Mystery Disease, possibly spreading?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Breac, Nov 15, 2014.

  1. Breac

    Breac Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was hoping some of the more knowledgeable folks at BYC would be able to offer some ideas about what's happening with my flock. To begin, my coop is divided into two sections, a bantam pen and a standard pen. They are separated by mesh screens. On Friday, I went to the coop and found Queenie, a Buff Orpie, laying on the ground. She was alert, but could not stand. On the other side of the pen, Carmen, a Belgian Booted, was on the floor, upside down, and near death. I brought them both into the house for TLC and observation.

    Both chickens are adults, around the age of 5 years. They have access to an outside run, but do not range unsupervised. No other people/birds come into contact with them. Both birds had seemed a bit listless prior to this. Carmen had seemed generally 'slower' than usual and kept her tail at a lower angle than normal, but she had been like this for about a month. I had noticed that for the past week or so, Queenie's hackles were a bit ruffled and during the night she began to prefer sleeping on the floor or near the bottom roosts.

    Queenie could not stand. She was unable to place any weight on her left leg. It kept sliding forward. However, she kept trying to right herself and would flap frantically in attempts to get up. She had a good appetite, and eagerly took food and water. Her comb was a bit pale and slightly darker near the back, but this may have been due to the cold. Other than the leg, she appeared in good health.

    Carmen, as stated before, was near death. She did not want to open her eyes, was unresponsive, etc. I was able to give her some fluids, but expected her to pass during the night. Once during the night, she made excrement which was incredibly smelly, watery, and brown.

    The next morning, both were alive, and I was able to get a vet appointment. While I was at work, a family member took them to the vet, who noted that Carmen was underweight and had a large, mushy mass in her crop which he believed was causing a blockage. He did not know what was happening with Queenie, but prescribed Metacam, a painkiller.

    That night, Carmen was somewhat more alert, would open her eyes, and made some vocalizations. Queenie was more subdued, but seemed alert. At around 8:00, Queenie puked and began rolling her head back. Her hackles were quite ruffled. She began seizing and died suddenly. Carmen passed away shortly after.


    My questions are these: Do these symptoms sound like any known disease, especially in Queenie's case? Her decline was incredibly sudden. Are they related? I have another chicken that might also be 'slowing' a bit, but shows no other symptoms. If it is infectious, what do I do? These birds are like family to me, so 'kill them all and start over' is not an option. Is there any way to diagnose the problem for certain?


    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. cityfarmer12

    cityfarmer12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is so sad! :( I recently loss to of my favorite birds, so i know how it feels. It could be mareks disease. I am no expert, this is just a suggestion of what it could be. I hope its not, this is pretty bad, and could have come from ANYWHERE. It is a lot to explain in a post, so here is a link to a great article about mareks:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq

    There are plenty of other health problems that chickens can get, so definitly google chicken problems and stuff. The chicken that couldn't walk made me think of this. This a great article for any chicken owner to read. Good Luck!!
     
  3. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    I'm so sorry for your loss. The only way you will know for sure is to have a necropsy done on one of the dead birds? Did the vet do anything to empty her crop? I wondered if that helped at all or he just ignored it.
     
  4. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    It sounds like Carmen had an impacted crop or gizzard. It might be the same for Queenie, or maybe egg impacted...tough call on Queenie. I dont believe it's anything infectious as other birds would be showing symptoms as well. I dont believe it's mareks neither. I recommend that you just observe your flock for the next few days for anything out of the ordinary. Sorry for your losses.
     
  5. Breac

    Breac Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 20, 2010
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    The vet was aware that Carmen's crop was impacted and said that it may have been the cause of her illness, but he couldn't say for certain. He did say that because of her already poor health it would have been extremely risky to try and remove the blockage. As far as I know, Queenie hadn't laid eggs in a while, since she was about five.

    There's been another bird I put into quarentine. This one has been looking ill for about as long as Queenie, and given everything that's happened, I'm not taking chances. This one is totally isolated. She's skin and bones, but has not other symptoms. Inspected all the other chickens today, and besides the one, everyone else is looking okay. I'm not sure about the Marek's disease. Even though my birds weren't vaccinated, it's been over half a year since anyone new was introduced. I'm still not sure if these things are related or not, but I'll be keeping my eyes on the new girl.
     
  6. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    If it happens again, have a necropsy done:



    For the others, you might want to think about taking some poop to the vet and have it checked for worm eggs.

    -Kathy
     
  7. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    I agree with Kathy. If you've havnt wormed your birds in a while, it would be best to bag fresh fecal samples and take them to a vet and have them check for worm eggs.
     
  8. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Labs that should be able to do fecal floats:
    58


    Wisconsin

    USGS National Wildlife Health Center
    6006 Schroeder Road
    Madison, Wisconsin 53711
    Phone: 608-270-2401 Fax 608-270-2415
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    Wisconsin

    Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
    445 Easterday Lane
    Madison, Wisconsin 53706
    Phone: 608-262-5432 Fax 847-574-8085
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    Wisconsin

    Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory - Barron
    1521 E. Guy Avenue
    P.O. Box 97
    Barron, Wisconsin 54812-0097
    Phone: 715-637-3151

    -Kathy
     

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