My chicken died, can you help identify the cause?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Kre8ivechick, Nov 3, 2014.

  1. Kre8ivechick

    Kre8ivechick New Egg

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    Nov 3, 2014
    Illinois
    Hello,
    My 2 year old olden laced Wyandot just passed away yesterday. A few weeks ago her feathers started to look like she was molting and she stopped laying eggs so i assumed she was molting. Then, she started losing her spot in the pecking order. When info to let everyone out in the morning everyone would just run out like crazy and she would stick behind and wait for me to move then walk out calmly. I thought she did this because she is more skiddish of me and usually keeps her distance. So 2 days ago, I really started thinking she is acting too calm to be just molting. She would let me pet her which she had NEVER done in the past. This day her comb was also extremely pale so I decided to bring her in the house in a pet carrier so I could really figure out what was going on and give her IV fluids (I use to rehabilitate Raptors). I suspected maybe she was egg bound but I didn't feel a mass...she actually felt rather skinny. I took her temp and it was normal at about 107/108F. I gave her food and water which she ignored. I gave her a heat pad for extra warmth (it's chilly outside already!). I was about to give IV fluids but had to attend a relatives funeral so I left and returned 3 hours later to a dead chicken. The next morning I decided that I just had to make sure she wasent egg bound. Also, I wanted to check things out because if she has a contagious disease I need to be watchful of the other chickens. Since I've cut open all sorts of whole chickens when feeding the raptors I know what it's supposed to look like inside. What I first found that I'm not so sure about are hundreds of small growths along her outer intestine and omentum. If anyone can identify these that could be helpful unless it's just adipose. Then I noticed black specs within many of her connective tissues. Finally, when checking her heart, I noticed a suspected aneurysm. The right side (not for sure things got messy) of her heart and ruptured leaving an obvious mass of coagulated blood directly under the pericardial sac.

    If anyone could help me identify what possible could of led up to this or spefically I'm curious about the small "lgroeths" on her intestines, it would be very helpful!

    Ps. The pic of the heart does not show the anerysm as I found it, I accidently popped it when I was poking around. If you see in the 4th image you can see the anerysm popped on the left of the heart (so the hearts right). It is a large mass of coagulated blood.


    Thank you for reading!

    Danielle


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  2. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    That's interesting to me since we just had a Wyandotte (Silver Laced) die, and she had been acting fine, but had pale comb as you described and was underweight and lethargic at the very end, died within a day. We have had a problem with worms all summer, specifically Capillary worms. We had a necropsy done in spring on another bird whose symptoms were very close to our
    Wyandottes' and that is what they diagnosed, based on damage to the intestinal tract and crop lining. It sounds to me that might be what you're looking at. I know that Capillary worms are also called thread worms, they are slender and bury themselves in the lining of tthe intestinal tract. It seems to me that you would find worms, but I know that the State vet did not find any either, just the residual damage. Maybe they are too small to see, or leave after the death of the bird, I don't know. I admire you for having the guts to do the necropsy, I'm too wimpy to do that, but they can provide worlds of information for you. If you can figure out how to interpret it.
     
  3. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    Eimeria necatrix, a strain of Coccidia, is supposed to cause white spots that are visible on the outside of the intestine. It could be other things, and the heart, I don't know what to say. Moulting is that time of year where many bird's immune systems battle that stress. Some moult with no difficulty, and others have great difficulty. I am particular about preventing Coccidiosis outbreaks and supplementing diets before, during, and after moult. The same goes for good management during Winter and supplementing for the next breeding/egg laying regiment for Spring and Summer. You did a good job with your description and pictures. Perhaps others will have some more helpful observations.
     
  4. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    central Ohio
    I don't know about the black specs or the aneurysm, other than one thing leads to another, you see. The worms would drag her down and leave her open to other things. If you haven't done so already, if I were you I'd deworm the flock with a broad spectrum dewormer like Levamisol, repeat in a week, and then deworm again in December, and February, twice each time. And after that I'd deworm periodically, at least every six months, and rotate dewormers.
     
  5. Kre8ivechick

    Kre8ivechick New Egg

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    Nov 3, 2014
    Illinois
    Thank you guys! I will definitely have to get them some dewormer! To make this story sadder...my Wyandotte was best friends with clutch mate Daisy a buff orphington. Those 2 were always together. So I look out my window and Daisy and my red star are literally laying right next to her grave just sitting there. I know chickens aren't the smartest but somehow it felt like they knew and were mourning their poor friend.

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  6. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Jan 26, 2007
    central Ohio
    Oh I think they absolutely do. Our Wyandotte was inseparable from her sister. I felt terrible cause I just bought those two last November and the breeder asked me to please keep them together because they'd been together always and were best friends. And there's no doubt that Frigg misses her sister, although she does have other friends in the flock. After Sally died in her pen, her friends gathered around and sat down close to her. And they did that while she was ill, too.

    But here's another hint I learned from personal experience. Don't bury your dead birds close to your chicken housing. Doing so attracts predators, and that can attract more problems for you. We don't burn our birds, we bury them, but the chicken graveyard is across the field from where the chickens live.I often wonder..if someone else ever buys our house and decides to do any digging out there...[​IMG] I mean what's done is done as far as the one you already buried, but just be aware in the future. If you buried her fairlly deeply there shouldn't be a problem.

    Make sure you choose a dewormer that works for several types of worms, not just roundworms. If you wanted to be super safe, in light of what Michael said about the Cocci, you might want to treat for both things...the worms and coccidiosis... a few months apart, I mean. You can get Corid (amprolium) for the cocci at most feed stores. Dont treat for both at the same time though.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2014

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