Rooster with recent blindness, tightly contracted muscles, clenched feet and neck flexed under his c

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by DarkWater1929, Jul 8, 2016.

  1. DarkWater1929

    DarkWater1929 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 27, 2015
    Redding, California
    "Fuzzy" is a silkie rooster. I don't know his age, but he is probably more than four years old. Fuzzy free ranges during the day and is confined with the other chickens at night. Because he is not a dominant rooster, he spends most of his time alone, often underneath my husband's pickup truck.

    Recently, he began to show signs of being blind or nearly blind. He had trouble locating food and water, even when they were right in front of him. I brought him in and put him in a small pen so that it would be easier for him to remain safe and also to find food and water. This seemed ok for about a week. However suddenly he has begun to have muscle spasms, including a tightness in his neck that causes him to tuck his head under his chest, and to keep his feet clenched.

    I have looked on line for possible causes and treatments, but his symptoms do not really match any condition I have found. Any ideas? I am feeding him via syringe, but I don't imagine he can go on like this very long.

    None of my other birds are I'll, and none have had these symptoms, that I have ever noticed. They get a diet of layer mix, cracked corn and forage, along with kitchen scraps.

    Thank you for any input!
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2016
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    He could have a possible vitamin deficiency causing his blindness, curled toes, and wry neck. I would give him 2-3 ml of Poultry Cell vitamins orally every day, or in a treat. An alternative is to give him Poultry Vitamins in his water, and a small amount of chopped egg or tuna for extra selenium. Cut out the corn, and only feed him a fresh dated balanced chicken feed. Since he is not a dominant rooster, he might not be getting enough to eat. I would put a little bowl of food and water near the pickup truck for him. If he does not start improving in 2 weeks, he might be showing signs of possible Mareks disease. Was he vaccinated for Mareks, and have you added any new birds in the weeks before he started showing symptoms?
     
  3. DarkWater1929

    DarkWater1929 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 27, 2015
    Redding, California
    [euote name="Eggcessive" url="/t/1120140/rooster-with-recent-blindness-tightly-contracted-muscles-clenched-feet-and-neck-flexed-under-his-chest#post_17265784"]He could have a possible vitamin deficiency causing his blindness, curled toes, and wry neck. I would give him 2-3 ml of Poultry Cell vitamins orally every day, or in a treat. An alternative is to give him Poultry Vitamins in his water, and a small amount of chopped egg or tuna for extra selenium. Cut out the corn, and only feed him a fresh dated balanced chicken feed. Since he is not a dominant rooster, he might not be getting enough to eat. I would put a little bowl of food and water near the pickup truck for him. If he does not start improving in 2 weeks, he might be showing signs of possible Mareks disease. Was he vaccinated for Mareks, and have you added any new birds in the weeks before he started showing symptoms?[/quote]

    Thank you so much for your reply! No, we have not had any new chickens recently. However, we have had Mereks in the past, over a year ago. I understand that it remains in the soil. So, Mereks is certainly a possibility.

    I don't have access at the moment to the vitamin supplements you suggest. However, we do have a vitamin supplement for cattle, that includes selenium, and I have been giving him chick boost, with vitamins and probiotics. I will begin adding the selenium in tiny amounts, to see if this contributes to his ability to absorb the vitamins in the chick boost.

    I noticed also online that lead poisoning can have similar symptoms. Indeed, there is an article on this site having to do with lead poisoning. We live on a ranch that has been in constant use for well over 100 years, and I have no doubt that the soil is packed with toxic petroleum chemicals, from years past. I expect there are also shotgun pellets, etc., from target practice carried out, not only bythe gentleman in my family, but also from Generations past. Given his preferred hangout spot, I have no doubt that he could have picked up toxins either from the dirt or from having consumed some sort of shotgun debris. Sadly I understand that there is no treatment for lead poisoning.

    Then too, there is the concern that because of his breed, his skull is more vulnerable to injury , and he may have been pecked, perhaps by another rooster, and received a brain injury that is progressing. My primary concern, of course, is for Fuzzy's suffering. If I were sure that his condition was not treatable, I would relieve him of it. However, I am unwilling to end his life if there is even a mediocre chance that he may recover. I wish I knew,without spending money that I don't have available on a laboratory, how to best determine his prognosis. Thank you again for your input. Any additional thoughts from your self or others will be gratefully received. Thank you!
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    I see no problem in treating him, and hoping that his symptoms get better. Chickens do okay in familiar surroundings with vision loss and other symptoms. The vitamins and selenium may help, and it sometimes can take weeks to see improvement. I tend to baby a sick one for a few days, and then let them sink or swim with access to food and water. I have a hen who could not walk and wouldn't eat or drink for 3 straight days in my house, so I put her back with flockmates since she was starving. She finally started eating and walking around with others, and now 9 months later seems to be thriving. I hope your little guy gets better. You may want to do some reading on chelation therapy for lead poisoning.
     
  5. DarkWater1929

    DarkWater1929 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Redding, California
    Very gradual improvement! He continues to fight to survive, and can now hold his head up for short periods. Blindness seems unchanged, drat it all.

    Hubby suspects stroke. Think that's possible?
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    It could be a stroke or poisoning. Many times it is hard to diagnose a chicken illness without anecropsy after death. The state vet or local poultry lab could perform one if you lose him. I hope he has some improvement with the care you are giving him.
     

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