RIP Brigid

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by RedheadErin, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. RedheadErin

    RedheadErin Songster

    Nov 30, 2011
    [​IMG]Our sweet lovable little house chicken is very very sick. The vet says chickens are not his specialty and, although he has cured a couple of other problems, this one has him stumped.

    First, the basic facts:

    1) What type of bird , age and weight (does the chicken seem or feel lighter or thinner than the others.)
    Bantam Rhode Island Red At least 2 years old. Also, she never laid an egg for us and occasionally lets out a cute little crow. She does feel slightly lighter than usual.

    2) What is the behavior, exactly.
    One week ago, we noticed her left wing was drooping and she couldn't hold it up. Vet originally suspected nerve damage, especially since she wears a diaper every day and the strap goes right over her "shoulder." Over the course of a week, she has slowly lost her ability to stand and walk straight. the other wing is beginning to droop, but now as bad. She seems to be weaker and her balance is completely wack. She tries to stand and walk sometimes but it it is extremely difficult. Mostly she stumbles a few steps and colapses.

    In addition, her chest is very puffed up, so much so that she looks like a pigeon. It doesnt look like impacted croup; it is higher in the chest. She has a hard time eating and drinking, in part because she cannot reach the food. I didnt realize this until today. SHe also sits with her head turned and facing backwards, like she is looking back over her shoulder. she can turn her head both ways, but she has a preference for the right (the side away from the original weak wing.)

    Also she has been really lethargic.

    3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms?
    8 days

    4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?
    no they all seem just fine

    5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.

    6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.
    only thing I can think of, she ate a fly that was exposed to poison or else she ate some cat poop or mouse poop

    7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all.
    she has ah hard time reaching her food. Today I got her interested in a pumpkin donut, but she was not too excited about her food.

    8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.
    I only saw one poop, and it was all watery white. She hardly seems to poop at all.

    9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?
    Took her to the vet (no results) and hand fed her. Took her out for sunshine and fresh air today, and she seemed to perk up considerably.

    10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet?

    There is a regular vet who I have ivsited, then there is a holistic vet who I dont think much of. I may have to take her to the exotic bird vet.

    11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.
    Im at work now, but I'll try to post a pic tomorrow

    12) Describe the housing/bedding in use
    She lives in the house. Usually sleeps on an old bath towel.

    I have to get back out to work now. I'll write more later.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2012

  2. FlyHigher

    FlyHigher Chirping

    Jul 15, 2012
    Could it be Marek's or Newcastle?
  3. RedheadErin

    RedheadErin Songster

    Nov 30, 2011
    i think she is too old for Mareks ( I had been told it was primarily a disease of pullets and cockerels, and this bird os well over 2 years, possibly much older). It seems like it could be Newcastle, but I cannot imagine how she would get it. There are other birds in the area, but none she would be exposed to.
  4. RedheadErin

    RedheadErin Songster

    Nov 30, 2011
    So we took her to the vet Friday night. This was not the local vet--he was stumped. This is a vet who treats pet birds. They don't exactly specialize in chickens but they treated her when she had pnumonia. It is like 2 hours away and still horribly expensive, but we are out of options. To the world Brigid may be just another chicken, but to us she is part of the family.

    Since Friday, she has been on IV fluids and tube feedings. Her blood test came back with elevated numbers fo rher liver and her x-ray is just weird--her whole abdominal cavity is full of soft tissue. Normally there are a lot of air spaces in the body, but this poor girl looks like a potqato inside. THe image is so murky they cant identify any of the organs. We saw her yesterday. She is still extremely weak, but perkier than she was. We took her a donut and she ate most of it, but she is not too interested in normal chicken food. Her wings are have more muscle tone, and she is standing some on her own, and we thought she was improving. But today we got a call from the vet who says she is not improving fast enough and they don't know what is wrong. They ordered a liver test, and if that doesnt show anything they can do a barium image, but after that there isn't much else to do.

    In about 2 days we will either have a clear and extremely expensive treatment plan, or not. If she doesn't improve dramatically or if they cant work out what her problem is, we will have to have her put to sleep.

    (brief pause while I go to pieces again)

    I never thought I would get so attached to that little bird. she is such a sweet little thing, so funny and full of personality. She cuddles with us and watches TV on our laps and bosses the cats. A couple of days before she went to the hospital, she kicked a 20 pound tom cat out of her favorite spot in the chair.

    I try to remember that most chickens don't get to have a life like she did living with us. If we had not bought her, she would have been eaten. If we had not taken her to the emergency vet last February, she wouldn't have made it through that night. Even if she doesn't make it, really there is nothing to be sad about, because we gave her such a wonderful life for the past 14 months. With us, she was always safe and protected. And so very, very loved.

    Please everybody say a prayer or keep your fingers crossed.

  5. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    So sorry for your hen. My gut seems to think it has something to do with her lack of laying. Often their abdominal area fills with fluid...ascitis is what they call it. You have to drain off the fluid from the abdomin...I am doing that now to a hen. Or the reproductive tract will keep filling with layers and layers of firm egg matter.... Internal laying is what they call it......Spaying a hen would be helpful with internal issues. The matter or liquid builds up a lot of pressure on their organs... Making it hard to breath, eat, stand etc.... Also house chickens still need natural sunshine and added vitamins to their water...( I have )
  6. RedheadErin

    RedheadErin Songster

    Nov 30, 2011
    Thank you. We are just about to leave for the vet now. I have been crying all day.
    Brigid and her friend Kiki
  7. RedheadErin

    RedheadErin Songster

    Nov 30, 2011
    Brigid died Wednesday afternoon.

    We opted (hoping for the best, fearing the worst) to have surgery. Turns out she had liver cancer. Noting could be done.

    We made the 2 hour drive up to the vet to see her before surgery. She looked so perky and alert last time we saw her, it's hard to believe she didn't make it.

    My son and I are just heartbroken. We have been crying about it all day. Even my husband has shed some tears, which is saying a lot. I only saw him cry twice before--once for his hamster and once for his dad.

  8. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    I am so sorry for your loss. You did everything you possibly could. I've been there many times, doesn't make it hurt any less. Keep her memories close and find peace in knowing that she was a special girl who was loved aNd cared for and lived a life many humans don't have. Hopefully there is a heaven where all our special animals go. I hope my beloved Sophie is there to greet Brigid on the other side ....... Peace to you.

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