Recurrent respiratory issue - gurgly breathing ONLY

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Furryfeathers, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. Furryfeathers

    Furryfeathers New Egg

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    Feb 6, 2013
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    Hi all -

    I'm looking for your experience with chickens with recurrent breathing problems. This is basically a question of to cull or not to cull.

    We have a - likely older than 3 years - RIR, who came to us with her 2 longtime flockmates in September. She was well and possibly even laying a egg now and then. In early November we added 3 young Leghorns, all about 7 months old and they began laying within 6-8 weeks. They've all been healthy, but at that time we didn't know about quarentining and we merged to two groups within a few days. The leghorns have never shown any signs of illness.

    About a month after the leghorns arrived, the RIR developed a snore and gurgling breath sounds. The morning after we first heard this, she was kind of isolating herself in the yard and even laboring to breath so we brought her in our house and quarantined her, with extra warmth. She slowly improved each day, though a week later was still rattly. At no time did she have swollen nostrils, discharge from eyes or nostrils, or change in appetite, droppings, or curiosity - aside from the breathing, she was still as perky as ever. After that first week, we were getting a little tired of the clean up job, and a little worried that this was now a forever condition - possibly a tumor, though she had no obvious masses. A local vet did a fecal smear and saw no suspicious organisms, but gave her panacur and doxycycline just to cover all the bases. He did this by phone consult and no physical exam (our choice to save $). During the course of treatment she got entirely well - but it wasn't clear that it was the meds that did the trick. Coincidentally, we came into a warm spell though we live in an area with true winters (a cold snap has nights around 0 F.) I kind of hardened her off again by having her in a little pen near the big chicken yard for a few days and then she rejoined her flock. So that was around December 20 that she went back out.

    Now here we are at the beginning of Feb and she's having a recurrence, and... so is a flockmate, an Auracana, also likely around 3 years old. I've brought them both back into quarantine, but again we're having a warm spell so now I have them outside in a small pen by day and indoors only at night. Again - no discharge, no change in energy, appetite, etc. And again, both are improving.

    I see a lot about the various illnesses that are more obvious with other signs like discharge, but nothing about something that seems so mild. It would seem obvious that this is contagious, but perhaps it's more to do with age and my newbie lack of experience keeping the coop dry enough, using deep litter method, diatomaceous earth, removing large wet areas, good air flow, but what do I know...

    And of course, now there are 4 new hens to want to protect, also hand-me-downs, on deck as it were in a separate pen and I am running out of ways to keep everyone separate.

    Any thoughts? I feel like our choices are: 1. return them to the flock and hope for the best or that at least only egg production would be affected 2. cull 3. spend money on vet and try to get a better diagnosis if that's even possible with no discharge

    I would cull but I'd like more assurance that this is really a Not Good Thing, and could wipe out lots of hens and mean no new hens til these ones die. I'd vastly prefer not to cull - my little son has fallen in love with them all and he's very tender hearted.

    I appreciate anyone's bothering to read this far, and any thoughts you might have! Red Feather, Ginger, and my little boy and I await your wisdom...
     
  2. feeding frenzy

    feeding frenzy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 24, 2012
    Maybe your chicken has the avian flu? If there is discharge from nostrils and labored breathing, I would cull it to protect your remaining flock from getting contaminated.
     
  3. Furryfeathers

    Furryfeathers New Egg

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    Feb 6, 2013
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    That's the thing - there's never been any discharge at all!

    Still flu?
     
  4. feeding frenzy

    feeding frenzy Chillin' With My Peeps

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  5. Furryfeathers

    Furryfeathers New Egg

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    Feb 6, 2013
    High desert southwest
    Yes, thanks for that link. I've looked at all those options, and because there's never any discharge, none of those seem to fit. I've also combed through the Chicken Health Handbook and nothing there fits either.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on whether or not poor coop hygiene could cause this without infection? Like an asthmatic reaction? I really think I'm doing the deep litter method correctly, and I add diatomaceous earth and new bedding whenever it seems at all damp, but I am new to chickens, so I can't be sure...

    Would also love to hear if anyone has had a chicken with a recurrent gurgle without serious consequences.

    Are there any tests a vet could do?

    Thanks all!
     
  6. feeding frenzy

    feeding frenzy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How is your chicken doing now? Maybe your chicken has impacted crop and gurgling is a side effect of upset crop?
     
  7. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    I'd get some Tylan 50 at the feed store. Inject 1/2 cc in the back of the bird's neck under the skin. If the bird is over 5 lbs., give another 1/2 cc in the breast muscle. Do it for 3 days and see if there's improvement. If you see improvement,do it for 5 days total.
     
  8. Eggsoteric

    Eggsoteric Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It could be fungal in nature. Does she have a "percolator" sound to her? I have a hen that, very similar to your's, she had no other symptoms other than the gurgling and no other birds had any of the same symptoms. I quarantined her and treated her using non-activated Oxine-AH in a cool mist vaporizer. There are a variety of threads in this forum regarding the use of Oxine. A good article to read thru can be found here:

    http://www.shagbarkbantams.com/oxine.htm

    Good luck.
     

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