Persistent white eye gunk...?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Jrose, Nov 21, 2016.

  1. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, this is probably the first real case of 'mystery chicken disease/illness' I've ever experienced.

    I brought a new Ameraucana hen + rooster home. They were plump and healthy and merged easily into the flock. A month later I found the hen, Willow, listless on the roost mid-day. I picked her up and she's skin and bones, her eyes were gummed shut. I'd been moving and not spending a lot of time with the flock, so I didn't see it escalate. I cleaned her eyes, got them open, and expressed some soft but solid white... gunk... maybe puss? But no smell, no other drainage, not yellow-ish, no blood. Her eyes are not irritated or red or swollen. She is not coughing or sneezing or wheezing. She has no nasal drainage. Her bum is clean and her poo is normal. She does not smell.

    I isolated her for 3 weeks. The first week I had to re-open her eyes daily. Every day more 1/8 - 1/4" pats of soft white gunk were removed. It forms/comes from the front of the eye cavity, behind the beak, in that inner top-most corner of the socket up above her eye. After the first week her eyes stayed open. As long as she could see she had a good appetite. The second week I continued to remove eye gunk every few days. By the end of 3 weeks she was very active, eating very well, and had no more discharge/gunk.

    So I put her back in with the flock. 4 days later she's acting listless again. I checked her eyes and there's more white crud forming up in her eye socket. She's still getting around and eating, but she's also still thin as a rail.

    I have no idea what this is. There are no other symptoms, no other issues with her. She's an older pullet, not mature yet, so she's not started laying. I have about 60 birds; ducks, turkeys, chickens, and pigeons. I have zero health issues in any other bird, including the rooster she came with. The flock is fat, happy, and laying.

    Additional backstory; I just sold my house and am in-between land, staying on a friend's farm. She likewise has a few dozen chickens and turkeys. Her birds are all a picture of health, EXCEPT one chicken I call 'one-eyed Sally'- Sally has what looks like an advanced state of this going on. Her eye has been consumed by this white spongy fluff and it just sort of surfaces and falls out, like a gross geyser. The affected eye is grossly swollen. There is no smell, no blood, and Sally is otherwise healthy and fat- not laying though. I don't have the stomach to doctor her or inspect it, it's gnarly. Her keeper doesn't doctor chickens at all, so Sally is on her own.

    So, I want to rule out viral because only 2 out of 100+ birds have this. They've all been together for over 2 months now. If it were a matter of an incubation period Willow wouldn't have contracted it within a week or two. I want to rule out infection because there is no smell, no drainage, no inflammation, no blood, no sneezing, no wheezing, no coughing. One-Eyed Sally does have a lot of swelling but no other symptom.

    I am not a fan of busting out the meds 'just in case'. You may disagree with me, and that's okay, I'm not here to argue the point with you. What I'm here for is to try and figure out WHAT this is and how Willow came to be struggling with it. From there I will address further medical action. Please respect my disposition on this; I'm not going to try and convert you to my chicken-keeping beliefs, and I don't need you trying to likewise do the same.

    TIA for your thoughts on the mystery eye gunk!
     
  2. PeepersMama

    PeepersMama Living in a galaxy far, far away...

    She's probably so skinny because she can't see long enough to eat enough. Is she in solitary? If not I'd set her up in a dog crate. That way she will get a chance to rest without worrying about other flock members chasing her around and will have her own personal food and water stations. Put some probiotics in her water, and/or the whole flocks water. It will help all of them whether or not they are sick.
    I ahev no idea what could be wrong with her eye. It sounds weird. Can you post pics? I read that one person actually put neosprin straight in one of their birds' eyes, and she was totally healed in a few days, but the thought of putting neosprin right in her eye sounds a little weird if not bad. You could try it, but I'd do some more in-depth research before even considering doing it.
    And for one-eyed sally, tell her owner that if her eye is infected, then that infection has a straight path to her brain, and if she doesn't get treated she will probably die. I hope that neither girl gets to that point [​IMG]
    Hope this helps!
     
  3. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:She's eating well and her crop is filling daily. She's still frightfully thin though. I ferment my feed and right now am using my ridiculous surplus of water kefir to ferment, so it's pretty alive and bubbly with natural cultures and probiotics. I don't have her isolated at the moment because she's not facing competition for food or water, not getting picked on, and not immobile. At least with the flock she's warm at night :/ I might give her a liquid calorie drench; some sugar, milk, egg, and whatever else I rummage up. But I need to know what's actually wrong with her! It's so puzzling! As far as One-Eyed Sally is concerned; her owner will not doctor a chicken. I tried, I really did, but it's so gruesome I can't do it. :( I've dealt with a lot of nasty chicken injuries, but she is just stomach-turning.
     
  4. PeepersMama

    PeepersMama Living in a galaxy far, far away...

    Does sally actually have only one eye, or is that just your nickname for her? If she's really only got one eye then [​IMG] Poor girl [​IMG]
    Now that I think about it, she might have worms. A parasite of any kind can cause weight loss, and if she's molting, then that makes any chicken look really skinny. I would recommend rooster booster products to worm. They are (supposedly) all natural and don't have a withdrawal period, so you can keep eating the eggs. But that still doesn't explain her eye problem though [​IMG]
     
  5. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One-Eyed Sally, from what I could gather, doesn't have an eye left in that side of her head. Her other eye is fine. I have no idea if her condition is/was related to Willow's. Sally's eye was grossly infected, but did have these strange white chunks erupting out of it. I thought I'd mention her just in case it helped with a diagnosis. I thought it was a bit ironic that we had two chickens with eye issues on hand.

    Unfortunately Willow died today. This time the gunk forming behind her eyes had blood in it. I wonder if I was dealing with some kind of cancer or tumor growth issue. It was more akin to tissue than puss; just scentless white soft 'squares'. She never had a smell, cough, sneezing, or discharge. I have never seen anything like this. It was in both eyes. Almost like it was forming up in her skull or sinuses and dropping down into her sockets. Our 100+ collective birds of all ages are still strong and healthy; no other issues to be seen. The rooster I purchased her with is running strong as well. I'm sad for her, I really liked her. And I got them as a breeding pair, darn it :/ I'll figure something out...
     
  6. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Any ideas as to what the heck Willow was dealing with would be appreciated; again I'm not convinced it's anything contagious, and I suspect cancer/tumor, but it would settle my mind to know.
     
  7. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    Eye worms......Sounds about right to me....



    Cheers!
     
  8. PeepersMama

    PeepersMama Living in a galaxy far, far away...

    [​IMG] Oh no! I'm so sorry you lost her. If you haven't buried her already then I would take her to get a necropsy done. Your state vet lab can test her eyeball to see if it was cancer or something else, but unfortunatly sometimes they can't test until the bird is in heaven, which sucks. In colorado the state vet lab is at the college, but it varies by state. It does sound like it could have been cancer or something, but cancer is always so weird; there aren't any specific symptoms! [​IMG] Maybe if you had *gag* removed her eye she would have made it. The eye gives any infection a direct path to the brain, which is probably a cause of her death. I wish I could make earth perfect again and wipe out every disease there is! I need a superhero emoticon [​IMG]
     
  9. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Well the strange thing was it was both eyes. And equally so. And it wasn't the eye itself. It was these pats of white soft stuff forming in the upper corner of the eye socket, almost from behind the beak. They would collect in size until it put pressure on the underside of the frontal process, at which point she would keep her eyes closed and produce clear tears/drainage that initially crusted her eyelids shut. No puss, no swelling, no nothing. Just constant white cakey bits.
     

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