No ear canal/hole... swelling in chick's ear?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Bocktobery 10, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi,

    I'm not sure this is really what is going on but it looks like it.

    I have a 3 1/2 month old pullet/chick that has had swelling around the ear. Its been going on since she first hatched. Its off and on and usually it goes away by itself and is not very large, but just today I noticed it is very swollen. I did not notice this yesterday at all which makes me think it sprung up over night. I did some searching on this site and the internet about it and found some advice about how to go about getting the gunk out- if there was gunk- all I see is a big lump- so when I took a closer look I noticed there was no ear hole. There appeared to be something like what should be the ear opening, so I used hydrogen peroxide on the surface of it just in case it was 'glued' shut by pus or gunk or something, but nothing changed. It really looks like there is no ear canal.

    I'm kind of at a loss at what to do now. I can tell it is effecting her. She seems a bit weak. She seems skinny to me as well, as do all of her fellow hatch mates and their mother hen who is just now starting to wean them off her assistance. She also doesn't appear to be swallowing very well and when I open her mouth (which she lets me do without a struggle) there is stringy saliva as if she is dehydrated. She seems a bit tipsy on her feet. The swelling is not mushy. It is hard.


    Anyone ever seen this in their chickens before? Any suggestions?
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I have no experience with ear infections, but I have been reading some of the posts on here. I would use the peroxide again--just a few drops on the ear, then let it soften for a few minutes. Rub it gently. Then take a Q-Tip and carefully search for the opening--this might open up the glued shut ear. Dry it out with Q-Tip, and fill the ear canal with Neosporin or Polysporin ointment.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013
  3. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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  4. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello Michael and Eggcessive, thanks for your posts.

    Yes, thank you...i did see the post that dawg wrote... Very helpful and very grateful for the information. In fact, that was the information I was trying to follow, until I saw that she had no ear canal. I did do what you suggested, Eggcessive, and put the hydrogen peroxide on it more than once- there was no 'sizzle' like it usually does when it gets in contact with pus-like stuff or blood. It just didn't do anything. Then on closer inspection it looks like there really is no ear canal hole. Its just somewhat like a fold in the skin, and when I gently pull the skin apart there is nothing still.. its just skin.
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    If there is no ear opening, I would probably go ahead and give some antibiotics. Can you ask your vet for some clavamox or amoxicillin? The vet may even suggest something. If not, then I would get some oxytetracycline (Terramycin) from the feed store and treat the pullet's water. This may be a sign of respiratory disease or just an ear infection.
     
  6. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey!

    Just wanted to say that I finally took this pullet in to the vet yesterday and ended up having a small surgical procedure done to empty out the pus. I wish i would have taken pictures of it before.

    The vet said it was an abscess of some kind but we don't know how it got there and she doesn't think it was because of the deformation of having no ear canal. The vet said she doesn't know very much about chickens internally (the vet I usually go to was not available due to emergency surgery) but that inside she couldn't find anything that she thought resembled ear parts- She did say there were some parts that looked odd, but she left it alone. So it looks like its just a coincidence- the fact that she wasn't born with an ear and the fact that she has this abscess.

    So after the surgery, the little pullet still has some swelling (the tissues surrounding the abscess are still swollen) and she also has a drain put in at the moment. We were able to fashion some paddle slippers to put on her feet so that she doesn't pick the drain out of her wound with her nails. This was just some cardboard cut-outs in the shape of flippers that we stuffed into a small sock, then slipped her foot into the sock underneath the cardboard cutout. We then duck taped the sock firmly (but loose enough not to cut off any circulation) on her upper leg so that it can't fall off or be too loose. They look like moon boots on her but so far it has worked! She actually gets around well with them on and has had us bursting out laughing at how silly it looks. I'll try and post some pictures later if I can.

    I have to take her back this Friday to have her looked at again and for the drain to be removed. I also have a round of two antibiotics for her to take. It looks like this will clear things up for her! I'll keep posting some updates.
     
  7. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Thanks for the update, and glad to hear she is on the mend. We definitely have to see a picture of her moon boots.
     
  8. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Another update: The vet now says that the infection probably was from the deformation and it is most likely going to continue to get infected. She is suggesting that we fashion a drainage for the ear that I can tend to daily to clean out any gunk that might have collected in there. We are going to first see if she develops the problem of swelling up with infection again, and I'm sad to say that it looks like the swelling is returning.. However, the swelling has gone down substantially since the first small operation, but since that time she still has tissues inside that are inflamed which make it still look like a lump coming out the side of her head. I've been cleaning out the wound with hydrogen peroxide twice a day as advised. I get less and less gunk, but it seems like tissues are swelling up around it. Who knows, maybe it will get better though. We will see.

    One good thing is that she is most definitely feeling better as she has been eating like a hog. She's even put on a half of pound since her operation and has perked up majorly in behavior. I'm very happy for her and for this experience, but I'm writing to say that she is not exactly "out of the water" yet, which is kind of disappointing as I had hoped this would clear up the problem and she could return to life as a fairly normal chicken.

    I have learned one large lesson in all of this which is: Don't try to hatch pullet eggs under your broody hen. The egg was just much too small for her to develop in time and I assume that is most likely why she developed this problem in the first place. I do hope that she can overcome this.
     
  9. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Unfortunately I don' thave any photos of her before she had her surgery. I can tell you that the abscess was about three times the size as it is now in these photos and that it looked like she had a doughnut hole stuck to the side of her heard.

    [​IMG]

    Here is a better angle to see how large of a swelling it is. This is all hard and lumpy and not squishy at all, though in between the lumps it is squishy a bit. She has ear tufts since she is part Easter Egger- her fathers side and her mother is a Jersey Giant. The tuft is clipped off in the first picture.

    [​IMG]

    and yet another angle...

    [​IMG]


    Here is a photo after her operation. We fashioned 'moon boots' for her to wear so that she would not pull out the surgical drain in her wound with the claws on her feet. They were made out of thick cardboard 'flippers' with a notch cut in them to surround the leg comfortably and then stuffed them inside a sock. Her foot then went underneath the cardboard cut out in the socks and we fastened the sock on with some duct tape so that it would stay on. (It was not tight) It worked! and best of all she seemed not to mind, but it certainly did look funny. Oh, and I'm not trying to 'flip the bird" to anyone ( no pun intended! ) in this photo. My other fingers are just hidden underneath her feathers.

    [​IMG]
     

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