Protozoal infections have claimed 11 ducks so far, any advice?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ambj73, Nov 17, 2014.

  1. ambj73

    ambj73 Hatching

    Nov 17, 2014
    I am new the forum, but have been reading for some time. I haven't found a lot that might apply to our specific situation, though it is possible I have missed something, so I apologize if that is the case.

    In June, we got a Momma Muscovy duck and 13 ducklings, at about 2-3 days old. (We also had 2 bantam roosters and shortly after got 12 hens.) All went well until mid August, when we woke up to one dead duckling (though by this time they were nearly the size of Momma) outside the coop (the night prior we had shut their pen, but not the coop door, this duck was at the bottom of the ramp leading in to the pen). We thought it was a one-off...until a couple weeks later when the ducklings began dropping fast and furious. We ended up losing 10 in total (at that time). My husband opened 4 carcasses to see if we could figure anything out, but we really couldn't. We ended up saving the last 4 carcasses and taking them into the University of MN veterinary diagnostic lab for necropsies. What we ended up finding out was that they died of pneumonia, as a secondary infection from protozoal infection. We never got definitive word on the exact protozoa.

    We were left with Momma duck and 3 of her babies, we believe to be hens. We lost all of the young drakes and only a few of the young hens. The vet we worked with said younger ducks would be more susceptible and older ducks with established immune systems might fair better. We have pond/wetland around our property and the ducks had spent time out there prior to the losses, so we assume it might have been something they encountered out there.

    After the losses, Momma and the 3 babies remained in the yard, we never saw them return to the wetland areas, though we realize they are likely carriers...or that is our thought?

    A little over a month ago, in early October, we decided to bring in a lone Muscovy drake, adult, from a person on craigslist. He didn't have any muscovy to be with where he was and we hoped being a healthy adult, that maybe he would be fine and be able to fight off any potential illness. (Yes, I have read about the recommended quarantine and I am sorry we did not do it, nor did we have a correct set up for accomplishing it really; something to look at in the future for sure.) We brought him in with a full size rooster (oddly enough, they came from the same property as the two bantam roosters we had gotten at the beginning of the summer), all seemed to be be going great. He was a great guy, very chill, the girls loved him and he was friendly with our family. He seemed very active and a great appetite as well. Until yesterday morning, that is. I went out the coop and found him listless, didn't want breakfast and wouldn't drink. We brought him inside, in case the cold had something to do with it (though we doubted, we just couldn't leave him out there regardless) and he died by yesterday afternoon. =( We can only assume he died from what took our previous ducks, and if the girls are carriers and that is where he got it (as he never left our yard to go ingo the wetland spaces), then a quarantine might have only delayed the inevitable. I guess we were hoping an adult who was healthy would have an immune system strong enough to carry him through.

    So I guess my question is, does anyone have experience with this sort of situation? Will we just not ever be able to bring in other ducks unless/until these remaining 4 are no longer alive? And even then, might our yard be infested potentially from their waste? We really enjoy ducks, and I was hoping for a slightly larger duck flock. All of our roosters and chickens are doing great, no problems with them at all, so for that I am thankful. Just sad about our ducks, and sad that they suffered and we lost them. Truly helpless seeing them slowly dying and not really having anything we could do about it. =(
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    There are medicines for protozoal infections. Coccidiosis is the first that comes to mind. Amprolium is one of the medicines used to treat it.

    I would get a vet's advice, but here is a quick bit that may be helpful to you.

    I would avoid bringing in ducks till you have this sorted. I also would not assume that he died of anything he picked up from your ducks. I would not assume he did not. He could have picked up something from the environment.

    Have there been other animals raised in the area?

    It is possible wild birds are carrying something, also. I would keep them away from water bodies and puddles for now - give them a kiddie pool, and keep it refreshed daily - make sure the area is well drained.

    Some have written here that vinegar and salt work well to kill microbes.

    Please keep us updated.

    Oh, and if you post over on the Duck Forum, you may get more replies.

  3. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General

    Sure wouldn't hurt to treat them with Corid. Here is a Corid dose picture:


    Edited to add: Call the lab back and try to get them to tell you what the protozoa was, that makes a huge difference in how to treat.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2014
  4. ambj73

    ambj73 Hatching

    Nov 17, 2014
    Thank YOU so much for the replies, Amiga and Casportpony!!! I think I will call the lab back and see if they were able to figure it out, though the last I heard from vet he didn't seem to think finding the exact protozoa was a sure bet. =/

    I am bummed too, because when the weather was nicer and we still had the outside hose hooked up, I was routinely putting the ACV in their water, but I had stopped and just last week we got a big first-of-the-season snow storm and plummeting temps up here and the birds have literally been cooped up. ;) So no water sources or pools to worry about for now, and their general access to fresh water has definitely decreased with the change, as when we used the hose and had them outside I often had two 5 gallon water buckets out (with holes cut at an appropriate spot for everyone to get their heads in) and the ducks had a little pan big enough for bathing and splashing about as well. We are trying to take them fresh as often as possible, but there are limitations of course.

    As far as other animals, do you mean just domestic or??? We have dogs, including foster dogs who come through. We have an indoor/outdoor huntress beast of a cat, we have these ducks and the hens and roosters (all new to our family this summer). Our yard probably does get some wild action, but I think with our animals around, it is not that much, though we live in the country and there are critters all around no doubt.

    I will try the duck forum, I didn't even realize...oops!!!
  5. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General

    They should be able to determine if it's coccidia, giarda, trichomonas, histomonas, hexamita, etc...

  6. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General

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