Pulmonary Problems? Old age?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by tiffanyh, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2007
    Connecticut
    Have any of you ever lost a bird to old fashion old age??? I mean, I know animals dont technically die of old age, but complications of old age. I am a CVT and have dealt with many an "old age" death in mammals, but not my chickens--yet.

    Here is my prob: I have a RIR that I got from auction 4 years ago. she was a slow layer every since I have had her so I assume she wasnt a pullet at auction, or even a year old. I am guessing prob 3 years old as I assume most farmers may bring their birds to auction when they slow down on egg production.

    Anyway, starting about a year ago, I noticed she was slowing down. I actually put a heat lamp out there for her for a week because she was puffed up and quiet, with her head down. She perked up, but here and there goes back to the these symptoms. Her only one or two instances of spunk in her have been when she attacks a younger chicken (she was always my bully). During these episodes, she eats well and drinks, but is slow, lethargic and her comb is stlightly purple on the tips. And she has bouts of diarrhea.

    She is going through it again, so I pulled her out yesterday and let her hang in the yard with me. Her crop is large and soft and her BELLY is very soft also. No one else in the year since she has acted this way has anyone else had similar symptoms.

    I am starting to think she is having old age symptoms, maybe heart? Her feet are a bit cool as well as her combs. That with the soft belly I was thinking maybe heart? I didnt want her to suffer slowly and feel horrible constantly so I am considering put her down (at the vets- I prefer that method since I have access to it). But wanted to see what those of you with any exxperience in this area have to say.

    Thanks for any input!
     
  2. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2007
    Connecticut
    ANd her comb goes back and forth between red and purple tips. Last night was cold she had a very purple tips this morning.

    And ideas anyone??
     
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Could be pulmonary, Tiff, but I just lost three hens to internal laying this year. All your same symptoms. Their abdomens were soft-feeling, comb went to purplish at times, especially on one of the girls. They all moved slowly and lost lots of weight, even though they continued to eat and drink well. All two and a half years old. Hatchery birds. We did necropsies and found lots of congealed egg material in the oviduct, like sausage in a casing.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2008
  4. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2007
    Connecticut
    I was hoping you would chime in Cynthia. So, if it is internal laying (which wouldnt suprise me, it feels funny down there) there is nothing you can do, right? She feels even more "fluidy" today. Even her chest and crop feel fluidy....
     
  5. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2007
    Connecticut
    She is now dripping congegealed type blood from her vet and her stomach is crunchy and fluidy. Could be a broken egg, but she hasnt laid an egg in years...but still could be I guess. But with that and all the fluid on her chest and knowing she is a bit older, I am thinking it is time to put her down..... [​IMG]
     
  6. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

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    Sep 25, 2007
    Michigan
    Awe, I'm so sorry to hear this. I wish you strength as you make your decisions for her...:aww
     
  7. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Sorry, Tiffany, I just saw this. Yes, if it's internal laying, there is nothing to be done for it except expensive surgery that she may not survive. It's a hormonal thing with no cure. To me, it sounds like you already know what you need to do. (((hugs)))
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2008
  8. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    Off color comb and cold feet- suggest poor circulation. Could be due to any number of problems- both infectious, metabolic (ie failing kidneys or other organ system), tumors, yolk peritonitis aka internal laying, heavy parasite load & anemia. With her advanced age (roosters can live past 10yr, but laying hens tend to get problems much earlier- egg laying is hard on the body!), it makes metabolic, yolk peritonitis or tumors more likely- but chronic infection or parasite load is also possible. The longer the bird is around, the heavier the parasite load becomes (unless you are deworming periodically). Most old hens I know that slowed down and got big bellies had tumors or yolk peritonitis. Reproductive tumors are relatively common in older hens. From your description, it certainly does not sound like she has something easily fixable, and it sounds like she must be uncomfortable. Sorry, no tips to help, Jess
     
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Jess is so right. Laying an egg almost every day of their lives really takes its toll. And I have a theory that breeding natural broodiness out of our chickens that has been done over the last years is contributing to reproductive cancers, etc. If you really think about it, when a hen sets, she takes a three week break plus about another month off to raise chicks, then she'll take the regular break when molting, if she's pretty normal. I've had molters continue to lay, lay, lay so they were bald for months on end. So, it could be several things, but it does sound exactly like what happened to my poor departed ladies, comb turning purplish and all.
     
  10. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2007
    Connecticut
    I put her down tonight. I totally agree with you guys about the toll egg laying takes on her body. I am assuming that was it, maybe even a combination of a few things, as I said it has been a slow onset. I have no other symptoms with anyone....so I am hoping no infectious but I will watch everyone and no one will be coming in or out for a while. I am pretty sure no worms as I worm periodically with different wormers throughout the year, including ivomec. I used to teach zoonosis to vet assistant students so once I had kids I got overly cautious since then! If everyone only knew..no one would ever leave their house!!! [​IMG]

    So, my first hen is gone. I am quite sad. Although, since I am/was an tech there for years I get her ashes back for free. I normally wouldn't with my chickens but since she was my first, I felt a bit sentimental about her.

    Thanks for your input everyone. I am glad I was able to do it before she suffered to much--I was foreseeing if I waited any longer, it would have been downhill quick.
     

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