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Rooster with eye problem, lethargy and loss of appetite

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by JennaT, Nov 19, 2016.

  1. JennaT

    JennaT Out Of The Brooder

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    22
    Apr 3, 2016
    NSW, Australia
    Hi Everyone,

    I am posting to see if anyone has experienced something similar with their chooks / rooster or simply to pass on information..

    Yes, I intend on seeing a veterinarian once I can physically get to one. It’s a mixture of bad timing for appointments, extreme distances to get to them (isolated rural living downside) and a vet not turning up to a house call on three occasions.

    BACKGROUND:

    In March 2016 we adopted a ‘rescue’ rooster. The previous owners said he was approximately 12months old. The environment he lived in was awful: overcrowded with all types of poultry despite free ranging, physically abused by children and goodness knows what his nutrition or vaccination record was! When I collected him, he was almost feral because he feared people so much, but ultimately looked healthy. I later found out that he had been hit with a large object by some ‘charming’ teenager. I’m not sure where on his body he was hit.

    After several weeks of calm, positive interactions with him, he began feeding from my hand, however patting or picking up was a major no-no for him. I was fine with this.

    Each morning and into the early evening he would proudly crow, strut and mount his ladies (even though he’s too short to actually breed with them). However, when he first arrived, he did have what looked like an injury to his right eye. Because the eye was still open, I expected it to heal on its own as catching and restraining him caused way too much stress on him. There has never been any swelling or signs of infection such as pus or oozing even to this day.

    About four months ago we decided to use conjunctivitis eye drops recommended by a chook guru as his eye was now staying closed and he was sleeping a lot. It also seemed to have a grey tinge across it (not a cataract). Our technique was to sneak up on him and drop some solution in. While he would let out a blood-curdling scream, leap up and run away each time, we did see a change. For about a week, he picked up and was opening the eye more. But then his eye began changing from grey to black. Since then, his health has deteriorated.

    He never crows and his voice is cracked and raspy.

    He has no vision in that eye and now sleeps 23hrs a day - and so deeply that he doesn’t even acknowledge the world around him i.e. hear my partner start the lawn mower. We now have to be conscious of him when we pull into the driveway as he’s excellent at camouflage and tends to sleep in the driveway. He barely eats. At one stage I was feeding him separately to the others, which went well for about three days. Now he pecks at it but doesn’t actually eat. He’s also started in the past two weeks, moulting around the neck and head.

    It’s been frustrating trying to secure a vet visit as it takes an hour to get home then another hour to get to a vet therefore it’s well past closing. We tried a house call vet but they never turned up, supposedly due to the distances involved.

    I suspect he has a cancer of some kind but still hold out (naive) hope it’s something easily fixed. I will be devastated if it’s cancer as he has had such an awful life and doesn’t deserve to die this young.

    I guess I just wanted to see if anyone else has had this problem but also to share my experience in case someone on this forum comes along in a few months time needing advice.


    [​IMG]
    Our boy in July 2016



    [​IMG][​IMG]
    1. How we find him every day - sleeping. 2. The suspect eye - no pus or signs of infection.



    SUMMARY:

    March:
    Arrives to our property. Very skittish but otherwise healthy. Noticeable eye problem but only suspect an injury that will heal on its own.

    April - July:
    Had an eye problem in right eye which didn’t seem to get better. ie. closing it sometimes, grey tinge across the eye. No swelling or oozing. Still eating and strutting around, crowing a lot.

    August:
    Eye problem starting to affect him. Grey tinge increasing. No swelling. Starting to sleep more, not crowing as much.

    September:
    Eye problem continuing. Sleeping more and not crowing at all. Voice changing.

    October:
    Put conjunctivitis eye drops in the eye. See a positive change for a week. But then the eye changes from grey to black and he falls back into sleeping a lot, not crowing and now voice cracks a lot. Complete loss of vision in the right eye.

    November:
    Sleeps 23 hours. Hard to wake him sometimes, unless we touch him. Pecks at food but doesn’t actually eat it. Still drinking.



    Thanks
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    I'm really sorry about your rooster, and I can tell that you really care about this fellow. He looks like he may be moulting right now, and that can be a very hard time on them. They can be in pain, have very little appetite, and can act aloof and have no energy. I really don't know what could be wrong with him since there are quite a few diseases common in chickens. There can be several diseases that cause eye disorders such as Mareks disease, eye infections, vitamin A or E deficiency, cataracts, and avian encephalitis (AE) early as a chick. Mareks can cause a graying of the eye, and there can be an irregular or tiny pinpoint pupil. Do you have a vet nearby who could check him out or do a fecal float on some fresh droppings to test for coccidiosis or worms? Look him over for lice or mites around his vent and elsewhere. check his crop to make sure there is no impacted crop or sour crop. It should empty by morning, and gradually fill up during the day if he eats. Below are some pictures of eye problems with certain diseases.


    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Avian encephalomyelitis on left, normal eye on right
     
  3. JennaT

    JennaT Out Of The Brooder

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    22
    Apr 3, 2016
    NSW, Australia
    Thanks for the quick reply Eggcessive!

    The whole flock were wormed last month and no signs of mites etc on anyone. His poo has been consistently healthy when I've checked it against the thread on here somewhere with photos. He always poops a perfect little poop with the occasional watery one after he has had a drink. No blood or mucus.

    The second photo showing Avian encephalomyelitis of the eye looks very similar to what he had originally yet he doesn't display any of the other symptoms associated with AE. I was hoping to get a photo of his eye when it was a grey but he was moving too quickly each time.

    I'm hoping work will slow down a little in the coming weeks so I can take off early and get him checked out by a vet.

    He's definitely keeping his health cards close to his chest!!
     
  4. JennaT

    JennaT Out Of The Brooder

    13
    0
    22
    Apr 3, 2016
    NSW, Australia
    *** Update ***

    After finding him at death's door and calling in countless favours, we managed to get him to a vet.

    The vet checked all his vitals - perfect heart rate, temperature, respiration and colour. No sign of tumours, cancers, emaciation or nutritional deficiency, though he was heading toward the last two as he hadn't eaten in 48hrs.

    While this was a fabulous first step, the vet however didn't like his legs as they are quite crusty (we assumed it was scaly mite when he first arrived so treated accordingly, but they didn't change) and took photos and a graft. She also noticed a mousy smell. The vet has a suspicion its a fungal infection, but to cover all bases we decided to do a blood test.

    In the meantime, the vet has got me feeding him a multivitamin through a syringe which requires wrapping him up like a burrito.

    I also noticed while feeding him that he tends to fall into a deep sleep, as if he's narcoleptic, for about 3-4min then wakes up for a minute or two before repeating the process again. It makes feeding extremely slow!

    Hopefully we will have an answer from the blood tests by Thursday to finally fix him. I'm really hoping he can hold out long enough [​IMG]
     
  5. JennaT

    JennaT Out Of The Brooder

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    22
    Apr 3, 2016
    NSW, Australia
    Well, he's still going but new symptoms have emerged.

    Thursday he looked a bit better. Still sleeping a lot, but this time he was up and walking around for a while. I had been continuing the multi-vitamin water prescribed to him in addition to any mushy food I could get into him. I also gave him a bath for lice as they had appeared on him earlier in the week.

    On Friday I received the blood results:

    - High bone and muscle enzyme (potentially because of the months of sitting and sleeping)
    - low calcium
    - low parathyroid function (this talks to the calcium)
    - pancreas, liver etc normal

    From these results, there were two scenarios:

    1. Bone tumor
    2. problems with the parathyroid function which administers the calcium

    The vet prescribed calcium syrup and some anti inflammatories which were administered Friday evening.

    However, since Friday night he has begun experiencing neurological problems. I don't know if it's purely coincidence, but within 20min of giving him the new meds, he began losing control of his head, and going through a cycle of spinning and losing his balance every 30-50min. I noticed his motor functions aren't 'connected' properly with his brain anymore i.e. he goes to preen himself but he's preening the air, or he squats to poo but doesn't actually poo. He also was completely disoriented when I let him outside for supervised fresh air on Friday (this was just after giving him the meds). His aim was clearly to meet up with his friends in the coop (they were locked up) but he ended up wandering into a neighbouring paddock that I had to intervene and bring him back inside.

    He has no paralysis in the legs and still has the mousy smell about him.
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I'm sorry to hear that he is doing worse. His neurological symptoms could possibly be related to a fungal infection called aspergillosis, if it has affected his brain. A head injury or wry neck can have similar symptoms. Continuing the vitamins sound good. It sounds like you have a caring vet. Low calcium levels and parathyroid conditions are more common in caged laying hens, so it is interesting that he has a problem with it.That can lead to osteoporosis, and probably would make activity difficult. Keep us posted on his condition, and take care. Here is some info I found on osteoporosis in chickens:
    http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/p...s_skeletal_disorders_in_breeders_poultry.html
     
  7. JennaT

    JennaT Out Of The Brooder

    13
    0
    22
    Apr 3, 2016
    NSW, Australia
    OK, this is getting weirder and weirder...

    I took him straight off the calcium supplement and anti-inflammatories and 24hrs later his neurological problems are 90% gone! That was such a relief. I can only assume the calcium supplement has been the cause and will discuss with the vet about alternatives.

    He enjoyed the morning sun today and then went for a walk around the front yard which was much more coordinated and purposeful. He remembered a water trough outside and drank a fair bit on his own - a massive improvement from Friday. I was so proud! (pity it wasn't the multi-vitamin water but beggars can't be choosers)

    To save my sanity in creating mushy food for him, I've simply bought baby food dinners (no chicken obviously!) to keep his weight on. So far so good. His food/water intake was like 5ml total for the entire day when he first came into chicken ICU, so we've progressed to:

    Morning: 6ml food / 20-30ml water / 4ml medicated wate
    Afternoon: 3ml food / 3ml medicated water

    It's not much, but he's a bantam cross weighing about 1.3kg / 2.8lb.

    I can't wait until he can feed himself again, but I'm a little pessimistic about it as his sight is pretty bad.

    I guess one of the biggest things is that whatever he has is incredibly slow moving - months have gone into this health problem and it's totally alien to me. I'm used to chickens going downhill and dying within hours to days.
     
  8. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Good news. You can mix some raw egg and plain yogurt into his normal chicken feed, and add enough water to whip into an oatmeal consistancy. Most of my chickens go crazy for that. Bits of cooked egg are also redily eaten if one is sick. Bits of canned tuna as well are liked.
     

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