My sweet 12 year old rooster aspirated water today and I hate myself. Please help if you can.

BWchicken

Songster
12 Years
Jun 4, 2009
488
14
204
Texas
He's a tiny bantam (d'uccle), he's 12 years old and a love of my life. I've always known something wasn't right with his esophagus/trachea because for his whole life he has drank water in a weird way to avoid choking. It's peculiar. It works for him but he has to go to some lengths. Because of this he avoids drinking at times so I sometimes give him water from a dropper only letting him take ONE drop at a time partly because he loves doing it for whatever reason (I think it's easier for him to drink this way), and partly to ensure he's getting enough water.

It was gonna be hot today so around 8am I gave him water drops as usual. I have one droplet at a time suspended from the tip of a 5ml dropper so he can get it himself, then he waits for the next drop. We've been doing this for years without a hitch but today he grabbed the end of the dropper into his mouth and held on. I was holding the dropper by the bulb when he grabbed it and I inadvertently squirted it into his mouth. It happened so fast and the effects were immediate. He couldn't breathe at all. Not at all. Couldn't even cough. His mouth was open but nothing in or out. His comb instantly paled and he took two drunk looking steps and started to fall over but I caught him and gently kept him upright on the ground. I was frantically thinking what I could do for him when he started moving around. Within 2 minutes his comb was red and he was walking around clucking and eating like nothing happened. I was shocked because I know that when they aspirate that bad, they usually pass immediately.

I'm beyond words grateful that he lived and he is acting ok but I know he's in danger because he didn't cough or sneeze the water out. When I put my ear to his back I can hear it in there with every breath. You can't hear it unless you have your ear nearly touching his body. At first it was a popping, crackling sound, now it's more of a rattle noise. I have brought him in the house (with his 12 year old wife because they are the only chickens I have left and she has separation anxiety away from him). When he eats/drinks he shakes his head a lot like he's clearing his nostrils. His breathing seems 'heavy' too but his beak is mostly staying closed. Other than that he's acting pretty normal, his comb is red and he's eating a lot.

He has only been sick a couple times in his 12 years. He had an upper respiratory infection a few months back but he recovered quickly. Watching him you would never guess his age because he acts like a spring chicken. He knows his name and is quite a people person, he loves to jump on my knee for chest rubs and he was always a perfect flock leader. He really is something. Now obviously I know he won't live forever but I don't want to be the cause, I just can't live with that. I still can't believe I aspirated him. I knew better.

Right now I have him on Tetroxy 280 because it's all I have. I also gave him about 1/8 of a baby aspirin. I just ordered Baytril and an amox/tylosin powder, I hope they get here quick. I've dealt with several chicken illnesses in my time but never aspiration. So am I doing the right things, is there anything else I should do? And is the Tetroxy good for this or are the ones I ordered better? Also, if a chicken survives aspiration, what happens to the water in their air sacs/lungs, does it ever absorb or go away?

I'm so sorry this post has turned into a novel, thanks for reading it. I mostly just wanted to share the details of what happened today to see if anyone had any ideas. I doubt many have been dumb enough to aspirate their bird this badly but please if anyone has any insight or experience at all please share it with me.
 
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BWchicken

Songster
12 Years
Jun 4, 2009
488
14
204
Texas
Thanks for the reply that is good to know! I hope your 9 year old is doing well! I never thought chicks would live this long but I'm grateful for them. I started with him and his 12 hens and now down to just the two of them they're like an old married couple lol.

He's about the same today, looking and acting well. Still rattling tho. I'm hoping he'll be ok.
 

BWchicken

Songster
12 Years
Jun 4, 2009
488
14
204
Texas
No change today he's still rattling and a little wheezy but acting normal otherwise. How long will it take for that rattle to resolve if no infection? Also, does anyone know if dry air or humid air is best for him right now? I want to put him back outside but it's 90 and humid.
 

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