SAD PICTURES: Additional thoughts about our necropsy?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by CoffeeintheCoop, Nov 11, 2019.

  1. CoffeeintheCoop

    CoffeeintheCoop In the Brooder

    Nov 11, 2019

    We lost a 2 1/2 year old Rhode Island Red hen recently. We decided to do a necropsy, since there was a lot of newbie learning curving and uncertainty, (despite a visit to a vet) and we wanted to be more informed for the future.

    Mostly, I just want to post photos and ask questions about the photos, but if anyone needs a backstory detail, or if I should try to summarize the backstory, just let me know.

    I am quite sure that Goldie died due to internal laying. I just want to know if I am missing anything else important, especially related to some fecal material I found in her intestines. I also have a couple extra questions.

    The first picture I am uploading shows the content of her crop in a plastic ziplock bag. I thought Goldie had developed an impacted crop (it was quite hard at first), but after getting it to almost-completely empty and slowly adding food, it never returned to expected, healthy behavior. I repeatedly felt it over a week of time, and really thought she had sour crop. It felt "mushy" and "squishy". However, the crop contents had absolutely no sour or bad odor whatsoever. They just looked and smelled like a bunch of undigested feed with a few odds and ends. It seems like the texture of a malfunctioning crop doesn't always indicate a true case of sour crop. It wouldn't empty but it was not fermented. And it was not hard as impacted crops are supposed to feel like, either.

    The second picture shows what I THINK are the contents of Goldie's stomach and her gizzard. I wasn't certain about whether I had both organs or not. Again, I just found undigested food, and lots of it. The sad thing is that Goldie probably starved to death, with all this food inside her body. This sort of information is exactly why we wanted to do a necropsy, so we can prevent another hen from suffering if possible. On this second image, I circled three round brown items. They seemed to be tiny rocks, but they are perfectly (or nearly) spherical. Does the action of the gizzard grind small stones into perfect spheres? We don't have a bunch of round brown stones in the yard, but we have larger, oddly-shaped brown landscape stones that may have been used by Goldie.

    The next photo shows some pellets of fecal matter that I found in Goldie's intestines. These are small but very hard. Very different than all of the other objects found inside her body. In other portions of the intestines, there was wet, watery feces. But in one section, I found these pellets. I wish I could tell you more about what portion of the intestines it was, but I am not sure.

    The fourth image shows the hard-boiled eggs we extracted from what I think is the oviduct (?). They were inside a fairly substantial tube that I could believe was their proper location. But they apparently were malformed, stuck and they just cooked inside her body.

    The following images show what I think is a broken egg (yolk) scattered throughout her internal system. We saw the bright golden material all the way from the outside of her crop to down in her pelvic area. This is a broken, internally-laid egg, correct?

    How does all of this work to harm the hen? Does the broken egg create a toxicity that poisons her so her organs don't work properly? Or did something mechanically block movement of food through her system and/ or mechanically block the eggs from moving down the oviduct correctly? Goldie had a bad day along the trajectory of her decline, and then "someone" laid a cooked egg overnight and Goldie obviously felt a whole lot better the next day. I was surprised to find the cooked egg material inside a long muscular tube, that seemed like a good place for eggs to be found. Their diameter and shape indicates the tube from which we squeezed them. I think they were all connected as one mass, but broke apart as we squeezed them out, as if squeezing out dried-up toothpaste. But nothing had shells, and I saw no weird shell-type material inside her body anywhere.

    And... one last question that doesn't have a photo to accompany it. The vet told us that internal laying is "very rare" and even with an X-ray, he didn't recognize that she might be dying from internal laying. He checked a fecal sample and found worms. (We aren't sure what type of worms yet, I need to clarify that). But I opened up her intestines to see if I could find some significant mass of worms that would indicate her cause of death. I didn't see any. However, her body froze hard prior to our necropsy, due to scheduling issues. Would intestinal worms even be visible in small quantities after thoroughly freezing? Or would they kind of disintegrate? I did see some long stringy matter, very soft and soupy, as if the fecal material itself had kind of a stringy consistency, inside her intestines, but I couldn't have said they were worms. This issue is complicated by the fact that I fed her 8 earthworms only a few days prior to her death. There is no way to really know, but curious if I may have seen worms of some sort inside the intestines.

    Thank you so much in advance for any and all thoughts shared. IMG_20191101_1232490.jpg IMG_20191101_1229504_LI.jpg IMG_20191101_1229148.jpg IMG_20191101_1229438.jpg IMG_20191101_1228519.jpg IMG_20191101_1228184.jpg IMG_20191101_1228321.jpg
    Jac Jac and ValerieJ like this.
  2. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Free Ranging

    Jun 14, 2017
    Central PA
    @casportpony is far better at this than I am. However, I'm going to say salpingitis.
  3. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Free Ranging

    Jun 14, 2017
    Central PA
    Could be slow crop. Emptying fast enough to prevent bacteria, but slow enough to not feed. However, based on the rest of your post, I don't think that's the case.

    Gizzard looks like so.
    And is slightly larger than a golf ball.
    If you didn't pull them out of it, you don't have gizzard stones. I don't have any idea what else they could be. Do chickens get kidney stones?

    Beats me.

    That is what makes me think your chicken didn't have any crop problems other than those caused by being already weakened. This looks like pus, resulting from a long-term infection. It's called salpingitis, and can sometimes be treated (but very rarely cured) by long-term treatment with antibiotics.

    Can't tell you anything other than "it's better to refrigerate than freeze, if you plan on necroscopy." I haven't ever frozen a bird pre-necroscopy, and so have no idea. If your one bird has roundworms, the rest of the flock probably has a few as well. Conversely, if the flock does not, she probably didn't either.
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Welcome to BYC, and sorry about losing your hen. Kudos to you for doing the necropsy. I am an amateur at necropsies, but others may chime in with much better opinions. The bright yellow material throughout her body that you thought was broken egg is fat. The large cooked egg masses are indeed from internal laying. The tiny rock-like things probably are rocks or grit, but sort of look like seeds (milo?) that is in some scratch grains and birdseed. I cannot answer questions about whether or not the frozen body might have disquised the worms. I have never seen worms in any necropsy, though I have occasionally seen the occasional roundworm in poop. The hard pellets in the intestines, I really don’t know if maybe those were from constipation, but possibly. There is something called cecal cores that may be seen in coccidiosis sometimes, but I may be way off. Did you get any good pics of the liver? Or the heart? Sometimes that can give clues on diseases. Was there any yellow fluid that came out of the abdomen when the abdomen was opened? The slow crop was probably due to the the internal laying egg masses which slowed down digestion due to the pressure on her organs. This is very common in laying hens.
  5. Tycine1

    Tycine1 Crowing

    May 26, 2009
    David, Chiriquí, Panama
    I agree, Salpingitis. Lash material in photograph #3 & #4, a classic symptom of salpingitis.
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
  7. blackandtan

    blackandtan Songster

    Aug 30, 2016
    Thunder Bay Ontario canada
    Most worms and flukes keep their shape after the animal has frozen and thawed, even if it had frozen more than once. The only exception I have seen is tapeworms, they may break down if a few days have passed between death and necropsy.

    I thought that the hard bits you circled looked like yellow peas; I know my feed mill will throw random bits of seeds and grains in the mix occasionally, so even if something isn’t on the label it could still be in the bag.
  8. twendt

    twendt Songster

    Feb 23, 2019
    SE Wisconsin
    Her digestive organs look healthy, must have been a reproductive disorder, you did not provide pictures of her oviduct and tract. Your description of what you found inside is not normal, poor girl, might have been salpingitis, or egg peritonitis.
  9. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    I see a lot of corn in the crop and gizzard. The 3 round brown items, may be rocks ground down by the gizzard, hard to know.
    I agree, hardened feces possibly or cecal core.

    Lash material, likely from Salpingitis since they were found in the oviduct.

    The yellow material is fat.

    To me, the hen had Salpingitis which is an inflammation of the oviduct. Without being able to pass all that lash material, her system shut down. Inflammation and infection presses on the other organs/over taxes them causing them to slowly shut down or have improper function. Reproductive disorders and crop issues I have found go hand in hand.

    "Internal Laying" where a fully formed egg is found in the abdomen might be a bit unusual, but I would not say it's rare. There are many reproductive problems that a hen can suffer from and sadly it's hard to know which one until a necropsy is performed.
    Here's a post I made a few years back, I really need to update some info, but in the post there's a fair comparison to links about some of the reproductive issues that affect laying hens.
  10. Kiki

    Kiki Is your thermometer calibrated?

    Jul 31, 2015
    Houston, TX
    My Coop
    I am sorry for your loss.
    Good job on the necropsy.

    What exactly do you feed your birds?

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