Please help. She's not moving or eating.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by bawkbawkbawk, Sep 25, 2010.

  1. I've posted a few times recently about problems with my three hens. We were finding blood-tinged fluid in the coop for several weeks which seemed to be coming from my Buff Orpington and then also from my Light Brahma. Several trips to the vet; antibiotics and anti-inflammatories were prescribed, then a course of medication for a possible diagnosis of cecal worms.

    The Buff Orpington seems fine now. But my Light Brahma is not. Earlier in the week we noticed she was moving more slowly and sitting down a lot. (She's only one year old so this is not an old-age issue)

    We took her back to the vet, who did not think anything systemic was wrong. She did an x-ray and found degeneration to the left hip and decided that an acute injury may have occurred to aggravate this. She prescribed rest and anti-inflammatories. By yesterday, my hen was not moving at all, although she seemed alert. I examined her feet and found a few little black bumps and wondered if it might be bumblefoot causing pain for walking so I took her back to the vet. The vet said she has seen birds with much more advanced bumblefoot problems that are still ambulatory but she did wrap her feet and doubled the anti-inflammatory dosage.

    This morning my hen has not moved at all and is not even interested in treats. She does seem alert, but if she's not moving and not eating I am trying to prepare myself for the worst.

    Does anyone have any idea what might be wrong with her?????
  2. chkn

    chkn Songster

    Jun 27, 2010
    I don't know what to think. Do you have any little bits of grapes or tomatos to interest her? At least they would help keep her hydrated.
  3. OregonChickenGal

    OregonChickenGal Songster

    Jul 26, 2010
    Central Oregon
    I would try some yogurt and some scrambled egg. Cottage cheese is good also. Hope this helps and hope she gets better.
  4. Harrietsmum

    Harrietsmum Songster

    Aug 17, 2009
    Hamilton, New Zealand
    Have you treated for coccidiosis? I am treating an 18 month old at present. I had not realized that an older bird could be struck down by this. My vet was looking for worms when she spotted this. Hannah came right very quickly after treatment with Baycox (.5ml per 500gm body weight, once a week for three weeks)
  5. She's been to the vet three times in four weeks. Wouldn't the vet have tested for coccidiosis?
  6. Jenski

    Jenski Songster

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    I would think that if the vet diagnosed cecal worms, he/she would have done a quick fecal check on the microscope there in the office. A vet's scope is powerful enough to pick up cocci, which are much, much smaller than worm eggs. Can't hurt to just ask, though, the next time you talk to the vet.

    It does sound like your hen has something seriously wrong, and for that I am very sorry. I really don't have anything to add that has not been suggested. Just keep her as comfortable as possible. . . and sending [​IMG] your way.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2010
  7. Jenski

    Jenski Songster

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    BTW, staph infections (and e.coli infections) can migrate to the joints and cause problems. If you are seeing foot bumps that could possibly be points of entry for infection this could be a clue.

    Here is a link to the Merck Vet Manual that mentions this - -
    Transmission, Epidemiology, and Pathogenesis:
    S aureus and other Staphylococcus species are part of the normal flora on the skin and mucous membranes and are not thought to produce disease unless there is some breakdown in an environmental or immune system barrier. Most infections occur because of a wound, damage to the mucous membranes, or both. Infection can also occur in the hatchery as a result of contamination of an open navel. Birds that are immunosuppressed are also subject to staphylococcal infections. Staphylococcal septicemia is usually seen in laying chickens only in very hot weather. Once in the host, S aureus usually travels to the metaphyseal area of a nearby joint and causes osteomyelitis with subsequent spread to the joint. S aureus can produce disease locally at the site of entry, but the tendency to spread to the bones and joints is probably the most important feature of this disease.
    Back to top
    Clinical Findings:
    Infection most often manifests as a synovitis, with lameness being the most common clinical presentation. The bones and associated joints most frequently affected are the proximal tibiotarsus and proximal femur; the proximal tarsometatarsus, distal femur, and tibiotarsus are also involved when infection is extensive. Other common lesions include navel and yolk sac infections. Lesions that have been reported include green liver in turkeys, and liver spots and granulomas. In acute infections, mortality may be the only clinical observation.

    If your vet is using an antibiotic that works on staph, hopefully this possibility would be covered. Sounds like she is already on this. The only thing I cannot resolve to this is the fact that your other hen was feeling poorly too. Perhaps there was also an issue with cecal worms, and this one hen also had the injury/infection.
  8. Thank you for this information. If she lasts until Monday, I will ask the vet.

    She's still alive, still not moving or eating. I've hydrated her a few times with a syringe.

    What doesn't quite track for me is that she actually seems pretty alert - her eyes are clear, she tracks my movements when I come into the coop. Somehow I wouldn't expect her to be that aware if she's dying of an infection.
  9. Jenski

    Jenski Songster

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    Good point re. her alertness. Are you able to tell at all if her hip is giving her pain? Could be it is bothering her enough to keep her down, but not so much that she can't pay attention to what is going on around her. ??? Just reaching here, but is it possible the vet's office aggravated her hip by x-raying it? Not saying vet is at fault, but I have had critters come out of x-ray a bit sore from struggling around on the table. . . . as I said, just reaching. I don't have much else for you, unfortunately.

    How is she today?
  10. Thank you for asking. She died this morning. And since it's a weekend I can't take her in to have a necropsy done. I am very discouraged about my chicken- keeping abilities, although my other two hens are fine.

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