent for necropsy, but would rather not. I really like her and I have a small flock (3 full sized hens and 2 bantams) so she would really be missed. But I hate seeing them waste away and die. This post is basically my hail-mary pass at an option for her.
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    You can follow her around when you let them out in the morning. Shortly thereafter she'll defecate and you can pick up the sample.
    Use wax paper for the sample.

    For a necropsy, the fresher the bird, the more conclusive the results. A live bird will give the most definitive information. The lab will humanely euthanize and immediately start the lab work.
    I carried a bird to our lab that was a 5 hour round trip. The whole thing was $55 and well worth it. Turned out that she had cancer and the rest of the flock wasn't in danger. Had I prophylactically treated for some unknown yet perceived disease, I would have prolonged her misery, unnecessarily treated the flock and may never have known what was up.
    IMHO, it's more difficult to send a dead bird than a live one if you want good results.
    I know California does if for free, don't know about AZ.

    http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/nahln/downloads/all_nahln_lab_list.pdf

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/799747/how-to-send-a-bird-for-a-necropsy-pictures
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
  5. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    I think necropsies are over $100 in AZ, but don't quote me on that.

    Lots of things you can try...

    • Worming with Safeguard (liquid or paste) is where I would start, and you could use the liquid for goats or paste for horses. The most effective dose is 0.23ml per pound by mouth five in a row. I know you used ivermectin, but studies show that it's *not* and effective poultry wormer.
    • You could also treat for coccidiosis with Corid. I have read that coccidiosis can produce white, watery droppings, but have not seen that in my flock.
    • Antibiotics - I don't give up on mine until I try a course of Baytril and metronidazole, both can be purchased without a prescription.
    • If losing weight, tube feeding.

    All drugs mentioned above can be used together. I have researched them and none have interactions with each other. I have also used all of them together when I'm not sure what's wrong with the bird. I cannot afford to take my chickens to the vet. Using all together is my hail-Mary pass and sometimes I get lucky, but when it's cancer or EYP, nothing will help.

    Of course I have all the drugs and supplies mentioned, so for me it's just a matter of catching the bird and doing it. Costs to buy the items mentioned:

    • Safeguard Paste - $11 at Tractor Supply
    • Safeguard Liquid - $23 at Tractor Supply
    • Corid Powder - $23 at Tractor Supply
    • Baytril 10% liquid - ~$25 from various pigeon supply websites
    • Metronidazole (Fish Zole) - $27 on eBay
    • 60 ml Syringe - less than $5 at Tractor Supply
    • 18 french catheter tube or aquarium air line - less than $5 from various sources.

    If you want to go to another vet, find one that has seen chickens and tell them you want them to do an exam, check for bacteria, yeast and protozoas, a fecal float.

    My vets charge:

    • $45 for office visit and exam
    • $25 for fecal float
    • $30 for gram stain

    Of course medications would be more, but it might be cheaper and less expensive than buying all the drugs I mentioned.

    -Kathy
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  6. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Since she has lost so much weight you should probably start tubing her ASAP. Read this and let me know if you want to learn: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/805728/go-team-tube-feeding

    I guarantee it's safe, and I can teach you over the phone or here. It would also help if you could get a kitchen scale to weigh her on.

    -Kathy
     
  7. UrbanPHXChicks

    UrbanPHXChicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Kathy, I was hoping you would reply!
    I had a feeling I should be tube feeding her, but the idea makes me very uncomfortable and nervous, but I'm going to do it. Ordering the supplies now for all mentioned above. I actually already have Corid on hand, a little money saved there. Would you do both Baytril and metronidazole at the same time? Also I'm assuming I would put the Corid in the flock's water so everyone gets it?

    I think I'm going to try to get a fecal sample to the vet tomorrow too.
     
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    As for catching the bird, it's simple to walk into the coop before dawn and pluck it off the roost.
    The head down and walking backwards is probably neural and indicates it could be going downhill.
     
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Lots of opinions on this but a flock of that age on your property since May aren't likely to have succumbed to coccidiosis now so use your best judgment.
     
  10. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    No need to treat the ones that aren't sick with Corid. FWIW, the only adult birds I treat with Corid are the ones that I isolate. The few times I have taken peafowl to the vet I have been told to give metronidazole, Baytril and Safeguard all at the same time. Baytril works really well on things like E.coli and other gram negative bacteria. Metronidazole works on some gram positive bacteria *and* a few protozoas like blackhead and giardia. My necropsy reports usually have blackhead and E. Coli listed, so that's why my vet has me use them. Also had one report that mentioned enteritis, and she said metronidazole would be good for that.

    Using all of these together should be done with the support of a vet, but if they're going downhill, like I think your hen is, what's the harm? At this point it's take to the vet and have a bunch of tests done, treat with drugs and tube, euthanize or let her slowly starve to death.

    Do you have the Corid powder or liquid? Either way you can make a drench and give it orally.
    • Powder - 1/2 teaspoon (270mg) mix with 2 teaspoons of water, stir well and give 0.35ml per pound by mouth once a day for two days
    • Liquid - give 0.1ml per pound by mouth once a day for two days

    The above is done in addition to medicated drinking water, which you should be tubing several times a day if she is not drinking. It's almost impossible to OD them on Corid, so don't worry about that.

    -Kathy
     

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