RIR hen lost a lot of weight, must be force hydrated and fed

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by stephanielynn, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. stephanielynn

    stephanielynn Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 30, 2011
    Yesterday I just discovered that one of my Rhode Island Red hens isn't well. She darted out of their house when I opened the door which is normal. When I went after her to put her back, she tried to run from me as usual and stumbled twice. At first I didn't think much of it because she had ventured into taller grass. When she tried to run from me on flat concrete and stumbled again, I knew something was wrong. She can walk just fine, it's just when she tries to run that she stumbles. Then when I was able to pick her up, I felt her chest and apparently she has lost a significant amount of weight during the past two weeks since I last held her. She is between 3 and 4 1/2 years old.

    So now I've been holding her in my lap most of the day and force hydrating and feeding her or I have her isolated in a separate kennel, next to the kennel with my RIR rooster who I have isolated since he started having what the vet suspects are neurological problems. I started both of them on the Vitamin B complex treatment yesterday. It's in a capsule form, so I puncture the capsule and squeeze it over their pellets which I wet down, and mix all together.

    No chicken in the rest of my flock shows these signs, at least not yet. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thank you.
     
  2. stephanielynn

    stephanielynn Out Of The Brooder

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    Before today, she was able to keep force fed food and water down, digest and eliminate it. Today she's been salivating (clear, gooey) and within the past hour she regurgitated what I've been feeding her all day. It never got past her crop. The least I can do is try my best to help her recover and be with her. : -( Advice would be appreciated. Thank you.
     
  3. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2010
    Maybe work on the hydrating only for the moment. Mix a little gatorade with water and using a dropper, drip one or two drops at a time on top of her beak, just below the nostrils, and wait for her to move her beak. The idea is that the liquid rolls off either side of the beak and into the mouth so all she has to do is swallow (I call it a 'sippy sip'). I just don't think you should force it. Some may suggest tube feeding but I'm not sure you want to fill the crop up too much right now seeing is that there is some type of crop or digestive blockage maybe? I'd be no help on that. But try a little of the gatorade and water. It helps if they like the taste of it. So see if you can get her to keep down a little liquid before you try any food. I might suggest a little broth (beef or chicken) as well. If she's blocked she doesn't need solid food.

    I'm thinking there's some worming that needs to be done at some point but you need to help get things opened up with the liquids and build her strength up a little before you do that. Don't make her take too much liquid at a time, several sipping sessions spread out over the day.

    You're gonna have to take baby steps.
     
  4. stephanielynn

    stephanielynn Out Of The Brooder

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    My hen passed on in my lap at about 8:40 p.m. CST. :'-( Tomorrow I will take her remains to the vet for a necropsy. When I spoke to the vet about her two days ago he mentioned performing a necropsy if she did pass on. Maybe he won't charge me or charge full price for it since he mentioned it. At least right now, I have peace of mind because I did my best to help her as soon as I noticed signs of illness. My animals are my best friends and I'd do anything for them.

    I'm still nursing my RIR rooster.
     
  5. mkcolls

    mkcolls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry for your loss. [​IMG]
    Hope you get an answer.
     
  6. stephanielynn

    stephanielynn Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 30, 2011
    Mkcolls:
    Thank you. She was 3 - 4 1/2 years old, which all of my chickens were and are. My nightly ritual for my outside animals (3 dogs, 1 goat and now 8 chickens) was to replenish their food and water and check them for anything unusual or abnormal. I even give them hugs and/or kisses (pecks - no pun intended) goodnight.
     
  7. stephanielynn

    stephanielynn Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 30, 2011
    Based on the necropsy on my hen, the vet suspects ovarian cancer. While he had my hen on the table, the vet asked me if I wanted to see her ovary and I said that I would if he could cover up her face first. I'm having her ovary sent off to Auburn University for histopathology and will bury the rest of her remains on the property. Ovarian cancer is even hard to detect in humans so it might be the case with animals, too. I did ok at the vet until right before I left when I talked to one of the staff members about the unconditional love of my animals. This has been a week from he_l with everything that's going on right now in addition to the issues with my animals. : -(
     
  8. Lorimary

    Lorimary Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 26, 2009
    Vista, CA 10+ years
    I'm so sorry for your loss [​IMG] You did everything you could do, and at least she went knowing someone loved her.
    A few weeks ago, we lost a RIR hen to a huge mass around her ovaduct as well. She was only 2, which according to the vet is young for such cancer, but alas, it got her. The mass was gigantic too, probably the size of a softball (the big ones) or a like a summer squash (if you picked it when it was young and most delicious). It took up her entire abdominal cavity on the left side. She lingered for a few days too, barely eating or drinking. At first we thought she was egg bound. Was very sad, but there was nothing we could do.
     
  9. stephanielynn

    stephanielynn Out Of The Brooder

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    : -( Thank you for your kind words, Lorimary. My Henny's ovary was about the size of a golf ball. The vet said that it was normal for hens to have multiple egg follicles but knew that what was present wasn't normal. Since I don't know what a healthy hen ovary looks like, it was difficult to make a comparison, but I trust the vet's judgement. I know that animals are often asymptomatic until diseases are in advanced and untreatable stages, so I think that was the case with her. I am pretty observant of my animals and usually can tell right away if something isn't right but she didn't show any signs of illness until about three days ago.
     

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