Nutrition and Maintenance Care for Sick Chickens.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Kristin209, May 22, 2019.

  1. Kristin209

    Kristin209 In the Brooder

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    Yesterday after 3 hours at the Vet office deliberating between euthanasia and treatment- I chose treatment option with a re-evaluation at the Vet's office in 14 days.

    Abigail- my 14 month old Australorpe has a distended abdomen and secondary respiratory infection. The x-ray showed masses in her abdomen but what they are is either cancer or viral. Twice a day I am giving her a prescription of NSAID and antibiotic.

    The health of my other three hens was obviously a concern. The Vet said and I agree that ( if it is viral) they have already been introduced to whatever Abigail has. They are all healthy right now so their immune systems are doing a good job.

    Her nutrition intake bothers me. The Vet was not concerned with hydration when I asked. I do not know if she is drinking water so I gave her a tablespoon with the syringe this morning. Is there a standard amount of water that is forced during illness? How can I tell if she is dehydrated? This morning she nibbled on egg yolk, bread but seems to only what leafy greens.
     
  2. BugStalker

    BugStalker Songster

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    casportpony likes this.
  3. BugStalker

    BugStalker Songster

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    Checking hydration status is discussed somewhere. I seem to have lost the link. Basically, look for dry looking comb, toungue, mouth, or skin. There is a pinch test, too. If I find the link, I'll post it here.
     
    Kristin209 and casportpony like this.
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    Hens can have egg masses in the abdomen, also called lash eggs from internal laying and salpingitis. I wonder if the vet meant that tumors in the abdomen are caused by a virus? Is he positive it is cancer, or could there be the egg masses from internal laying?

    Mareks disease and lymphoid leukosis are 2 different viruses that cause cancer in chickens.

    I do not recommend forcing fluids in a chicken. It can cause them to choke to death. I would either try to get them drinking on their own, and consider putting water into the feed to make a watery mash, or to learn to tube feed. But if the chicken has a terminal illness, I would just offer fluids and wet feed allowing them to decide what they want. One source I found states that 100 ml daily is a good amount of fluid, while another says that they need 500 ml daily. @casportpony is a good source on fluids.

    Here is some info on learning to tube feed:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/updated-go-team-tube-feeding.805728/

     
    Kristin209 likes this.
  5. Kristin209

    Kristin209 In the Brooder

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    Not knowing what the masses are was part of what made the decision difficult. The Vet was not specific and said definitive answers are only given by necropsy.

    I don't know anything about how viruses relate to cancer but I definitely remember the Vet saying "or" - cancer or a virus. It was not ruled out but the Vet did not lean towards reproductive problems. I will take any enlightenment and will also ask the Vet on the followup appointment.
     
  6. BugStalker

    BugStalker Songster

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    The vet probably meant cancer, possibly caused by a virus. Without a virus, only the one bird is affected. With a virus, cancer is sometimes considered secondary, or a symptom of the virus, and so they just say virus.
     
  7. Kristin209

    Kristin209 In the Brooder

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    I found this paper on Oxford Poultry Science:
    Avian Virus-Induced Tumors
    E. L. Stubbs A. M. Wallbank
    Abstract

    THE first evidence that a virus could cause cancer was the discovery by Ellerman and Bang (1908) that chicken leukemia could be transferred by filtered blood. The transfer of a tumor from chicken to chicken was reported by Rous (1910). Dr. Rous accomplished this by injecting tumor material into closely related chickens. The following year he (1911) reported this to be a virus-induced tumor and it became the prime example for studying virus-induced tumors.
    So if I understand it correctly, a cancer causing virus would be transmitted through blood not by dirt, proximity, etc., but her secondary bacterial infection is another story....
     
    Willowspirit likes this.
  8. BugStalker

    BugStalker Songster

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    I have had at least two hens with cancer, and both tested negative for known cancer-causing viruses. (The vet said each was common cancer for the breed.) I thought the blood was tested for the viruses, but it could have been a biopsy or something. I heard state vets could test blood samples...

    Leukemia is blood/marrow cancer, so the virus would probably be most concentrated there. I don't know if it collects elsewhere enough to be infective. Marek's is a cancer-causing virus family that is transmitted easily, but you would probably have noticed other symptoms if your birds had it.

    I wouldn't worry about viruses unless you find them in the flock, unless you are considering vaccinating. Cancer, if that is what this is, can be common in chickens.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  9. Lizzy733

    Lizzy733 Chirping

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    Masses could be pockets salpingitis infection - especially if she is passing puss in her stool and/or soft eggs. Respiratory illnesses can supposedly cause secondary infections in the reproductive tract so hopefully, that's all this is and she responds well antibiotics.
    If the vet specifically told you they're not worried about her fluid intake, then she is likely not dehydrated and I wouldn't worry too much as long as she is taking fluids on her own.
    You can support her immune system with some ACV in the water and maybe add some garlic to her feed - wouldn't hurt to do this for the whole flock since they might be fending off the virus as well.
    Do keep an eye out for 'runny nose' with your other hens and monitor their behavior.
     

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