Pullet with swollen abdomen and slight wheeze

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by moderndreamr, Mar 14, 2018.

  1. moderndreamr

    moderndreamr In the Brooder

    19
    6
    27
    Jun 10, 2016
    Hi everyone! I've been doing a lot of research both in the forums here and elsewhere, and I am really not sure what to make of my pullet's symptoms. She's a 6 month old Easter Egger, started laying 6 weeks ago (give or take...I'm still working to see who lays which eggs...), and other than a pretty swollen abdomen and a very slight wheeziness, doesn't seem to have a thing wrong with her. She is eating, drinking, pooping, laying, and acting normally, comb is a nice color with no purple or blue tips. I brought her inside Monday evening and have been monitoring her food and water intake, giving her vitamins and Nutri-drench, and she got a nice long epsom salt bath tonight to try and help her relax. I also put a couple drops of VetRx on the surface of her water to help her breathing.

    I was originally thinking egg yolk peritonitis, but she hasn't laid any soft-shelled eggs that I know of (eggs are collected daily and I haven't seen any soft-shelled, shell-less, or even misshapen eggs), so I think I can rule that out. Her abdomen feels like she's got a small water balloon stuck in it, but I can still feel the muscles move on the sides of her belly and there's no feather loss, noticeably extra heat, or stretched out skin. There also aren't any hard masses or anything solid that I can feel. Her wheezing is almost imperceptible, but definitely present. I'm keeping close tabs on her.

    None of the other birds are showing any signs of illness or bloating, so I guess it could be ascites or sterile peritonitis? Does anyone have any better (or more clear) idea of what it could be and what I need to do to at least keep her comfortable? I understand both ascites and peritonitis are almost always fatal :(
     
  2. Laodicia

    Laodicia Free Ranging

    350
    6,954
    501
    Jan 30, 2016
    Canada
    this sounds the same as the hen my sister had,

    here's a 15 sec clip of her breathing


    she, we ended up putting her down that day.

    She was full of a clear liquid her reproductive organs were rubbery and swollen and white. there were some lash eggs inside of her. she was about 6 years old and up to 2 weeks before that video clip she was laying eggs 6/7 days a week.
     
  3. Fancychooklady

    Fancychooklady Crowing

    10,221
    2,298
    411
    Jun 14, 2012
    Tasmania. Australia
    Wyorp Rock and Laodicia like this.
  4. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

    21,938
    23,955
    1,052
    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    What type of food/treats do you feed?
    Is her crop emptying overnight?
    Do you have any photos of the swelling?
    What does her poop look like?

    I agree with @Fancychooklady you may not see soft shell eggs with reproductive problems.

    The swelling - is it tight like it has fluid or does it feel like is has air in it (if you lightly thump it, does it sound hollow)?
     
    Fancychooklady and Laodicia like this.
  5. moderndreamr

    moderndreamr In the Brooder

    19
    6
    27
    Jun 10, 2016
    Thank you all for your swift replies! I just got home from work, so just got a chance to check on her. Her poops are normal - bigger in the morning and smaller throughout the day, and are brown with urate caps. She is still eating and drinking just fine, her crop is emptying overnight, and she has laid eggs every day I've had her inside. Since she came inside, she has not gotten anything other than plain crumbles and water with Nutri-Drench and VetRx.

    I feed Purina Layena crumbles, and treats are very limited - occasional scratch with dried mealworms mixed in, fruits (generally grapes, melons, or berries), and veggies (usually cucumbers, leafy greens, bell peppers, or cabbage). I've tried feeding them yogurt but they won't even try it, and they don't get any citrus, avocado, candy, or other "no no foods" at all. I occasionally put ACV in their water - 1tbsp/gal - because we've had some crazy weather here over the past couple months.

    Her belly feels like it has fluid in it, and the skin is stretched like a balloon, but she isn't anywhere close to the massive swelling like I've seen pictures of. The swollen area of her belly fills my hand. I tried tapping on it and didn't hear any thump or hollowness. I don't have any photos of the swelling, but I will try to take some in a bit after she settles in for the evening. She's so fluffy it's difficult to see clearly and I may need some help with the pictures...
     
    Wyorp Rock likes this.
  6. micstrachan

    micstrachan Free Ranging

    If she is laying eggs daily, I don’t think she has egg yolk peritonitis. She could have ascites for a different reason, and there are lots of possibilities. Is a visit to an avian vet to drain and analyze the fluid an option?
     
    Wyorp Rock likes this.
  7. Ameracaunas -Ontario

    Ameracaunas -Ontario In the Brooder

    16
    8
    18
    Mar 10, 2018
    Have you considered a blocked crop. My bantam chicken had a swollen chest that felt like a water balloon. I started her on Electrolytes with Penicillin and vitamins in it. No food. The other day she was having difficulty breathing, but seems to breathe better now. I massage her crop 4 times a day. I felt heat on her skin so figure she had an infection too. She seems to be getting better now. I will start introducing food back slowly.
     
  8. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

    21,938
    23,955
    1,052
    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    Can you take her to a vet?

    A fluid filled belly is Ascites - the fluid is a symptom of something else going on. It could be from laying internally, organ failure, etc. Some people do have success in draining the fluid to alleviate respiratory distress and make the hen more comfortable. This is usually short term fix and sometimes a hen needs to be re-drained repeatedly. Having a vet do the first draining and teaching you is best, but there are a lot of videos on youtube you could watch. The main thing would be to drain a small amount and let the rest drip out slowly overnight, since large quantities can send them into organ failure (usually cardiac arrest). If you drain her, antibiotics can help with infection since there is a risk of introducing more bacteria into the belly with your needle.

    See Post#4 : https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/ascities.1185454/#post-18714504
     
  9. moderndreamr

    moderndreamr In the Brooder

    19
    6
    27
    Jun 10, 2016
    Thank you again for all of the great information and suggestions. I've checked her crop and it seems to be functioning normally. I don't have an avian vet here, but the local emergency vet will see my babies. I think I'm going to have to take her in because now some of my other birds have slightly squishy bellies. If they are able to figure out what's going on with this sweet bird maybe I can treat the whole flock before something catastrophic happens.
     
    Wyorp Rock likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: