molting or sickness: Vet says blood transfusion or euthanasia


13 Years
Jun 18, 2009
Pepper is worse. Took her to the avian vet this AM and was told blood work indicated severe anemia. Normal red blood count 45 and Pepper at 5. Vet says only chance is to bring in another chicken and do blood transfusion at cost of $1,500 and several days of hospitalization will be needed. Says Pepper could have leukemia or some sort of infection which destroys her red blood cells. Not sure what will be found, but Pepper will die without transfusion. Other option euthanasia. Paid over $600 and vet was not happy that I chose to bring Pepper home. At home so far I've given her 3 small syringes of water with antibiotics & vitamins, along with 6 grubs which she ate. Got raw ground meat to try to bring up her iron level; she ate only 1 small bite. Right now she is resting. Vet said she will die in pain from suffocation. Ideas?


Master of the 'never give up' attitude
Jan 19, 2018
My Coop
My Coop
On humans, you can't just mix the blood of two individuals randomly and the same goes with birds. Not only would you have to bring in another chicken, but you'd need to find one with a compatible blood type.
I think you're better off trying to get her levels back up.

Avian blood transfusion is very new and fraught with issues. Here is a good read

It sounds like Pepper has nonregenerative anemia which means that a blood transfusion will probably not save her. My guess is she has an underlying disease which needs to be addressed first.

Oxyglobin can carry oxygen to affected tissues. Often used with dogs. Ask your vet about it.


Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
NY Southern Tier
My Coop
My Coop
It doesn't sound like your chicken is going to get better. I think the right thing to do is have her humanely euthanized.
That is absolutely never an easy decision to make when it is your own loved animal. I hate having to go through it and I feel terrible you are wrestling with this tough decision.
Please consider what is best for your bird as I'm sure you do not want her to slowly waste away and suffer.
Good luck. :hugs


Free Ranging
7 Years
Feb 12, 2015
North Florida
I love my birds, but a $1500 blood transfusion would not be on my list of things to do. I always try to assess everything with a risk/reward outlook, for both me and my animal. That seems weighted heavily on the risk side, with questionable reward. In my case I would be inclined to euthanize if the bird is suffering or has no real quality of life and no real chance of improvement. I know that is a very hard decision to make, but sometimes it's the kindest one. I'm so sorry, and only you can make the call of what the right thing to do is. :hugs


Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Apr 3, 2011
southern Ohio
I would have liked to know what problem she has that caused the anemia. Mites, cancer, and fatty liver disease could be possible causes for severe anemia. Personally, I think your vet was not helpful, suggesting a blood transfusion, and acting offended when you left with already having spent $600. Vets can offer help without going overboard and charging a huge amount of money for something outrageous like expensive blood tests and a transfusion. I would think about putting her down so that she doesn’t suffer.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom