recent losses after lethargy and weight loss

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by amym72, Jan 24, 2015.

  1. amym72

    amym72 Hatching

    Jan 24, 2015

    I'm a new member and was looking for some advice. Ive lost two chickens recently aged 3.5years, one today and the other 8 weeks ago. Both were taken to the vet with no answers. I'm thinking about taking the one who just passed to a pathologist to get an autopsy but have to wait till they reopen on tuesday. Till then I'm worried about my other girls and what I can do to prevent future issues.

    My first chicken, Jake, who passed away 8 weeks ago was showing signs of lethargy for several days. Initially she was eating and drinking as usual and her poos looked normal to me so I dont think I acted as quickly as I should. On the day she passed away she was very tired and kept closing her eyes and wasnt interested in food, I took her to an emergency vet who commenced her on fluids and monitoring but she only survived a few hours. She was very thin by that stage. I had wormed her about a year prior to that.

    When Jake passed I wormed my other chickens. In the past two weeks Bo started showing some signs of lethargy as well. She was eating, drinking and pooing as normal but as I lost Jake so quickly I took her to the vet straight away. The vet felt her abdomen was very swollen (I didnt notice this as I wasnt checking in the right spot) and suggested it was a tumour or some type of abdominal swelling. He tried to drain fluid incase it was egg yolk perionitis but nothing came out. He started her on twice daily antibiotics just incase it was swelling but indicated that because she was showing signs of illness there was nothing else I could do. The antibiotics didnt appear to change anything. Bo got worse over the next week although still alert n eating most of the time. Her abdomen didnt seem to increase or decrease but she was losing weight. I took her to another vet who said the same things and gave me some antiinflammatories for pallative care. She was showing signs of respiratory distress this morning with audible crackling and increased work of breathing. She brought up some white bubbly mucous and seemed distressed while trying to bring it up. I took her to an emergency vet straight away but before they could see her she went pale and had some sort of seizure then passed away.

    Both very beloved chickens and I am so sad to see them go. I am worried dearly about the other 3 who so far seem alert and healthy. I'll be keeping a close check on them from now on but other than following up with an autopsy, twice yearly worming and observation is there any suggestions you can offer to what might have caused the two to pass or what can be done to prevent future similar issues?

    I've been reading through some old posts and its been great to see so many experienced people with advice, especially on tube feeding and subcut fluid injections for chickens which I hadnt heard of before in backyard management.

    Thank you
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    It's a smart move to go for a necropsy rather than guess. A word of warning, the fresher the carcass and the better prepared, the more conclusive the findings.

    I would be concerned for the others too. Perhaps pulling out and renewing all the bedding would be a way to start.
    If another begins to show the same symptoms, the best thing would be to send it to the poultry lab for humane euthanasia and necropsy. A freshly killed bird is the best bet for getting to the root of the problem.
    I had a hen go downhill fast last summer and I took her to the Mizzou vet school (6 hours round trip). It turned out she had cancer.

    When there's a problem, I always ask about feed and ventilation. Please be specific about both.

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