Munchausen by Vet Proxy

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Enchanted Sunrise Farms, Sep 20, 2007.

  1. i took my 22 week EE hen to the vet last Sunday. She just started to lay eggs Saturday, but after laying one, seemed in a lot of distress, panting and pacing. i made a vet appointment for the next day. By that time (and even the day prior) she seemed to perk up and act normal, and managed to lay a strange shell-less egg, but felt i should take her in anyways. The vet did a fecal and cultured her coacle (spelling? the place where the eggs come from?). i called today to get the results and my avian specialist was out, but the other vet (who admitted to not being a chicken expert) said the fecal looked clear, no worms. But she said they found e-coli and proteous present in her coacle culture. She thought that was a concern.

    i need to wait a couple days until the avian vet returns, but wondered if anyone has any input on this. Did a search and found dlhunicorn commented on a thread about e-coli being a normal inhabitant in the gut flora of a chicken. i realize i should just wait until my vet returns, but if anyone has an input in the meantime, i would really appreciate it. If there is something i'm doing, not doing, feeding, not feeding that i can change right now, i will.

    Thanks for listening.

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 18, 2007
  2. robin416

    robin416 Songster

    Feb 6, 2007
    Wait for your vet to return. The other did not tell you what the load was, that information is important on whether the bird needs treatment or not. I would relax, especially if she seems to be in no discomfort.

    There might even be types that might need treating or not.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2007
  3. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    offer free choice oyster shell and live culture yogurt... this will help with those shell less eggs (I am assuming she is eating now the layer rations also)
  4. She is on layer feed now, but i also keep the grower feed in the same pen for her 15 week-old-friend, and i see her eating both. i did go out and buy the crushed oyster shell and have that free choice in the pen. She does love the yogurt.

    No egg yesterday, but the day before was perfect, normal size, and nice hard shell. She is acting fine and healthy. Looking forward to hearing from the avian vet. Thanks Robin and Diana!
  5. Well, this is ridiculous. i have not spoken with the vet, only assistants. The transmitted information was to put Penny on 1 ml of Trimeth/sulpha twice daily. i mentioned that i heard that e-coli is natural to have in a chicken gut, the response was that the vet must have felt the load was sufficient to put her on antibiotics. i started her on the meds on Saturday.

    Sunday, the vet was suppose to be in and i hoped to talk to her. i was not able to, but transmitted my questions via an assistant. Asking for copies of the test results, which i can pick up tomorrow. i also asked if this would affect my other birds, the answer was no. i asked if it was safe to eat the eggs, the answer was "not for a month" What??? If she is on medication for a week, then why isn't it okay to eat the eggs 24-48 hours after the medication ends? This makes me think the vet does not really know about chickens. i'm not even sure Penny should be on medication. She is acting fine, laying fine, seems perfectly healthy.

    i was not even going to take her into the vet as she had recovered from her four-hour ordeal of seeming stressed after beginning egg-laying. But thought "what the heck". When the vet suggested these tests, to the tune of several hundred dollars, i did not feel they were necessay, but thought "what the heck", we were there after all. Now i am not feeling so very confident with this vet.

    Does anyone have any input on this? When your chickens are on medication, do you just throw the eggs away for a month?
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Honestly... I doubt the bird needs meds... I wouldn't be surprised if the swab hit the poo on the way out on the vent and thus the huge e coli growths. Like in human medicine... I think antibiotics are over prescribed and that it's just building up more and more resistant bacteria. No wonder we have killer staph running rampant in every hospital that no antibiotics can control. A good portion of hospital deaths are due to a secondary infection of a antibacterial resistant strain of staph or the similar.
  7. Thanks, that's exactly how i'm feeling. i gave her the meds twice yesterday and then this morning. After talking to the tech tonight, i hesitated, and now it's dark and too late. i don't like the idea of slamming down meds just in case. This is the first time to this vet, so not even sure how much she knows about chickens. She's an avian specialist, and the waiting room was filled with parrots. Penny was the only chicken.

    You know, i am semi-new to chickens. Had them 20 years ago without a problem in the world. But i was working and not micro-focusing on them. Now i'm retired so out there 20 times a day and fretting about everything.

    i will post the lab results tomorrow after i pick them up and hope for some input from the real chicken experts. [​IMG]
  8. hinkjc

    hinkjc Crowing

    Jan 11, 2007
    I can tell you that eating the eggs of a bird on sulfa drugs can be deadly if you are allergic to sulfer. Typically people don't know if they are, so that is why the vet would recommend such a long withdrawal period. It is really for your protection and anyone else who might consume the eggs. Some drugs are not even recommended for laying chickens because they cannot determine appropriate withdrawal times, which may be another reason for a lengthy decision. I am sure you vet knows what is appropriate. If you are not sure of their experience, I think you should ask more questions and feel the vet out more.

    I also wanted to mention that as far as I know, none of us are licensed to practice veterinarian medicine, so our advice is simply that. We can offer guidance from our own experiences, but no medical expertise.

  9. Hi Jody,

    Thank you for your input. i do understand that what i receive here is simply advice from member's own personal experiences, and i value that. i tend to be skeptical of doctors in general, as i have run into many who have made bad decisions with my health and treatment. i have also lost dear pets based on vets making bad decisions. So i try to educate myself as much as possible so i will be able to communicate more intelligently with a doctor or vet.

    Your added insight on the sulpha medication makes a lot of sense. i suppose i'm just not feeling confident with this vet whom i have only met once. After that one appointment, all information has been transmitted via assistants and the other vet at that office (who admits to knowing nothing about chickens). i think i will call the office today and say i need to talk to my vet, or i need to find another vet who is more responsive.

    Anyhow, thank again. i will post here again if and when i receive any relevent information from this vet or another, in case anyone else runs into a similar issue. [​IMG]

  10. Okay, finally talked to the vet directly and i'm feeling more confident in her abilities. She said it was not so much the e-coli, but they also found proteus mirabilis present, and that it can be fairly pathogenic. She said she has used sulpha drugs extensively and they are the best treatment here. Penny will be on them for two weeks, then we recheck and go from there. i certainly want to do all i can to make sure Penny is a healthy happy hen.

    i have to admit though, that i'm pretty sad about having to toss all the eggs. i understand the reason, and do not want to ingest second hand antibiotics. But after waiting in anticipation all these months for her to finally start laying - they will need to be tossed until the medication has cleared her system - and they are the prettiest green eggs. [​IMG]


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: