Necrotic Enteritis

SloanC

In the Brooder
Aug 16, 2018
13
7
16
Hi -
I've had 2 hens die. I had a necropsy done and found out it was Necrotic Enteritis which I had suspected. I had an outbreak of Coccidiosis when my flock was 2mo and they are now 6mo. I treated with Corid and got rid of the Coccidiosis but this has now led to NE. I have been treating with acv, probiotics and amoxicillin but I'm unsure if that is enough as of this recent death. Looking for some further advice on treating NE and what measures I can take to prevent further deaths if possible?
Thanks.
 

Eggcessive

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I have not dealt with NE in my flock, but clostridium perfringens is a common bacterial cause, and it is found everywhere in the soil. Most birds are infected with coccidiosis first, then can be victims of necrotizing enteritis. Many different antibiotics are used to treat it, including amoxicillin, Tylan, penicillin, doxycycline, metronidazole, and others. I would have some droppings checked by your vet, and ask if they can test for coccidiosis and NE with a gram stain or stool culture and sensitivity. I would try using some probiotics in the food or water, and perhaps treat again for coccidiosis. Sorry for your loss. Here is some reading about NE:
https://www.merckvetmanual.com/poultry/necrotic-enteritis/overview-of-necrotic-enteritis-in-poultry

http://www.poultryhub.org/health/disease/types-of-disease/necrotic-enteritis/
 

azygous

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What you are dealing with is one of the most insidious and virulent bacterium we humans may face. C. perfringens is FAST. It's always present in chicken intestines to a small degree and also present everywhere in the soil. As long as it remains small in numbers and stays put, it can do no harm.

However, let a few coccidia protozoa move into the chicken's intestines and begin to multiply and start doing their damage to the chicken, C. perfringens is quick to take advantage of the breach in the intestinal lining the coccidia have begun.

C. perfringens begins to rapidly, and the key word is RAPID, drill down deep into the mucous lining of the intestine to start feeding on all the juicy proteins. The damage is devastating, sort of like a forest fire destroying a large swath of prime forest. Just as the fire destroys and kills and blackens, so does the lightening speed of C. perfringens destroy deep into the intestines.

Once the tissue is killed, it turns necrotic, lost for good. About the only thing that can save a chicken is to recognize it early and begin antibiotic treatment. I've had experience with this monster and I've seen how fast it kills. A ten month old Cream Legbar, just beginning to lay, became sick late one morning, and she was dead by early afternoon. A week later, I recognized the symptoms when her brooder mate became sick. I moved fast and started her on amoxcillin and she's alive and well four years later to tell about it.

When I notice a chicken acting "off", acting sluggish, nodding off standing up, that's when I move into action. I have antibiotics on hand all the time. When there's a possibility of C. perfringens, it's okay to jump right in with an antibiotic. If it turns out to be a stuck egg or something that normally can be treated without an antibiotic, great. I simply stop the antibiotic and treat for the other thing.

When we see that coccidiosis may be sickening a chicken, we immediately begin treatment of the whole flock with a coccidiostat (Corid). If the chicken is acting particularly lethargic, even though there may not be blood in the stool, necrotic enteritis (NE) should be assumed, and an antibiotic should be started immediately. It's the only way to win when dealing with this diabolical monster. If we hesitate even a few hours, it can be too late to stop irreversible damage.

Do your chickens have irreversible NE damage? About the only way you will know is if the chicken lives or if it dies. If you've treated the chicken for the specified duration for that antibiotic, treating longer won't accomplish anything. The bacteria likely has been killed, but if the damage to the intestines is severe, nothing can restore the intestine any more than putting out the fire will bring back the forest.
 

SloanC

In the Brooder
Aug 16, 2018
13
7
16
Thanks for the information. I'm learning quickly how horrible and fast NE is. I had the State lab do the necropsy and I'm now waiting on the fecal test. The most recent death was to one of my healthiest brightest hens up until a week before her death. Her only symptom I noticed at this point was she had lost weight but was eating and drinking normal and very alert. I thought I caught it early enough. I separated and began treating with penicillin. I also wormed her and gave her nutri drench and probiotics. She seemed to be doing better after a few days treatment but then took a sudden decline and died a few days later. The damage had clearly been done and was irreversible at this point unfortunately. That's what is so frustrating about this disease, it's a silent killer. Some don't show signs until it's too late and irreversible! That's why I'm worried about the rest of them no matter how healthy they look. I have 2 that have always been slightly smaller than their sister's and don't thrive the way the others do but I've been treating them. After this death I've retreated the whole flock with Corid 2tsp/gallon water fresh for 5 days. I'm also giving amoxicillin (fish mox 250mg per tablet) 1tablet mixed in a gallon of water for 5 days. Is this enough amoxicillin or should I give more? Is Corid something I should now treat with like a wormer twice a year? They've been on medicated feed since birth but as a prevention this did not work. I'm just hoping to get this under control and makesure I'm doing everything possible to prevent further deaths. Thanks!
 

Eggcessive

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Amoxicillin should be given 125 mg twice a day to each chicken for 7-14 days. The 250 mg can be divided into 2, and mixed with a bit of canned cat food, liverwurst cheese or other food to hide. Amoxicillin is usually not water soluble to be put in water. It might be good to get some droppings checked for coccidia when you see any sick. Most chickens eventually develop resistance to coccidia in the soil, but there are a couple of strains that are cchronic. I wouldn’t think that routine treatment with Corid would be needed unless you had chickens who had immunity problems, or were sickly.
 

azygous

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When chickens keep dying in spite of your efforts, it's doubly distressful. As @Eggcessive has pointed out, a Fish Mox 250mg capsule dropped into water is the way aquarium fish are treated, you need to give the Fish Mox capsule directly into the body of a chicken. Our mistake for not clarifying that.

I'm the distracted, overly busy type, and a bit lazy and in a hurry, so I just pop the entire 250mg capsule into my patient's beak in the morning for ten days running. It appears my lazy system has worked okay for many years. Dividing it into two doses is best, though, and the proper way.
 

Eggcessive

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Casportpony has brought it to my attention that my dosage may not be correct. Her vet prescribes amoxicillin or clavamox at 56-57 mg per pound, which would equal out to about 250 mg twice a day for a 5 pound chicken. In Canada, there is a type of amoxicillin sp for use in the water. Here is a link about that:
https://www.drugs.com/vet/amoxicillin-sp-can.html
 

Wyorp Rock

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