My chicken is... having a seizure? Unsure, VERY URGENT

Ash394

Hatching
Jun 4, 2017
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0
6
So to start off with, the chicken in question in question is a 4 year old Americuana, slightly underweight, she's been separated from the rest of the flock for a while so we could treat a torn ligament that had prevented her from walking and abscess on the bottom of her foot. She got better (walking fine with a splint), then worse (not walking at all, at which point we started treating the abscess,) then better again (walking a little bit), and now she's worse— unable to stand, wings spread out, and just. Thrusting her head forward. I'll move her to a fluffy spot and come back hours later and find her in a different direction, jerking her head into the rubber ground, and her food and water buried in pine shavings.

The reason why I am unsure if she is having a seizure is because we did have a a previous chicken who died from seizures (Columbian Wyandotte, 3 years old, severely underweight and "slow,"—- her seizures started happening when she started gaining weight.) and this seems to be a completely different reaction.

While the previous chicken was flailing every which way and flipping herself over, this chicken's convulsions have a repeated pattern that's slow and consistent. Head forward and down, forward and down. Flapping her wings sometimes, but not all the time. She seems to have a hard time keeping her head up when this happens, but it doesn't seem like she's doing it 100% of the time? I can walk through the barn and not hear her, but if I walk in and say hello and stuff she seems to be worse (though I could be overreacting at this point.)

This is the 3rd or 4th day— I've avoided doing anything beyond giving food and water (which is hard for her to consume,) because bluntly, I thought she would have passed by this point. Is there something I am missing? Is she just choking and I could have stopped it already? Is there anyway I can help her, or is this just a slow terminal thing? I want to stop her suffering one way or another— having to walk into the barn and potentially see her is giving me too much anxiety and guilt.
 

azygous

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11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
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The mention of a previous chicken with seizure symptoms leads me to suspect these chickens may have both come into contact with a neurotoxin. When it happens with chicks, it quickly kills them, but with an adult, it can cause motor muscle difficulties, gradually worsening over time.

Do you happen to have any machinery stored in the area where your chickens range? Any machine that leaks petroleum distillates onto the soil will contaminate the grit chickens pick up. These include motor oil and hydraulic fluid. These are just as poisonous as insecticides.

Sadly, there is no cure for neurotoxin poisoning.

Another cause of these symptoms is Marek's or other tumor causing viruses. The consequences are dire as well as complex.
 

Ash394

Hatching
Jun 4, 2017
3
0
6
No machinery has been stored close to them — we keep our lawnmower in a covered shelter or outside the wash rack. Both areas have a cement floor, and are a few hundred feet from their coop. (Our chickens have stayed in their coop/runout rather than roam this year because of other people in the area having incidences with coyotes.)

We did however, keep this chicken and the previous one both in the same stall (we live in a huntbox, so it would allow us to check in them in the middle of the night.) But no machinery has been stored in there or the adjacent stalls, and other chickens were kept in the barn for a week while we stripped their coop and sprayed it for mites without incident?

(The Coloumbian also did have a firm bump on one side of her body that wasn't on the other, but we never figured out what it was, and there's been no similar mass on the Americauna.)
 

azygous

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Dec 11, 2009
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The best way to find out if these chickens' problems stem from tumor causing viruses is to have a necropsy done when one dies.

Some of the tumors can go undetected. When I had a necropsy done after a young roo died, it was discovered he had tumors on his liver causing it weigh two pounds. That was when I learned my flock carries one of these viruses.
 

Ash394

Hatching
Jun 4, 2017
3
0
6
Update: We're on day 4 now, and she's still here. I considered that it may be her crop, or that she was choking? So I massaged her crop and gave her water, and while I was away for a good part of the day she seemed to be doing better when I came back?

I went in later and checked on her again, seeing if grits would help her crop. I held up a handful and she very excited! Perked up and went aggressively for it. However, after her first bite she started flapping her wings and seemed very stressed for a good 15-25 straight seconds, and afterwards she wasn't very interested in the grits or the water.

Her comb was a decent colour today (very red, but not a BRIGHT red,) as well, whereas it was paler before. When I felt her crop both times, it felt very malleable, and the texture felt like smoother sand.

So— is her thrusting her head forward and down a possible choking/gag reflex?
 

azygous

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Dec 11, 2009
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Crop! Of course! Is the crop full and squishy, even though she isn't eating much? You describe symptoms of sour crop (yeast infection) almost to a tee.

If the crop is empty except for a hard lump at the bottom, it's impacted crop.

The cure for sour crop is Miconazole. The cure for impacted crop is coconut or olive oil.
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
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Colorado Rockies
Of course, now that you mention the head thrusting in the context of the crop, it certainly could be either sour crop or impacted crop. http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2014/06/chicken-anatomy-crop-impacted-crop-sour.html

Sour crop is a yeast infection, characterized by a full, squishy crop, cured with Miconazole. Impacted crop is characterized by an empty crop except for a hard lump, cured with olive or coconut oil.
 

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