Possible ILT, what do I do?

ChickenLover741

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Jul 19, 2015
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I have a flock of 12 assorted birds at the moment and when I checked on them this morning, many were coughing and sneezing (at least 5 or 6) and two of them had crackly breathing at times. I separated the two who seemed the worst off and put them in my garage, but that's when Gouda coughed up a string of bloody mucus. She is the only one I have observed coughing blood, as it is primarily sneezing in the other birds. She is also in a molt, so she looks downright pitiful. She and the other one I've quarantined are slightly lethargic but not alarmingly so. I have given them and the rest of the flock electrolytes in their water, as it is all I have. Is this definitely ILT, and if so, do I have to cull? It would break my heart, and I would love to avoid doing that, but I read that once they have the disease, even if they all survive it will be contagious to new birds. We are not planning to get new chicks until a considerable amount of the original flock dies (we like to maintain 12). I am worried that if all the hens have it for life that it will put new birds at risk, and I don't think my parents will vaccinate any new chicks once I leave for college. I'm kind of at a loss here. All I have is electrolyte solution and some sulfide suspension from when one of the hens had a hematoma drained. It says it expired about 20 days ago and I'm pretty sure it wouldn't help anyway as ILT is a virus. What should I do??
 

Pyxis

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Bloody mucus is a bad sign and does possibly point to ILT over other possibilities. ILT is extremely contagious and a lot of states consider it a reportable disease, meaning if your birds have it, then you need to report it and they will have to come out and cull your flock. That's how nasty and serious it is. It is true that they never are cured of the disease, and worse, even if they live, they become silent carriers of the disease, passing it to all new birds they come into contact with - this is likely how your birds would have contracted it; have you recently added any new birds?

However, there is a chance that it is something else. There are other respiratory diseases. Mostly all of them unfortunately can never be cured, same as ILT, but some aren't considered as serious, so if it was one of those, you could, instead of culling, simply close your flock, allowing no birds in and no birds, chicks, hatching eggs, etc, out, and just keep them until they die of old age.

I would recommend testing to see what it is they have, if you can afford it. Testing can be done through Zoologix lab. You will want to get their Poultry Respiratory Panel, which tests for all the big diseases. The cost last I checked was $98. Once the test comes back and you know what you are dealing with, you can make a decision.

If you cannot afford the testing, my recommendation would be to cull the whole flock, wait a couple months, and start over.
 
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Eggcessive

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Sorry about your illness. What state are you in? Have you added any new birds to your flock recently? Have you attended any fairs with your chickens? Chickens can show symptoms of ILT from 6-12 days after being exposed from a carrier. How old are the birds? Bloody mucus coughed up and slung around on the walls of the coop can be a sign of ILT. There is a mild strain and a severe strain. Are you seeing any bubbles in an eye, nasal drainage, or swelling around an eye or the face? If it is ILT, it is a virus, and antibiotics will not cure it. You may want to cull any very sick birds, and open the windpipe (trachea) to look for any signs of blood or yellow gunk. Here is some reading about ILT:
https://www.extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_docs/programs/poultry/ILT Know the Symptoms....pdf

http://www.poultrydvm.com/condition/infectious-laryngotracheitis
 

ChickenLover741

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Jul 19, 2015
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Sorry about your illness. What state are you in? Have you added any new birds to your flock recently? Have you attended any fairs with your chickens? Chickens can show symptoms of ILT from 6-12 days after being exposed from a carrier. How old are the birds? Bloody mucus coughed up and slung around on the walls of the coop can be a sign of ILT. There is a mild strain and a severe strain. Are you seeing any bubbles in an eye, nasal drainage, or swelling around an eye or the face? If it is ILT, it is a virus, and antibiotics will not cure it. You may want to cull any very sick birds, and open the windpipe (trachea) to look for any signs of blood or yellow gunk. Here is some reading about ILT:
https://www.extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_docs/programs/poultry/ILT Know the Symptoms....pdf

http://www.poultrydvm.com/condition/infectious-laryngotracheitis
I live in a very small and rural town in Maine. Their eyes don't look bubbly and I haven't noticed any facial swelling, but there seems to be a bit of nasal drainage. There is no blood on the walls as only one seems to be coughing it up. My chickens are about 7-8 months old, but I don't know how old the two brahmas are. I looked it up and ILT is under monthly reporting. Chances are I will close the flock and just let them live out their days. I work at a vet's office and will ask about sending (assuming one dies) a body to UMO for testing. As for how they contracted it, I did purchase three birds (two brahmas and a cochin) a couple months ago, but I thought the signs would have been there sooner had it been from them. There are plenty of wild turkies and other birds around my house, so perhaps that is how they became exposed? We free range then when the weather is warm. As I am basically in the middle of nowhere, I don't think there will be risk of infecting other people's poultry, so I'll just play it by ear and see how many survive :( I will definitely not add any more birds until this group is long gone and the coop has been sanitized.
 

Eggcessive

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Since you work at a vet’s office, maybe the vet could help you get testing on 1 or 2 sick birds, where it won’t become a big deal with your state vet. ILT, MG, coryza, and ORT can make chickens carriers for life. So, it may not matter about getting tested, but if it were infectious bronchitis virus, that will only make the survivors carriers for 5 months to a year. It sounds like you have a good plan moving forward.
 

ChickenLover741

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Jul 19, 2015
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Since you work at a vet’s office, maybe the vet could help you get testing on 1 or 2 sick birds, where it won’t become a big deal with your state vet. ILT, MG, coryza, and ORT can make chickens carriers for life. So, it may not matter about getting tested, but if it were infectious bronchitis virus, that will only make the survivors carriers for 5 months to a year. It sounds like you have a good plan moving forward.
Gouda has deteriorated further and there is now the telltale blood splatters around the cage. She is obviously struggling to breath but still is moving around. I decided not to cull her tonight (probably a poor decision on my part but there's a part of me that desperately wanta to see her live through the night) The other bird I quarantined is better off, just acting a little lethargic and sneezing once in awhile. Thank you for the advice and if (when) she dies I will have her tested. Updates will follow.
 

ChickenLover741

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Jul 19, 2015
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Update: an EE hen that seemed relatively okay yesterday and this morning died today, found her on her back with a little blood on her beak (RIP Gorgonzola :()

The one that is coughing up blood (Gouda) is still alive as is the other one in isolation. Poor Cheddar is speckled with the blood from Gouda (bad time to be a white chicken)

5-6 hens are sneezing with the occasional cough and two have audible breathing (very phlegmy sounding)

Talking to coworkers about sending poor Gorgonzola to get necropsied/tested for ILT.

More updates to come.
 

Eggcessive

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Check into sending more than 1 body for necropsy. Some state vets will do 2-3 for the same price, and some would rather have more than one specimen. So sorry that you are dealing with this disease. I would be sure to change shoes from your coop to your house, since many diseases are spread on shoes, such as visiting farm stores.
 
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