Possible abscess on pullet's neck

Gizabelle

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Dec 30, 2018
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So we've had a rough go of it lately with our critters. A few weeks ago we ended up putting down our first Brahma pullet (5mo) after a rapid 4 day deterioration showing classic signs of Mareks. Started with a limp, then paralysis in one leg, later in both. After euthanasia, I sent her off to my state lab for a necropsy and Mareks testing...still awaiting full results. That thread here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/bad-limp-suspected-hip-injury.1500468/
Last weekend while we were out of town for the day a neighbors dog got through our electric fence and nearly killed my 6mo old ND wether. I've been nursing him all week, and he's finally doing better. The morning after we found our goat mauled, I discovered Maude, my other Brahma pullet limping. She also had a little blood on her comb. I've been keeping a close eye on her all week, she is still eating, and keeping up with the other girls. The limp does not appear to have gotten worse. (I assumed she had hurt herself in the tumult around the dog attack)
Yesterday, while again examining the leg in question (and still finding no signs of trauma) I noticed a marble sized lump on her neck. With DHs help today we pulled some feathers to get a better look. I dont see a scab pointing to an abscess, but it would make sense if she hurt herself trying to get away from the dog a week ago. I could be mistaken since I didn't get a good look at the time, but it seems to have gotten larger since last night.
Should I lance and flush, or could this be Mareks related? Any opinions are most welcome. 20211128_115712.jpg 20211128_115650.jpg 20211128_115626.jpg
 
Last edited:

microchick

2 Dozen Chickens Past Normal!
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So we've had a rough go of it lately with our critters. A few weeks ago we ended up putting down our first Brahma pullet (5mo) after a rapid 4 day deterioration showing classic signs of Mareks. Started with a limp, then paralysis in one leg, later in both. After euthanasia, I sent her off to my state lab for a necropsy and Mareks testing...still awaiting full results.
Last weekend while we were out of town for the day a neighbors dog got through our electric fence and nearly killed my 6mo old ND wether. I've been nursing him all week, and he's finally doing better. The morning after we found our goat mauled, I discovered Maude, my other Brahma pullet limping. She also had a little blood on her comb. I've been keeping a close eye on her all week, she is still eating, and keeping up with the other girls. The limp does not appear to have gotten worse. (I assumed she had hurt herself in the tumult around the dog attack)
Yesterday, while examining the leg in question (and finding no signs of trauma) I noticed a marble sized lump on her neck. With DHs help today we pulled some feathers to get a better look. I dont see a scab pointing to an abscess, but it would make sense if she hurt herself trying to get away from the dog a week ago.
Should I lance and flush, or could this be Mareks related? Any opinions are most welcome. View attachment 2912063 View attachment 2912064 View attachment 2912065
The chicken gods are not being kind to you these days are they?

I am not an expert but to me this doesn't look like an abcess. There is no sign of a pus sack under the surface.

If you gently probe the area, how does she act? Does she act like it hurts or does she act indifferent? A tumor or cancer may not cause her pain or reaction. If the area feels mushy it could very well be a cyst or an abscess. If it feels firm and uneven then it could be a tumor. A cyst will be contained, usually round or oblong in shape and will not feel attached to the tissues under it. A tumor or cancer will be anchored and hard to move.

Hopefully @Wyorp Rock and @casportpony will be on line at some point and take a look at your pictures which are very well done BTW.
 

Gizabelle

Songster
Dec 30, 2018
359
1,327
247
North Florida
The chicken gods are not being kind to you these days are they?

I am not an expert but to me this doesn't look like an abcess. There is no sign of a pus sack under the surface.

If you gently probe the area, how does she act? Does she act like it hurts or does she act indifferent? A tumor or cancer may not cause her pain or reaction. If the area feels mushy it could very well be a cyst or an abscess. If it feels firm and uneven then it could be a tumor. A cyst will be contained, usually round or oblong in shape and will not feel attached to the tissues under it. A tumor or cancer will be anchored and hard to move.

Hopefully @Wyorp Rock and @casportpony will be on line at some point and take a look at your pictures which are very well done BTW.
Thank you so much for the quick response. When we were feeling around she didn't seem to mind much until we started pulling feathers. My impression at the time was that it was not mushy, and somewhat uneven.
We will go back out later and re-examine. I'll try to remove a few more feathers (the last one I pulled bled, so I got spooked and stopped.)
After much discussion related to the possibility of Mareks in the flock, we've decided to wait for test results before making a final decision, but will cull any that may go down before then. Thats a tough one for me. I've always tried to fight for all of my birds, and this situation has me very torn. I'll gladly treat if this is a result of mishap rather than infectious disease.
 

microchick

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I had a beautiful Buff Orpington rooster, my last one, develop tumors in his neck. I didn't see them because of his thick hackle fathers and huge waddles. I had noticed he was losing weight and knew what was causing that. He wasn't two years old yet and my roos seldom lived past 18 months when MD was at it's worse in my flock.

One day I tossed some scratch grain in a bowl out in the run for him and instead of pecking at it like chickens do, he turned his head to the side and tried to scoop up grain. He then struggled to swallow it. I had one of those 'oh crap' revelations and immediately went in and checked him. He was so sweet and gentle. When I checked his throat and got up about 2-3 inches from his jaw line I felt the first tumor, then there was a second under his waddles. Both were huge, hard, irregular feeling and rooted to deep tissues. When I opened his beak wide I could see that one of the tumors had partially occluded his throat and was encroaching on tissues under his tongue. It was one of those moments where I set, held him in my lap and told him what a good boy he was, how much he was loved and thanked him for taking good care of the girls for me, crying all the while. Then I ended his suffering.

I really hate Marek's disease. It just makes you feel so d***** helpless.
 

Wyorp Rock

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Let's tag in @Eggcessive and @azygous as well.

Seems like there's been quite a few birds with lumps lately.
I always like to lean toward feather cyst so let us know what you find out when you re-examine.
It could be cutaneous form of Marek's or cancer too. It's so hard to know really.
Hopefully one of the others may have better suggestions.

I'm sorry that you are having a rough time. I hope your goat recovers too. How awful to have so much coming at you at one time:hugs
 

Wyorp Rock

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I had a beautiful Buff Orpington rooster, my last one, develop tumors in his neck. I didn't see them because of his thick hackle fathers and huge waddles. I had noticed he was losing weight and knew what was causing that. He wasn't two years old yet and my roos seldom lived past 18 months when MD was at it's worse in my flock.

One day I tossed some scratch grain in a bowl out in the run for him and instead of pecking at it like chickens do, he turned his head to the side and tried to scoop up grain. He then struggled to swallow it. I had one of those 'oh crap' revelations and immediately went in and checked him. He was so sweet and gentle. When I checked his throat and got up about 2-3 inches from his jaw line I felt the first tumor, then there was a second under his waddles. Both were huge, hard, irregular feeling and rooted to deep tissues. When I opened his beak wide I could see that one of the tumors had partially occluded his throat and was encroaching on tissues under his tongue. It was one of those moments where I set, held him in my lap and told him what a good boy he was, how much he was loved and thanked him for taking good care of the girls for me, crying all the while. Then I ended his suffering.

I really hate Marek's disease. It just makes you feel so d***** helpless.
:hugs:hugs:hugs:hugsI have no words Hon, so so sorry.
 

microchick

2 Dozen Chickens Past Normal!
Premium Feather Member
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Dec 31, 2014
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NE Missouri
Thank you Wyorp.

A thought. @Gizabelle mentioned that there was bleeding when she pulled out feathers. Would hackle feathers normally bleed when being pulled? I've never noticed any of my birds bleeding when they loose a few hackle feathers.

I remember a vet telling me that malignancies usually are highly vascular and bleed copiously. Would a 'tumor' or feather cyst under the skin necessarily bleed when feathers were pulled from it?
 

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