Need help! Hen has labored breathing.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by westiemom, Apr 30, 2017.

  1. westiemom

    westiemom New Egg

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    Feb 6, 2015
    Florida
    Need help please! I'm at a loss as to what is wrong with Scarlett, a New Hampshire hen we have. I discovered mites crawling on her rump area. Gave her a bath with mild shampoo to clean up her poopy bum and help rid her of the mite debris and eggs. I treated the coop with Neem Oil. Also realized she appeared to have scaly leg mites, so I treated her legs with Vaseline and then Aquaphor for a couple of weeks. I haven't seen any more mites on her body but she still walks slower then our other girls and appears to be stiff legged when moving. Now I've noticed her breathing is labored and she no longer sleeps on the roasting bar at night, instead sitting in a nesting box that the girls don't ever lay eggs in. My husband thinks she is suffering and we should put her down, but I don't want to give up on her. Her poop seems normal although she doesn't seem to be pooping as much each time as I've seen her do in the past. Her comb is still bright but it's flopped over more than normal. She is not quite as interested in food as she used to be although she's definitely still eating. I don't know what to do for her. Antibiotics? Add something to the water? PLEASE help! Scarlett is the sweetest girl we have, very friendly!
     
  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Quote:
    Hi [​IMG] Welcome To BYC

    I'm sorry you're having trouble.

    When was the last time she laid an egg?
    Feel her abdomen - does it feel swollen, bloated like a water balloon (fluid filled), hard, soft, squishy, etc.?

    Internal laying/reproductive disorders like Ascites, Egg Yolk Peritonitis, Salpingitis, cancer or tumors are common in laying hens. Sometimes egg masses or fluids can build up in the abdomen, this would cause labored breathing, difficulty walking, loose droppings or less droppings (blockage from swelling), loss of appetite and weight loss. Supportive care is usually the course of treatment, since antibiotics are usually short lived, at best.

    IF she has fluid in the abdomen (water balloon - Ascites), then sometimes it can be drained to give some relief. This would need to be done periodically to remove excess fluids. (Fluids can press on the internal organs and air sacs causing labored breathing, heart/organ failure, etc.). Draining can be performed using an 18gauge needle. Fluid withdrawn is usually yellow if it's Ascites. Please note, that draining can give relief, but there is risk of more infection (introducing more bacteria) since you are puncturing the skin. Some do puncture a few extra "holes", withdraw some fluid, but let the rest drain slowly over the course of a day so it's not a shock to the system.

    You can try antibiotics, your best bet would be to get a prescription from your vet or use something like Baytril. Baytril is banned for chickens in the US, however, you would need to throw away/not eat any eggs she lays or her meat. If you are keeping her for a pet, then it may be worth trying to treat her. Do some research/reading to determine what course of treatment is best for your situation.

    Keep us posted.

    ASCITES:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1074049/chicken-abdomen-like-water-balloon#post_16400670
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/362422/drained-a-hens-abdomen-rest-in-peace-olivia-11-5-10/150

    Peritonitis and internal egg laying issues:
    http://www.chickenvet.co.uk/health-and-common-diseases/egg-laying-issues/index.aspx

    BAYTRIL Sources and dosage chart:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/959119/baytril-enrofloxacin-sources
     
  3. westiemom

    westiemom New Egg

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    Feb 6, 2015
    Florida
    Thank you for your detailed reply Wyorp Rock! I read all the info you passed on and looked at the links. She definitely has the water balloon belly and that seems it would be the cause of the labored breathing, awkward walk, not wanting to sit on the roosting bar etc. I unfortunately don't know the last time she laid an egg as I have five hens that all lay brown eggs that are nearly identical in size, color etc, so it's near impossible to tell whose egg is whose. But being what small amounts she is pooping out right now, I'm sure she hasn't laid an egg in some time.
    It seems like using the needle to remove the fluid is the best option right now, but I have no idea how to do that and am unfortunately not good with needles in general. I only know of one vet that'll work on chickens in my area and after a horrendous experience there with one of my goats, I've vowed to never set foot in the place again. Trying to find other solutions today as I want to save her but I'm afraid I might do more harm than good...
     
  4. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I'm sorry[​IMG]

    There are numerous videos on youtube showing people draining/drawing fluid from the abdomen. The size of needle I see recommended most is an 18gauge needle. These can be found at Tractor Supply along with syringes. It's not a cure, but can give relief for a period of time.

    I wish I had better answers. If you do decide to try, please keep us posted.

    Here's one video to get you started.
     

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