NECROPSY: Sudden seizure-like death in bird, stood still and puffed up, found asleep in the coop (Warning, graphic!)

Phantom_k9

Chirping
Oct 29, 2019
191
155
96
North Texas
My Coop
Not all of the pics are showing up properly for me, and it’s difficult to see the things I’d like to see in pics versus having them in my hands. Lol. But from what I can see the most abnormal thing is that liver. It’s pale, and appears to have some stippling on it as well. (Again, hard to see from photos.) the clots are normal postmortem findings. The lungs appear normal, the kidney in the one shot looks normal, the gizzard and crop normal. If you opened up the intestines, check for petechia (stippling of red dots) or focal lesions, like patches darker in color. Or areas that look hemorrhagic, like he was bleeding into the tissue (kind of like bruising.)

Necrotic enteritis can cause cholangiohepatitis with involvement of the liver (enlarged, pale, lesions) and the gall bladder. Mycotoxins can also cause liver issues. (Pulled up my vet resources since I’m at work anyways. Haha.) issues with the liver can give you neuro signs too, which may help explain some of the behaviours.

was there any fluid or blood in the pericardial sac? I wouldn’t necessarily be too concerned on the air sacs being torn, I almost always tear at least one when I open up a bird...

Be interesting to see what the lab says. Definitely keep us posted! (And excellent job doing your own PM)
Sorry for the low res pictures, did the best that I could. My good camera ran out of memory and wouldn't focus when I got up close, so most of these came from my phone.

It looks like I will need to open up the intestines, which I will do this evening. There was a blood / other liquid mixture in one of the thin sacs. I couldn't tell you which one, I'll try to edit one of the picture to point to it.
 

Phantom_k9

Chirping
Oct 29, 2019
191
155
96
North Texas
My Coop
This picture in this quote does show the stuff I'm talking about. In the center and to the right is the red liquid. I don't know much about chicken blood, but it looked too clear / watery to be just blood alone, I thought it was blood and something else. What else I do not know...

This picture makes it look a lot more dark and cloudy than it did initially, you'll have to take my word that it was more akin to red water when I first spotted it.
 

Trisseh

Duck-duck-chicken!
Premium Feather Member
Jun 21, 2019
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Sorry for the low res pictures, did the best that I could. My good camera ran out of memory and wouldn't focus when I got up close, so most of these came from my phone.

It looks like I will need to open up the intestines, which I will do this evening. There was a blood / other liquid mixture in one of the thin sacs. I couldn't tell you which one, I'll try to edit one of the picture to point to it.
Your photography skills are great, my internet not so much. Haha. All good. :) some things are better identified by feel though which just can’t happen through pictures. :p

The pericardial sac is the membrane around the heart. It didn’t look like there was blood in there but can’t tell from pics if there was fluid. You can feel it in there if it’s there, though.

Often with enteritis you’ll have a lot of either hemorrhagic (bloody) or foul liquid In various colors and viscosities filling the small intestine as well. They can leak fluid into the abdomen too, when the intestine is damaged. A small amount of blood tinged fluid isn’t abnormal in the cavity either, though, so I wouldn’t jump to any conclusions on that. (From the last pic you just posted). You could have a secondary bacterial enteritis if you had coccidia going through, too. The coccidia damages the intestinal lining, the bacteria goes ah ha! Fair game! And colonizes like crazy.

plenty of other possibilities too but these are the first things I think of based on the things you’ve described and your photos.
 

Phantom_k9

Chirping
Oct 29, 2019
191
155
96
North Texas
My Coop
Your photography skills are great, my internet not so much. Haha. All good. :) some things are better identified by feel though which just can’t happen through pictures. :p

The pericardial sac is the membrane around the heart. It didn’t look like there was blood in there but can’t tell from pics if there was fluid. You can feel it in there if it’s there, though.

Often with enteritis you’ll have a lot of either hemorrhagic (bloody) or foul liquid In various colors and viscosities filling the small intestine as well. They can leak fluid into the abdomen too, when the intestine is damaged. A small amount of blood tinged fluid isn’t abnormal in the cavity either, though, so I wouldn’t jump to any conclusions on that. (From the last pic you just posted). You could have a secondary bacterial enteritis if you had coccidia going through, too. The coccidia damages the intestinal lining, the bacteria goes ah ha! Fair game! And colonizes like crazy.

plenty of other possibilities too but these are the first things I think of based on the things you’ve described and your photos.
I did try to remove the sac early on in the procedure, but I didn't notice any fluid. Just looked it up, and there was no yellow or odd liquid inflating the sac. But yeah, it looks like I need to do some more digging, I'll get back with more pictures inside the intestines when I can
 

Isaac 0

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
Jul 19, 2016
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I am nothing if not thorough. I presume that wouldn't be something I could make a homemade test / facility for? lol
No. For a virus, you'd need a whole PCR setup, which would cost you quite a bit. I do C&S, here, which can test for molds, yeast, bacteria, and their antibiotic tolerance, but unless you want to spend a thousand, that might not be the best thing for you.

I look forward to seeing the other pictures.
 

Phantom_k9

Chirping
Oct 29, 2019
191
155
96
North Texas
My Coop
Ok I feel like a complete idiot.
I have started to write my chicken findings down, in order to make my family a manual for when I go off to college. I was researching chicken feeds, and found something that said "it’s imperative that you phase out the starter feed once they are 6 weeks old, otherwise the excess protein can cause liver damage". We have been giving them starter feed.

I'm still going to move forward as if this isn't something that hurt this bird, but I wonder if that resulted in the pale liver? Really hoping I didn't accidentally kill my bird!

I'm immediately going to remove the starter from the rest of the flocks diet...

Still going to check the intestinal track, and the vet at the lab said he would look at my email later this evening.
 

Phantom_k9

Chirping
Oct 29, 2019
191
155
96
North Texas
My Coop
Wait never mind, my mother has been giving everyone layer feed except for this bird, his buddy, and our two chicks. I have been, so I sorta feel even more stupid. Still going to switch everyone over to layer feed.
 

Eggcessive

Enabler
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Apr 3, 2011
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Actually many of us feed all flock or flock raiser type feed, which is around 20% protein, the same as most chick starter feeds. Feeding 16-20% is within a safe range. TSC recently started carrying a 17% all flock feed, but it costs a dollar more than Purina Flock raiser. Kidney damage and gout can occur with using 30% or higher feed, which I have never even seen before.
 

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