Rooster suddenly can't balance or walk!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by awarmrainyday, Jan 17, 2017.

  1. awarmrainyday

    awarmrainyday Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This has been going on for about 6 weeks now and I've tried everything I can think of, so I need your help! Copper aka Wobbles is a banty rooster, age unknown, who is a rescue that the neighbor girl brought to me with a bunch of others to add to my rescue flock. I've had him about six months. He was very thin and bullied to start but with a little extra help did just fine up until six weeks ago. The night before he was perfectly fine and the next day he was dragging his wing and stumbling in circles. When he could get his balance the others would knock him onto his back and he wasn't able to get up. He's in the house now.

    He has no leg or feet injuries, he's been wormed and treated regularly for mites. He had a bit of a runny nose awhile ago but was treated with Tylan 50. He's had Penicillin and ear drops in case he had an inner ear infection but that hasn't helped him any- he will occasionally shake his head. He ate just fine until I brought him into the house and now he is very picky and will only eat very little on his own. He was losing weight so I started hand feeding and tube feeding him to keep his weight up. Otherwise his eyes are bright, he's alert and looks around, drinks well, he crows and preens himself as best he can. He can bear weight on his legs but he cannot balance himself. In a sling he will walk with assistance. It does seem like his mobility has gone downhill since it intially happened. He would drag his right wing, lean to the right and keep his head swiveled to the left as if looking over his shoulder. He cannot walk at all on his own now without assistance but he is not keeping his head turned as much anymore.

    This morning I noticed his preen gland was red and sore (he tried to squirm away from me when I touched it) and there was a blood tinged discharged when I pressed on the area so I started him on Penicillin again and plan on doing a warm compress after I get off of work. He generally seems perfectly okay except for having no mobility. I sit him up and he will stay and then suddenly fall forward and stretch his legs behind him or just fall backwards. He appears very drunk or as if he's had a stroke or a brain injury.

    I've read up on Mareks, it's a possibility but none of my other chickens have displayed any symptoms in the six weeks since he's been like this. I do have a broiler rooster who is enormous and is known to knock other chickens off the roosts (sometimes inadvertently due to his size), could it possibly be from hitting his head? What are your thoughts? I hate to put him down when he is still so alert and content.[​IMG][​IMG]
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    I do think that he has symptoms of Mareks disease, but he also may be showing neurological signs related to a head injury or some sort of deficiency. I would make sure that he is getting poultry vitamins, including B1 and 2, E and selenium. Selenium is easily found in egg, tuna, and seeds and nuts. Some chickens can be immune to Mareks. If you lose him, you could get a necropsy to look for Mareks and other diseases. Hopefully the preen gland inflammation will go down with warm compresses. Look for any signs of an abscess that might need to be lanced. I sure hope that your little guy starts to get better.
     
  3. awarmrainyday

    awarmrainyday Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for your reply, I thought Marek's at first too but nowe I'm also thinking neurological, or possibly kinky back- which I just discovered exists. Although he is a banty not a broiler.

    He soaked for 15 minutes in an Epsom salts bath and even though he resists me inspecting the skin of his lower back I can see that there is swelling nearly halfway up his back. I held him in a standing position and pressed mid back and he would march frantically in place. So he's definitely not paralyzed, just really off balance. He also spent time leaning against me and standing under his own strength. This little man has me puzzled.
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    Some pictures of the redness and swelling on his lower back. The redness is from the base of his tail, down the one side of his tail, the swelling up his back is not red.
     
  4. Weehopper

    Weehopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Possibly got hit in the back by another chicken. They can get crippled by that. Ocasionaly, physical therapy helps.
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    Yes, that looks like bruising and swelling perhaps from injuries.
     
  6. twinsmom6

    twinsmom6 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I hope he gets better
     
  7. awarmrainyday

    awarmrainyday Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Anyone know the normall temp of a chicken? I've seen so many variances and was worried he felt warm his temp is 106.6, anyone know if this is normal? No change today in the back swelling even with penicillin.
     
  8. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    There can be a wide variation in temperatures depending on when they last have eaten. Just from my experience, a sign of fever is very red features, comb, wattles, and other areas of skin. Some reference ruffled neck feathers as a sign of fever. Here is some info about normal temps which can range from 103-107F:
    http://www2.ca.uky.edu/poultryprofi...tion_principles/Chapter7_air_temperature.html
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/576010
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/722795/what-is-the-normal-temperature-of-a-chicken
     
  9. awarmrainyday

    awarmrainyday Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Eggcessive! Any ideas for physical therapy? Do you think a chicken harness would work for assisted walking or should I try to make something? I need a chicken wheelchair!
     
  10. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    Last edited: Jan 19, 2017

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